It’s true that we have gone far and wide this month, touching down in both Europe and Asia to ‘accelerate’ the spread of the WebFWD message, and acquire new teams and mentors for WebFWD.
As reported, our time in Indonesia was indeed full, so leaving would have been pure sorrow but for the rich docket of events and meetings to follow. We touched down in Singapore and met up with Yinglan Tan who, among other things, runs an innovation initiative through the National University of Singapore called CREATE. It was fun to visit him in the high-rise office and learn of the different funding initiatives being fostered to spur tech development in the region.
Next we met up with Charlene Wong of Singapore’s Info-Communications Development Authority (IDA), who underscored what we surmised meeting with Yinglan: the government in Singapore is deeply committed to fostering technology development. Charlene is specifically involved with iSTART, an initiative to promote and expose Singaporean startups to international markets to spur their growth. This includes visits to Silicon Valley to open up deals for local entrepreneurs.
Later, a coffee at Starbucks (yeah, they’re everywhere in Singapore too) with Bernard Leong , who helped found leading Singapore startup blog SGEntrepreneurs and is currently running a Neoteny-funded startup, Chalkboard (Neoteny is dear to our hearts as it is run by Joi Ito, Mozilla board member). We talked startups, Singapore, funding and quickly learned that everyone in this space is about two degrees of separation from one another. Which makes sense in an island state and certainly has its advantages.
What advantages? Consider the meetup we scheduled that evening: with just a few emails, JFDI.Asia Founder Meng Wong corralled multiple communities to put together a stellar meetup at the “urban edgy” part of town: (1) the entrepreneurship community TiE Singapore, the coworking space HackerSpace Singapore, the tech blog e27, and SGEntrepreneurs (mentioned above - see what we mean about 2 degrees?).
Meng - an entrepreneur himself - not only offered office space at JFDI.Asia for WebFWD teams (=thank you Meng!), but took a bunch of us out for some yummy Sting Ray at the (in?)famous Newton Food Centre afterwards. It’s true: it’s all about the chile sauce.
Mozilla Exec Director Mitchell Baker tries new things thanks to Meng Wong
We were super impressed by the cohesiveness of the tech community, the commitment to tech growth by the government and the overall efficiency of Singapore. We’re looking forward to seeing what kinds of fits emerge between WebFWD and Singapore projects.