I was fortunate to have been a part of the contingent of startups that was invited to participate in the Asia Leaders Summit at Bali recently. The event was held from 27thto 29thof January 2016, and was packed with enriching insights for the participants.
The prestigious event was organized by Masahiko Honma, Founder and General Partner of Incubate Fund, which is the largest seed stage VC firm in Japan and has operations in Tokyo and Singapore. The prime objective behind the summit was to create a robust and dynamic community of leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors from internet and mobile companies across Asia and offer them a regional platform from where they can drive innovation and change across the world. It turned out to be an ideal platform that encouraged Asian leaders to share knowledge and learn from one another.
The attendees included around 100 prominent VC firms, CEOs, founders and industry leaders, mainly from Japan, Singapore, US, India, Southeast Asia (Indonesia). It was as if the who’s who of the startup space from across the globe had converged on a common platform. The budding startups couldn’t really have asked for anything more. As a result, we got an otherwise rare opportunity to interact with many Japanese investors, US based VC’s, fellow startups and industry leaders, all under one roof, and learn the intricacies of how the startup space works in other economies, the opportunities we can tap and what it would take to succeed there etc.
In one of the sessions, 12 startups were given the unique opportunity to present a 5-minute pitch before the attendees. Ours was the first startup (Lazylad) to present the pitch from among 4 Indian startups, the others being LogiNext, FitmeIn and Applop. The experience of representing the country and presenting before a hand-picked audience and renowned panelists was both thrilling and nerve wracking. The Indian panelists included renowned names such as GHV Accelerator, Ivycap Ventures, NASSCOM’s 10,000 Startups and YourStory.
The summit turned out to be the perfect platform for young entrepreneurs to gain global exposure, hobnob with the best in the industry, know about the best practices followed globally, and above all, how to scale to new geographies, all ofwhich are crucial stepping stones for startups with a global vision. For instance, while Japanese companies are known for building self-sustainable models, US companies have,over the years, gained acclaim fortheir immense pace of growth. Getting inputs from both sides of the world, therefore, offered us vital insights that we can count on to propel our own growth in a sustainable manner. Moreover, the connections we built there are something I’ll cherish forever, not just professionally, but also personally.
These 2 power-packed days gave us immense exposure and empowered us in more ways than one to scale up and take our dreams to the next level. Forums like Asia Leader Summit can go a long way in blurring the geographical boundaries and bringing together various stakeholders in the industry. Even startups stand to gain tremendously from such platforms and experiences, and can leverage them to take a different trajectory altogether, thereby facing fewer bumps along the way as they scale greater heights.
In India, Industry bodies like NASSCOM and startup accelerators like GHV have been at the forefront for catalyzing the next generation of startups by serving as enablers for the ecosystem to thrive. It is a truly empowering experience for any startup to be able to get access to platforms like Asia Leaders Summit or even those organized within the country, and it is the enablers like NASSCOM, GHV and many others that make it possible for us. I feel privileged for having been associated with both and having worked my way to having been invited for Asia Leaders Summit under their able guidance and mentoring. They have truly helped open up new avenues for me.
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