What you missed out on – Tech In Asia Singapore 2017
Author: Rohini S
The Tech in Asia conference held on the 17th and 18th of May, was an extravagant two-day event that took place in Singapore. The event featured prominent spotlight speakers such as Maximilian Bittner, CEO of Southeast Asian online shopping shop, Lazada. It was a great platform to seek opportunities, heed advice from the experienced and most importantly, gain network in the industry. Attendees and exhibitors were given crucial first-hand insights from successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, and founders. It was also a substantial platform for investors to seek for investees and also, for startups to shine.
The event began with Secretary-General of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), Mr. Chan Chun Sing, giving his word on what is important for startups to look forward to in the industry today. He mentioned that conferences like Tech in Asia Singapore 2017 were opportunities that newcomers can make use of to build links, network, share and cross-pollinate ideas. Mr. Chan Chun Sing expressed his view on Singapore’s ability to be “a startup city,” one that is different from Tel Aviv and Silicon Valley. It would only be possible, in his view, if the right enabling environment, connections, focus, and training were maintained.
Notable speakers such as the CEO of Lazada, Maximilian Bittner, talked about the future prospects of the e-commerce platform. He mentioned that Lazada is working towards dominating the Southeast Asian marketplace. With new features such as the introduction of its new Singaporean targeted customer loyalty program, LiveUp, Lazada is expected to achieve its goal in the near future. The LiveUp program is aimed at consumers who go online for leisure services such as shopping and entertainment. Max Bittner revealed that Alibaba’s investment in Lazada had brought great progress to the e-commerce site, during his Fireside Chat. Lazada uses the Business to Consumer strategy to ensure that there are quality products being listed on its online marketplace. However, Bittner admitted that the company still lists unbranded products as some consumers, mainly from China, look towards sourcing out local products.
Min-Liang Tan, CEO of Razer, gave us a brief synopsis of the future of his company which he said was aimed towards developing Razer’s gaming devices by hiring people that are good at what they do. This is said to be the main strategy that the company uses to flourish talent. Razer will look towards expanding to countries where talents lie in, so as to develop new products which means every Razer employee has a huge underlying responsibility.
Similar to Min-Liang Tan was CXA’s (ConnecXionsAsia) founder, Rosaline Khoo, who advised new startup owners about sourcing out the best talent in order to succeed. She stated how CXA had to reach “US$100 million” (which they currently are) worth in order for top talents to be attracted to them.
The founder of the famous online forum site Reddit, Alexis Ohanian, gave pointers to startup founders based on his entrepreneurial journey. He preached how planning a proper execution is more important than having just a rich idea. Furthermore, the rules of Silicon Valley should not be used to determine the journey new entrepreneurs take. Entrepreneurs should also invest in networking because they are very critical in order to be the best.
The Tech in Asia Arena Pitch Battle took place on Day 2 of the conference to discover the top startup companies, allowing them to gain instant exposures to tons of investors and potential customers. Out of all of the startup companies that took part as exhibitors, Swingvy emerged as the best during the Pitch Battle, winning themselves an all-expense paid trip to Tokyo to take part in the Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Summit 2017.
With an aim to reduce less paperwork, Swingvy is an online human resources tool that helps Small Business Enterprises use an online platform to simplify functions like hiring, payroll, benefits, etc. The Malaysian-based company has also recently partnered with Telekom Malaysia which has led them to many connections with other companies to use their tool.
The first runner-up of the Pitch Battle was the Singaporean based company, Cognalearn. Cognalearn is an interactive learning platform catered to students and educators that focuses on authorizing technologies that have been created at Duke-NUS Medical School to help with cognitive science learning.
Finishing third was an advertising platform, Kobe. Made in Singapore, Kobe is directed at matching advertisers with everyday influencers. The company is said to use algorithms to ensure the proper advertising message is being channeled through the right platform. Advertisers can gain more consumers by targeting the exact audience they are looking for.
Other startups that took part in the Pitch Battle Arena were AiChat, a chatbot service; Rootee Health, a health service that captures symptoms of diabetic blindness; Regit a service that manages personal contact information and Octagon Studio; an interactive educational platform using virtual reality.