Inside Scoop: What we learnt at TIA 2018

We are all familiar with the startup worlds of Berlin, Stockholm and Silicon Valley, but where do we look for Asia's startup hub? You might want to switch your gaze away from the skyscrapers of Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Russia. Southeast Asia could be your much-overlooked getaway into Asia, and here are some reasons why.

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The Antler team attended and presented at Tech In Asia 2018, with Magnus Grimeland taking to the stage as part of a panel to discuss the key characteristics of what makes a great founder. Moderated by Kabir Narang (B Capital Group), and alongside Akiko Nara (Wantedly Inc), and Helen Wong (Qiming Venture Partners), the panel touched on the different valued traits of aspiring entrepreneurs, their drive, mindset and the unique perspectives needed to be taken when venturing out on your own.

What makes a great founder

The panel discussed the need for founders to possess an inner spike, a defining factor and skill set in a certain field which would elevate their brand and product to the next level. Key emphasis was placed on the importance of possessing an unwavering drive and tenacity to succeed, unique problem solving skills towards overlooked barriers, and the right mindset to stand out from the crowd.

Business trends

The two-day event saw a meeting of likened minds, ideas and resources, coming together to showcase their innovations, best practices, and to expand their network. Trending businesses models include revolutionary tech clothing companies such as 'Bra Code' which utilises big data to provide the most accurate measurements for bra sizes across multiple models and brands.

It was also interesting to see which trends took shape and which issues were being addresses across the various markets in the region. Most notably, we noticed an increase in the number of businesses dealing with recruiting and education tech solutions out of Singapore, and a large surge of Indonesian real estate players (such as Dreamaxtion). Most interestingly, the applications for AI and augmented reality innovations stood out, including a first of its kind, VR cloud streaming service.

Investor inside scoop

We got some great inside scoop on what investors look out for, namely, their interest in businesses that genuinely work towards positively impacting markets and societies. There was a strong emphasis on connecting with companies that strive to fill a gap in the region. For example, mobile solutions that are compatible with addressing infrastructure and logistics issues in ASEAN markets. Many investors are also looking for more hands-on involvement, especially so for companies out of the region.

In general, a recurring theme throughout the conference was talk of a founder-friendly mindset. Many people were looking at teams and individual talent, over companies, while playing close attention to their skill sets, grit, experience and the extent of their team mix, in order to ascertain the validity and scalability of each business.

As Kabir Narang loosely put it, "We have never lived in a more exciting time for startups and great business ideas. It is a founder takes all market".

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