We are honored to be selected by Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre, or more fondly known as MaGIC Cyberjaya as part of the Malaysian delegate to Tech In Asia Singapore 2015 which was held at Suntec Convention Center.
The event spans for two days and is a prominent entry on technopreneurs calendar as it sees interest from over 2,500 participants from all over the world, promoting their startups to international venture capitals, angel investors and forge new business alliances.
Getting to Singapore from Cyberjaya
5 May 2015: Eager to experience the MaGIC bus, we decided to drive to MaGIC's Cyberjaya office rather early. We started the travel from Mutiara Damansara at 650am, stopping for a few minutes at Katsana's head office to gather some promo materials before continuing our journey to Cyberjaya via Maju Expressway.
You may have noticed the maximum speed of 117km/h in the above screenshot. Trust me, we drove responsibly that day, despite it being a straight highway with little traffic. Look at the speeding report below if you dont believe us. ;)
We might have been tad too early as we discovered Katsana was the first startup to have reached the campus that morning.
Securing our car, and hopping the bus to Singapore
Wouldnt it be nice if we really could ride a magical bus, mirroring the ones we see in one particular He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named movie? Alas, the reality is cruel and the kid in us was slightly disappointed that the bus that will be bringing the delegates is just a regular bus without any MaGIC marking. I do remember a younger me would be excited to ride our school bus and visiting other boarding schools in the country was quite an experience.
Anyway, before we head off to pay our respects to the Merlion, we made sure that our vehicle is safe, most especially due to us having to leave it at MaGIC's campus for 3 nights. It is a place that we are not familiar with, and with Katsana, we are able to have a peace of mind through three security features.
- Illegal Movement notification - By enabling this feature, we will be notified if the vehicle suddenly moves from its parked position.
- Area Restriction notification - We have set up an area restriction surrounding the MaGIC campus. Should the vehicle exits the campus, we will be notified.
- Immobilizer / Engine cut-off - The vehicle has been immobilized and it can not be started forcibly without any approval from Katsana.
Setting up booth space at Tech In Asia
We arrived at Singapore at around 4:00pm and began to setup our booth soon after. Among those selected to the expo is our close friend from MaidEasy, a platform to provide you with the fastest, easiest way to hire home cleaners. Shown in the picture above are Syed Ahmad Fuqaha, the founder of KatsanaGPS with Azrul Rahim, the founder of MaidEasy.
Fuqaha was a project manager for Azrul when he founded a project called 'JomSocial' a few years ago and they have known each other for almost 10 years.
Being one of the major sponsors for Tech In Asia Singapore 2015, the 15 startups were hosted in a rather prominent booth located next to the entrance into the exhibition hall. In picture is the MaGIC Cyberjaya team who has helped us in organizing the logistics, accomodation, and plenty others in ensuring that we are at our best when the day comes.
Lacking exposure in startup events had led us to actually feel underwhelmed when we were setting up our space. It was just a small round table! This is by far the smallest space that we ever get in any exhibitions and is far more casual if compared to industry & market-specific expos that we have been to before.
The next days proved that we were wrong.
The first day of event
6 May 2015: Size apparently doesnt matter. What you can do with the tool at hand is the one that will differentiate you from the rest. To clarify, I am referring to the table size. Any innuendo is not intentional. :p
The first day started with some hiccups that I find unacceptable in an event that promotes the best tech talents in South East Asia. Registration phase is the most glaring aspect of all when we had to queue for quite some time to get our passes. For some unknown reasons, the organizer was not able to print most passes due to software problems.
I was just smirking along the queue as I feel that my friends at Evenesis Event Management System may have a better solution to smoothen this up. Tech In Asia should give them a try.
Anyway, Im running off tangent here. The Malaysian booth was a hit. There were wave after wave of prospects initiating contacts and gathering information on our startups. The booth was filled to the brink! The day ended with us stumped on our chairs trying to find time to rest.
Located next to our booth, Braintree is a Paypal-owned company that simplifies online payments through web app or mobile app. We've got plenty of stickers from them, and as far as payment processors are concerned, Braintree is our top choice for integration in later versions of Katsana.
Owned by IBM yet operates independently, Softlayer is IBM's answer to Amazon's AWS and Google's Cloud offering. They are giving startups a credit of up to USD10,000 per month for a year and boast the likes of Whatsapp that rely on their infrastructure to scale. We are still undecided on either Softlayer or AWS since we are quite comfortable with the latter, but the former has been giving tasty treats with the free credit. Hmm...
The selection of a good infrastructure is paramount as we gear up for the next commercial flavors of Katsana, which are Katsana Marine and Katsana Cloud.
Day two of Tech In Asia
7 May 2015: Second day of Tech In Asia saw a new arrangement that was geared towards exposing the tables to the perimeter of the main Malaysia booth. I think the new arrangement worked better as it enticed people to be closer, and allow for private chat behind the pull up banners. Good thinking, MaGIC!
Startup-centric programmes during Tech In Asia
There were numerous programs and initiatives held during the short two-day event.
Speed-dating with investors Meet up with your preferred VCs and awe them in 5 minutes. The queue was so long that I personally hesitant to participate as we need to attend our booth, there were lot more investors dropping by on their own at the booth you know. Image by MaGIC's Twiiter.
Teasing MSC4STARTUPS Initiative Warren Leow, VP of MaGIC elaborating on MSC4Startups initiative which was just announced yesterday (May 12 2015). Read more about it here: MSC Malaysia Image by MaGIC's Twiiter.
Talks at main stage The main stage features the shakers of ASEAN tech startups. "We have to change our mindset, we have to think regional" - Cheryl Yeoh We are enlightened by the likes of Cheryl Yeoh of MaGIC, Anthony Tan of MyTeksi/GrabTaxi, Khailee Ng of Says.my and Ray Chan of 9GAG. What a list, huh? And seeing there's few Malaysians up there made me think,"We DO have the talents and capability to be world class startups." Image by MaGIC's Twiiter.
Being the first startup-oriented exhibition for us, it is somewhat refreshing in comparison to dry industry/market-focused events that we have participated before this. The environment feels energetic, young, and full of hope. Seeing other Malaysian startups (reportedly there were around 60 during TIA 2015), made us to honestly think that Malaysian startups have what it takes to be world-class.
Now lets get back to work, and together we grow. :)The MaGIC team. Picture by Booby Liu Team L337 Ventures. Picture by Mike Smith. Amir Haris of DNSVault, DNS security system for enterprises. Picture by Amir. Team Intllab - Academia Platform. Picture by Mike Smith. Team Reneon Technologies - Innovative Energy Conservation Company. Picture by Mike Smith. Team QTix - Qtix is a mobile integrated queue management system which enhance the customer experience by enabling user to queue without waiting at the service centre. Qtix is the future of customer service. Image by Hanif. Personal note: Young guys, age 21+. I have high hopes for them. Team Shoptizen - Lifestyle platform that connects brands with fashionistas and adults. Picture by Mike Smith.