NOT! This is actually a post to sum up the Startup Asia, first conference that I’m in the organizing team and it was outside my home country. I might held the #StartupLokal 1st birthday party with a full day event but this was totally different beast all over again. This needs professional who has been in this kind of job for years. But then, we are a start-up, and we did learn a lot from our first experience.
I went to Singapore on 31st Jan, as early as I could because I won’t be able to spend my weekend over (Final Exams, fml) at the Lions. The flight arrived quite early, so thank you JetStar! And checked in at the V Hotel(Lavender MRT) – had a funny experience here, when I checked in apparently Minghao put me as Joshua Kevin instead of Kevin Tjong which was my name in my passport. I had to give out s$200 as a deposit to make sure it was really me who’s staying. Finished with that, I got up to my room and actually love it.
Had an e-mail sent to me to group up over at SMU, so I did and I finally met my editors at Penn Olson, which is Rick Martin, Steven Millward and Charlie Custer. We had a rehearsal for Startup Arena participants, we drilled them and I think these kinds of preparations which made our event is different than any other event. We want those who are up on the stage to be as best as possible. Done with that, we had our first team dinner, too bad the Biz Dev Chick couldn’t come. Had four pans of 12-inch-pizza together with Willis Wee, the editors, Minghao Teoh and Amelia Chen. After that, I thought the night was over, but apparently not. I went to The Studio with Joash and met Gabriel, Mohan, Dung and Claudia. We had some drinks and played the dice game! FYI, The Studio is owned by my fellow Indonesian – Angelina Pradana. Proud to met her, and proud to have a friend/entrepreneur/entertainer/drinking friend like her!
1st February, probably the toughest day of 4 days because this is the last day of preparation. We had start-ups who booked for booths coming to take a look and place their stuffs in their respective booths. Unfortunately, the start-ups came early, the booths weren’t prepared yet and so the booking should take place in a manual mode (someone look at a map, tell me what he/she wanted, I wrote down the number). Yet, there are start-ups who took the place without booking first to me, so it was quite a mess. Although it didn’t get to a brawl or shouts or something but we learned the most from it. We finally numbered the booths and they can just book the booth they want by writing the name of the start-ups on the paper pasted on it. In the afternoon, we had networking session/high tea with investors/overseas participants. It was fun, met NUS Enterprise directors who are taking care of Blk-71. Met some start-ups who are being incubated by JFDI Asia as well. And one more great thing is, to finally meet Dr Serkan Toto, which is one of my idols in the tech-blogging world. He was shocked to learn that I’m still in uni and haven’t even turned 20 yet. Went to The Studio again this night, got some pictures taken, not me but Angel, but yeah – my back was in the publication – so, I’m proud! :p
2nd February, the show finally begun. I was chosen to take care of slides, and working together with the sound engineer and lightning. Gabriel said to me my title is Event Production – quite cool, huh? So we had Dr. Lim Kuo Yi (CEO at Infocomm Investment), James Tan(Co-Founder of 55tuan), Discussion Panel on Starting up in Singapore, Dr Serkan Toto(TechCrunch contributor), Tetsuya Mori(Managing Director for DeNA Asia), Tatsuo Tsutsumi(Director of GREE Ventures), Discussion Panel on Cloud Computing and Entrepreneurship, and Startup Arena pitches part 1! Vibease took the climax from today by mixing Vibrator, Mobile App and Orgasm! (sex sells!) It ran smoothly although I made a tiny wee mistake and had fun being a bouncer as well earlier with Amelia and the volunteers! (P.S. Booth Babes ftw!) – Willis Wee had his birthday on this day, yet he chose to downplay it and focused on what is in front of him, making the event a success. Proud to be under his guidance! – Joash also had his birthday so there is Joash, Gab, Angel, Dung and more celebrating his birthday at The Studio (so this was my 3rd night in the row!). Had a couple of shots of tequila, HOT!
3rd February, the turnouts were as expected, maybe the late night networking took place, so a quarter of the participants didn’t make it until around lunch time. This day we had, Arvind Rajan(LinkedIn APAC VP), Steven Goh(mig33), James Tong(Partner at Gobi Ventures), Anuj Khanna Sohum(Affle Group), Angeline Tham and Tian Qiuyan (Co-Founders of Sold.SG), then it went off to the Startup Arena part 2. Had some more networking and chats with prominent people on Singapore. Exchanged half of my stock of namecards, which can only mean great. Then, we announced our winner for Startup Arena, Teamie.
A sum-up of Startups in Asia Singapore and De-brief of it was published. Yet, it couldn’t really picture what I got from this event. We, Penn Olson team, finally met each other and was in one room working hard for our event. (Met Yukari and Masaru too!) Make lots of friends over, not just for business but also for fun. The volunteers especially are kind and definitely would love to catch up with them. Some stats for those who love it: 800+ participants, 19 start-ups pitched for Startup Arena, 50 start-ups booked our booths, got sponsored by GREE, DeNA, Lenovo, Nokia, SingTel, iTwin, SkySQL, Monster.com, B Dash Ventures, Gumi, Crystal Horse Investments, Amazon Web Services. Quite a feat for our first event! Can’t wait to announce our next city! And thanks for reading!