Happy Valentine’s Day! This is always an interesting day, whether you are preparing for a romantic evening or a night out with the Single Sallies.

We at e27 wanted to celebrate some of the positive trends we have seen to start what has been, crossing fingers, a nice beginning to 2019.

Here are the 8 tech trends that have us feelin’ the love!

A Facebook group that helps families affected by dementia

Let’s start with a serious moment before we start to get a bit more lighthearted.

Facebook gets a lot of criticism globally and a lot of the times it is well-deserved. But there are some undeniably positive aspects of the social media network.

In Singapore, one of those positives is a Facebook Group called Dementia-Friendly Singapore.

An important goal of the group is to humanise dementia, and provide a safe place to discuss challenges, advice and success stories to people who are accepting and understanding.

However, it has also developed into another avenue to find help in emergency situations (obviously, it’s important to call the professionals, but Dementia-Friendly Singapore is an additional source to crowdsource help).

A friend of mind has a grandmother with dementia. One day, she left the house and ended up getting lost. This can be a terrifying situation for loved ones because it can be impossible to know exactly where the person went. My friend said Dementia-Friendly Singapore was crucial in his efforts to return her home.

Mental health is becoming and increasingly important part of our global discourse and places like Dementia-Friendly Singapore help make sure we are moving in a positive direction.

On Valentine’s day, yes, the singles are grateful for dating apps

An anecdotal survey of my network suggests that dating apps are a boon for singles who don’t feel like wallowing away their night with friends and wine (which, to me, sounds WAY better…but who am I to judge?).

That being said, online dating has completely lost the stigma of even a few years ago, and the benefits for Valentine’s Day makes sense. Notably, taking someone out on Valentine’s Day is a big move for a first date. It might be wonderful, but you will be surrounded by long-term relationships and married couples. That is a lot of pressure.

For singles it can be scary to walk up to someone and propose a Valentine’s Day dinner to their crush (although it is definitely too late at this point). On Tinder, Paktor or Coffee Meets Bagels, the people engaging this week are already open to testing out a Valentine’s Day meetup. This lowers the barrier-to-entry and can help singles feel the love on this V-day.

To the rest of you, raise a glass to your colleagues, bros or girlfriends.

The addictive nature of TikTok

There is a very important fact about the rise of TikTok that needs to be mentioned: The social network is not considered “cool”. Actually, the word used by a lot of young people is “cringeworthy”. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t popular. Over the 2018-2019 year TikTok announced itself as the successor to Snapchat and Instagram as the next hot social network.

I love TikTok, and was formerly introduced to it by a 20-something office mate who doesn’t even really use it. It was like a non-smoker accidentally getting me hooked on cigarettes.

TikTok may be nerdy, but it also is the best of humanity. The videos are wholesome, dumb-as-hell and highly entertaining. This means the app is super addicting. I can’t tell the number of times I decided to “check out TikTok for five minutes” only to look up half-an-hour later and realise I need to close the app or else I’ll be here for two hours.

TikTok is great.

The diversity of the Southeast Asian startup scene and its willingness to learn

The fragmentation of Southeast Asia has long been a narrative of the region, but we often do not talk about how much we learn from one another.

As my colleague Claudia Florea (who coined this idea) put it,

“From attending different roadshows on the ground in Southeast Asia last year (Bangkok, Singapore, Phnom Penh), I realised how different all the market are and thus, their specific needs.

“The beauty of tech community in Southeast Asia comes from diversity. In Laos and Cambodia, there are not big VC companies but the ideas nourished there can be seen as gems for the entire region.

“Bringing an international panel of judges helped with constructive feedback and I think that seeing someone with a track record of experience definitely got the participants onboard for pitching and learning,” she said.

A pop of investment activity in Vietnam

From a macro level, investment into Vietnamese startups has been the story of the young year. In January, the country saw nine deals worth US$113.5 million, according to e27 data. Plus, we counted two additional deals whereby the funding amount was undisclosed.

The momentum continued into February when LOGIVAN raised a US$5.5 million deal last week.

For years, Vietnam has been considered the Southeast Asian country with the most potential for hyper growth. If the early trends of 2019 continue, this will be the year they fulfil that destiny.

Shameless Plug: We are hosting an amazing event in Vietnam on March 12. Register here!

Esports continues growth, and a couple Southeast Asian companies are well positioned

While Esports is still a small market (global yearly revenues are expected to cross the US$1 billion mark for the first time in 2019), the rise of Esports feels inevitable. The industry is the definition of the word “burgeoning”.

This growth bodes well for two companies with connections to Southeast Asia, SEA Group and Razer. With their core customer base being gamers, its natural that the two companies have made a big investment into Esports.

Sea Group and Razer both made early plays into video games, and in 2019 it seems that bet will pay off handsomly.

We have ourselves a new Big Dawg

Technically, with a valuation of US$950 million, Southeast Asia does not have another unicorn. But we do have another company that can bear the torch for the region’s tech ecosystem.

The US$226 million Series D from Zilingo forced everyone in Southeast Asia to take note.

The company is just over three years old. Just over two years ago it was closing a US$8 million round. Then BOOM! US$226 million later it immediately catapulted itself into one of the most important startups in Southeast Asia.

If people were not aware of Zilingo before this week, they certainly are now.

A half-male half-female bird

I mean, is there anything more Valentine’s Day than a bird that does not need to navigate the social expectations of gender?

The theory behind this Northern Cardinal is that it is actually a fraternal twin…to itself (MIND.BLOWN). Essentially, the two ova are fertilised separately and early in the process they fuse together, creating one organism with two separate genders.

Now don’t worry November babies, scientists think this is impossible in humans because we don’t lay eggs. Our fertilisation process is washed in blood which essentially wipes the cells “clean” so they have the same hormones. Even in egg laying animals this is extremely rare.

The most interesting thing to watch over the Cardinal’s life is whether or not it will reproduce.

Free Valentine’s Day tickets to Echelon!

Is your date a tech nerd? Are you a tech nerd and you want to share the world with your loved one? Well Echelon is just around the corner and you can surprise him/her with a couple of tickets!

We have a special Valentine’s Day one-for-one promo that give you access to all three conference stages (Founder, Future, Capital), the TOP100 pitching stage, exhibition areas and partnered zones (TOP100, Marketplace, country pavilions and Talent Zone), the official Echelon App, and the Echelon Official Afterparty.

Our Valentine’s promo can be found here.

Find out more about Echelon 2019

The event is on May 23-24 at Singapore expo.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash