I was invited to participate in a panel at Techventure 2013 this week. Several interesting panels and speeches. I didn't manage to attend all of them but here are some of the more interesting comments I noted:
Arun Poojari of Amobee (now a unit of Singtel)
Very interesting to hear Arun say this given that he speaks as an insider of both the advertising and the telecom industry:
There is an oversupply of mobile inventory today versus demand. Compare this to television where there may be only ten minutes of ad inventory per hour of broadcasting, so you can more readily defend your pricing.
Mobile advertising market is a $4b market today and will be $50b in 5 years.
Tom Clayton, CEO of Bubbly
Minimum charge of 99c on Android is a big hurdle for penetration into prepaid subs in emerging markets. Emerging market subscribers often have a balance smaller than that on their prepaid phones and only top it up with minute quantities whenever they need it. Entrepreneurs in these regions need to be smart about how they monetize in this environment.
The entire digital advertising budget in India last year was $150m across web and mobile. Indonesia is 1/10th of that. You can't build a web or mobile business for markets like this if you're only going to focus on advertising revenue.
Kevin Hale, Partner at Y Combinator
Producing great entrepreneurs and companies needs tension and pressure. YC provides $14-20k to each company. Nothing more. We do not provide personal accommodation or office space. Entrepreneurs have to figure out how to survive 3 months on that and create a big company.
Important for Singapore to figure out how to ensure young people stop thinking "I need more money or need a better team or advisors..." Resourcefulness is more important than all the money, technology and other resources provided to young companies.
Chua Kee Lock, CEO of Vertex Ventures
Why would anyone become an angel investor or an entrepreneur in Singapore? If you have money to invest over a few years, it's much easier to work normal hours and invest money in real estate and make a nearly assured 30% return per year.
Jenny Lee of GGVC
Jenny was named the world's top female VC and 36th overall by Forbes this year. She is an alum of my current firm. She's originally from Singapore but has lived in China for several years now. She's one of the few people I've ever heard say that:
The Singapore government needs to get more involved with the entrepreneurship ecosystem and support it with more money.
The consensus view is that they're doing quite a bit already, mostly for the good, but need to leave the rest to other players.
Pieter Kemps of Amazon Web Services
I asked Pieter how many companies he sees from SE Asia that could potentially be billion-dollar businesses in coming years.
Can't speculate about valuations because that's not my domain. But our internal usage data shows companies all across Asia, not just SE Asia, that could achieve very large scale very quickly based on current growth rates. We see a few such companies in most major Asian countries.
I haven't quoted each speaker word for word. Each speaker has been paraphrased based on notes I took at the time and to add some context. Errors, omissions and lack of sufficient context are all my own fault, not the original speakers'.