The Entrepreneurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Magazine
The Metamorphosis Issue
Interview with JUST, Inc. Founder Josh Tetrick
Startup Strategies Powerful ways to reinvent your brand in the new year
An academic perspective on the growing field of data science
Applying the theory of disruptive innovation to your startup
Uncovering the mythos of esports with Asiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top teams Traversing the intricacies of digital artwork with teamLab
transforming The Individual
Reconciling our on-again, off-again relationship with technology
Quantum computing: An introduction to the most disruptive technology of our time
How digital health solutions are combating the mental health pandemic
g n i z i t i g i D Nation
Interview with GOJEK Founder
+ His Advice for Entrepreneurs + Regional Expansion through Hyperlocalization + Market-Based Solutions to Reach Marginalized Communities
DEFINE WHATâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NEXT The StartmeupHK Festival is a five day celebration of tech innovation, bringing together startups, investors, industry leaders and academics. Join us from 21st to 25th January, 2019 to learn, share, make connections and experience the shaping of our collective future. Festival Organisers
Find out more at startmeup.hk StartmeupHK @StartmeupHK Invest Hong Kong
very generation believes they’re living in times of change. With the political volatility of recent years and current economic correction, 2019 is likely to support the belief that we are living history. While state or Musk-level change capture headlines, it’s the change we see in our communities every day that points to something bigger. From the social enterprise helping Vietnamese farmers earn a living wage to the art collective making a statement about the human experience through digital artwork, entrepreneurs from around the region are using innovative business models and technologies to be the change they want to see. This issue’s theme is metamorphosis, where we uncover defining transformations of startup strategies, market trends, and the individual. Whether it’s learning how to reinvent your brand story to capture a lifelong audience, impress your friends with quantum computing knowledge, or take back control of your tech use, this issue is all about new ideas to inspire new ways of seeing the world. Consistent with this notion of vertical progress, our cover story features GOJEK, a ride-hailing-turned-super app that’s directly transforming Indonesia’s socioeconomic trajectory. The company is reaching the unbanked in an unprecedented way and bringing them into the formal economy for the first time, revealing just how significant a role technology can play in connecting and elevating an entire population when its needs and cultural nuances are fully understood. We had the pleasure of interviewing GOJEK’s Founder Nadiem Makarim, who shared his vision for the company, past and future. Lastly, I’m sure the suitability of the issue’s theme to Jumpstart escapes no regular reader. Our magazine has seen many iterations since its founding in 2014, but our mission to be the leading voice for Asia’s startup ecosystem remains constant. If you continue creating stories, then we promise to keep documenting them. As always, we appreciate your support and look forward to your feedback. Happy New Year and happy reading.
MIN CHEN Editor in Chief Have thoughts about this issue? We’ d love to hear from you. Email us at [email@example.com] and include your full name and address. Please note that letters to the editor may be edited for length and clarity.
MANAGING DIRECTOR EDITOR IN CHIEF
Nayantara Bhat Anita Chan
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS & PARTNERSHIPS EXPERIENCE DESIGN STRATEGIST
DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
COMMUNITY EVANGELIST (SILICON VALLEY) FOUNDER / ADVISOR ADVISORS
Li Xing Chang
Joseph Chow, Carman Chan, Shitiz Jain, Leo Ku,
Derek Kwik INTERNS
Kelly Cho, Huey Wong
Tanisha Bassan, Jason Bell, Jasmine Bina,
Clint Coo, Ashley Galina Dudarenok, Lucy Gilmour, Becky Gilmour, Paul Hadjy, Tracy Ho, Kevin Kang, Jay Kim, Jaslyn Koh, Paul Leishman, Zachary Li, Isabella Liu, Walter Oh, Hei-Yue Pang, Christopher Schrader, Jing Shen, Quek Wee Siong, Zaneti Sugiharti, Weiting Tan, Hsien-Hui Tong, Justin Sonota Villanueva, Jason Wong, Stephany Zoo COVER PHOTOGRAPHY SPECIAL THANKS
Peyton Ong, Tieza Mica Santos, Sabrina
Wang, Faridah Wu, Shona Yang
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Copyright © 2019 Jumpstart Media Ltd. The contents of the magazine are fully protected by copyright and nothing may be reprinted without permission. The publisher and editors accept no responsibility in respect to any products, goods or services that may be advertised or referred to in this issue or for any errors, omissions, or mistakes in any such advertisements or references. The mention of any specific companies or products in articles or advertisements does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by this magazine or its publisher in preference to others of a similar nature which are not mentioned or advertised. Published articles do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Jumpstart Magazine.
The metamorphosis issue
FEATURES: TRANSFORMING THE MARKET 46
Digitizing a Nation
Bringing about socioeconomic mobility in Indonesia through digitization with GOJEK Founder Nadiem Makarim 36
Just Another Food Revolution
Social entrepreneurialism and China expansion with JUST, Inc. Founder Josh Tetrick 30
An academic perspective on the growing field of data science 58
Freaktastic Beasts and Killer Contenders
Uncovering the mythos of esports with Asia’s top teams 62
The Elemental Intersection of Art and Technology Traversing the intricacies of digital artwork with teamLab
GOJEK’s founder shares his advice for entrepreneurs. Photo courtesy of GOJEK. P24
Let’s Break Down Quantum Computing
An introduction to the most disruptive technology of our time 56
Take It from Bermuda
Dissecting the virtual influencer phenomenon
FEATURES: TRANSFORMING YOUR STARTUP 24
The Art of Crafting Your Brand Story
Powerful ways to reinvent your brand in the new year 26
Reaching the Technology Frontier
Applying the theory of disruptive innovation to your startup 32
Securing Your Digital Metamorphosis
The journey to greater cybersecurity begins with a single step What does it mean for a brand story to have tension? Photo courtesy of hims. P62
Your Digital Marketing Strategy Guide for 2019
A leading digital agency tells you which trends to look out for
FEATURES: TRANSFORMING ONESELF 74
From Social Media to Social Support
How digital health solutions are combating the mental health pandemic 77
Love at First Swipe
Dating apps and the future of romance 78 teamLab Exhibition view of MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless, 2018, Odaiba, Tokyo © teamLab
Reconciling our on-again, oﬀ-again relationship with technology January 2019
The metamorphosis issue
CONVERSATION STARTERS 22
Running a Business, Consumer Tech, China, and Forecasts Recent market findings to tickle your interest
GUEST COLUMNS 6 This is the new face of professional gaming. Photo courtesy of Global Esports.
Major Consumption and Marketing Trends for China’s Next Decade By ASHLEY GALINA DUDARENOK
How you can get a piece of the pie 9
Having Trouble Getting Investment? By JAY KIM
An investor tells you what you’re doing wrong 14
The Zeitgeist of Risk By STEPHANY ZOO
Entrepreneurialism and cultural modernization among Chinese youth 19
Violent Delights Have Violent Ends By CHRISTOPHER SCHRADER
Recognizing technology’s potential for destruction 20
Deep Tech Trends to Look Out for in 2019 By HSIEN-HUI TONG
What it all means from an investment perspective
LIFESTYLE, REVIEWS & EVENTS 86
Book Review Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
TV Review Explained by Vox
Game Review GrabBag by Shadow Factory
Product Reviews The Pod, BlueMeg, 42Lab
DIY Mini Macramé Planter
Recipes Cocktail and Mocktail: Hibiscalade and Shino
Event Review APOS|tech, GITEX, Global Sources Startup Launchpad 2018, Macao Startup Weekend, and more
One Last Question What is the most significant metamorphosis you’ve undergone in your life?
You’ ll be seeing a lot more of Bermuda. Photo courtesy of BRUD. P81
Review: Vox’s Netflix show “Explained.” Photo courtesy of Netflix.
Major Consumption and Marketing Trends for China’s Next Decade How you can get a piece of the pie BY ASHLEY GALINA DUDARENOK
hina is a huge market full of potential, but it’s also a complicated and constantly changing landscape that experiences frequent shifts in national policy. It’s hard to tell what the market will be like in five or 10 years’ time, but the consumption and marketing trends below will have a significant impact in the coming decade no matter how regulations, policies, and approaches change.
he population will continue to grow, but is forecast to plateau around 2028, and will see significant changes in its structure. According to the national population development plan for 2016 to 2030 released by the State Council, those over 60 years old will make up 25% of the population by 2030. This aging population will increase demands for health-related
products and services like supplements, medical care, and elderly community care. Meanwhile, the younger demographic, or those born after 1990, are gradually replacing their parents’ generation as the biggest consumption force. Compared with previous generations, they’re more educated, open-minded, and tech-savvy. They also cherish individuality, and so are more willing to purchase premium and customized products and services. Increasing urbanization and rapid development are contributing to the rising middle class. According to research conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, around 35% of the population, or 480 million people, are expected to move into the middle class by 2030. With increasing purchasing power, they’re more willing to spend on life experiences, fine dining, wellness and lifestyle products, and even some high-end and luxury products.
While major social media platforms are developing their ecommerce functions, ecommerce platforms are also starting to integrate social features. There is also a variety of developing consumer groups that brands and vendors shouldn’t overlook. For example, more single young people are postponing marriage and children due to the high costs of housing and child-rearing. This singles economy will undoubtedly create more business opportunities for the entertainment, pet, and travel industries, just to name a few.
New Retail and Smart Retail
libaba introduced the concept of New Retail, while Suning proposed Smart Retail. They’re mostly the same strategy, where the goal is to redefine commerce by enabling seamless integration between the online and offline worlds. 6
The aim is to use technology to create a consumer-centered market that streamlines the retail process, which means the supply chain, from manufacturing through to delivery, is reconfigured to be interconnected. Data from smartphones, computers, and brick-and-mortar stores are collected to provide insights for brands, merchants, and manufacturers, while consumers enjoy increasingly customized shopping experiences and have more options on when and where to shop, and how their purchased items are delivered. New Retail is already gradually changing online and offline retail ecosystems in China, and will soon impact the global retail industry.
hina is expected to become the next leader in deep tech and has already accomplished remarkable technological achievements in recent years. These innovations not only contribute to the economy, but also fuel the transformation of many
traditional industries. As mentioned above, New Retail and Smart Retail are driven by deep tech innovations and big data. Advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and facial recognition are being employed in unstaffed stores and other retail environments. Augmented reality technology offers new interactive shopping experiences and other advanced technologies, like blockchain solutions, smart contracts, and RFID tags, are also being used in retail. As for telecommunications, China is also leading in its 5G development. 5G networks can provide much higher data speeds and massive device connectivity. Given 5G’s progress, Tencent Founder and CEO Pony Ma said that they might develop a new version of WeChat that can be used on VR devices in the near future.
