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News  10, Jun 2014

Echelon 2014: The heart of what’s starting in Asia

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It’s less than an hour to Echelon! One of our speakers Jon Tanner shares what you can expect in Asia’s premier tech and business conference

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This week sees the e27 team present Echelon 2014 in Singapore. Billed as Asia’s largest start-up tech event Echelon attracts entrepreneurs, investors, media and those interested in start-ups and innovation from all over the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

500 Startups founder David McClure is a headliner here as are many entrepreneurs, CEO’s and representatives of major private equity, regional and international VC’s, private equity banks and investment houses such as TPG Capital, Sumitomo, Softbank, Monks Hill, Sierra Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, Ardent Capital and many more.

Echelon runs over two days with over 1000 delegates. The format rolls between keynotes, pitches, panel sessions and practical workshops throughout each day. There are more than 50 exhibiting startups and 10 of the best in the region pitching for the title of best startup after a search that assessed more than 180 pitches during lead up events.

Spending time in Singapore leading up to the event and spending time with regional investors, executives and ventures you get a sense relentless momentum that pervades the region.

Growth: While there are already 500+ Million middle class consumers in this part of the world it is the growth numbers that are the most compelling. By 2020 the same consumer market is expected to more than triple to 1.7Billion and then reach a staggering 3Billion+ by 2030. That makes the emerging global market a much, much bigger prize, with a shifting center of gravity.

Gravity: One of the things that lead MitchelLake Group to establish a regional hub office in Singapore this year is the acceleration in the amount of hyper funded digital ventures we have helped to launch from the US and Europe into the region. 18 months ago we would typically work with one to two market entry clients from the US or EU per quarter, in the past six months we have worked with over a dozen, four of whom boast more than USD $500 Million in expansion funding, each.

Urgency: Companies are raising these large tranches of capital to launch in multiple markets in a shorter time frame. A few years ago ventures like AirBnB, Dropbox and Uber would typically consolidate in the US, work into the EU and then IPO before investing seriously in other regions. Now they know that if that they don’t hit emerging markets just as fast someone else will fill the vacuum whether as a replicator or innovator. If they miss their foothold in Asia now that could mean missing out on up to 60% the global market in ten years time and all the growth in between.

Opportunity: While these aggressive trends might sound intimidating to local and regional entrepreneurs it is good to remember this is a two way street. There are fewer barriers to entry in terms of global expansion than ever before. If you can prove your proposition in one market there can attack funding and customers in other markets. Don’t limit yourself. If you have a world beating idea, take it to the world, it is a big place. You might be surprised at how much investment, audience and support is out there waiting for you and where.

We expect to see a lift in global businesses emerging out of this region as the level of investment, entrepreneurship and venture maturity increases. It is an incredibly exciting place to be right now it is likely more than a few global ventures could be discovered at Echelon this week.

Jon Tanner

Jon Tanner

Jon Tanner is co-founder of the MitchelLake Group and has been advising early stage and mature organisations experiencing rapid growth and transformation for the best part of two decades. Jon has sourced talent internationally for organisations including Microsoft, Yammer, Telstra, News Limited, DDB, Lonely Planet, Avanade, Qantas Group, BCG, Envato and Adslot.

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