Empowering Entrepreneurs and Building Communities in Asia Pacific

As the Asia Pacific region is growing into a global center for innovation, there’s an increasing challenge of how to offer the best resources for new startup communities. Oko Davaasuren, Techstars Regional Director in APAC, and Anurag Maloo, Techstars Regional Manager in APAC, answer questions on how Techstars is working to help inspire entrepreneurs in the region.

Watch the whole AMA here.

What is your vision for Techstars and building communities in Asia Pacific?

For some of you who don’t have a larger view of Techstars, this question comes up a lot as I’m traveling to different countries.

Techstars has three distinct parts to it. The first part is our startup programs, which includes Startup Weekend, Startup Week, and Startup Digest. These give access, education, and exposure to the communities or ecosystems.

The second part is what Techstars is mainly known for, which is our mentorship-driven accelerator programs. We’re running about 29 of these accelerators all around the world.

The third part of the business is the venture arm, which invests in startups that mainly go through our accelerator program and maybe some outside. Those are the three main pillars of Techstars as an organization.

We are running startup programs in about 28 countries out of 50 plus in Asia Pacific. We are running about 500 programs, including the bootcamps and other editions of our startup programs. We’re seeing about 10-20 percent growth year-by-year.

With that said, although we run thousands of Startup Weekends around the world, there are a lot of people we haven’t reached. You hear people who have been touched by these programs and know the impact of these programs in their communities. These people know how awesome it is.

The mission here is, “how can we share this awesome experience with as many people as possible?” We literally get to change people’s lives.

In the simplest terms, we want to enable and empower individuals in communities all around the world.

We want to continue doing that, because there’s so much still to go, especially in Asia. Economic growth is here and it’s the frontier of everything. This is where people need access, power, and exposure more than anywhere else.

Besides that, we’re not just talking about the individual impact programs, but as a collective of accelerators and the investing arm, we’re trying to help ecosystems in Asia Pacific to grow so that the true values of Techstars are materialized.

Entrepreneurs should be everywhere. You should be able to build your startup wherever you are from or where ever you are. But in order for that to happen, your ecosystem needs to grow and have all the right elements to be able to provide the environment for people to do that.

With the collective, our goal is to basically make Asia Pacific better than Silicon Valley or become an iteration of Silicon Valley by finding the strength of ecosystems to help it grow.

We have a lot of work to do.

Are you ready to help your community learn, network, and startup? Organize a Startup Weekend event in your area today!

10 Countries. 10 Startup Weekend Communities. 10 Stories Across Borders.

We’re celebrating Techstars Startup Weekend’s 10th Birthday! On July 7th, 2007, the first Startup Weekend was held in Boulder, Colorado with 80 entrepreneurs. In 10 years, we’ve grown to:

  • 13,837 community leaders in 153+ countries
  • 4,531 Startup Weekend events
  • 363,000+ Startup Weekend attendees
  • 45,375 Teams
  • $410M+ in funding secured

Techstars Startup Weekend is now 10 years old, and we’re just getting started in the South & Central Asian region with 130+ India events since 2011, 50+ in South Asia (excluding India) & 20+ in Central Asia.

We’re also excited to announce that we will be bringing the first Startup Weekend events to Maldives and Uzbekistan in late 2017.

To celebrate the impact of our entrepreneurship programs with our worldwide community and teams around the world and I’m honoured to share with you my favorite stories and memories of building startup communities.

Thank you to everyone who has played a part in building this startup community and shaping this global entrepreneurship movement. Check out our Thank You video!

As an Indo-Asian startup innovation Community Architect, I am responsible for the cultivation and sustained growth of vibrant startup ecosystems in India, SAARC nations and Central Asian countries. I’m always excited to welcome thousands of new entrepreneurs every year through Techstars Startup Weekend, and honoured to have facilitated over 30 Startup Weekends across Asia.