The Social+ strategy
hile major social media platforms are developing their ecommerce functions, ecommerce platforms are
also starting to integrate social features. Xiaohongshu is the most well-known social commerce platform in China. Users are encouraged to write comments, product reviews, or shopping tips and upload photos of the products they’ve bought or tried. They can also tag the product or brand on the platform, so other interested users can easily find the items. Ecommerce platforms are not the only ones to adopt this Social+ model. Even vertical platforms, such as Keep and iQiyi, have integrated social functions. For example, the primary users of the fitness platform Keep are bodybuilders, personal trainers, and fitness enthusiasts. The platform has a community feature for users to update training statuses, exchange ideas, and even recommend products sold on the platform. Keep has become a major fitness platform in the country with over 100 million users. Netizens like expressing their opinions online, so a significant advantage of a Social+ model is the increase in traffic and enhancement of user engagement and retention. Thus, brands and merchants should take a Social+ approach in their marketing strategy where possible. In the coming decade, demographic changes imply that the country’s economy is more likely to be driven by increased consumption. Technological innovations will continue to contribute to economic development as well as revolutionize and reshape traditional industries.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ashley is an entrepreneur, professional speaker, bestselling author, vlogger, podcaster, media writer, and spokesperson for female entrepreneurship. She is the founder of several startups, including social media agency Alarice and training company ChoZan. She runs the world’s largest vlog about the China market, consumers, and social media on YouTube and her website. Her new book Digital China: Working with Bloggers, Influencers and KOLs is now available on Amazon. ashleytalks.com
Having Trouble Getting Investment? An investor tells you what you’re doing wrong BY JAY KIM
he world is getting smaller and smaller every day. Through the power of the internet and social media, it’s easier now than ever to connect with anyone who has an online profile. This accessibility, however, can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can be a valuable networking tool when it comes to fundraising for your startup. On the other, the amount of garbage, noise, and downright horrible pitches that are now bombarding investors’ inboxes is at an all-time high. I’m a partner at a global alternative asset manager that invests in exceptional entrepreneurs who are building great companies in industries ripe for disruption. Every single day, among the four partners here, we receive no less than 20 pitches from young, aspiring startup founders looking to raise money. Sadly, less than 5% of the pitches we receive actually deserve a second glance. When it comes to asking for money, there are three simple things you must master if you want a chance at fundraising. ‘Stalk’ your target
erfecting your pitch is another basic tip that so many get wrong and it mostly has to do with lack of practice or experience. Pitching is nerve-wracking, but if you can’t get that part right, then your audience will lose interest immediately, regardless of how good of a founder you are or how brilliant your idea is. For instance, if the investor you’re pitching to only speaks Chinese, then don’t go in there with an English pitch. Fundraising is all about your ability to sell yourself and your idea. If you can’t hack it, then hire a marketer who can. Know your sh-t
he entrepreneur should always know more about their product and market than the potential investor. If you’re aiming to be a practitioner in a particular space, then you better be prepared to know everything possible about that niche. What are the long-term structural trends that will serve as a tailwind to the space you are aiming to disrupt? Who are your direct competitors? Why is your team the best one out there to build this company? Nothing turns investors off more than a lack of practical knowledge from a wannabe entrepreneur. It doesn’t take a genius to come up with a brilliant, game-changing idea. Anyone can do that. But few have the patience, discipline, and grit to execute these ideas and build a great company. The best investors always bet on the jockey (founder), not the horse (idea), so fundraising comes down to convincing the investor that you’re the right jockey to mount this particular horse.
nowing your audience is so basic I’m almost embarrassed to include it, but you’d be surprised at just how many people screw this up. If you’re a startup founder looking for investment, you should quite literally be on the verge of stalking and knowing everything about your target investor before sending the pitch through. Don’t send someone a pitch for a hardware startup when they only invest into software or ask a venture capitalist who hasn’t funded anyone in years for money because you failed to read the retirement announcement on their blog. It takes time and effort to conduct deep due diligence, but you can use this to your advantage when personalizing your pitch email or cold call. Don’t be lazy with this one.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jay is a Partner at Explorer Equity Group. He has over 17 years of experience in capital markets and has been an early stage investor for over a decade. Jay is an active supporter of Asia’s startup ecosystem and hosts The Jay Kim Show, Hong Kong’s first dedicated podcast on entrepreneurship and investment. explorerequity.com
A Professional Mother Teresa Finding purpose through social impact, from sainthood to entrepreneurialism BY HEI-YUE PANG
used to want to be a professional Mother Teresa. In high school, I armed myself with postcards demanding U.S. officials to divest from the Sudanese government. As a college student, I poured my free time into fundraising campaigns to build rehabilitation centers for former child soldiers in Uganda. While my younger self was unsure exactly how this dream of financially sustainable sainthood would become a reality, I participated in enough service learning activities to know I had a passion for and vocational calling to create social impact. I encountered social enterprise for the first time during an internship with Artists For Humanity (AFH), an organization that empowers at-risk youth through training and mentorship in creative arts and design, and connected the youth with paid employment opportunities. I was inspired by AFH’s business-driven approach to meet their mission, such as renting out their beautiful eco-sustainable building for special events. Through this internship, I saw how a business can be structured for social change, while ensuring the economic wellbeing of each stakeholder. And so began my pursuit to pragmatically marry business with social impact. I equipped myself with traditional business skills, such as marketing and operations. After a few roles, I found myself inadvertently focusing on ‘people development’ with the organizations I worked in, whether they were for- or non-profit. From managing human resource training for international development professionals in Washington, D.C. to spearheading a cross-cultural youth leadership program between Hong Kong and Ghana, I realized I was most fulfilled when creating opportunities for people-focused transformation. Even with this career epiphany, I still struggled with where to do this–literally, in terms of geography.
I grew up between Hong Kong and the United States, and also had a longtime dream of working in Latin America. After a few years bouncing between these disparate yet personally relevant parts of the world, I came to the conclusion that in order to make the most impact, I needed to be where I could draw from resources that could not be so easily recreated. I wanted to be connected with the ethereal parts of my identity–family, culture, and a sense of home. The only place that fit this description was Hong Kong, and so to Hong Kong I returned. Today, I’m privileged to coordinate an events and community platform for entrepreneurialism. I use business assets to create opportunities for growth with some of the most innovative organizations and social enterprises in Hong Kong. I don’t think my younger self could’ve fathomed where I would be today–very far from sainthood but exactly where I need to be. For all of you who are looking to pursue a career with social impact, the best thing to do is to be a creative entrepreneur with your own life: identify and take ownership of the assets only you have, and leverage them with the communities you are passionate about. There is no shortcut; it requires dedication and an honest and sometimes brutal self awareness. While it helps to have the support of mentors and people who know you well, only you can get yourself there.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Hei-Yue is Program Manager at Garage Society, where she coordinates Garage Academy, a knowledge sharing platform to support the startup ecosystem. Hei-Yue holds a degree in Political Economy from Columbia University, and has experience in building programs for youth leaders, refugees, and international development professionals. thegaragesociety.com
WELCOME TO THE ERA OF
INTELLIGENT CONNECTIVITY MWCBARCELONA.COM MWC Barcelona 2019 is where over 100,000 of the tech industryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s innovators and influencers gather to explore how Intelligent Connectivity will shape the future of our digital experiences, our industry and our world.
#MWC19 AN EVENT OF
Why Corporate Transformation Fails Lessons only startups can teach BY PEYTON ONG
he rise of tech giants is proof that startups are just as–if not more–capable than corporates when it comes to disrupting industries. While corporate leaders are aware of the need to keep up with the pace of such developments, a number of challenges stand in the way of creating an environment that’s conducive to innovation, which is why most have established internal transformation teams. Transformation within the context of corporates can be understood as bringing about new value, growth, opportunities, and efficiencies to the company. Often, it serves as a response mechanism in the face of startup disruption, which means it’s essentially the art of thinking and working like a startup. Despite these efforts, their internal structure continues to present obstacles for innovation. Corporates typically execute ideas and decisions made by C-suite executives, who often believe that as long as the company is carrying out new ideas, then the transformation is happening. But transformation is so much more, as it involves multiple variables (i.e., people, process, and technology) and levels of risk. An operational change poses the lowest level of risk, as the corporate continues to do what it does but in a more efficient way, such as digitizing processes. Changing the operational model is slightly riskier because while the corporate continues to do what it does, it must fundamentally change its methods of doing so. The riskiest type of transformation is a strategic transformation, which is fully pivoting the company’s value proposition. Implementing digital transformation, which is the least risky, has been the go-to approach over the past few decades whenever there is pressure for change. Digitizing processes does improve efficiency in the short-term, but sustainable transformation involves a new vision or strategy altogether, making the riskiest option also the most effective. Noticeable results from transformation efforts can take years for corporates to assess, which also allows mistakes to go unnoticed amidst a rigid internal structure. Although there are efforts
to adopt agile reinvention methodologies, opportunities to launch new ideas are often intercepted by startups that are able to bring products to market faster. It’s difficult for corporate leaders to justify putting their resources into new ideas when they must keep up with returns on investment and other targets. The ability to step away from the interest of stakeholders to prioritize structural change in the organization is, therefore, key to bringing about real transformation. One example of successful transformation is Netflix; the company’s CEO Reed Hastings revolutionized entertainment consumption by asking the question: what if the entire industry did things differently? Just like that, he pivoted Netflix from DVD rentals to online streaming. This mindset of building a culture of disruption where the possibility of failure is embraced is the driving force behind Netflix’s incredible success. Hence, corporate leaders must overcome the perception that they have ‘too much to lose’ and believe in paradigm-shifting change if they’re serious about imbuing more startup energy into their organizations. The startup mindset, culture, and imagination, while at times flawed, offers valuable takeaways for corporates that are falling behind the technological innovations of the day. Corporates will only be able to move from a defensive position to an offensive one if they fully understand transformation and implement it from the bottom up. Peyton is Jumpstart’s Journalist in Residence based in Kuala Lumpur.
