Contributor posts


Pride Month and intersectionality: Why I hope that we will no longer need a special event to celebrate it by Simon Hearn from Distellery

Diversity is embedded in my company’s DNA; our founder Steve is part of the LGBTQ+ community, so when the band’s frontman is leading the chant, it’s very easy for the rest of the team to pick up an instrument and play to the beat.

Great leadership means developing a culture that celebrates individuality, and when you have leaders who represent it we can attract diverse talent.

We know that we need role models to help break down the barriers of entry and for people to see leaders with who they can identify with. It’s like a snowball effect as diversity leads to more diversity. Here are three initiatives from my agency that have helped drive great inclusion at distillery.

Foodtech special

TWG Tea’s founder on how a luxury food brand can tap third party digital marketplaces to expand business by Maranda Barnes, co-founder, TWG Tea

Since early 2020, the pandemic has led to major restrictions on personal mobility. Our experience at TWG Tea in the past 18 months has confirmed our belief that customers increasingly expect to access their favourite brands through both brick-and-mortar as well as online retail experiences.

In 2020, TWG Tea saw growth in every market we have an online presence in. Furthermore, we have noticed that this new online shopping trend is remaining consistent even in instances when social distancing measures are lifted, proving that consumer behaviour has evolved.

Can alternative proteins help build a more secure and sustainable food system? by Xin Yi Lim, Sustainability and Agri Impact at Pinduoduo

Advances in foodtech have made it easier and cheaper to produce animal-free meat and many see cultured meat (also referred to as cultivated or cell-based meat) as an opportunity to diversify our food sources and enable food production closer to consumers. Cultured meat is grown from animal cells and uses fewer resources than traditional livestock farming.

The fast-growing field has attracted some of the world’s biggest companies and top investors. Companies such as Tyson Foods have partnered with cultured meat startup Future Meat, while Mosa Meats counts Google co-founder Sergey Brin among its investors.

New plant-based meats have also become popular with consumers, with startups whipping up new products using anything from soy and pea to jackfruit and algae.

The banking world

Building technology for the AI bank of the future by Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, Renny Thomas

At many institutions, standard practices now include omni channel engagement, the use of APIs to support increased real-time information exchange across systems, and the use of big data analytics to improve credit underwriting, evaluate product usage, and prioritise opportunities for deepening relationships.

As financial-services organisations continue to mature, the increasing demands on the technology infrastructure to support more complex use cases involving analytics and real-time insights are pushing firms to re-examine their overall technology function.

Once they have committed to modernising the core technology and data infrastructure underpinning the engagement and decision-making layers of the capability stack, banks should organise their transformation around six crucial demands: technology strategy, superior experiences, scalable data and analytics platforms, scalable hybrid infrastructure, configurable product processors, and cybersecurity strategy.

E-commerce for the future: How open banking enables greater security and trust by Diego Rojas, founder and CEO at Finantier

Amidst these eye-boggling statistics, it also means the e-commerce industry would get more competitive as more players enter seeking to get a slice of a growing lucrative market.

Retailers will need to fight harder for loyalty by establishing competitive advantages in user experience. Put simply, the best experience wins.

Besides, the increased adoption of digital services will see e-commerce platforms emphasise fighting online fraud. In 2019, US$260 million was lost to digital fraud in the region, with identity theft (71 per cent) and account fraud (63 per cent) among the leading methods.

This figure, which puts Southeast Asia among the top regions for fraud worldwide, has been largely caused by inefficiencies in identity verification.

The art of blockchain: What is the NFT craze all about? by Rachel Lau, Managing Partner at RHL Ventures

Being one of the most thrown around word of the hour, blockchain, the peer-to-peer network that sits on top of the internet is an open distributed ledger that records transactions between two parties efficiently and can be validated by a selected or public audience.

It features “smart contracts” that are triggered automatically after conditions are met. The advancement of technology has spawned new variations of blockchain technology. Today we explore the latest manifestation of this vanguard, non-fungible tokens (NFTs). reported that more than US$2 billion was spent on NFTs in Q121, an increase of 2,100 per cent compared to Q4 2020. Coined as the art of blockchain, NFTs took the blockchain world by storm.

Money matters

How did MoneySmart grow its revenue by 25 per cent amidst a pandemic? by Enricko Lukman, co-founder of ContentGrow

“One of the most effective ways to reach our customers is by making sure that we’re visible with super contextually relevant content based on what they’re looking for at that time,” explains David Harling, CMO of MoneySmart Group. Joining the company in January 2018, David has overseen an in-depth business transformation at MoneySmart, which has helped the company almost quadruple its revenue within three years.

Speaking with ContentGrip, David provides a glimpse into how MoneySmart’s marketing engine operates to drive growth, capitalising specifically on first-party data and original content.

How ByteDance navigates choppy waters as regulatory hurdles delay mammoth IPO by Oleg Spilka, investor, founder and CEO

ByteDance seemingly cemented its intentions by launching a recent share buyback for current and former employees. The buyback comes after the company announced in April that it had no imminent plans for a public listing.

This represents a full reversal after ByteDance had initially planned to list some of its Chinese businesses, including Douyin, a Chinese equivalent to leading social media app TikTok, in Hong Kong, according to Reuters.

To add further uncertainty to the immediate future of ByteDance, the company founder and CEO, Zhang Yiming surprised stakeholders by announcing that he’s stepping down from the company in the wake of increased state scrutiny over China’s leading tech firms.

Can SPACs avoid another reverse merger crisis? by Joseph Hsia, Summer Associate at AppWorks Ventures

SPACs are a form of a reverse merger. Looking at SPACs, It’s difficult not to think of the reverse merger crisis back in the 2000s. The streamlined process of the reverse merger and the access to US capital markets attracted more than 150 Chinese companies to this route from 2007 to early 2010 (PCAOB, 2011).

Many of these target companies were with the quality, but a more relaxed regulatory environment did leave some grey areas for certain issuers to commit fraud. Eventually, dozens of listed companies through reverse merger were either delisted or halted from trading based on claims of fraud or violations of US securities laws, and a number of others were targeted by short-sellers.

10 lessons from building a niche, profitable Shopify app in 12 months by Zenos Schmickrath, entrepreneur and tech enthusiast

Inspired, we decided to build a public Shopify app that levels the playing field for independent eyewear brands, allowing them to compete with larger retailers.

Development began in June 2020, and we launched LensAdvizor on the Shopify App Store three months later. By June 2021, we were profitable with monthly revenues growing over 20 per cent a month.

Here are ten valuable lessons I learned from this experience.

Why Malaysia is quickly becoming a cybersecurity hub for the rest of the world by Andrew Rossow, Attorney

Malaysia’s first cybersecurity policy dates back at least 15 years, giving rise to what is today’s Critical National Information Infrastructure – a portal for sharing information and a coordination and command centre that addresses the nation’s cybersecurity crises, evaluating threat levels on a regular basis.

One of the most appealing aspects of the country’s model is X-Maya, annual drills that are run to test the nation’s readiness and ability to address security incidents.

While this isn’t necessarily unique to the Asian nation, the ongoing assessment and commitment to running these drills demonstrate the nation’s ability to continue growing its position as a cybersecurity leader.

Editor’s note: e27 aims to foster thought leadership by publishing contributions from the community. This season we are seeking op-eds, analysis and articles on food tech and sustainability. Share your opinion and earn a byline by submitting a post.

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