This year, the second edition of StartUp Asia Berlin Roadshow (SUAB) took place from October 18 – 29, 2017 with an aim to foster deeper connections between the four startup hubs Berlin, Bangalore, Manila, and Jakarta. (SUAB) is a German Start-up platform, set up by Berlin’s Ministry of Economic Affairs in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and is supported by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
A delegation of 25 startup ecosystem players – ten from Berlin, and five from each partner city of Indonesia, India, and the Philippines traveled together to Manila, Jakarta, and Bangalore. I was among one of the delegates from India and had an amazing opportunity to represent Z Nation Lab in the other ecosystems of Berlin, Manila & Jakarta.
It was a mixed group of innovators with a lot of bright ideas from very different cultural and professional backgrounds. Ten days full of experience & inspiration, personal exchange of knowledge and ideas, establish partnerships and insights into the works of other striving ecosystems resulting in incredible group chemistry among all the international delegates.
Manila was the first Roadshow stop, Celeste Eden M. Rondario, from Impact Hub was the Hub Manager for Manila. Delegates began their time in the Philippines by attending one of the largest events in southeast Asia – ASEAN’s Slingshot at Philippine International Convention Center. I was one of the ideators for the session on ‘How to create social impact startup’ organized by the Impact hub team at Slingshot. The exciting 3 days in Manila were filled with networking & knowledge sharing with vibrant and growing startup community & meeting some of the key ecosystem drivers in the Philippines during our visit to the Launch Garage, Kickstart, KMC Solutions and one of Impact Hub’s co-working locations in Makati.
The Philippine start-up ecosystem is still in its infancy, but innovation is picking up and it is expected to further accelerate with many public-private initiatives laid down. In its Philippine Roadmap for Digital Start-ups in 2015, the Philippines targets to have 500 starts-ups with a total valuation of US$2 billion by 2020. Currently, there are over 150 start-ups in the country, which also shows that the ecosystem is evolving. Some of the big startup groups include Awesome Lab/ Retail Sork, Kalibrr or Lenddo. Startups like xurpas or NetBooster have already managed to exit.
The second stop of the roadshow was Jakarta, the capital and largest city of Indonesia, is also known as one of the biggest megacities in the world. Daniel Tumewu from HYVE was the hub manager for Jakarta. The 1st day begun with the Welcome Speech & Introduction to the Ecosystem by Sutanto Soehodho, Deputy Governor, at City Hall Jakarta followed by the visit at Jakarta’s Smart city office where the Mr. Setiajil, Head of the Jakarta Smart City Department took us through the massive smart and big data project to overcome the traffic situation in Indonesia’s capital and its surrounding regions. I had an opportunity to give a small presentation on Z Nation Lab, I also spoke about the importance of mentorship & strategic advisors at an early stage of a startup journey at JSC Hive. After that, we had a Panel discussion on Creating an International Startup Ecosystem & a local and international perspective on funding. My co-panelists were Carl Luis Riedger, Kompass Digital Berlin & Aldi Adrian Hartanto, East Ventures.
A highlight of the roadshow was the Panel Discussion at JSC Hive among some of the great minds like Rainer Seider, Head of Unit International Co-operation, Berlin Ministry of Economic Affairs, Sandiaga S. Uno, Vice Governor of Jakarta, former Businessman & an entrepreneur himself, Ilham Habibie, Head of the Indonesian ICT Council spoke about Creating an international ecosystem. The program in Jakarta consisted of visits to companies like Tokopedia, EVhive and Creative Hub.
Jakarta is already home to a number of startups focusing on travel, e-commerce, agri tech, health tech, fintech, and lifestyle. Successful examples are Traveloka, Go-Jek, WOOK or Tokopedia. The outcome is a strong market for tech startups to explore and consequently, more Indonesian investors including Merah Putih Incubator, GDP Ventures, East Ventures, and Ventura as well as international players like Sequoia, Soft bank or 500 startups are entering the market. The Indonesian tech scene is still dominated by Seed and Series A deals, many of which do not go beyond $100,000.
Bangalore was the final & most exciting destination for the delegates. Day 1 started with the welcome note by the Bangalore Hub Manager Amrita Gandikota from The Indo-German Chamber of Commerce followed by an Introduction to Bosch DNA & Co-Hort Talks at Bosch Accelerator. The next stop was the Yourstory office in Indiranagar where we had a keynote speech by Consul General Margit Hellwig Boette & then StartUp AsiaBerlin Introduction by Mr. Rainer Seider.
I had an opportunity to be a panel speaker at Yourstory, where we shared our insight into local markets and Industries & the global trends. Madan Mohan Rao, Yourstory was the moderator & the co-panelists were Jan Lachenmayer, Enpact Berlin, Jeff erson J. Hofer, HDC Agri Manila, Louise Kaye Mendoza, Department of Trade and Industry Manila, Aria Widyanto Amartha Jakarta.
2nd day in Bangalore consisted of visits to B-Hive coworking space, Nasscom warehouse, GIZ office. The day was filled with startup pitches, matchmaking sessions & networking. At Nasscom 10k Start-up Warehouse there was a Panel Discussion on Investment Landscapes towards Born-global Companies. Abishek Sunderan, Partner Pi Ventures, Carl Luis Riegar, Investment Analyst, Kompass Digital & Abhishek Loonker, Vice President, Ascent Capital were the Panelist.
India, the world’s 5th largest startup ecosystem, is also the youngest with 72% of all Indian entrepreneurs being under 35 years of age. Of the 4200 startups in India, 28% of them are based in Bangalore. In June 2016, more than 1700 startups were registered in this buzzing tech hub that also had the most startup funding in India in 2014. Bangalore is often dubbed as the Silicon Valley of India due to its large amount of startups, the incredible growth of the middle class and the educational excellence in IT. Some of the leading accelerators, incubators & VC funds from all over the world have set up an office in Bangalore.
This time we did not have a chance to visit Berlin but my fellow delegates who are now my very good friends as well mentioned that Berlin’s startup scene is special because of its diversity. The diversity of industries, ideas, startups, people, spaces, and places. Many big corporates like Bosch, Cisco, VISA and VW, Lufthansa, etc, are helping & supporting big-time into the startup ecosystem. People in Berlin’s startup scene are getting more serious, they are growing up and want to build more genuine ideas or take more commercial approaches.
The SUAB roadshow is a great Initiative by Berlin Ministry. It gave me great exposure & understanding of the huge markets that remain untapped, at the same time provided a clear view of where we are headed. Partnerships like these are a necessity to bring different cultures and regions together to understand the fine nuances of doing business globally. We at Z Nation Lab are grateful to be given this opportunity to participate in the event and are looking forward to participating in the growth story of these upcoming powerhouses sitting in countries not very far from us.