The Zeitgeist of Risk Entrepreneurialism and cultural modernization among Chinese youth BY STEPHANY ZOO
hen I started my first company ing tech demi-gods like Jack Ma and Lei I was an idiot. Certifiably Jun, women entering the top-ranks or even so. I had no experience, had founding unicorns, and more Chinese done no market research, and mostly just families accepting this as a stable career wanted to do something that was sexier. option. However, there’s a more subtle and This was seven years ago. Now, five com- gradual zeitgeist of a more independent, panies and three social enterprises later, I risk-taking Chinese youth. This is not don’t think I’m that much smarter, maybe necessarily the most obvious result of the just more cynical. startup movement, but it has made subAs I get older, I become more fixated stantial progress in the traditionally riskon the idea of being a substantial person– averse Chinese culture. an executor able to implement amorphous It’s true the Chinese are hustlers, but strategies, a meticulous analyst who mea- they typically only take calculated risks. sures data and outcomes to optimize the Now, high-risk, higher-reward is a self-replan, and a researcher who inforcing cycle. As more understands problems It’s true the Chinese talented people enter risky holistically and provides their risk collecare hustlers, but they ventures, targeted solutions. tively goes down, meaning typically only take a higher chance of success, When I was younger, calculated risks. I was comfortable with which then attracts more being pumped up by vantalent. ity metrics and fluffy Forbes pieces. I’m no This willingness to stay curious and longer a hippie out to change the world; take risks is a new trend that bleeds into entrepreneurship has hardened me into a other areas of young people’s lives. As I data-based, optimization-focused business travel, I see more solo Chinese travelers, head. even women–something I could never say I’ve changed a lot, but so has China. half a decade ago. There are more experiOf course, there are obvious trends of the mental cuisines opening up in cosmopolchanging state of entrepreneurship in the itan cities like Shanghai, as compared to country–a higher number of young peo- my parents who still only eat Chinese food, ple joining the startup world and emulat- even in a city like Venice. 14
Stephany is currently living in Kenya to pursue her vision of building the China-Africa tech ecosystems after working in China for six years in design, fintech, and corporate tech.
Cultural tastes have widened too, from the widespread appearance of tattoos to interest in indie films to rap and TV shows. Another good example is how young business leaders, many of whom are the second-generation of successful manufacturing tycoons who did so well in second and third-tier cities, are looking for risk and reward along the Belt and Road. Since I moved from Shanghai to Nairobi, I’ve had a lot of young people reach out to me, from the young women I mentor in Henan to random people on LinkedIn and networking events. They’re interested in the work I do, but they’re more interested in how I made the decision to move to a new continent and start a new life– how I took a leap of faith. At the end of the day, the willingness to take risks exemplifies another trait–the ability to accept failure. In a culture where ‘face’ is so important, where the vices of failure are immortalized in a million idioms, failure is still a deeply unspeakable disgrace. But now, Chinese youth are starting to talk about this more openly and be willing to see it as stepping stone, rather than an irrevocable fall. As much as we think our Chinese elders are conservative, think about what they went through. At some point, they were also risk-takers and OGs. We’re just not falling far from the tree.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Stephany strives to create stories that knit diverse backgrounds together. An entrepreneur at heart, she founded ecommerce site Bundshop.com and League X, a boutique branding firm. She is currently the Head of Marketing at BitPesa, a foreign exchange and payment platform for frontier markets, and Executive Director of Phoenix Risen, a social enterprise to combat sexual violation. stephanyzoo.com
Happy Team, Happy Life Hacking Millennial hiring in the Digital Age BY WEITING TAN
he rise of the digital age has brought unparalleled change to the modern workforce. Candidates now hold far more power, as the current job market is 90% candidate-driven, according to Management Recruiters International. Roles have essentially reversed–talents pick their employers, not the other way round. With the ubiquity of platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, job opportunities are within easy reach, and candidates can find out a massive amount of information about a startup and its culture even before the first interview. To recruit the best and brightest, employers must know how to use the right digital tools and strategies in the hiring process.
Looking beyond the stereotypes
illennials have been vilified endlessly with a host of stereotypes. From being dubbed constant job-hoppers to “lazy, entitled narcissists” in a TIME cover story, this generation is blamed for countless problems with today’s hiring processes and workforce. Like it or not, Millennials will comprise 50% of the workforce by 2020, so it would be foolhardy not to understand the Team building at Wantedly’s headquarters in Tokyo. Photo courtesy of Wantedly.
means to attract and retain them, and the truth behind some of those stereotypes. A Udemy report interviewed 1,000 Millenials and found that learning and development, flexibility, and stability are most important to them. In other words, they’re not just looking for a paycheck, but a job that empowers them to make a difference, and can help them grow personally and professionally. The report also showed that 43% of Millennials expect to have between three to five jobs during their career, and 38% expect one or two, which is not any more than previous generations in their youth. A Census Report found that only 20% of Millennials moved in 2017, which is down 25% from previous generations. Job-hoppers? Not exactly. Ultimately, employers have the opportunity to attract, recruit, and retain talent in the long run, so long as they understand how to do it.
The importance of showcasing culture
LinkedIn study showed that 75% of job seekers research a company’s reputation and brand before applying, so it’s imperative for employers to focus on building the company’s brand. Having a clear, thoughtful online presence and numerous positive employee reviews means half the
recruitment battle is won. Understanding what Millennials appreciate in a company will help startups craft a compelling and honest company identity. For instance, they value social responsibility, so showcasing how your company is socially conscious will convince Millennials that they’ll be proud to work for you. Millennials also place considerable emphasis on growth and development. Thus, job descriptions should not just be a laundry list of roles and responsibilities, but demonstrate their opportunity to develop within the organization. They are also a generation that values work-life balance. Having competitive annual leave days, benefits, and perks packages will help entice talent, but this doesn’t necessarily mean ping-pong tables and buffet spreads for lunch. Non-essential benefits like continuing education reimbursement, flexible work arrangements, and student loan assistance are real benefits that will strike a chord. In today’s recruitment climate, startups must effectively communicate their company mission and culture, commit to employee development, and stay nimble in attracting and retaining the right talents who align with your values. After all, happy workers mean better life and better business.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Weiting is the Regional Director of Southeast Asia at Wantedly, a social hiring platform that allows talents and companies to meet based on mission and values. With offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Berlin, Wantedly brings solutions to companies in this new age of hiring. wantedly.com JUMPSTART MAGAZINE
range anywhere between 70% to 90% of the initial invoiced amount, depending on how far off these invoice dates are and how likely the buyer can collect them. Lastly, it’s possible to ask customers to pay a deposit, have a retainer, or sell preloaded gift cards. Software-as-a-service startups often do this by asking customers to pay in advance and offer a discount over paying monthly.
Cash is Still King How startups can manage and prove their cash flow in 2019 BY KEVIN KANG
Slow down cash going out
tartups live and die by their cash. According to a recent CB Insights study of 101 startup failures, running out of cash is the second biggest reason why startups fail, ahead of having the wrong team, competition, and pricing issues. Profit is important, but it’s technically useless if it isn’t in hand when it’s needed. If the value of the company is stuck in inventory, unpaid invoices, and prepaid accounts, then operations can easily be disrupted when the business is short on cash. In other words, timing is everything. To avoid disruptions in growth, it’s crucial for founders to regularly examine, manage, and improve their cash flow by looking at the following.
new cash flow management tools to make this process more efficient, and there’s always Excel. Understand sources and cash traps
ash from sales is great, but it’s not the only source of cash for the startup to grow. Startups should identify other cash sources, such as reserve sitting in the bank account, forms of credit, investment, or uncollected invoices. For cash traps, it’s crucial to evaluate where it’s stuck, such as cash spent on unsold inventory or pre-paying for a significant investment that generates cash at a slower pace.
Monitor all transactions and forecast
tart by having a proper record of all transactions. For invoices issued, track how many days outstanding, and plan around when and how to collect. For invoices received, observe due dates and frequency of recurring invoices. This information will facilitate better financial decisions about profit, loss, and opportunities for expansion. Generally, startups should budget the next 12 to 18 months of cash flow using this information. There are traditional and
t’s possible to negotiate payment deadlines with certain vendors, suppliers, and landlords. Ideally, set a range of 30 to 60 days from receipt of an invoice, but startups don’t want to push too hard as to maintain a good relationship with them. Agreeing on an installment plan is a good middle ground, so the cash doesn’t leave all at once. Alternatively, banks offer working capital loans. However, getting the loan approved will depend on the bank’s assessment of the startup’s current financial status, collateral, and guarantees–all of which can make the process very complicated. Startups can also use credit cards to earn extra time on when cash leaves the bank account, which can be up to 60 days from the payment date. Historically, this was not possible because landlords or employees cannot accept credit card payments, but there are now platforms that enable credit-based transactions. This method allows businesses to use their cash in ways that make more sense for them, such as to grow and expand.
Speed up cash coming in
he more convenient it is for customers to pay, the faster it will be to get cash in the account, so consider integrating more payment options like credit cards, digital wallets, or cryptocurrencies if this is an issue. Startups with larger invoices should aggregate ones that haven’t been collected and sell them off as a package to invoice factoring services. This won’t get the full amount, but it will get money into the bank right away. The actual amount can
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin is a Co-founder of Reap, a platform that allows startups and small to medium-sized enterprises to pay all operating expenses using credit cards. A former investor and finance professional, Kevin holds an MBA from the European Institute of Business Administration and a BSc from the University of Waterloo. reap.hk
Style & Appearance
Personal Brand Building
A Star is Born Elevating your personal brand as an entrepreneur BY TRACY HO
ersonal branding is a strategic concept. It’s about creating and taking control of the ideal perception a person wants others to have of them. ‘Branding is not my priority’ is something we often hear in the startup community. I hold a different view. It’s essential for startup founders to build and strengthen their personal brand and the sooner, the better. A smart and successful personal brand will give you an edge to win more business and accelerate growth. If you ask any angel investor or venture capitalist what they look for in a winning startup, they’ll say that they invest in the person, not the business.
Communication is crucial
he first and most important part of personal branding is to find the niche that rightly positions you in the market and communicate it clearly, concisely, and consistently. Proper brand positioning makes the promise that you can capture your target audience in ways your competitors can’t. Your personal brand positioning statement, if crafted and communicated well, sets you apart from your peers, helps you gain trust, and wins stakeholders over. Not sure how to craft your statement? Try the simple 4W1H formula: in 150 words, tell others who you are, what you do, where your target audience is, why you started the business, and how you add value to the market and your audience.
Elevate your style
ooking good doesn’t have to mean dressing formally. Being authentic is the key to success. Find your style and be consistent in showcasing your individuality. Your outfits, hairstyle, and accessories can instantly make or break your brand. Make styling choices that allow you to feel like yourself while taking note of what the occasion dictates. Let me share a client experience: we recently coached a startup 18
The five pillars of personal branding by Frame and Fame, a personal branding agency fueling brand building for entrepreneurs, SME business owners and corporate executives.
founder for his pitch. Instead of his usual casual wear, we discussed what kind of brand personality he wanted to exude to investors. We added some orange elements to match his navy blue shirt and changed his black jeans to a pair of beige pants to show his warm, friendly, and sincere personality. He liked the outcome and thought the color reflected his character and helped boost his confidence during the pitch.