  1. Startup Weekend India

The Startup Weekend India community includes over 20 States — SW Rajasthan, SW West Bengal, SW Kerala, SW Gujarat, SW Goa, SW Odisha, SW Delhi, SW Tamil Nadu, SW Manipur, SW Uttar Pradesh, SW Telangana, SW Karnataka, SW Punjab, SW Haryana, SW Uttarakhand, SW Andhra Pradesh, SW Telangana, SW Maharashtra, SW Jammu & Kashmir, SW Himachal Pradesh, etc.

1st Startup Weekend Noida (Uttar Pradesh)

  1. Startup Weekend Pakistan

Startup Weekend Lahore, Pakistan (March 2015) #SWLahore

  1. Startup Weekend Bangladesh

Startup Weekend Dhaka, Bangladesh (May 2017) #SWDhaka

Startup Weekend Dhaka (Nov 2015) #SWDhaka

  1. Startup Weekend Bhutan

#SWBhutan community from 1st, 2nd and 3rd Startup Weekend Bhutan in Thimphu (2016–17) #SWThimphu

  1. Startup Weekend Afghanistan

Building Afghan Entrepreneurship at first Startup Weekend Kabul, Afghanistan (March 2016) #SWKabul

  1. Startup Weekend Sri Lanka

4th Startup Weekend Sri Lanka in Negombo #SiliconBeach (May 2017) #SW Negombo

2nd Startup Weekend Sri Lanka in Colombo (Oct 2016) #SWColombo

First Startup Weekend Sri Lanka in Jaffna (June 2016) #SWJaffna

  1. Startup Weekend Nepal

9th Startup Weekend Kathmandu (Greenovation) in Nepal (Nov 2016) #SWKathmandu

  1. Startup Weekend Kazakhstan

Startup Weekend Astana in Kazakhstan (Oct 2016) #SWAstana

  1. Startup Weekend Tajikistan

First Startup Weekend Tajikistan in Dushanbe (Nov 2016) #SWDushanbe #SWTJ

  1. Startup Weekend ASEAN (10 Countries in One ASEAN)

Startup Weekend ASEAN 2015 was organised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (video), where entrepreneurs from all over South-East Asia collaborated in Generation Startup Weekend, an effort by Techstars Startup Programs and its partners at MaGIC (Malaysian Govt.), YSEALI, and the U.S. State Department.

First of it’s kind — Techstars Startup Weekend ASEAN in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Aug 2015) #SWASEAN

Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. Reach out to me if you’re interested to bring Techstars Startup Programs to your community!

One of my favourite Startup Weekend picture, kicking off the first SW SriLanka #HappyBirthdaySW

We want to say thank you again, from everyone at Techstars, for all the hard work and time that you give to support your entrepreneurial community!

This post was first originally published here at Anurag Maloo’s medium blog here. 

CES Asia 2016 Set to Double in Size from Inaugural Show

Arlington, VA, September 14, 2015 – The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® today announced that more than 100 companies are already slated to exhibit at CES Asia™ 2016 as it returns to Shanghai to run May 11-13 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) and the adjacent Kerry Hotel. The returning event will draw global businesses to showcase the latest products and technologies entering the Asian marketplace.

Exhibitor demand is high for the second annual CES Asia after a successful inaugural event in May, 2015; more than 100 exhibitors are already currently confirmed for CES Asia 2016, already exceeding the size of the original show floor. Notable companies early to sign in this curated exhibit space include: Audio-Technica, Continental Automotive Holding, Gibson Brands, IBM, Monster, SAIC-GM/OnStar, Scosche, Twitter, Volkswagen and Voxx.

“Exhibiting at CES Asia is an opportunity for both global and local companies to expand market share and increase profits in this critical market, especially important in times of economic volatility,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president, CES and corporate business strategy. “Companies that haven’t established themselves in the Asian market can leverage CES Asia to catapult into this emerging hotbed.”

The expansion from two halls to four will create a dynamic show floor of more than 40,000 gross (20,000+ net) square meters of exhibit space. In order to qualify for space, exhibitors are subject to a highly selective application process and must be considered innovative and produce a branded product.

CES Asia brings together some of the most influential companies and thought leaders together in one location, allowing executives to see future trends and make business decisions. For 2016, the show expects more than 30,000 attendees, including 1,000 press and 350 exhibiting companies showcasing innovation across 14 product categories.

