Debrief: Startups in Asia 2012 (Singapore)

Willis Wee
12:45 pm on Feb 10, 2012

Vibease received the most love from the audience despite not winning at Arena.

We had a funnn and productive two-day conference in Singapore. As a team, we are fairly pleased with how everything went at Startups in Asia (Singapore), our first conference. We had a lot of positive reviews and feedback from participants and from people online. And for that, I would like to say a big thank you to our supporters.

In general, most folks loved the pitches as well as the responses from judges, some of whom were pretty damn tough at times. All 19 pitches at Startup Arena were clear and professional, as our team and advisers drilled them hard with multiple rehearsals. The coffee chats were honest and straight to the point, though there was still some places that we could have improved. The networking sessions were great, going by the feedback we got, as they enabled entrepreneurs to meet a mixture of local and overseas investors and entrepreneurs. Our team had great fun too.

But not everything is rosy, though. Admittedly, we have had several hiccups over the two days. There were two main complains: 1. The exhibition area was a little tight, and 2. poor wifi connection. Rest assured that our team has taken note and we will be looking at these two areas to improve upon for our next conference. Similarly, thank you to all the people who have given us their honest opinions on things.

In the interests of being transparent and improving our process, here are some more details about how things went down this time.

Initially, we had 50 startups signed up for the booth. But we wanted to let more entrepreneurs in to benefit from the conference. So we opened it up to 55, to 60 and then to 70. The demand was crazy, we even removed sponsor booths to make space for startup booths. After all, the conference is built for entrepreneurs We thought that would be beneficial to the startups, but we were obviously wrong. We have learned from that experience and we hope to do better moving forward. And of course, the initial organization of startup booth allotment could be way better too.

With regards the WiFi, we spent more than S$8,000 to set it up (no joke). Unfortunately, the ISP failed us. We were facing the same frustration too. I have been to numerous conferences in the U.S and Asia, but none have had stable WiFi. Even TechCrunch Disrupt faced significant internet connection problems. It is only after this experience that I understand how hard it is to provide WiFi access to a crowd of 800 people.

Like any startup, we listen, learn, and we’ll execute better the next time. We’ve always worked like that. We take both the positives and negatives with us and hopefully we will be able to do a much much better job the next time round. Stay tuned as we will announce our next Startups in Asia (insert mystery city here) very soon.

(And yes, we're serious about ethics and transparency. More information here.)

  • Vibease-StayIntimate

    Thanks for love Willis 😉

    • Willis Wee

      ha. yeah the audience love you guys, a lot.

      • Vanessa Tan


    • Minghao

      Most Popular Startup award goes to…

      • Vanessa Tan

        *drum roll*

  • Anonymous

    wifi was indeed a huge letdown – but just because its willis and minghao (and vanessa too)… we can forgive :) great job, great show and great people 😉 

    • Vanessa Tan

      Thanks Keith :)

    • Minghao

      Thank you so much, Keith. =)

  • Nao at

    Despite the wifi issue, we found ways to present our product in a different way. This is when creativity has to kick in right? We had a great time, met wonderful people, was highly motivated and are working hard after the event as well! Thanks Willis, everyone at Startup Asia! We will come back with a good announcement! 

  • Anonymous

    Congrats Willis and the team! Looking forward for the next Startups in Asia! I told you willis, someday, penn olson will be great… and its happening now! Good job bro!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the souvenirs and free lunch!

  • Ivanteo

    Congrats Minghao, Willis and team! Great job! Look forward to bigger things from you guys.

  • Maxime Guilbot

    Congrats to the team for this great event! Looking forward to the next event.

  • Juha Paananen

    Congrats! This was definitely the best tech event I’ve attended in Singapore. For next year, could you make the badges colored (different colors for founder, investor, media, the big corporation, students) and have the attendants name printed on them (or room for writing it down). This would make networking more efficient. 

  • Hans Koning

    Really had a great time at your startup event, and look forward to more to come. To all the people I spoke to, was great meeting you all, and hope we’ll continue to cross path. In the mean, good luck with all your ventures, but even more important, enjoy the journey….

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