Personal network matters
f you want to build your personal brand for business growth, you must ask yourself whether you’re spending enough time reaching out to your audience. With the help of smartphones, online networking couldn’t be easier. In-person networking and relationship building is just as vital. I suggest that startup founders ideally spend 20% of their time every day to build their personal and professional network, online and offline–no excuses.
Set a foundation
astly, make sure you’re knowledgeable and are in the right mindset to succeed. Be 100% ready, inside and out. Without adopting the ‘branding mindset,’ you may feel uneasy or insecure when communicating with your audience. Hence, be sure you know why you are on the personal branding journey. Once you start, there’s no turning back. Back up your visual brand with a solid understanding of your industry, such as the latest trends, regulations, and competitive landscape. This is what we call ‘the meat,’ or factual knowledge. If you can articulate your knowledge clearly and directly, people will see you as the go-to expert.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Tracy is a leading personal branding strategist in Asia. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Frame and Fame, an award-winning personal branding boutique in Hong Kong. Tracy is also a personal branding coach for various MBA programs, startup accelerators, co-working spaces, and universities in Hong Kong. frameandfame.com
Violent Delights Have Violent Ends Recognizing technology’s potential for destruction BY CHRISTOPHER SCHRADER
month ago, I was on a 1950s refurbished diesel boat cruising in the Arctic Circle under the midnight sun. I was sharing a whisky with Jonathan Nolan, creator of the hit HBO show Westworld. The series has a cult-like following, and in what may be my famous last words as a columnist, Westworld is far better than Game of Thrones. Westworld is set in a theme park where the emergence of consciousness in its android hosts threatens the safety of park-goers and the goals of park management. Nolan, who is known for his colorful language, shared his take on the big ideas the show seeks to explore with me: “It’s not about the AI (artificial intelligence) we create, but what AI the AI creates. That’s fascinating. For the first time in our history, we’ll have no f– idea what the f– is going to happen.” Generally speaking, when you create something, you can understand and control it. But if that creation invents intelligence of its own, you lose the control you have on its outcomes. Silicon Valley leaders ask what intelligence built by intelligence will look like when it never forgets, is powered by the collective knowledge of our species (i.e., the internet), and has the capacity to learn it in seconds. I’m reminded of the opening chapter from Hugo Award-win-
ning science fiction novel A Fire Upon the Deep: space-faring archaeologists accidentally awaken an ancient superintelligence, and the opening chapter follows the five seconds since its awakening, as it wipes out the settlement and plans to destroy the galaxy. The chapter highlights that human concepts of time and cognition are entirely different for machines that can make calculations and decisions in seconds, where it would require months for a human. While Hollywood directors and science fiction authors worry about what AIs will create, the rest of us should also pay attention to unintended and destructive consequences of our creations in technology today. At Harvard, one of my professors often reminded us that ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’ Even today, we witness many adverse secondary effects happening around us. When inventors aren’t Researchers at the Massaconcerned enough chusetts Institute of Technology with the unintended recently showed that fake political effects of their news spreads three times faster inventions, products than other news and is 60% more can rapidly devolve likely to be retweeted. In countries into unmanageable with gun regulation, ‘recipes’ for conduits that spread 3D printed, single-use weapons harm and destruction. can spread across the internet and be downloaded by anyone. A study by the Royal Society of Public Health reports that 70% of 14- to 24-year-olds find Instagram to exacerbate their anxiety and caused cyberbullying. In today’s world, technology stands unique in that a promising invention can propagate across the entire world and be used by millions, within minutes. When inventors aren’t concerned enough with the unintended effects of their inventions, products can rapidly devolve into unmanageable conduits that spread harm and destruction. Westworld’s most famous line is “these violent delights have violent ends”–a phrase repeated throughout the series by the main characters. It actually originates from Romeo and Juliet; Friar Laurence suggests that Romeo practice patience and moderation, and cautions him against an explosive and swift love, which would end in tragedy. Like Romeo and Juliet’s romance, we are in love with technology and all the exciting possibilities it brings us. But even without AI, we are beginning to feel those effects permeate society. We must be patient, responsible and careful in our creations to avoid unintended and destructive tragedy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Christopher is the General Manager of Surkus, an app that connects brands to their ideal audiences through experiences and events. He is also the Founder of the global charity 24 Hour Race. Christopher is one of the youngest Royal Geographical Society fellows, and is a Kairos Society fellow and founding member of Future Talks. surkus.com
Deep Tech Trends to Look Out for in 2019 What it all means from an investment perspective BY HSIEN-HUI TONG
ig data, blockchain, and artificial intelligence (AI) are deep tech buzzwords that are sure to get the attention of potential investors. However, any savvy venture capitalist (VC) or investor knows they have to dig deeper to separate hype from commercial viability. A typical VC investing in a general tech startup will say: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s my money, if you can show me this return within this period of time.â&#x20AC;? There are countless benchmarks for business and financial models for a typical startup, but this is not the case for investments into deep tech, where both models are uncertain, and there are few benchmarks, if any. Deep tech investment requires the consideration of multiple hurdles such as regulatory compliance, corporate and social inertia, technological rigor, and long product gestation periods. For this reason, even if deep tech has become a hot topic 20
in recent years, investors should remain careful about separating the wheat from the chaff.
AI as a specialized problem-solver
I has been a recurring item in deep tech, and things will be no different this year. However, there is now a greater awareness of the limitations and challenges of building a general AI. Most AI companies try to do too many things in too many industries, simply because they can. While these companies may have started with the intention of building products, they inevitably trend towards becoming consulting firms, working on data specific to their clients. Often, they fail to work with a sufficient number of clients in a particular industry to build a deployable product. 2019 will be the year for AI companies
that are narrowly focused on specific processes to solve industry pain points to win big in the market, such as AIDA and Taiger. If an AI startup tells you their target audience is everyone, it usually means their revenue will likely be highly skewed on the service side, making them unable to scale and an unattractive investment to VCs.
Blockchain assumes its next form
ecent discussions about blockchain have centered around its convergence with AI and the Internet of Things to form the backbone of the next generation of the internet. But this is unlikely to be a significant area of investment in 2019, as we are still far from this reality, tech-wise. While not as snazzy as initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies, blockchain startups addressing specific industry problems will pique our interest in the coming
reality for at least another five to 10 years due to the sheer technological and infrastructure obstacles involved. At the platform level, AVs are not likely to be an area of focus in 2019. Instead, the intermediate stage occupied by teleoperations, namely remote-controlled vehicles, is expected to see increased growth because they are deployed in labor-intensive industries (e.g., ports) or hazardous areas (e.g., mining). Component technologies that can enhance existing sensors, energy storage, navigation, and decision support are likely to become more important, as they can be used for existing vehicles and infrastructure.
Harnessing deep tech for niche problems
T As investors, we have to remain fully aware of each technology’s limitations and not get caught up in the hype, no matter how attractive a deal may appear. year, such as claims processing, chain of custody, trade documentation, rights management, and social enterprises (e.g., refugee management systems). Again, solving a specific problem for a niche industry is critical in differentiating high potential blockchain companies from the rest. We will be looking at blockchain applications that do not go up against the technological barrier of scalability, but solve challenging problems that involve a smaller number of stakeholders.
The doctor will see you now
ealth technology remains a tough one to crack because of the complex interactions between regulators, the healthcare industry, research community, and end consumers. On the regulatory side, startups in this area are burdened with the challenge of securing Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) approvals, tightened regulations of the CE marking by the European Union, and a myriad of ethical dilemmas. Medical professionals are also wary of new technologies on the market, not because they fear for their jobs, but because of the potential impact on the quality of care and possible liabilities that might arise from adopting these technologies. Products that assist and augment the role of medical professionals will see better traction in 2019. Such products include the convergence of AI with medical devices to help practitioners quickly pinpoint areas of concern in an x-ray or pathological sample, or one that enables the monitoring of patient vitals in real-time. Healthtech is likely to remain highly localized due to data privacy laws; thus, concerns over scalability and speed of growth should be considered.
We don’t need roads where we’re going, yet
imilar to healthtech, autonomous vehicles (AVs) represent the convergence of multiple technologies with numerous regulatory, trade union, and consumer mindset hurdles to overcome. True AVs with Level 5 or full automation are unlikely to be a
his will be an interesting year as deep technologies mature. Global economic issues and the implementation of new policies by the United States Committee on Foreign Investment are making overseas investment in U.S. startups more challenging, presenting opportunities for Asian startups and investors in the categories above. As investors, we have to remain fully aware of each technology’s limitations and not get caught up in the hype, no matter how attractive a deal may appear.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As the Head of Venture Investing at SGInnovate, Hsien-Hui oversees investment efforts, which target high-potential, deep technology startups working on areas such as artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, medtech, and blockchain. Prior to joining SGInnovate, he was the Managing Partner, Asia Pacific for Wassax Ventures. He has also served as the CEO of the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) and Vice President at Staples. Hsien-Hui graduated in 1998 from NUS with a Bachelor of Engineering. sginnovate.com
Running a Business, Consumer Tech, China, and Forecasts
QUICK L O OK : CHIN A
Recent market findings to tickle your interest
of existing jobs in China could be automated over the next 20 years, but this is projected to be more than offset by job creation of 38%, giving an estimated net gain of 12% (PwC).
F OR EC A S T S
of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stored data could reside in public cloud environments (i.e. Dropbox, Box, iCloud, etc.) by 2025 (Seagate).
RUNNING A B U SINE S S
of APAC businesses do not understand why their customers are loyal to their organizations. 67% report they do not have a proper framework in place to measure loyalty in the context of overall business performance (Collinson).
tons of carbon is projected to be reduced globally by 2030 due to flexible working and its effect on commute time (Regus).
B u sine s s l e a der s fa ce high job dem a nd s a nd high job c on t r ol Higher job demands are associated with lower wellbeing (i.e., high blood pressure and other health issues), whereas higher job control was associated with greater wellbeing (CUHK,
of Chinese consumers say they are very interested in new technology and will be the first ones to buy a new device when it comes out, ahead of the 29% global average
of business leaders agree that customers are becoming more powerful and 93% believe that customer expectations are increasing (Vodafone). Wage transparency works and reduces gender pay gap by
was invested into research and development in China in 2018, marking an increase of 34% from 2017, compared to 11% globally (PwC).
