networking for startups

Founders’ view

Talenox co-founder reveals the grind behind the glamour of entrepreneurship by Gordon Ng, CEO and Co-Founder of Talenox

All in all, entrepreneurship is not easy to figure out. Most founders will have their stories of adversity and business struggles to share. If you are new to starting up, you will need conviction in what you want to achieve and how you want to grow your startup and team.

A clear goal and a well-thought-out plan to success will help you determine whether you want to build fast, sell fast or develop a long-lasting business. These are some of the few factors that will also help you determine if you need to raise substantial funding or not.

So, what is the grind like behind the glamour of entrepreneurship?

How the rise of the hybrid workforce is reshaping the office space by Stephanie Ping, co-founder and CEO of WORQ

Now, as COVID-19 poses what might be the biggest change in how we work in modern history, the office space is set for another transformation.

The new work arrangements forced into place by COVID-19 have given rise to new work expectations: Workers want control over when and where they work, together with a return to face-to-face collaboration.

It’s not just an empty daydream for the workforce. Companies need to meet these expectations or risk bleeding human resources: In the US, 39 per cent of workers would rather quit their jobs than return to the office, with the number rising to 49 per cent among Gen-Z and millennial workers.

Yet, on the flip side, not all workers have access to conducive spaces at home, and not all tasks may be optimised for remote work.

Why now is the right time for disruption in the insurance industry? by Arjun Chopra, founder and CEO, Ocktolife

As the pandemic wears on, it has become apparent that certain insurance packages or health and wellness benefits may no longer be relevant due to the new ways of working with the workforce being more distant from the office.

A recent Swiss Re COVID-19 Consumer Survey revealed that 68 per cent of Southeast Asia consider the availability of an end-to-end digitalised journey the next most important factor when choosing their new insurance policy after pricing.

This is a good opportunity and the right time for the insurance industry to accelerate its digital transformation to meet customer expectations.

Disruption in the insurance industry has been minimal, limited to consumer discovery, compare and purchase experience, and churning out faster and efficient policies.

Job bands, level based standard team member benefits and group benefits worked well 20 years back. The workforce was homogenous; however, with a diverse workforce and newer ways of working such as work from home, the traditional one size fits all approach has lost its shine.

Why your next tech startup should be in the real estate industry by Georg Chmiel, co-founder Juwai IQI

We have established that the real estate market is large enough. Still, perhaps you worry that other innovative companies are already in place and represent an insurmountable obstacle to new startups.

In a perfect world ruled entirely by logic and reason, this would be true. In our world today, it is not.

When ranked by assets or volume of transactions, many leading industry players have found they can do perfectly well in the current environment without investing much in technology or innovation.

Look at real estate agents. A good agent can make decent money with the most basic of tools. In the past two decades of disruption, other industries with larger margins were targeted first, with real estate largely overlooked. But this state of affairs will not last forever.

From the executives

In the eye of a cyber-storm: Defending against a ransomware attack by Sherif El Nabawi, Vice President, Sales Engineering APAC & Japan, Crowdstrike

When protecting an organisation against ransomware, too often, we focus on reacting or recovering our systems from a catastrophic incident. Although extremely important, we forget the one simple goal we should all have– making sure that threat actors do not disrupt or impact our business, employees and customers in the first place.

When dealing with ransomware incidents, we find victims have access to security solutions. Still, these may well be reactive legacy solutions, only focusing on cleaning up the mess a cybercriminal has left behind – not preventing it!

Organisations today need to implement a prevention-first mindset to protect themselves. Due to the global pandemic and more people working from home, this prevention-first methodology needs to be thought about holistically.

Taiwan’s AI ecosystem map: Deepening synergies between startups and corporates by Natalie Feng Lin, Analyst at AppWorks

During the first half of 2021, the Taiwanese AI ecosystem reached a significant milestone with Appier’s public listing in Japan, becoming the first Taiwanese startup to achieve unicorn status officially.

Additionally, at the beginning of the year, AI chip startup Kneron received funding and resources from major electronics manufacturers Hon Hai and Winbond, signalling a continuing demand for increasingly higher-efficiency computing capabilities from major technology companies.

AppWorks Accelerator has updated Taiwan’s AI Ecosystem Map First Half 2021 with our learnings over the past six months. With the breakneck pace of digital adoption, some applications are no longer limited to a specific industry and have thus been reclassified as cross-industry solutions or technologies, which we believe is more reflective of the AI ecosystem in Taiwan.

In reviewing the changes in the overall ecosystem, we have observed several notable trends for the first half of 2021.

What are some networking benefits that are essential for startups? by Tressa Whitman, Marketing Director at Reverence Global

Networking is all about establishing, growing and nurturing long term beneficial relationships with people. You will notice some of the most successful individuals are often the most connected. Developing these healthy connections can lead to progression and opportunities.

It’s also important to remember that your network isn’t just business individuals or people in a similar field as your own; you should also consider friends and family as part of that network as well.

Spending the time to build your network comes down to one thing, leverage. While having a large network is a good thing for founders, ensuring that it’s a quality network with the intrinsic value you can call upon to help in certain instances is something to keep in mind.

Collecting a pile of business cards isn’t necessarily the best strategy for building your network. Having a common interest, understanding goals and developing a good foundation is much more effective.

How can female founders become the new normal in Asia? by Everard Ong, Makan for Hope

The roundtable took a deep dive into the headwinds women faced and discussed the steps we can take today to empower female founders and encourage more to thrive in the Southeast Asia startup scene.

Globally, venture funding allocation to female-founded companies is an astonishingly low percentage –two per cent in 2020, according to Crunchbase News.

The number is nine per cent in female co-founded companies. In Southeast Asia, the numbers are higher, though still on the low side: companies with female founders or co-founders raised 16.4 per cent of total funding.

Yet, according to a BCG study, women-led startups provide better financial returns for investors — for every dollar of funding, they generated a return of 78 cents. In contrast, male-founded startups generated less than half that.

6 pivot stories of Vietnamese F&B brands that are worth your time (and taste) by Jovel Chan 

The ongoing lockdown orders and temporary restaurant closures have left Vietnam’s F&B industry in a rather grim state. Many restaurants have had to shut their doors from restrictions on dine-in, delivery and takeouts with only essentials and grocery items given the pass (temporarily).

However, here are six F&B businesses that have successfully pivoted during these uncertain times.

Global expansion

Why the UK is the new global tech capital for Southeast Asia entrepreneurs by Stephen Kelly, Chair of Tech Nation

Southeast Asia’s digital economy is expected to surpass US$300 billion by 2025, according to a 2020 report. The region’s tech success story with its notable startup founders is evolving, and international opportunities for partnerships, investment and company expansion are plentiful.

Specifically looking at the UK – where I am the Chair of Tech Nation, the growth platform for UK tech leaders – the opportunity for Southeast Asian startups is bright.

We recently announced that the UK now has 12 tech decacorns and that out of the seven new decacorns this year, six of the founders were not from the UK. A compelling argument for Southeast Asian tech entrepreneurs looking to start, scale or grow in the UK.

The UK tech ecosystem is valued at US$585 billion, more than double the next most valuable European ecosystem, Germany, at US$291 billion, and has huge potential in these three key areas for Southeast Asian scale-ups who are ready for their next big step.

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