First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ken Wong: Thank you for asking. We are doing well. Consider we have to stay indoor 24 hours a day with limited walking/exercising outside.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded sFoundation
Ken Wong: I have been in the computer industry for about 15 years and switch my career to finance for another 13 years. I founded sFoundation close to 3 years ago.
How does sFoundation innovate?
Ken Wong: We are in the startup accelerator segment. Not many accelerator programs are currently providing a methodical objective and measurable feedback to the startups going through their programs. We use a scoring methodology called AccelScore to keep the startups informed of their progress while attending the program. We further innovate by bringing the whole process onto a SaaS platform. It is currently in beta testing.
We also do things a little differently. We try to balance out the diversity of the incoming startup founders by accepting 20% of women founders, 20% of minority founders, and 20% of founders over forty. We take pride in this endeavor.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Ken Wong: We used to have in-person classes in the educational components of our program, but we have since moved everything online through video conferencing.
The one casualty of our program is that we no longer offer our monthly in-person Pitch Night, where we usually get about 100 people attending.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Ken Wong: As a startup, we face difficult choices almost daily, to put it mildly. We have learned so far that when faced with any problems, we first prioritize them, then we fix them one at a time until they are done. You fall, and you get back up. Rinse and repeat.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and SFoundation in the future?
Ken Wong: Take my eyes off the computer screen often. Take frequent breaks from the routine. Take up other tasks not related to work. These are the few steps for us to handle stress.
We are striving towards a 100% remote workplace environment. The traffic in the Bay area is really zapping the energy out of all of us. Working remotely will help reduce stress by quite a margin.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Ken Wong: We have many competitors in the field. There are thousands of startup accelerators around the globe. We believe our AccelScore, FounderScore, AngelScore, and our SaaS platform will keep us in the game. With the SaaS platform, we will be able to innovate, change, and compete more readily. We will also invest heavily in R&D.
Your final thoughts?
Ken Wong: Corvid-19 is a terrible virus that inflicts a lot of harm to the world. We need to stay healthy and will come out of it much better on the other side. Humanity had survived the 1900’s flu pandemic and the 15th or 16th-century black plague. We came back stronger. We need to hang in there.
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