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News > Alumni Spotlight > Finding a Gap in the Market during the Pandemic: Magno Guidote '11

Finding a Gap in the Market during the Pandemic: Magno Guidote '11

Foreign Scholar Magno is a senior associate with Kearney, a global management consulting firm. In this article he shares his most recent venture - the Singaporean start-up Yuan Collagen.

During the pandemic, I started a business, and co-founded Yuan Collagen, which I started with my friends (including 2 other SJII alumni), as I saw a gap for a natural collagen soup base for home-cooked hotpot. The business has grown to become one of the top online collagen soup brands in Singapore as featured in several news outlets such as Straits Times, CNA, Vulcan Post and many more.

There should be more case studies shared of what entrepreneurship is like (what was the product, what was the inspiration, what need in the market was being address/ created, what were the key success factors to bring the business to life, what was the journey like) - currently these are being shown more in business schools (both undergrad and postgrad), but it would be great to see a lot more of these in high school/ Junior College.

This helps with several things. Firstly, it underscores the message that each path in entrepreneurship is different. Secondly, it provides real-life examples of what the journey is like, including all the ups and downs - while this is applicable to other careers, my hypothesis is that the volatility here is amplified, the more examples there are, the more familiar students become with the journey. Thirdly, it provides some themes on what works and what does not work in entrepreneurship. 

As cliche as it sounds, it is true that you miss 100% of the shots that you don't take. That said, you also don't want to dive into something without understanding the risks. In fact, entrepreneurship is largely all about taking risks (hence the reward for entrepreneurship when you study high school economics is profit - which is the reward for risk taking!)

A structured way of doing this is balancing the risk of failure with the opportunity to bring something to the market. This can be done by spending some time up front really understanding what it is the product or service that you are bringing to the market. How defensible is the value proposition? Once you understand your value proposition to the market, you move on to execution (bring it to market). Each step of the way, you try to identify what the risks are and where possible try to mitigate the risks. (eg. ask yourself what could go wrong)

Careful not to overdo it though, sometimes the proverbial "leap of faith", and there is no formula to this. 

Weekdays are spent almost 100% on work, while weekends will be slightly more on family. I think that this will be the case for me for the foreseeable future. Of course this is a matter of choice, where some people may choose to have a more balanced approach. 

I don't want to disappoint my family and friends, so I always do the best I can, so no one can be disappointed. 


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