Audit numbers for the 2015 CES Asia show 28,682 attendees and 1,389 media over 21,875 gross square meters (9,525 net square meters) of exhibit space. With nearly 15 percent of attendees coming from outside of mainland China, the three-day event was a global celebration of technology geared towards the Asian market which featured high-level keynote speakers and included 52 conference sessions and 212 exhibiting companies from 16 countries. All of CES Asia’s show demographics and statistics are verified by a third party, independent audit, certified by the Exhibition and Event Industry Audit Commission (EEIAC). The full CES Asia Audit Summary will be available in October 2015.

Influential brands come to CES Asia to launch new products into the Asian market. From tech powerhouses to innovative startups, manufacturers, developers and suppliers showcase new products and create strong business relationships with new and existing industries.

For questions about exhibiting at CES Asia, contact Brian Moon at bmoon@CE.org or +1 703-907-4351.

About CEA: The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the technology trade association representing the $285 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative and regulatory advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services. Find CEA online at CE.org and InnovationMovement.com.

About CES Asia: Owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® and co-produced by Intex, CES Asia is the premier event for the consumer technology industry, showcasing the full breadth and depth of the innovation value-chain in the Asian marketplace. Key global businesses come to this new event to grow and reinforce their brand by showcasing the latest products and technologies to CE industry executives, foreign buyers, international media and a limited number of consumers from China. Attendees have exclusive access to some of the largest brands from China and around the world, while celebrating the innovation that defines the CE industry.

About Intex: Intex is the sub joint venture company of CCPIT (China Council for the Promotion of International Trade) Shanghai, which started 1992. Intex is a prominent producer of international tradeshows in China, owning venues in Shanghai, and managing various exhibition venues outside of Shanghai. Intex Shanghai is the vice chairman of SCEIA, the Deputy Director of CAEC and the member of UFI. As the first venue management company that imported the first level pattern of management and experience in Shanghai, it is jointly invested by Shanghai Hongqiao E&T Development Zone United Development Co., Ltd., Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shanghai and Istithmar P&O Estates FZE. Intex was the first international exhibition center passing ISO9001 quality certification in China and has a stand-out reputation in the domestic exhibition industry.


• CES Unveiled Paris
October 21, 2015, Paris, France

• CEA Innovate!
November 8-10, 2015, New York, NY

• CE Hall of Fame Dinner
November 9, 2015, New York, NY

• CES Unveiled New York
November 10, 2015, New York, NY

• CES Unveiled Las Vegas
January 4, 2016, Las Vegas, NV

• CES 2016
January 6-9, 2016, Las Vegas, NV

• CEA Winter Break
March 21-24, 2016, Park City, UT

• CES Asia 2016
May 11-13, 2016, Shanghai, China

Education Entrepreneurs Community Leader Spotlight: Allison Baum


Allison Baum

Allison Baum Headshot

One-line bio: I am an Asia-based early stage investor, entrepreneur, and connector.

Find me in…Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bay Area, or on an airplane.

Find me on…

Favorite Twitter Hashtags

Day Job
Managing Director at Fresco Capital, a global early stage venture fund

One-liner, describing your work
We support exceptional entrepreneurs to build remarkable businesses.

What do you like to do for fun?
Watch and talk about films, hiking, yoga, writing, and travel.

How did you discover Education Entrepreneurs?
I was familiar with Startup Weekend, but as I started to work more with our edtech portfolio companies (we have ten), I read about Education Entrepreneurs and immediately knew we had to bring them to Hong Kong.

Allison Baum SW EDU HK

What’s been your involvement in Education Entrepreneurs to date?
I’ve mentored and judged at previous Startup Weekends, I taught a Workshop on Business Models in Education, and most recently organized the first ever Startup Weekend Education in Hong Kong.

What’s the most challenging thing about being an Organizer?
Being a General and Foot Soldier at the same time — you have to think big and enroll various community stakeholders in the community’s vision, in order to make the event a success, but nothing will get done unless you’re also ready to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty to make it happen!

