First, a quick infographic:

One thing is for certain: we can do great things as a community. True to our mission, 2018 has been all about empowering the community with the tools and resources they need. Here are the highlights of our year:

Shining a spotlight on APAC

Last June, we made regional stories and diversity the focal points of Echelon Asia Summit. Enough looking to the West – the Southeast Asian startup story is pivotal, relevant, and adds great value to the ecosystem. And in a region as naturally diverse as Asia Pacific, there is no lack of stories.

Over 100 speakers from across Asia Pacific took to the stage (all 4 of them) to dispense advice, discuss trends, and share insights during the two days of Echelon. Singapore Expo was packed by the e27 Community who are not just there to network but who are also genuinely excited to learn about new initiatives and engage with other members of the ecosystem.

Also read: Why we will make diversity and regional stories central to Echelon Asia Summit

It also thrilled us that a substantial part of the more than 200 companies and organisations who showcased at the exhibition are from emerging markets like Myanmar, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. We wanted to turn the limelight toward our homegrown startups and we are happy to have been the platform wherein startups of various stages are able to get the insight, connections, talent, and funding that they need.

We began reaching out to our community across the region months before Echelon. Our Programs team went to 14 different countries in Asia Pacific to meet with the local startup communities in search for the TOP100 startups. Each leg of the TOP100 roadshow featured at least 10 startups pitching, where we met some truly amazing founders and discovered more about the local startup communities.

Over 100 startups battled it out at the TOP100 stage during Echelon, and one emerged victorious. Treedots, an online outlet mall providing end-to-end solution to eliminate food wastage in Singapore, took home the belt.

We are currently getting ready for Echelon Asia Summit 2019. If you’re keen on being a partner, an exhibitor, or an attendee, just click those links and we’ll reach out to you for updates and early promos.

Going back to basics

The e27 mission has always been our guide and the projects we undertook in 2018 is no exception. This year, we launched the e27 Academy.

e27 Academy is two-pronged; online, with articles written and curated by our amazing Content team, and offline, which is a three-day learning programme that happened in Batam, Indonesia.

The idea is to go back to the basics. We know that for years now, we have been your go-to source for news about the Southeast Asia startup scene. But we want to do more than that: we want to fulfil our mission. So, we went on to build an online resource for entrepreneurs to get the the information that they need. We are talking about articles that provide step-by-step instructions on how to do things like registering your business in Indonesia, or articles listing important things you need to know like which documents are needed by Singapore-based startups.

Yes, feature articles that inspire are important. But we understand that practical and technical articles that help solve problems are crucial as well.

Since we launched e27 Academy online last October 1st, we have published over 200 articles written by both our Content team and our contributors. You can read them all here.

On the e27 Academy article writing process: Why writing an Academy piece is like going back to school

While reading is always a good idea, we also believe in the effectiveness of focussed learning. In a nutshell, e27 Academy took startup founders out of their busy daily operations, dropped them off on an island for three days with mentors, and watched what happens…if “watched what happens” means creating a programme with 27 masterclasses, 16 roundtable discussions, and more than 20 opportunities for one-to-one consultations.

The idea is to provide early-stage startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs with the opportunity to be mentored by founders who have been there, and come out of the three-day programme with clear, actionable solutions to their problems and raring to go back and apply the things they learned.

A slice of what was shared during e27 Academy: Top questions asked by entrepreneurs around the world

Of course, e27 Academy Batam would not have been the success it was if not for the enthusiastic participation of the over 150 founders who attended, and the 31 mentors who sincerely and genuinely gave the time and effort to help them out.

Helping build the community

This year is all about going back to our roots by staying true to our mission of empowering entrepreneurs. We were able to do that by partnering with groups and organisations whose goals intersect with our own.

For Echelon Asia Summit, TOP100, and Academy, we have over 100 sponsors, strategic partners, and community partners working with us to make sure that startups all over the region get the chance to access the insights shared in our events.

It did not end there, though. We also co-organised the Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology, as well as partner with different groups to hold small community events like panel discussions, demo days, and trivia nights.

More details on what we achieved this year: To ECHELON and beyond, here’s what this ecosystem builder achieved in 2018 to support the tech and startup industry

From small community events, cross-country roadshows, and online campaigns, we leveraged our platform to ensure that support – be it in the form of acceleration or incubation programmes, pitching competitions, or startup challenges – reaches the startup community.

We can only build the community if we do it together, after all.

A part of your day

Beyond conferences, learning programmes, and community events, we are happy that you have made us a part of your day.

We start early every day; over 6,000 of you include reading the e27 Daily Digest in your morning routine. We are honoured and we strive to be able to give inspiration, motivation, ideas, and maybe even a bit of a laugh every morning.

Your responses, messages, and shoutouts about the Daily Digest are all greatly appreciated and we’re glad that we’re able to deliver to you the latest updates and our newest articles every morning.

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The articles we publish and share include news, features, and op-ed pieces. We published approximately 3,000 articles in 2018, including article contributions from the e27 community. But the e27 online platform is not only for articles — we envision it to be the go-to platform for entrepreneur and startups to get what they need. News about startups? Startup events around the region? Talent requirements? The e27 online platform have all that.

You, the e27 community, engage with us through e27.co, our social media pages, and our emails throughout the day. From news to features, local to international events, and even jobs, we are happy to be part of the daily lives of the growing e27 community.

Telling your stories

In e27, we not only keep you updated on the region’s latest startup ecosystem news. More than a running commentary and announcements on launches, fundings, and whatnot, what we really aim to do is to tell your story.

The most read feature article written in 2018 is the story of Nay Min Thu, founder of Myanmar-based multi-million dollar realty tech startup iMyanmarHouse. The article dove deep into his journey from his childhood helping his father repair watches to the different ventures he attempted through the years.

Also read: We look back to the 10 most-inspiring features from the ecosystem

But it’s not just us telling stories. You, the e27 community, also used our platform to tell your own story, to share insight, dole out tips, and generally engage with each other. Articles contributed by the e27 community are reader favourites. In fact, the overall most read article of 2018 is the one written by LUXSENS co-founder Kenny Au (read it here).

Keen on sharing you story? Start here.

Apart from the stories of startups and innovation that we publish, we also wanted to give everyone an overview of the Southeast Asian startup ecosystem story. We took a deep dive into our data, crunched some numbers, and looked back on what happened this year to bring you the e27 Southeast Asia Ecosystem Report 2018.

It’s slated to be published on 15th January 2019 so watch out for it.

We had a lot going on in 2018. We are thrilled and grateful that you had been along for the ride. Onward to 2019!