Jeffrey Tiong is the founding CEO of PatSnap, an IP analytics platform that offers a suite of R&D analytic and management tools for businesses, universities, start-ups, and research organizations. Since its inception in 2007, PatSnap has achieved phenomenal success, as evidenced by its move to Unicorn status after a fresh round of funding pushed its valuation to over $1 billion. Find out more about the man behind PatSnap’s success as we uncover ten things you didn’t know about Jeffrey Tiong.
1. He was an outstanding student
Tiong is making waves in the business world. Considering his extensive academic achievements, it’s hardly surprising. While studying for his undergraduate degree in bioengineering and technopreuneurship at the National University of Singapore, he made his name as the recipient of the NUS Student Achievement Award, the Engineering Colors’ Award, and the Gold Medal. He was also named on the Dean list. As part of his program at the National University of Singapore, he spent a year studying biomedical engineering and entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania. During his time there, he was a Wharton Business Plan Competition finalist.
2. He’s a member of the Forbes Technology Council
In October 2020, Tiong was honored with membership of Forbes Technology Council. The council operates on an invitation-only basis to bring together senior-level tech CEOs, CIO’s and other senior-level executives whose depth and diversity of experience has singled them out for special attention. Once onboard, members are invited to collaborate on a private forum and share their insights via CommunityVoice on Forbes.com.
3. He’s an award winner
Over the past few years, Tiong has been honored with a slew of awards and titles. In 2017, he was named the leading smart technology entrepreneur on the Yicai Brilliant 20 by Yicai Magazine. That same year, he was honored by The Peak Magazine with a mention in its Peak Power List 2017. The following year, he won the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 in Singapore, as well as EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Analytics Intelligence. In 2019, he continued his role of good luck when he was awarded the title of IT Leader Award 2019 by the Singapore Computer Society (SCS). In 2020, he was named a Top 50 SaaS CEO by The Software Report.
4. He conceived PatSnap when he was an intern
In 2004, Tiong started working as an intern at the medical-device company BioConnect Systems in Philadelphia. His main responsibility was to evaluate patents, a process that required him to check various government websites. Quickly, he became frustrated with the process and with how outdated the intellectual-property documents were. He began to think about whether a type of software could be conceived that would simplify the process. From there, it was only a matter of time before he landed on the idea of PatSnap.
5. He founded PatSnap in 2007
Fresh from graduating from the National University of Singapore in 2007, Tiong used the S$55,000 in funding he’d been awarded from a student start-up grant to found PatSnap, an information technology company that offers data exports, patent search, and other R&D analytic and management tools for businesses, universities, start-ups, and research organizations. By that point, Tiong had studied entrepreneurship for several years and was sure his idea had legs. It did… although getting other people to believe that would prove a bigger challenge than he anticipated.
6. He struggled to get funding
The S$55,000 he’d secured from a student start-up grant was enough to launch PatSnap, but it didn’t take long for Tiong to exhaust the funds. And that’s when he ran into his first major problem. Back in the early 2000s, Singapore’s start-up ecosystem was limited. Few investors were willing to put their faith in a young graduate with limited business experience. After being declined by 20 different government agencies, investors, and private companies for investment, Tiong was at a loss. Determined not to give up on his fledgling business, he made the major decision to relocate to China. It proved a wise move, and soon, the company began to prosper.
7. He got his first big break in 2010
Three years after launching PatSnap, Tiong secured his first major breakthrough in 2010 when venture capital firm Accel-X and NUS Enterprise decided to take a risk on the company and invest in its Series A round. From there, the only way was up. Subsequent funding rounds saw the likes of Sequoia Capital China, Summit Partners, Vertex Ventures, and Shunwei Capital show their faith in the company by offering up capital. By 2020, the company had raised over $100 million over the course of 5 rounds.
8. He’s grown PatSnap to Unicorn status
If Tiong was happy with the capital he’d raised in previous funding rounds, it was nothing compared to how he must have felt when the lastest round closed. As The Star reports, a fresh funding round this March saw CPE Industrial Fund join existing investors Sequoia China, Shunwei Capital, and Vertex Ventures to raise $300 million. The round pushes PatSnap into Unicorn territory with a valuation that tops $1 billion. In a statement, Tiong announced that he plans on using the funds for product development and expanding its global footprint.
9. He only hires people with an entrepreneurial spirit
Speaking via entrepreneur.com, Tiong discussed how when he began PatSnap, he made numerous hiring mistakes that cost him millions of dollars. Since those early days, he’s completely revised both the recruitment process and the working culture at PatSnap. If you want to pass a PatSnap interview with flying colors, you’ll need to show that you have the right attitude and entrepreneurial mindset to survive the start-up environment. “I now look at entrepreneurial experience first and skill set second,” he explains. “This entrepreneurial experience can come in different forms; it can be playing a competitive sport, starting a not-for-profit venture, or creating a new business line for their existing company. What’s important is finding a person who is willing to try something new, willing to fail, have setbacks and still forge ahead. The right person with the right attitude can be a huge value add to your business and culture.”
10. He’s taking PatSnap global
Under Tiong’s leadership, PatSnap has grown at a phenomenal rate. As topionetworks.com writes, what started out as a tiny company operating out of a rented sea container with 30 staff has now grown to an international operation of over 300 employees operating from offices in London, Singapore, and China.