After six months traveling through the region to scout for the best startups in Asia, Seedstars brought its 14 Asian finalists, along with a diverse crowd of ecosystem enablers, investors, and world-renowned speakers and panellists, together on stage, on the run-up to the finals of the competition, Seedstars Summit, due in April, in Switzerland.
On November 30th, Seedstars World, the startup competition focused only in emerging markets, closed its sixth tour in Asia with the Seedstars Asia Summit x True Digital Park conference, for 350 participants, from more than 15 countries, among startups, different stakeholders, media and general public. The conference was organised in partnership with True Digital Park and aimed to “connect possibilities” by gathering key players from the region.
After two days of intense training activities, including a growth bootcamp, private mentoring sessions, an investor forum, and an ecosystem tour, all attendees participated in deep discussions and workshops.
There was also time for the 14 finalist startups from Asia to pitch on stage and prepare themselves for the competition finals. In April 2019, all the finalists are due to travel to Switzerland to represent their countries at the Seedstars Summit, a week-long training program, conference, and pitching competition. The trip is part of the prize for having won their Seedstars World local competitions and will have them competing with +65 finalists from all over the world for the title of Seedstars Global Winner and up to USD 1 million in equity investment and other prizes.
The conference featured keynote speakers from regional and global companies who addressed a number of relevant topics. Su Ann Lim, Head of Industry at Google, said on her “Building for the next Billion Users” keynote that “to make the world’s information universally accessible and useful, it is critical to focus on three drivers, access, localization and learning.” Sidu Ponnappa, Board of Directors and Head of Software Engineering at Go-Jek, shared his insights about the relation between scaling and people, which translated into the conclusion that scaling people and people’s systems is crucial to scaling a platform.
“The tech investment landscape in Asia” workshop had Monthida Mccoole, Joseph De Leon (Gravitas Prime), Paul Ark (Digital Ventures), Perry Nunes (Village Capital), Arun Asok (Bamboo Capital), and Anix Lynch (Expara) as facilitators. The angel group came up with eight questions to ask a startup and gave a few examples. Attending startups and entrepreneurs got an insight into the key points that an investor needs to know about their startups and prepare accordingly.
During the “Imagining Urban Futures” workshop, Anthony Vanky (Columbia University and Ex-MIT Senseable City Lab) advised participants to create solutions that, at the same time, employ technology and resist technology. Solutions that empower people, through revenue or impact. “Don’t worry about technology,” he said, to challenge his audience.
“Fintech vs MFIs: Friend or Foe and Lessons Learned” with Benjamin Benaim (Seedstars), “Corporate Startup Collaboration: Developing a framework for success” with Pierre-Alain Masson (Seedstars), “Startup Ecosystem building for Economic Growth and Development” moderated by Adriana Collini (Seedstars) and facilitated by Chanda Pen (Bongloy Payments), Mangala Karunaratne (Calcey), Stephanie Arrowsmith (SecondMuse), Kaung Sitt (GSMA), were other high points among the workshop tracks.
During the “Women in tech” panel, Cheryl Yeoh (Entrepreneur in Residence at SVB and previously founder of MAGIC), Nichapat Ark (Openspace Ventures) and Seedstars Alumni Audrey Uy (CEO and Founder of Serve Happy Jobs) shared their experience as women founders, investors, and leaders of tech initiatives in Southeast Asia. The conversation was moderated by Christina Teo (Startup Asia Women). Nichapat Ark, Advisor at Openspace Ventures and Seedstars Ambassador, shared that “before making up your mind, I would recommend that you speak to as many potential business partners as possible. And if your investors have a great local network, they can help you with that”.
The Seedstars Asia Summit happened with the support of True Digital Park, the Thai National Innovation Agency, Startup Thailand, the Canton de Vaud, Luminate, Merck, AWS, and Ananda Development.
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