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Tech in Asia, a pan-Asian startup experiment that could snowball into something bigger

snowball-effect

Image credit: Freerepublic.com

Building an ecosystem is like creating an industry with tech entrepreneurs and investors as pillars. It’s a movement, a passion, an industry that we all love and don’t mind working hard for it. Because we know that if the Asian ecosystem strives, everyone in Asia wins. More investors will invest, more smart people will build startups, and it creates a snowball effect.

A local ecosystem is likely too small to really thrive. Only China, India, and U.S can possibly stand alone. So why can’t Asia unite in one?

When Tech in Asia first started, the Asian tech scene was underreported. There wasn’t a single media that was working full-time on reporting and building the Asian ecosystem. So I thought, “Why don’t we do it?”

Building an ecosystem is tough because there are a lot of factors that are out of our control. Specifically, the barriers towards building an ecosystem in Asia are:

  1. Not enough exits: No exits, no flow of capital, no incentive to invest, less incentive to build startups
  2. Market fragmentation: Every market has different infrastructure problems
  3. Culture and language: We don’t quite understand one another. We can’t really connect

(See: The startup ecosystem here sucks. Sure…)

Our rule is simple: do things that we have control in. We can’t directly solve all three problems, but we can provide information on what’s happening in each local startup scene so people can make a more educated decision in each market. We report in English because it is the global language that connects us all together. We also do conferences and meetups across Asia to assist you in turning a digital connection into a handshake-level interaction. All these are done by over 40 full-timers at Tech in Asia who are spread across Asia who share the same mission and culture.

tech-in-asia-on-map

A friend once told me that Tech in Asia’s greatest value isn’t just about the articles we write or the conferences we run. Rather, the way we expanded so rapidly and publicly in the last three years across Asia shows that it is possible to build a pan-Asia startup. It has given a lot of encouragement to other entrepreneurs, he says.

We are humbled.

I wouldn’t dare think we are successful, we seriously aren’t and we’re still learning, always. But that did give us a different view on our role in building and serving the tech and startup ecosystem in Asia. We need to lead by example. Hopefully, we can continue to execute our plans well.



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