The second day of the AsiaBerlin Summit 2020 ( 22 September) kicked off at Spielfeld Digital Hub in Berlin across four stages with panels and keynotes running simultaneously. With participation from online and offline speakers and attendees, we covered various topics such as challenges in Fintech; the role of diversity and female entrepreneurship in building a good business; how Edtech will change the dynamics in a post-pandemic world; the current trends in urban tech and more. You could register here for an exclusive day on panels by investors from Europe and Asia on 23 September. Here are some highlights to give an overview of the excitement and thought-provoking discussions on Day 2 of the Summit:
One of the first keynotes was from Naoyoshi Yoneyama, managing director of Solarisbank. He told the on- and offline audience about the disruption his company is able to do, even though its a large corporate. “I think disruption is happening already in Japan. Not only from startups, but also from large corporates”, he tells. “That’s an interesting development, especially if you compare this to the European market.”
Our second stage started with a panel on diversity, where the participants shared their vision on how to put together a dream team. “You need complementary skills, challenge yourself to look for co-founders that want to argue with you”, shared Miguel Encarnacion, managing partner of Unifier Ventures and AsiaBerlin Ambassador.
Alia Al-Rifai, Head of Finance Europe at Siemens, talked about the art of mentoring. “Mentoring is not a one-way street”, she said. “Choose a mentee different from you, with a different background, expertise, and geographic presence. This can bring a beautiful conversation and learning experience for both sides.”
This year’s summit had a special stage dedicated to Urban Tech, kicking off with a panel about its current trends. Urban Tech is a huge opportunity for European companies, according to Tony Verb, founder of GreaterBay Ventures: “ The issues that can be solved in Asia are numerous. This is the region in the world where urbanization is taking place fastest. So this will be a very important place for Urban Tech. It is happening in Asia right now, it’s a huge market.”
Our panel on EdTech was much discussed. “It’s just a matter of time when traditional institutions are impacted by EdTech”, said Dr. Sebastian Schäfer, managing director of TechQuartier. But there are some hurdles on the way before we reach that point. “The biggest problem with EdTech in emerging markets is the focus on the Tech, without paying attention to whether te Education is actually getting through”, said John Bellosillo, Head of Dual Transformation Management of iPeople Inc.
On our fourth stage, we listened to entrepreneurial stories of companies that work between Europe and Asia. One such company is Enapter, started by co-founder Vaitea Cowan after she got inspired on a trip to Chiang Mai, where she saw a house that was powered completely by the sun and hydrogen. Enapter came to Berlin because of the growth opportunities in its vibrant ecosystem and Germany’s sustainable energy goals.
Drawing from her own experiences she would advice companies who want to enter the Asian market to be well aware of cultural differences.“There is a different culture, you have to hit more milestones before you make a sale.” Her speaking partner Ikuo C. Hiraishi, managing director at Infarm, agreed: “When entering the Japanese market it takes a long time to win the trust and build a relationship.”
Entrepreneur and AsiaBerlin Ambassador Marten Rauschenberg, had a futuristic talk for us in store: how human experiences could be stored on a hard drive. BCI-technology will enable us to be inside another body for some time, enabling us to experience someone else’s bungee-jump or helicopter flight. This will have a profound effect on our societies: “Because of the experience of sharing a mind with other people, society will grow together even more. We will probably see more ‘we’ than ‘me’ in the future.” In his subsequent panel, he discussed with two startups Braingrade and Braingear, who use the technology to help dementia patients.
The concluding panel was discussing the topic of what watched the investor’s eye in 2020. The panelists get into a discussion on whether there is enough investment flowing into the European startup ecosystem. Astrid Freier, partner DACH at Vidici Ventures told: “Of course we have to address that the culture with regards to venture capital in Europe is entirely different when you compare it with Asia. There are positive developments now, but we can’t forget from what situation we came from.”
Peter Akpotosu Nartey from Signals Pre-Seed sees a lot of change happening: “The learning from Silicon Valley were: go fast and break things. This was not happening in Germany, where we wanted to see profit quickly. This is changing now, startups are really able to explore and expand.” The key for that change lays in courage, says Tobias Szarowicz, Investment Manager at Sunbo Angel partners. That’s where Germany can learn from Asia: “No big technology came just like that, there is always courage involved, I see that understanding in South-Korea, but not yet in Germany.”
Register for Investors day and other exciting events to attend more discussions at AsiaBerlin Summit 2020. Here is the current list of speakers and here is the Summit program. Follow us on Linkedin and Twitter for live updates on AsiaBerlin Summit 2020