Our latest AsiaBerlin partner event, “empower! Nurturing a stronger, global startup ecosystem”, highlights the opportunities for the startup ecosystems of Singapore, Jakarta, and Bengaluru – three cities that bring together different strengths that are often complementary. Here are edited excerpts from the online event.
Breaking the Cash Ceiling in Bengaluru
Ayushi Mishra is the COO and co-founder of DronaMaps, a company that uses drone technology and deep insights into the images they capture to map remote regions of India and derive insights about the terrain. Though Bengaluru has a plethora of talent, the city may risk losing its next generation of entrepreneurs to richer ecosystems as access to funding has been historically a challenge for young founders. “Idea stage is almost non-existent, pre-seed is also relatively harder to find,” says Ayushi.
Her advice for new founders is to bootstrap their startup for as long as possible, with rapid iterations of their product with as minimal risk as possible. Fortunately, she believes that Bengaluru is a good place to bootstrap companies,
“there is access to talent, there is all the mentorship you would need and a great ecosystem in terms of access to corporate accelerators and incubators – so Bangaluru is actually a great place to be based out of as a startup in India.”
No Mountains too High in Jakarta
AsiaBerlin Ambassador Aria Widyanto is the Director & CRSO of Amartha, a peer-to-peer lending service, innovating in Indonesia’s thriving FinTech sector. The Jakartan entrepreneur was quick to address the city’s pitfalls holding startups back. “We do have huge problems in terms of the physical infrastructure, especially in transportations – traffic jams and air pollution which reduces the quality of living in Jakarta.” says Aria.
However, he notes that despite these hurdles, the entrepreneurial spirit of Jakartans will be the city’s edge in creating innovative solutions for their communities. “We see those innovating financial sectors during the pandemic, this is significant growth despite the slowing economy, consumer spending is diminishing but the financial sectors who offer technology that solves problems, to interact and make transactions online see significant progress.” says Aria, “If we could critically see problems, wherever it is, as opportunities then it will drive us to innovate better.”
Still Leading the Pack in Singapore
Ashkay Bhushan is a Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, a multi-stage venture capital firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovations and trends in the Enterprise, Consumer, and Health sectors. Based out of Singapore, the venture capitalist points to the city state’s traditional strengths as reasons for its status as the regional hub, “The reason why Singapore ends up being a great headquarters [for startups] is because of the great infrastructure and because of the global nature of the city, it’s able to track a lot of high quality talent which helps these companies scale.”
As a result of this abundant access to capital and talent, Ashkay notes the unique innovation trends that are able to be developed out of Singapore, “the whole area around deeptech or IP driven startups, we are starting to see a lot of interesting entrepreneurs build in very interesting areas such as space or satellite tech – lab-grown food, robotics, very IP heavy industries which we don’t see in a lot of other ecosystems.”
Local Problems Solved with Foreign Solutions?
Theresa Evanoff is Program Director, Market Access, German Accelerator Asia. Headquartered in Singapore, Theresa has empowered high-potential German startups to scale into markets across Southeast Asia. She says the key to successfully expand into foreign markets is to embrace hyper-localization. “The common trend we see is what works in their home country, doesn’t necessarily work in Southeast Asia,” she says, “We help them refine their understanding and approach to market, and we help them with these key connections in the right direction so that their value proposition is fitted to the local market.”
From Inspired to Inspire – How Regional Partnership is Driving Tomorrow’s Innovation
This event showcased unique insights from industry insiders into the potential of startup ecosystems from Bengaluru, Jakarta, and Singapore. Each speaker shared their experiences in their ecosystems, challenges faced, and how they were overcome to drive innovations. Key takeaways from this session are that despite tremendous hurdles, talent across Bengaluru and Jakarta continue to thrive and develop ingenious solutions for local communities. Singapore continues to lead the region with its excellent access to finance and global connectivity resulting in truly future-age innovations. Finally, if foreign startups want to enter the Southeast Asian market, organizations will need to embrace hyper-localization to ensure their solutions meet the challenges faced by local markets.
From inspired to inspiring, Asian startup ecosystems are looking beyond Western models of success to develop their own innovative solutions to regional and local challenges. For more unique insights and data-backed analysis into these three exciting startup ecosystems, download a copy of enpact’s inaugural “empower magazine”!
Watch the event video here :
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