Seedstars World in Asia with Karen Mok

Seedstars World in Asia with Karen Mok
With Karen Mok, we discussed the initiative & footprint of Seedstars World & her perspectives on startup ecosystems after traveling 15 cities in Asia.

With Karen Mok, we discussed the initiative & footprint of Seedstars World & her perspectives on startup ecosystems after traveling 15 cities in Asia. The conversation started with her background as a social entrepreneur and how she eventually joined SeedStars World. We continued her journey with Seedstars World, where she organised the business competition across different cities from developed to emerging to frontier markets in Asia.  Last but not least, she shared her observations on the different startup ecosystems across Asia, and how they differ from cultural attitudes of founders, employees & investors, co-working spaces, infrastructural challenges and the technology from mobile to social that helped her team to navigate the diverse continent of Asia. 

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Story of Karen Mok
    • Karen Mok (@kmok88 , LinkedIn, Medium), Asia Regional Manager for Seedstars World 
    • How did you get started in the area of user experience design & business strategies? [0:50]
    • From your experience in the area of social enterprise (Techsoup Global, Mahila Global) to startups, what are the interesting career lessons you have learned? [1:47]
    • How does social enterprise balance between profit and social mission? [4:18]
  • Seedstars World
    • What does the organisation do? What is its mission and purpose? [6:30]
    • How does the Seedstars World competition work? [8:00]
    • How do you select the winner in each city? What happens after that? [9:53]
    • Which cities in Asia have taken part in the Seedstars World competition? 15 countries – how much time have you spent in each city? [11:00]
    • How does the different markets in Asia segmented into? (a) Emerging Markets: Indonesia, Philippines, Bangalore; Frontier Markets: Yangon and Karachi; Developed Markets: Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul. [11:53]
    • Any interesting startups that you have found? [14:30]
      • Pakistan – Connecting female doctors to the community.
      • Myanmar – School Admin Management System (SAMS)
      • Hong Kong – Quantum Force Engineering (QFE)
      • Indonesia – eFishery.
  • Travels and Observations on Asia
    • After traveling across 15 cities (Shanghai, Seoul, Jakarta), what are the interesting observations you have seen in Asia in the areas:
      • Startup Ecosystems within the different cities in the frontier (Karachi, Yangon), emerging (Bangalore, Jakarta, Bangkok, Manila) to developed markets (Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul). [17:35]
      • Organisation of talent around a concentrated area, for example, Blk 71 in Singapore or Zhongguancun, Beijing in China [21:39]
      • Co-working spaces – your experience in Bangkok [24:04]
      • Cultural attitudes – any fundamental differences in investor attitudes or founders – employees in the startup space. [26:04]
      • Design for Access – How do you design for access in a city like Jakarta? [30:43]
    • How does technology allow you to move from city to city? From messaging apps, social media tools and mobile [32:30]

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bleongcw) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Aspirus Desk on Indiegogo (Twitter, Facebook, Medium) and Linkcious (and check out their other product, Chiibi). Also check out Ideal Workspace’s new standing desk, Aspirus and sign up for their mailing list.