What’s the most rewarding thing about being an Organizer?
Seeing the transformation of the individuals and teams from Friday night to Sunday night.  The first evening, everyone is cautious and tentative. They have ideas but aren’t sure what to do with them.  By Sunday evening, the teams exude a contagious sense of confidence having actually created a solution that didn’t previously exist.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to those trying to build community?
Really figure out why people are interested in engaging with the community and what they hope to accomplish through their participation.  Everyone has different goals – asking them to share their respective visions of what is possible and encouraging people to work together to make them a reality is a really powerful thing.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to people trying to create edtech products?
There’s over a million ways in which technology can improve education – it’s an incredibly complex and inefficient sector.  However, if you’re going to build a business, make sure there is a short-term incentive or catalyst for adoption of your product.  Unless you help your customers achieve success according to their immediate metrics for success, you’re simply non-essential.

Allison Baum in SW HK EDU

What’s the legacy you’d like to leave in the education space?
Strong relationships with both our investors and the entrepreneurs we invest in.  As a venture investor, our returns are very important, but good relationships pay dividends over time.

What’s your favorite edtech company or innovative school, and why?
We have ten edtech portfolio companies right now, I can’t possibly pick a favorite!  Check them all out here: http://frescocapital.com/our-companies/

Finish the sentence: In my dream world, education would ____
not only enable individuals to learn at their own pace and in their own way, but also empower them to build their own dynamic roadmap according to their unique strengths and passions.

What are the resources or events that you think anyone interested in innovating in education and/or building community should check out?
Read as much as you can to understand what is happening in the space and start engaging with members of the community outside of your immediate geography. Set up Google alerts for “ed tech”, check out Edsurge, participate in an Education Entrepreneurs meet up in another city!


More about Education Entrepreneurs

Education Entrepreneurs is the largest initiative in the world focused on helping people use entrepreneurship to improve education. Its suite of offerings include Startup Weekend Education, Startup Digest Education, Workshops, online resources, and a global network of Community Leaders. Spanning six continents, Education Entrepreneurs has created an unprecedented opportunity for anyone, anywhere to shape the future of education.


Pakistan’s startup scene is booming and there’s room for you

180 million plus people out of whom 60% are between 15 & 45 years of age – Pakistan is the world’s sixth most populous country and the fourth largest middle class population in absolute numbers in Developing Asia.

Despite a 16% internet penetration, about half of its 30 million internet users access internet through mobile phones – the country’s mobile penetration stands at 74% or 136.5 million subscriptions.

Pakistan at a Glance

It was through the aid of Startup Weekend Karachi (the first in the Pakistan back in 2012), as well as other Startup Weekends in Lahore,Islamabad and Peshawar by what local startups started getting more attention internationally.

Groopic winner of Startup Weekend Lahore is an app which lets you take group pictures which include the photographer recently got funding from KimaVentures and also got incubated and made their way to Blackbox.vc. CloudClinik runner up of the same event is a SaaS/Web based EMR & Practice Management System for small-to-mid size medical centers is making its mark with its customer base not only in Pakistan but in Qatar and still going beyond.

Oliver Samwer of Rocket Internet says that “building a business in Pakistan is like Germany, but only 20 per cent more difficult. But we are in it to do whatever it takes, if we have to build a Pakistani Post, we build a Pakistani Post.”

International investors are showing Increasing interest and confidence because of fact that these investors can see beyond the short term issues in Pakistan and have the foresight to capitalize on the long term, future potential. Rocket Internet, for example, already has 8 different ventures running in Pakistan which include daraz.pkfoodpanda and lamudiNaspers backs OLX.com.pk and Shibsted Media Group recently launched asani.com.pk in direct competition to OLX.

There is competition in the ecommerce sector, however this is still primarily limited to the electronics market. For most players to make a dent in this market they will have to enter with significant funds the lack of competition provides a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors alike.

The World Startup Wiki – a World Startup Report’s project that maps out business opportunities worldwide – After months of collating crowdsourced input, a group of Pakistani techies have released its Pakistan Startup Report.

The Pakistan Startup Wiki is here. Click below for the full report:

pakistan startup report