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.
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.
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.