Asia Startup Ecosystems with Kevin McSpadden

Asia Startup Ecosystems with Kevin McSpadden
Kevin McSpadden discussed the evolving startup ecosystems spanning across Asia from Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and the rest of ASEAN. 

Kevin McSpadden from e27 joined us for a fascinating discussion on the different evolving startup ecosystems across Asia. Starting from Singapore, drawing interesting comparisons from the rise of Hong Kong and the recent startup India initiatives, we discussed whether Singapore can maintain its advantage as the Delaware of Asia. We examined the recent departure of Cheryl Yeoh, CEO of MaGIC and whether Malaysia can continue its quest to be the startup hub and the effects of the conglomerates on the startup ecosystem in Indonesia, subsequently to the rest of ASEAN with Thailand and Vietnam. Last but not least, we have a discussion on whether immigrants make better startup founders against locals across Asia.

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

  • Kevin McSpadden (@kevinmcspadden, LinkedIn), Southeast Asia correspondent,
  • Story of Kevin McSpadden
    • How did Kevin get started in journalism and eventually end up in tech reporting? [1:05]
    • From moving from traditional (Time, Reuters) to online journalism (e27), what are the interesting lessons you have learnt in your career so far? [2:26]
    • What made Kevin move from Hong Kong to Singapore to join e27? [3:08]
        • What is his coverage with e27 on Southeast Asia? [3:56]
        • The problem with Asian startups being afraid to disclose their valuations unlike the US startups with their tech media. [4:48]
      • Startup Ecosystems in Asia:
        • Singapore vs Hong Kong
        • Singapore vs India
          • Singapore as a place where Indian startups such as Flipkart registered their companies due to zero capital gains tax. Will the startup India initiatives announced by Modi deter Indian startups going to Singapore? [12:44]
            • Singapore’s legal, branding and intellectual property laws are close to US and possess strong competitive advantage.
        • Malaysia
          • Departure of Cheryl Yeoh from MaGIC – will that derail the Malaysia’s government initiatives to be the startup hub against Singapore? (Ref: Is it time for Malaysian startups to look beyond MaGIC?) [17:16]
          • Malaysia’s bumiputra policy as a hinderance to their startup hub ambitions. [17:43]
        • Indonesia
          • What’s the impact of conglomerates such as Lippo Group to the startup ecosystem? [20:28]
          • Singapore VCs have moved to Indonesia like Monk’s Hill, will they be competitive against these big funds? [25:09]
            • Impact of Japanese VCs in Indonesia with East Ventures, Gree and DeNA ventures [26:40]
          • Vietnam [27:40]
          • Thailand [28:30]
        • Discussion: Do immigrants make better startup founders against locals? [29:10]
            • BL’s view: The distribution is about 50-50 and it’s just confirmation bias.

          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.