Startup Asia 2013 in Perspective

Here are some of my thoughts with regards to the trip. Some may be concerning the event itself, some may be concerning us. My opinions are obviously not impartial. So do take them for what they are, just opinions.

  • Location was good. Their preparedness for the event was also good. We got everything we needed to get setup and started. Space was definitely an issue. But they did tell us up front, so, meh. I think the startups would’ve been served better if the event occurred on only 1-2 floors but with better sprawl.
  • The number of startup turn-ups was alright. There was a skew towards certain countries as far as demographics go. Perhaps Malaysian startups need to attend these international events more.
  • I remember reading somewhere (maybe on Startup Asia’s site) that there would be 200+ investors/corporate guests attending. I certainly didn’t see that many green/orange tags on our floor (investors wore green tags, corporate orange). I think I personally spoke to less than 20 of them. Don’t know whether the 200 figure was a fluke, or if most of them didn’t quite make it to our floor.
  • Ditto for potential talent turn-ups. I only spoke to like, 3 students. Farid might have spoken to a few more. According to one of the Techinasia staff who spoke to us on the last day, there would be an event on the following Saturday, sort of a follow-up event to Startup Asia where developers, designers and other talents would gather. Would’ve been a great place to meet with the more technical/creative folks, alas, we were not told of this event ahead of time.
  • Many of the Coffee Chat sessions were great. Didn’t get to attend all, but those I attended were mostly worth it. Just mainly about successful startups sharing their experiences. Mostly about things we already know.
  • I found the sessions on Indonesia/Thailand Startup Ecosystem to be very good, especially Andy Zain’s for Indonesia. Didn’t make it to Vietnam’s session. For Indonesia, the lesson learned is: mobile is good. I wonder if they’d share the slides with us.
  • There was definitely a lack of Malaysian presence overall, except for Ganesh from MOL. The Techinasia staff we spoke to reasoned that Malaysia is a ‘mature’ market as far as  startup development goes, so they’re focusing on Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore & Vietnam. I call bullshit, but then again it wasn’t my event, so I don’t get to decide on things like area of focus.
  • It felt like the investors I spoke to were shopping around for the ‘next big thing’. When Farid & I explained that we’ve been around for several years and that we’re already generating revenue, I could almost hear them switch off. Maybe the idea of a startup looking to expand (instead of introducing a new idea/product) wasn’t appealing. That or I really suck at talking.

For more information, visit The Startup Asia website.

Articles written by guest writer,  Badrul Mohd Idris (Evenesis UX Expert)

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