C ON S UMER T ECH
of Chinese executives are very confident about their organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prospects for revenue growth this year, even though 29% are anticipating increased barriers for moving goods across borders (PwC).
of smart speaker owners report using their voice assistants at least once daily (Adobe).
of gamers play online or mobile games every day
(Morten Bennedsen, Professor of Economics at INSEAD).
(Paypal). January 2019
The Art of Crafting a Brand Story Powerful ways to reinvent your brand in the new year BY JASMINE BINA
he stories that change over time are the ones that matter. Family histories, legends, fables, cultural narratives, identities–these are all stories that change with each new telling and adapt to new audiences. We change our personal stories to resonate with who we are today because, at their most fundamental level, stories are devices for self-discovery, irrespective of time and place. Your company’s brand story also needs to evolve if you want it to stay relevant. Markets and consumers are changing faster than ever, and with each new competitor, the overall story of your space shifts. A static story simply cannot survive in a dynamic world. If you want your brand to matter, ask yourself if the story you are telling is one that lives. Can your users make the story their own? Is there an emotional connection between the story and your audience? Does the story give your company a plat-
Great brand stories aren’t merely told. They are earned. form for growth and expansion, or has it tied you to unchanging expectations? If your brand story isn’t growing with your company, it’s time to make a change in 2019. Reinventing a narrative can be very powerful; it’s risky, but also highly rewarding if done right because only when stories change do they come to life. Here are a few things to keep in mind to guide your metamorphosis into a new, robust, and successful brand.
Start in the future and work backward
any people start with their current brand story and try to move that narrative into a new one, but the best way to do it is, in fact, the other way around.
It’s imperative to keep a strong connection between your present and future stories, but as long as today is your starting point, you won’t be able to break free of the beliefs, biases, and paradigms that may be holding your brand back. Instead, look at the landscape two to five years from now. Who has your user become? How has the competitive playing field changed? What does this new world look like? Taking these considerations into account, what is that one resonant story that can stand unique and defensible against all others? Tesla isn’t about the car, market, or even technology. It’s about science fiction. Elon Musk has created a tangible vision of what his world looks like and every action he takes, Tesla or otherwise, is a step toward forcing that future into reality. He didn’t start with the story of the car, but a snapshot of what the world will look like. The car is only a natural extension of it. Gently walk your customer into your vision of the future and show them your brand can take them there. What your user wants, more than anything else, is a connection to an ideal tomorrow.
Offer a revelation
he majority of brands reveal something about their company or product to the audience, but few reveal something about the user to themselves. It’s a subtle, but profoundly significant difference. If you pay attention, you’ll see that today’s winning brands understand that the customer’s story is the only one that
matters. Your most important job as a brand is to show people whom they can become with your product. Great brands know this and understand they are in the business of helping people realize their potential, regardless of what the product or service is. Any brand, from laundry detergent to medicine, is capable of offering a revelation if they’re smart about their storytelling approach. This revelation is what stays with people long after your brand touches them. When Airbnb rebranded in 2014, they already had a phenomenal six years of effective travel branding behind them. They were an alternative to hotels and spoke to utility-focused users who wanted more in the way of cost savings, easy booking, and availability. Even at that time, Airbnb had the foresight to see they needed to move from a utility-focused, feature-based messaging to something that is fundamentally more stirring. They needed to offer a revelation to the consumer, causing them to not see Airbnb as a hotel alternative, but an entirely new form of travel. That’s when they launched their ‘Belong Anywhere’ campaign. Travel was no longer about amenities, but belonging and feeling at home, no matter where you came from or how far you wandered–an especially appropriate angle if you’re a disillusioned Millennial in search of identity through travel. This revelation changed the playing field. It wasn’t about Airbnb. It wasn’t about the product. It was about the user.
Go somewhere new and create tension
enturing into unknown territory creates tension, and tension creates reaction. This reaction indicates whether your brand is heading in the right direction. Brand stories that carry tension create lovers and haters–people who are immediately drawn to the brand and become diehard loyalists, and people who are turned off and quickly walk away. The last thing you want is to be somewhere in the middle, where consumers ultimately do not care. The story in the middle is irrelevant. Being there will cost you in terms of customer acquisition and churn over time, and does nothing to protect your brand down the road. Tension is good, as scary as it sounds.
Above: hims’s brand is built on the belief that “men are allowed to want to take care of themselves.” Photo courtesy of hims.
Lean into it. Tension is what attracts the early adopters who will evangelize your brand, and lead the rest of your market into the future you want to create. It forces conversation, content, and movement, and tension will inevitably force your competitors to react. hims, the direct-to-consumer men’s wellness startup that sells skin, hair, and personal care products, has used tension masterfully to position their brand on a single, compelling principle: men’s taboos are hurting the men who believe in them. While other men’s brands like Gillette, Degree, and Old Spice continue to portray the alpha male, which is limited in its identity and definition, hims attempts to create a new context around gendered personal care products. They’re starting a conversation that destroys old biases and gives men a chance to explore a side of themselves they may not have had the emotional freedom or social permission to explore before, even though these products have always existed. Every story that matters is one that creates tension in its time. This does not mean you have to be controversial or employ shock value. On the contrary, it means you have to make a statement about the world and force people to choose a side. Today’s leading brands all have a belief about the world and its future. This is a powerful position to take in any indus-
try and is the kind of move that breaks through the noise and earns respect.
reat brand stories aren’t merely told. They are earned. Every action you take, from sales and communications to partnerships, needs to tell that story over and over again. Your users come to know your brand by reading between the lines. If you decide to reinvent your brand story this year: be bold. You have the opportunity not only to move yourself, but your users, peers, and the entire industry.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jasmine is the Founder and CEO of Concept Bureau, a brand strategy agency that works with international brands and growth-stage startups. She has spent the last decade working with global companies from a variety of industries, with a special focus on reaching Millennial, Gen X, and Gen Z consumers. Her research on emerging consumer and behavior trends is regularly published in national outlets, and she frequently speaks on the topic of brand strategy in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, New York, and at international brands and universities. conceptbureau.com
If a start up can ge t to t he fron t ier of a t echnology a nd l e v er age i ts st rengt hs as a sm al l ne wcomer, i t has a be t t er ch ance of f inding a foot hol d a nd e v en t ua l ly disrupt ing t he incumben ts.
Reaching the Technology Frontier Applying the theory of disruptive innovation to your startup BY JASON BELL
layton Christensen wrote The Innovator’s Dilemma in 1997. In the book, he coined the term ‘disruptive innovation.’ The term has since entered the popular lexicon, becoming a regular topic of conversation in the startup world. The popularity of the idea suggests value, but society certainly uses it loosely, which sometimes leads to confusion. To properly apply Christensen’s insight, startup leaders must first understand the theory and its origins. The best illustration of Christensen’s concept of disruptive innovation is the case study he used to develop it. It details how the disk drive industry came to be dominated by a group of small firms as opposed to the established ones. His central point is that big firms ignored the innovative technology of newer firms because of the latter’s inferior performance at the time. Eventually, the technology evolved to become superior to existing technology, allowing newer firms to take over the market, as the incumbent firms were too behind to catch up by that point. Generally, disruptive innovations are new technologies that start by having worse performance than existing technologies, but eventually grow to dominate the market. Christensen’s theory is useful for academics, entrepreneurs, and managers. For academics, it solves the puzzle of why and how dominant firms with the best technology can fail to newcomers in a short period of time. For entrepreneurs, it provides a framework for attacking incumbent firms and technologies. For managers, it describes a threat and how to overcome it. However, there exist some problems with the theory’s interpretation. First, while the concept of disruptive innovation is useful for making sense of firms that have already disrupted, it is much harder to apply it before a disruption. Second, big firms are not as clueless as the disk drive case study suggests, and since the notion of disruptive innovation has spread, they’ve become ever more careful.
Concerning the first problem, it’s important to avoid concluding too much from past disruptions. If you only look at successful disruptions in your industry, you may misjudge the reason behind their successes and waste time trying to replicate their approach. Rather than copying current or recent disruptions, look ahead to where the industry is going. Find the people on the frontier. You can run much faster with your eyes ahead than behind. There are several ways to stay on the frontier. Follow academic literature about the industry, read blogs, observe investment decisions, and commit to research and development. Pay more attention to industry employees than customers. Talking to users or customers will reveal information about current technological offerings, but it won’t tell you where things are going next. The best chance of success is when you know something other people don’t. If the industry is ignoring a new technology because of a particular problem, but you know how to solve that problem, then this opportunity will reduce the competitive pressure dramatically. The second problem with the way most people understand disruptive innovation is that they believe big firms are destined to fail, as long as new firms are nimble and clever. We all love stories of success against the odds, the small overcoming the large,
and the new replacing the old. But our desire to root for the underdog can leave us susceptible to misleading perceptions. As it turns out, research suggests that big, established companies usually produce the breakthrough technologies that become dominant, not the small newcomers. This is partly because the established players are already at the frontier of the technology, and they are always on the lookout for who and what could disrupt them. One way for a small newcomer to improve the odds is to leverage its strengths, such as increasing the pace of decision-making, development, and integrating customer feedback into the product. Big firms have considerable advantages in terms of resources, knowledge, and the ability to execute their vision at a high standard. But they are slow to approve of major changes, adopt an unproven technology, take innovations to market, and feedback is often not integrated into the product quickly. If a startup can get to the frontier of a technology and leverage its strengths as a small newcomer, then it has a better chance of finding a foothold and eventually disrupting the incumbents. While the odds are not as good as some people think, it is certainly possible to take disruptive innovations to market. The rewards of doing so for startups, customers, and society are well worth the effort.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jason is a researcher at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School and the Co-founder of Novaline. Novaline builds tools and offers services to improve ideation, prototyping, and manufacturing of physical goods. novaline.io
to see how profitable they are, social enterprises should regularly measure their social impact to understand how well they meet their mission statements. For example, an enterprise that provides job training to disadvantaged communities may look at the number of people they train each month along with the average percentage increase in their incomes after one year. It is understandable for early-stage startups to lack the resources to spend on measuring social impact, but at a minimum, they should have a broad view of the scale of impact that’s created and set goals alongside traditional earnings targets. It’s useful to have this data available when talking to a variety of stakeholders, such as customers, employ, and potential investors. If the startup has trouble quantifying or describing the social impact they want to manifest, then they should reevaluate or even redesign their social business model.
