Best place for a startup - Singapore or Lisbon? Advice needed.
If you've been following along with the wild ride that is ShelfLife, you would have heard about Gavin's first ever solo startup pitch earlier this week - to an incubator program in Lisbon. You can break out the bubbly, because our Head of UX now has a 100% strike rate! We just got accepted to Fabrica de Startups Discovery program!
Yes, we were pretty stoked as well, but by the time our hangover had subsided to manageable levels, we discovered a new problem: if we wanted to take advantage of this incredible opportunity in Portugal, we'd have say goodbye to our involvement with Vertica labs here in sunny Singapore. Upper management at Vertica have pointed out that we have an exclusivity clause in our current contract, which prevents us from involvement in other incubator programs.
So, we have a decision to make, and we're appealing to the startup community to help us make it an informed one:
At Vertica, we get four desks and full office support, access to a 'lending library' of developers, graduates and interns and pretty good introductions to the startup community, heavily weighted to the government-backed programs (which seems to be most of them). Our key advisor (and minor investment partner) is the one who recommended this set up and is keen for us to stay.
however, The Discoveries program seems to be more focused on our industry and potential market (Travel & Tourism), looks to be well-run and is free of fees, equity demands or exclusivity deals.
If we go with the Portugal option, we lose our place in Vertica Labs and may even have to re-apply for our special startup visas in Singapore. We may wind up looking for yet another new home for ShelfLife (that would be our fourth in just 6 months). If we don't go, we may be missing out on a whole entry to the European market, which seems to be where a lot of our customer interest is coming from.
So, over to you, people of startup land? If you we're in our shoes (or even renting our lives as startup founders) this week, which way would you go in the battle of Singapore vs Lisbon? let us know in the comments below.