Debrief: Startups in Asia 2012 (Singapore)


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.)

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