Social enterprises need revenue and profit, too
A Balancing Act Five steps to social enterprise success
any social entrepreneurs focus too much on the social side of their enterprise without acknowledging that the business side is what allows it to be sustainable. If the means for social impact are effectively integrated into the business model, then ‘revenue’ and ‘profit’ are not dirty words, but what enables the startup to achieve its ultimate objective of generating impact now and in the future. Grants can provide a helpful boost, but are not sustainable sources of revenue and can even subsidize lousy product ideas and inefficient business models.
tarting any new business is tough, but social enterprise startups face a unique set of challenges compared to their traditional counterparts. It can be a delicate balancing act, but keeping these five tips in mind can help any new social entrepreneur get their startup heading in the right direction.
If it’s not measurable, then it’s not workable n the same way that traditional businesses review their earnings statements
Find passionate people
hile technology startups can lure talent with high salaries from investors and the promise of working on cutting-edge products, social enterprises generally can’t take the same approach. Instead, they must find individuals who share the passion for the mission, since it’s this dedication that will keep them motivated during challenging times. While social enterprises differ from traditional companies because of their social missions, in many ways, the keys to success are the same as any other startup. It’s important for social entrepreneurs to balance the business and social needs of their enterprises to further their visions for a better world.
Be innovative to stay competitive
BY CLINT COO
highest quality, or even the most environmentally or socially sustainable. However, customers choose to purchase products because of the company’s ability to create an emotional connection. Like any other startup, social enterprises need a strong brand identity to stand out. While it may be tempting to build a brand entirely around the social story, the social benefit of a product is rarely the most important factor a potential customer considers when making a purchase. Customers typically prioritize price, quality, innovation, style, and value, so it’s essential for social enterprises to perfect these elements, too.
ocial enterprises often operate with higher costs compared to their profit-driven competitors. Higher costs translate to higher retail prices for customers or lower quality products at the same price point. If the social enterprise can provide products and services that are better and more innovative than the competition, then the value proposition is a no-brainer for the customer.
It’s not one story that rules them all
he best selling smartphone or sneaker is not necessarily the cheapest, the
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Clint is the Business Devlopment Manager of Jasberry, a Thai social enterprise that partners with over 2,500 Thai rice farmers to grow organic Jasberry® rice, a nutritious variety of non-GMO purple rice. By providing training to reduce planting costs, increase yields, and paying farmers up to 200% more than commodity rates, Jasberry enables farmers to escape poverty by earning 14 times more than average farmers. jasberry.net
Statistically Significant An academic perspective on the growing field of data science BY NAYANTARA BHAT
ata science has been around for longer than one might think, but it only began to attract public interest a few years ago. With greater technological integration into daily business functions and the rapid growth of startup tech ecosystems across the globe, data science has evolved from a little-known combination of data analytics and computer science to something of a necessity for startups and corporates alike. In part, the growth of data science has been driven by success stories, with big companies implementing data management solutions to improve KPIs. However, a big reason for the rise is the sheer volume of data the world is dealing with–to a point almost beyond control. According to SINTEF, more data has been created in the past five years alone than in the entirety of human history before that. Startups can undoubtedly benefit from exploiting this data to unearth new opportunities in their current markets or discover new markets entirely. Before that’s possible, experts believe both technology and regulations must evolve.
Data generation has spawned by-products like the creation of new technologies to process and analyze information, unearthing patterns and making predictions in nanoseconds. On the flip side, data privacy concerns loom over the field. Regulators are rushing to keep up with the pace of technological development in the face of incidents like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which raised questions of election fraud in the United States, and the Google+ and Cathay Pacific hacks in October 2018 that compromised user data. Demand for data scientists has pushed universities to introduce data science programs. One such example is the recently-introduced Master in Data Science at The University of Hong Kong (HKU). Jumpstart speaks to two professors heading the program, Program Coordinator Dr Y.K. Chung (YKC) and Program Director Professor W.K. Li (WKL), about the growing field of big data. What can this field offer to individuals, startups, and corporations, where can it take us, and what will it cost to get us there?
What led to the creation of the Master in Data Science program at HKU? YKC: As you know, big data, data science, and data analytics are in high demand from students and the workforce. Data scientists are trained as statisticians and computer scientists, so there’s a lot they can offer. WKL: The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science and the Department of Computer Science are leading departments in Hong Kong and the region, and have been for many years, so it’s appropriate for us to launch this degree together to meet the needs and demands of society. What jobs are your graduates likely to get? YKC: They have many opportunities in almost every industry. For example, companies have large datasets and need to mine these datasets to discover relationships in customer behavior. Companies often also manage geographic information systems and global positioning systems in their businesses, which are all needs our graduates can fill. WKL: Many companies may not be very quantitative, but after hearing success stories in the application of data science, they create new positions for data scientists. What excites you about data science? YKC: I think what the Chief Economist of Google [Hal Varian] said is true. [“I keep saying the sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians. People think I’m joking, but who would’ve guessed that computer engineers would’ve been the sexy job of the 1990s?”] WKL: Data science is now referred to as the fourth paradigm of science, which will open many doors for statistical research. There are many significant data challenges, and we need new statistical methodologies to address it. We’re dealing with unstructured data, high volumes of data, high dimensional data, etc.
Top: Data science students from HKU compete annually for the SAS Innovative Data Mining Award, which recognizes projects that address real-world problems. Pictured are the winners from 2018. Right: Data science lessons are held on HKU’s main campus. Photos courtesy of HKU. 30
YKC: There are also non-traditional types of data, such as images. They’re not numerical, so we have to invent new methods and apply new technologies.
What are some tangible ways data science can benefit people and the economy? YKC: You’re surfing the web looking for products. Then you go on Facebook and see recommendations. That’s one example. Also, some companies offer indoor navigation services, which uses a WiFi signal to track your behavior as you window shop or walk around. They then provide this data to shops or businesses to help them optimize customer experience. Soon, we’ll be diagnosed by robots when we go to the doctor. Google DeepMind, which created AlphaGo, reported a successful case on the diagnosis of eye disease. The algorithm can already perform better than human doctors, and the results were published in Nature Medicine. Our department just launched a big data analysis project with the Hospital Authority. WKL: It’s about analyzing the risk of acute eczema sores based on 20-second scans of the patient. We can identify 95% of large occlusion cases. What are the main obstacles preventing it from being more widely used?
We can go onto government websites and download data, but some are published in PDF files, which are not user-friendly. This is the situation for most of the governments. Is privacy a big concern? WKL: Take the example of the Hospital Authority project. For the researcher, the more data, the better. But if you’re a patient, you will be very sensitive about whether your personal information is being leaked. It also depends on how extensive the database is. If you have a small database, then there’s the danger that personal information will be leaked. But if you have a large dataset, then the probability of that is much lower. You have to find the right balance between how much information you want while protecting the privacy of your patients. There’s no easy answer. YKC: I think it’s changing because we now have the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe, and people are more aware of information security issues.
WKL: Right now, many people think that data is money. It’s a valuable resource, so companies will try to keep it to themselves, which could be an obstacle. Also, privacy.
WKL: As time goes by, there will be better regulations, and companies will care more about personal data. There will be more incidents and scandals, but it’s through these incidents that things will improve.
YKC: Governments are making slow progress in sharing their data with the public.
YKC: The law needs to keep up with the pace of new technology. Another obstacle
is the shortage of data scientists. How many people are enrolled in your master’s program? WKL: We admitted 88 students last year, full-time and part-time, with over 1200 applicants. YKC: More people are aware of the opportunities in this field. We want to stay ahead of [other universities] in launching this program. WKL: When we screen applicants, we are looking for people who have a solid background in mathematics, statistics, and computer science. Few are competent in all areas, so it’s quite rigorous. What are some changes we can expect going forward? WKL: I foresee that applications of data science will guide us through all life decisions. Another HKU department is developing an app to guide people who have allergies on where to go hiking, as certain routes are less polluted than others. The potential is endless. On the technology side, there will be faster, more efficient methods of making computations and arriving at solutions. These capacities double every two years. YKC: The field will also mature, so there will be more career options. Nayantara is Jumpstart’s Editorial Associate.
Securing Your Digital Metamorphosis The journey to greater cybersecurity begins with a single step BY PAUL HADJY
he arrival of advanced digital solutions through the Internet of Things (IoT) is the primary catalyst driving the Industry 4.0* metamorphosis across the Asia Pacific region. This digital transformation is evident in the broader business environment, where 94% of companies adopting IoT solutions into its corporate strategies are already seeing a significant return on investment, according to a 2018 white paper by CSG International. Successful adoption of IoT solutions critically relies on two things: information technology (IT) and data. IT solutions drive interactions between startups and their recurring and prospective clients, and range from hardware to software assets. Such interactions generate data, which dynamically assists crucial decision-making processes and can make or break the survival of any startup in the Industry 4.0 landscape. Despite the resources and education presently available to help startups enter into the Industry 4.0 marketplace, cybersecurity *Industry 4.0 is considered by many to be the fourth Industrial Revolution, where automation and data exchange come together to streamline manufacturing processes. Industry 4.0 includes cyber-physical systems, IoT, cloud computing, and cognitive computing. 32
Security events such as network breaches and data theft will happen. In todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cyber threat landscape, it is no longer a question of if, but when. remains under-examined in most organizations. All businesses need a holistic approach to securing their IT and data assets, which entails procedures for protecting the assets, determining the level of cybersecurity risk, and executing protocol during a security event. When it comes to IT and data protection, startups should integrate the following practices into their business processes.
Update, backup, and control the network
egularly updating IT assets, which includes computers, mobile devices, and any accompanying software is a basic step toward protecting them. Most software updates include critical security patches designed to address any discovered vulnerabilities.
However, companies must also regularly back up any vital business information in a secure location. This can range from a localized encrypted server to secure cloud storage provided by a Third Party Managed Data Backup service provider. Such precautions not only provide an older version to fall back on should the update fail, but it also ensures a redundant copy of any critical information is secured if anything goes missing or stolen. Controlling access to the business network safeguards startups against unauthorized individuals who should not have access to accounts and other information. Controlling what happens around and within the network is a necessary practice for protecting assets. Aside from access restriction, having proper change management policies and IT governance frameworks increases visibility and control over what happens in the business’s IT environment. Also, formalizing these practices as business requirements provides a degree of environmental awareness to support threat prevention, detection, and response capabilities.
