Posted 2014-06-17 by & filed under Events.

Hello Singapore!

Giri, top notch Pikto web designer, and myself, humble PR officer, volunteered ourselves to head out to the little red dot down south (Singapore fyi) to check out the big deal that is Echelon 2014. Acclaimed for being “the pulse of Asia’s Innovation” – we experienced it for ourselves in this two day event.

The Echelon Connect app and Pigeon Hole Live app used at Echelon 2014

Everything about the event screamed “Technology” – from the event app Echelon Connect which lets delegates keep track of the events and to message other attendees to make appointments, to the goodie bag called SpacePak filled with discounts and giveaways to PigeonHole which collected questions for the panelists to answer. It was all super geeky.

Lots of big names were there giving speeches and sitting in panels to dispense advice – to startups, investors and accelerators alike. It felt like the centre of discussion for all things new and exciting about the startup business. This is the pulse. This is it!

Dispensation of Advice

Udemy‘s Eren Bali was there to share his startup story and dispensed advice on creating a marketplace – “fake the chicken” he says on gaining traction. Khailee and Dave McClure of 500 Startups did a double act telling angel investors and accelerators what not to do – “don’t be a dick“.

Stephen Wang speaking from his experience with Rotten Tomatoes and Alive not Dead talked about what startups should not do, revealing that even he doesn’t have all the answers – “what is the right timing?“. Advice dispensation was rounded up by Pieter Kemps of Amazon who reiterated the infamous advice given to AirBnB – don’t f* up the culture.

The panelists discussing what SEA governments have been doing to support startups.

The panelists discussing what SEA governments have been doing to support startups.

Malaysia represent!

The panel discussions held great hope but the groups were a bit too large for any real dialogue to take place. On day one, the Pigeon Hole app wasn’t used much. And it was day two’s talks got really exciting. Cheryl Yeoh represented Malaysia at the discussion on “The Rapid Growth And Evolution of Southeast Asia’s Technology Ecosystem: How Different Countries Are Tackling The Challenges of Building Their Own Versions of Silicon Valley“. Basically – how are governments supporting startups in their own countries. Things seem to be going great in this part of the world. Governments are stepping up, and being supportive. Advice from Jimmy Rim on where to go – “wherever there is space to excel”

It was at the full house Market Access Workshop: Malaysia in which Cheryl launched the Malaysia Startup Wiki – which was created in collaboration with a number of Malaysian startup accelerators led by MaGIC and World Startup Report. It contains everything one would need to know about starting up in Malaysia. At the end of the workshop she handed out a Piktochart-made infographic which was snapped up like fresh currypuffs! We have it here though – scroll down for the full infographic. It features our very own co-founder – Goh Ai Ching.

Meanwhile on Tech Alley

The exhibition for hungry startups was happening in an adjacent room. A few young startups got us excited – Pricify, Swing Profile, and Publishizer.

Ten of the best startups took to the stage at the end of Day 1 to pitch their idea at Launchpad. The winner was a hardware startup called Ambi Climate. Hailing from Hong Kong, they have a mobile solution to manage air conditioning and cooling units in the home. Malaysian startup Tootpay – a mobile financial solution pitched alongside them too – but no win. Still – don’t give up boys!


In the end it was Cheryl’s words which reminded us why events like Echelon was important. It’s the same reasons why communities are important and governments need to provide an ecosystem for them. For serendipity.

Speaking of which – there’s an app for that!

And here’s a 5 minute summary of the startup landscape in Malaysia! This infographic is now available as a Pikto Theme – World Startup Report for you to write your own success story.


About Author

Rachel Choong

Rachel likes to think of herself as a PR expert. She also strings words together - copy for the site and words for the blog. And when she's not working, she's travelling - deep into books and to not-too-distant shores.

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