What’s it like to be an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (“EIR”)?

Jah Ying Chung
May 6, 2018 · 3 min read

I’ve been getting this question a lot since I joined Betatron (Hong Kong’s only venture-backed accelerator) as an EIR, and started introducing myself as such. This is no surprise, as the role is pretty uncommon, especially in Asia where the accelerator scene is still relatively young.

Key Responsibilities

As I see it, EIRs have three key responsibilities:

  1. Attend all-cohort sessions and provide feedback based on their own founding experience (typically EIRs have recently exited their company) — in a way that accelerator managers and investors may not be able to
  2. Host office hours for founders looking for discussions on company-specific challenges
  3. Support the accelerator management team in optimizing the program, e.g. via constant feedback, participation in management meetings

The EIR position is generally not a full-time position and it’s expected that the EIR is also exploring their next opportunity in their free time.

What do I bring as an EIR?

My experience is primarily in B2B, spanning across multiple industries and geographies. Prior to taking up the EIR role, I have also consulted for and advised startups at various stages, from concept to Series B. I specialize in helping founders in what I call SOS functions — see below. Lastly, I also have a few founder-friendly bonus features, just having gone through the process myself.

For more details on my history and the startups I’m currently working with, check out jahyingchung.com.

1. B2B Expertise: Industries And Geographies

My professional experience is primarily in the B2B space. Through my own startup, companies that I’m consulting for or advising, and previous organizations that I’ve worked for, I’ve accumulated deep networks in the following industries:

Industries where I have substantial understanding and networks:

  • Advertising and marketing, influencer marketing
  • Climate change and environmental NGOs
  • Environmental (risk) technology (software and hardware)
  • Venture philanthropy
  • Social enterprise
  • Startups

Industries where I have access to key contacts:

  • HR
  • Health, fitness, wearables
  • Gaming
  • Insurance

Geographies where I’ve done business:

  • Primary: Hong Kong, China
  • Secondary:Taiwan, Singapore, Australia

2. B2B SOS: Sales, Operations and Storytelling

Depending on the stage of the startup and the founder’s strengths, I may work on different types of projects projects:

Concept stage — typically one person with an idea

  • Customer discovery: Leveraging my network to set up meetings / organizing events for founders to meet potential customers
  • Interviewing potential customers to verify problem / need exists
  • Pitch development

Validation stage — a small team, selling early version of the product

  • Pitch optimization: working with non-sales founders to improve sales script and approach, providing feedback in post-meeting debrief
  • Attending sales meetings and asking key questions to validate customer needs and value proposition
  • Investor relations: introductions to and /or gathering feedback from potential investors, developing pitch materials, setting up investor update

Growth stage — an established team, experiencing internal growth pains as they scale

  • Clarify and document user personas to inform sales strategy and product roadmap
  • Documentation and optimization of sales and internal processes
  • Amplifying and/or automating direct sales efforts with B2B marketing initiatives and infrastructure, e.g. developing industry newsletter
  • Analyzing customer sales data to identify low-hanging opportunities for growth
  • Establish internal communications infrastructure to facilitate knowledge sharing and a shared vision amongst team members (often across multiple offices)
  • Setting up efficient investor communications

3. Bonus founder features

  • Tools: Trying to decide what tool to use for: CRM, marketing, automation, UX, analytics, internal comms… just ask — I’ve tried them all.
  • Accelerator feedback: Feedback to accelerator program management team: some things may be hard to say directly — I can be the go-between
  • Investor discussions: something on our mind that you don’t feel comfortable discussing with investors?

Want to know more? Head over to jahyingchung.com

JY Jobs

A collection of exciting jobs, tools and ideas I’ve found while pursuing a socially impactful career

Jah Ying Chung

Written by

Figuring out how to design orgs and ecosystems to do the most good. Geeks out on “life ops”. Past lives: edtech founder + climate campaigner @ China & SE Asia.

JY Jobs

JY Jobs

Ever since middle school, I’ve been looking for the career where I could do the most good. Along the way, I’ve discovered roles that I never knew existed and resources that clarified my thinking and accelerated my job-hunting process. This is a collection of my favourite finds.

Jah Ying Chung

Written by

Figuring out how to design orgs and ecosystems to do the most good. Geeks out on “life ops”. Past lives: edtech founder + climate campaigner @ China & SE Asia.

JY Jobs

JY Jobs

Ever since middle school, I’ve been looking for the career where I could do the most good. Along the way, I’ve discovered roles that I never knew existed and resources that clarified my thinking and accelerated my job-hunting process. This is a collection of my favourite finds.

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