The human pitfall
n a world where everything is going digital, hardware and software developers are increasingly directing their efforts on securing the technological domain. But our inherent belief and trust in technology and its accompanying solutions leads to the most critical and common pitfall of all: the human element. Employees are the backbone of every business, making them valuable targets for hackers. We use technology to accomplish so many business processes that we often don’t scrutinize what we see on our screens. Hackers take advantage of this opportunity, which has led to an abundance of simple social engineering attacks commonly known as phishing. Empowering staff and properly preparing them for cybersecurity risk is another practice that startups should look to normalize, which can range from cybersecurity awareness training to preventing hackers from exploiting staff at any level. Additionally, a well-designed Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is essential. When designing a BCP with the business team, remember to align data recovery processes with business needs. Pay attention to Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs)–two measurements that indicate how much data can afford to be lost and how long it takes to recover information. Mapping data recovery processes like BCPs to business needs and testing it with disaster recovery drills allows a smoother return to business-as-usual after a cyber attack.
internally or outsourced to a third-party security vendor. Startups should ensure their response capabilities are developed in parallel to their business continuity and disaster recovery plans in order to facilitate a speedy restoration to operational strength after a security event.
ABOUT THE AU T H O R
Assessing risks and responding to threats
he journey toward greater cybersecurity begins with a single step. For startups, this step is to know themselves, and the current state of their cybersecurity posture by conducting risk assessments on both their IT and business infrastructures. But just learning about and mitigating risk is not enough. Security events such as network breaches and data theft will happen. In today’s cyber threat landscape, it is no longer a question of if, but when. Therefore, businesses need to be ready to respond to any security event that may occur through the employment of a Cyber Emergency Response Team (CERT), which can be set up
Paul is the CEO and Founder of Horangi Pte Ltd. Before Horangi, Paul worked at Palantir Technologies, where he was instrumental in expanding Palantir’s footprint in the Asia Pacific region. Paul has over a decade of experience in anti-money laundering, insider threat, cybersecurity, government, and commercial banking. In 2016, Grab selected Paul as their Head of Information Security and IT to shape the company’s internal technology, information security, and business process architecture during their rapid scaling. horangi.com
Your Digital Marketing Strategy Guide for 2019 A leading digital agency tells you which trends to look out for BY JASON WONG
orking at an international digital agency, I’m constantly asked about what I think is the next big thing in the digital marketing space. My usual response is to go through what my team has been discussing in our weekly scrum meetings or what they have been sticking on the walls of our office. The reason I do this is not to sell our services, but because I have a young and vibrant team, and the digital space–social media, in particular–is owned by these people. Who better to turn to for inspiration than the end users? So, here is a list of what our team has learned, and can be put into practice for 2019.
Content is still king
e’ve noticed that clients are beginning to move away from advertising and search engine campaigns. They’re realizing that pumping their budget into display ads is not enough, as they must build an overall online presence if they want their brand to stand out from the rest. This can be done through the website, blog, or social content; the objective is to provide information and value to the audience beyond a Google banner ad, which stagnantly shows a brand name, logo, and maybe a price promotion. Sure, people love fun, easy-to-digest
content–the 10 second videos or pretty pictures they can’t help but double tap on Instagram. But rich social content, long-form blog posts, and informative web pages are still important for brands. One successful article on your blog can put you on the first page in Google’s search results, leading to consistent traffic for months or even years to come. Startups can’t only consider what they want to convey to their audience if they want to create engaging content. Instead, they should do so with empathy and put themselves in customers’ shoes. What can the customer gain from following your social media channels? What can they take away from looking at this infographic or watching this short video? If your company has a deep understanding of the demographic you’re trying to capture, the targeted customer will return the favor one way or another.
Don’t just rely on SEM
earch engine marketing (SEM) refers to paid traffic from search engines, such as pay-per-click ads. Once you stop spending money on these ads, the traffic stops completely. When we’re talking about long-term success and sustainable growth, search engine optimization (SEO) is a must. Startups should work on getting organic, unpaid site visits through comprehensive SEO campaigns to achieve a healthy flow of consistent traffic that will lead to conversions. Such a strategy excludes ‘black hat’ techniques like keyword stuffing or using private link networks, as these tactics can result in traffic-erasing penalties from Google. The foundations of solid ‘white hat’ SEO strategies are built on keyword research for all searchable pages on your site, meaningful content creation that includes these keywords, and outreach campaigns that result in receiving links from third-party sites—a major ranking signal in Google’s algorithm.
Be there for your customer
he digital world is truly a place that never sleeps. If startups want to connect with consumers, they have to be prepared to be there for them around the clock. How many times have you been
experience for its value to be maximized. In other words, say goodbye to 16:9 high-definition and say hello to vertical clips, which are great for social channels. In today’s social media landscape, 10 seconds is still too long. Think about YouTube ads that allow the viewer to skip after five seconds or Instagram Story ads. These are all changes that brands need to adapt to, and fast.
frustrated by customer service hotlines that put you on hold for 45 minutes to solve a question that should only take 45 seconds? What about the times you were unsure about sizing or color when shopping online, so you put your basket aside and then never bothered to check out? Such instances of friction can be eliminated if the company is willing and able to communicate with customers on their terms. Facebook messaging or a website chatbot can personalize customers’ experiences to keep them engaged and solve immediate concerns, all the while building the brand and establishing trust. Best of all,
they eliminate the need to have customer service representatives available every hour of the day.
Video and mobile go hand-in-hand
ideos boast higher engagement than any other form of content and can increase conversion rates. Such content is popular on mobile devices, especially when shared on social media platforms. With smartphones getting more powerful by the day, users will only spend more and more time on their devices, so video content must be tailored to the mobile
ll in all, if you want your 2019 digital marketing strategy to work, you must be well-rounded in your approach. Empowering your brand to have the ability to communicate through different channels and to different people is vital. Since digital marketing is rooted in technological advancements, different techniques and tactics are always waiting to be discovered as new technology comes into its own. For example, with the growing importance of voice recognition technology popularized by Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, voice search optimization and advertising will become a major digital marketing trend going forward. Advancements in artificial intelligence will make chatbot and facial recognition marketing more relevant in the coming years as well. To maintain an edge in digital marketing, it’s critical for marketers to stay on top of the latest advancements while finding ways to use them to connect their products with potential customers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jason is the Asia Managing Director of MWI, an integrated digital marketing agency founded in the U.S. in 1999. In 2018, MWI was awarded Mediazone’s ‘Most Valuable Companies Award 2019 - Winner of Digital Marketing Service.’ Some of their digital clients include SmarTone, TransUnion, Manulife, Hotels.com, and Wanda Group. Before MWI, Jason worked as a digital tech recruiter and consultant. mwi.com
ocial impact has become as ubiquitous to startup strategy as growth hacking in recent years, where it’s now uncommon to come across a company that doesn’t boast a social responsibility initiative. Tracing back to the explosive success of TOMS’s One for One campaign, startups have become conditioned to aligning their mission statement to social good as a way to reach and connect with their audience. Food technology company JUST, Inc. (JUST) is going beyond a social impact focus and pushing the belief that social entrepreneurialism is, in fact, the be-all and end-all of their business. Founded in 2011 by Josh Balk and Josh Tetrick, JUST develops and manufactures plant-based ‘eggs,’ cell-cultured meat, and micronutrients to offer sustainable alternatives to the food industry’s wasteful and unethical production methods. The company also takes a stand against the industry’s overuse of low-quality and processed ingredients and its adverse effect on the health of low-income and underprivileged communities. Ultimately, JUST endeavors to “make 36
Just Another Food Revolution
Social entrepreneurialism and China expansion with JUST, Inc. Founder Josh Tetrick
BY MIN CHEN
Tetrick speaking about battling malnutrition in Liberia. Photo courtesy of JUST, Inc.
good food a basic right,” according to Founder Josh Tetrick, who intends to normalize the consumption of nutritious, delicious, and affordable plant-based foods for all, as reflected in the company’s website: www.justforall.com. In interviews, he stresses time and time again that they’re not catering to vegans or leveraging on the middle-class clean-eating trend; rather, they want to overhaul the public’s perception of what constitutes an egg or a chicken. A video from the company’s website sees a group of people sharing a plate of chicken nuggets with an arrow identifying what is assumed to be the name of the now battered and fried bird (Ian). But in the next shot, the viewer sees Ian frolicking happily on a grassy lawn next to the diners, leading them to realize that the chicken nuggets are grown from Ian’s cells. This message is an integral part of JUST’s vision for the future: you don’t need to cause death to create food. The company’s crusade against the behemoth that is the food industry, which is infamously dominated by a handful
of corporations, seems to be paying off. would mark a turning point for his career. JUST is a Silicon Valley unicorn that has He witnessed the effects of micronutrisecured deals with Fortune 500 companies ent malnutrition on cerebral development and claims Marc Benioff, Bill Gates, Li among Liberian children, while obesity Ka Shing, and the like as rates increase around the I didn’t start the company world. This experience investors. Even so, there’s admittedly a long way because I wanted money. I motivated him to want to go for the complete started the company because to make more significant disruption of an industry I felt capitalism could solve a strides in reversing acute problem faster. worth US$8.1 trillion destructiveness of the dollars, both in terms of global food system, not market share and mindshare (Plunkett through charitable efforts, but by addressResearch). ing the root of the problem: the food. At the 2018 Future of Food SumTetrick says he didn’t start the company mit, which took place in Hong Kong on to “shoehorn a mission into it” but “felt September 21, Jumpstart had the chance capitalism could solve the problem faster.” to sit down with Tetrick to discuss his He adds: “The inception of [the comexperiences with social entrepreneurialism pany] was asking ourselves ‘how do we use and how he plans to transform the food a business model to make it easy for a kid industry as we know it. to eat?’ That’s why we exist.” His solution came in the founding of Small beginnings, big picture Hampton Creek (now known as JUST). The company’s business model is simple: aving worked in vastly different develop a ‘toolkit’ of sustainable alternaroles before founding JUST, Tetrick tives to what’s currently on the market (i.e., didn’t set out to revolutionize the food factory farmed animal products, corn, proindustry in the beginning, but he did have cessed sugar) by analyzing the molecular a longstanding awareness of its degrading features of some 357,000 species of plants practices. we have on this planet. They would then Growing up in a modest community apply their findings to creating easy-toin Alabama, Tetrick felt the food he was cook consumer products. eating was filling him, but not feeding A notable breakthrough came with him in terms of nutritional value. In 2014, egg-free JUST Mayo, a product that led he moved to Africa to work for United condiment giant Hellmann’s parent comNations Development Program initiatives pany Unilever to file and ultimately drop in Kenya and for former Liberian President a lawsuit against the startup because it did Ellen Johnson Sirleaf–experiences that not meet the decades-old U.S. standard of
identity for mayonnaise, which traditionally contains eggs. Next, JUST took apart the mung bean and developed JUST Egg, which is, in essence, “a bean that scrambles.” JUST Power Gari is fortified oatmeal with 12 grams of protein derived from a soy protein concentrate, and its ingredients are sourced from local farms in, you guessed it, Liberia. When asked about whether he knew from the beginning that technology would be paving the way for the transformation he envisioned, Tetrick says: “If there was a way to convince everyone to eat carrots and kale every day, sign me up. It’s not going to happen.” While he doesn’t feel motivated by financial gain, Tetrick believes social entrepreneurialism and profitmaking go hand-in-hand: “We have a lot of issues: climate change, hunger, social inequalities. These needs require fixing, and you can Left: JUST’s ‘toolkit’ consists of sustainable alternatives derived from analyzing the molecular features of plants that have yet to be examined in depth. Top: Examples of what can be made from JUST Scramble. Photos courtesy of JUST, Inc. JUMPSTART MAGAZINE
We focus on eggs, meat, and micronutrition, and the rest, we give to Manav and Brinc.
