Echelon 2016 – The Largest Startup Event in Southeast Asia

The Talk

Getting your finger on the pulse of what the tech startup scene in a single city can be difficult, a whole country a bit more so, but getting a feel for how the startup ecosystem is doing across a whole region is damn difficult. Last week I was at e27s Echelon event in Singapore to moderate a fireside chat with the CEO of Yamaha Ventures, Hiroshi Saijou, where we talked about the future of transportation and smart cities, and that future looks particularly bright.

The Floor

After our chat concluded I took to the exhibit floor to see what startups in the region had were offering up. While I was expecting the vast majority of the startups to be based in Singapore I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity of companies who made the trek to the Lion City. There were startups from all over Asia, many from outside Southeast Asia and some from Europe, a few from Australia, though I don’t know if I should count that as part of Asia or not, I know technically they are APAC but also feel so far removed from the region, I digress.

I have attended a lot of similar events this year, but none that had this reach, so it was interesting to see similar trends I had noticed at more country specific events in Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia scaling across the region.

Because the show is so big it is hard to say there is a single space the market is gravitating towards. There is obviously a big push on mobile and I was happy to see a great deal of smart city and smart living companies there. Connectivity of things to drive us towards improving life is a big focus of mine.

Telling A Story

One tech that really stood out to me was some of the things being one with VR, and not the quality of the hardware but the way some companies were using it to tell stories. After I gave my talk on the first morning I meet with young entrepreneur, Ashima Thomas the CEO at Warrior9 and she let me experience the trailer for her companies new VR based Sci-Fi series.

I won’t geek out too much about it, but I will just say it was amazing, the transitions and use of virtual space and perception really did help the story come to life and take on a dimension that was unique.

Final Thoughts

Overall the tech on the exhibition floor was impressive, but not as impressive as the innovation and creativity I saw from the entrepreneurs and the passion that came with it. I walked away from the event pleased and excited by the direction companies are going in. I have little doubt that we are rapidly moving closer to a more connected life, one that will simplify and optimize our daily tasks, giving us back more time to use as we wish.

If you want to compare this to my thoughts on the startup ecosystem in Thailand check out my blog here.

IoT Event in Bangkok

Last week i attended the IoT Business Platform event in Bangkok. This was my second year attending. Last year I was a keynote at the event and this year with one of the startups I am involved with.

I was very happy to see that over the past 12 months the quality of IoT startups both located in the region and those looking to do business here has improved greatly.

Check out my vlog for more details

What to know about Thailand

Thailand is an amazing country to visit, the Thai people are friendly, the country is beautiful and has a rich culture and history. But, before you visit you should consider these 5 things. Enjoy the vlog

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Embrace the Grind

Not long ago, a friend asked me for some advice regarding how to go about getting the most from working for a large company. My advice was simple, embrace the grind, which is a term that, as far as I know, comes from wrestling. The idea is that you have to put in the work on the mat to be successful, the same is true in the business world and the tech world. You need to put in the time, learn as much as you can and constantly be working on improving your knowledge and skills. The more work you put in the better you become, so embrace the grind.

Don’t Give Up

Recently, my Friend Tejas and I took to Bangkok for the day with the goal of shooting some hyper lapse footage of several landmarks around the city. To our dismay we were shut down at our top two location choices and had to come up with another plan. It was our ability to think creatively and be flexible that allowed us to at least come away with some type of successful footage.

I think the moral of the story for us that day was don’t give up and be creative to reach your goals. A few small obstacles should not keep you from success.

The Thailand Startup Ecosystem

I recently attended the Startup Thailand 2016 event in Bangkok. Though it was apparent that there were a great deal of resources put into the event my impression was that it fell flat of its intended mark. The big draw of the event was supposed to be the Prime Minister announcing a program of the government making $500 million available for startups, though the overall feeling seemed to be that such a program was ill-conceived and likely would not materialize.

And though not many of the well established or innovative startups in the country showed up to event there were in fact a large number of small startups there representing their products and services. Even though there was not much innovation on display at the event there were a large number of companies represented which I think bodes well for the economy as a whole. If the event repeats next year I will be looking for some signs of improvement and hopefully growth.

MIMMA 4 Ladder Matches

I was recently in Kuala Lumpur for the MIMMA 4 Ladder Matches and I was not at all disappointed with the level of the fighters. Given that I had felt let down in a few of the tryout stops I think the match making for the ladder matches produced some outstanding fights. We witnessed 72 fights in 2 days, most of which were above average. I can’t wait for the quarter finals!