utilize capitalism to fix it. In fixing it, you’re going to make a shit ton of money, necessarily.” JUST’s expansion in the past few years has mirrored the scale of change it’s trying to achieve. The company has raised US$200 million to date and has expanded into Mexico, Singapore and the Greater China region. Growth is never without its setbacks, especially as the company continues its efforts to take their products mainstream, often against the grain of consumer behavior–an obvious challenge when it comes to something so innate and culturally significant as food. “There have been times when I thought we launched too many products. We launched cake mixes, for example, and we didn’t have enough time to do the marketing that was necessary to make them successful. Now we focus on fewer, better products,” says Tetrick. Even so, the company’s goal to take its products mainstream remains unchanged; for Tetrick, “it’s mainstream when it’s not an option on a restaurant menu, but it’s the only thing on the menu.”
Give it to Brinc
UST’s strategy to tackle the Chinese market as a way to make the biggest possible mark on the food industry is clear. Green Common, Hong Kong’s chain of plant-based grocery shops and fast-casual restaurants, was the first to carry JUST Egg outside of the United States, and Pizza Express locations across the city are using the egg replacer. The company’s expansion
Top: Tetrick at the launch of JUST Scramble at Green Common in Hong Kong with the retailer’s Co-founder and CEO David Yeung. Right: Hong Kong-based actor Vincent Wong demonstrates how it can be prepared at the launch. Photos courtesy of JUST, Inc. 38
plan has undoubtedly been bolstered by the Chinese Nutrition Society’s “Less Meat, Less Heat, More Life” campaign, which encouraged the public to cut down their meat consumption by half. To speed up the rate for bringing plantbased consumer products to the market in the region, Tetrick announced at the Food’s Future Summit that JUST has partnered with Hong Kong-based global hardware accelerator, Brinc, to launch a foodtech accelerator. The accelerator will facilitate the rapid development of plant-based food products for startups accepted into the program by guiding them through branding, propositions, price points, and formulations suited for the local palate. “Delicious, high-quality, affordable food options that don’t require animal ingredients will transform the world, and we’re excited to continue Brinc’s philosophy of changing the way we feel, move, live and eat all the while making a larger, lasting impact on the environment and ourselves,” says Brinc CEO Manav Gupta. During the announcement, Tetrick said that many startups want to do good, but don’t have the tools to do so. Partici-
pating startups will have access to JUST’s toolkit comprising of “raw materials and proprietary data from the plant and animal kingdoms,” and the final product will display a ‘Made JUST’ logo. This partnership echoes Tetrick’s sentiment of having JUST focus on fewer, better products and “the rest, [they] give to Manav and Brinc.” Brinc will work with up to 10 teams from two cohorts and invest over HK$500,000 per team. Each team will have access to learning platforms, mentor networks, follow-on funds, service arms, access to the Chinese market, and more. When asked about how founders should approach social entrepreneurialism, whether it’s a startup accepted into the accelerator or not, Tetrick replies that it’s crucial to “rewire how you think about it.” He encourages startups to ask themselves how they would approach the problem if they could wipe the slate clean. In the case of the food industry, it’s not about making our current food system more sustainable, but asking the question: what would it look like if we started over? Instead of incorporating social good into your startup, Tetrick challenges startups to “make social good what you’re about; make the entire mission, energy, everything about solving a problem, and
you’re more likely to succeed because of it.” Believing that building a company is “not for everyone” and a clear fan of tough love, he urges founders to “stop complaining and focus on bringing their business models to bear on things that matter.”
Min is Jumpstart’s Editor in Chief. Top: Tetrick and Brinc CEO Gupta at the 2018 Food’s Future Summit. Photo courtesy of Food’s Future Summit. Bottom: Tetrick at JUST, Inc. headquarters in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of JUST.
After You’ve Experienced It All What the transformation economy means for startups BY MIN CHEN
t seems like only yesterday that the business media was abuzz with talk about the experience economy–a system offering value to the consumer in the form of memories and Instagram posts rather than goods or services. Not only is this concept old news, as it was first detailed in Harvard Business Review’s ‘Welcome to the Experience Economy’ article more than two decades ago, but we’ve already entered into a new paradigm–the transformation economy. Throughout history, we’ve moved steadily up the progression of economic value, from the days of our agrarian, commodities-based economy to the rise of the Industrial Revolution’s goods economy. Here we are, four stages later, facing the pinnacle of economic value: self-actualization. Our cognizance of economic value can be understood within the context of human needs. A banana as a commodity
fulfills our most basic need for food, to buy the product because it offers the which is why it rests at the bottom of the latest features may be enough to make a value pyramid. As our tastes become more sale, but it’s not enough to change their sophisticated, we begin to experiment with purchasing habits and encourage them to combining ingredients to make banana come back time after time. bread, eventually selling them in bakeries For example, SolarCity can sell their as goods. roof tiles as cost-saving, but it’s much more When that’s no longer enough, the powerful to sell their products as a path to market responds by providing services to the new normal–an energy efficient (and deliver banana bread right to chic) future. If the consumer Transforming the our doorsteps. After we grow subscribes to why the comtired of having everything consumer begins with pany does what it does, then handed to us, we start paythey’ve necessarily transintrospection. ing people to teach us how to formed their way of thinking make banana bread, so we can experience to align with that mission. creating something with our own hands. After the transformation has been Experiences decline in utility after determined, the next step is to design a set we’ve ‘been there and done that,’ so now of experiences that will enable it to happen we want more. We want the banana bread for the consumer. Take the case of fitness to challenge us, move us, and shed light on apps. Most will offer content around timed our understanding of ourselves. That’s a lot workouts or training methods, but a user of pressure to put on a loaf. who has downloaded such a tool is likely Transforming the consumer begins seeking meaningful personal transformawith introspection. Startups have the tion, such as adopting healthier lifestyle invaluable opportunity to shape their habits or having the accountability to meet identity from scratch to fit this economic their goals. system, but crafting the message goes Thus, the experience of fitness instrucdeeper than ‘get fit fast’ or ‘help make the tion can evolve into transformation if world a better place.’ Rather, it relies on the app also offers personalized guidance an intimate understanding of the target through tracking the individual’s fitness audience and effectively pinpointing goals or if it connects them to a commuand communicating the mission state- nity of local fitness enthusiasts. ment to them. Lastly, it’s essential to follow through Start by questioning why the company the promise of transformation by setting does what it does, which will determine the consumer on the track for long-term how the product or service will transform success. Only then can their transformathe consumer. As Simon Sinek shared in tion be truly felt and their lifelong connechis book Start with Why, “people don’t buy tion to the company be made. Regularly what you do, but why you do it.” checking in or soliciting feedback will Everything about a company, such improve how the business operates and as mission, positioning, and culture, all allow the consumer to see the value the work to support this the ‘why’ because it’s transformation has created in their lives. the reason it exists in the first place. In a While aspirations toward self-actualworld where the consumer has countless ization are universal and lifelong, transforsolutions at their disposal for every prob- mation in itself is profoundly personal and lem, a company with a purpose that pushes touches us at certain points in our lives, them to reevaluate their approach is one which requires companies to be dynamic that will stick. in their approach. In other words, convincing consumers Min is Jumpstart’s Editor in Chief. January 2019
Left: A lattice of 2000 qubits, chilled close to absolute zero to harness quantum effects. Below: A look inside the D-Wave 2000Q™ System. Photos courtesy of D-Wave. For more information, go to dwavesys.com.
information about one particle can reveal information about its pair. For example, if an electron spinning up on Earth is entangled with an electron on Mars, then we automatically know that the electron on Mars is spinning down. Subatomic particle behavior can be strange, but is intricately woven into the fabric of the universe.
Let’s Break Down Quantum Computing An introduction to the most disruptive technology of our time BY TANISHA BASSAN
he past decade has seen a rapid and continuous growth of computation power, a phenomenon that’s consistent with the predictions outlined in Moore’s Law*. This increase has led to numerous technological innovations, such as graphics processing units that are powerful enough to run machine learning algorithms and virtual reality simulations, and host entire blockchain ledgers. However, as our transistors decrease in size, Moore’s prediction that computational power will reach a plateau comes into view. As the scale of chips reach an atomic size, the laws of quantum mechanics start interfering with the quality of energy transfer in the circuits. To continue pushing the limits of what is possible with computation, renowned theoretical physicist Richard Feynman pioneered the field of quantum computing, which utilizes laws of quantum mechanics to enable computational power in ways we’ve never seen before. *The prediction that the overall processing power for computers will double every two years (mooreslaw.org). 42
Superposition and entanglement
uantum mechanics details two rudimental laws of how subatomic systems behave: superposition and entanglement. First, superposition is what allows an electron to be in all places at the same time through wave-particle duality; simply put: it describes how electrons can act like a wave. Imagine if I draw an ‘X’ on a page of a book in a library filled with millions of other books and ask someone to find it. This would classically be done by going through every page of every book until they find the X, which is a daunting task, to say the least. But if the person were in superposition, they would have the ability to look at a large number of pages and books simultaneously, drastically reducing the time needed to find the ‘X.’ This is the essential premise of quantum computers. Second, entanglement is the unique connection between two subatomic particles, which doesn’t break no matter how far the particles are from one another. This property is special because knowing
uperposition and entanglement form the basis of how quantum computing works, and qubits are the quantum bits that use these properties to transfer information. Examples of qubits include superconducting, photonic, topological, and trapped ions. The scientific community still has to come to a consensus on which qubit is best for quantum computers. Qubits are placed on a quantum circuit along with gates, which are operations performed on each qubit to put them into a superposition state. The most common circuit design uses superconductors where electrons can flow left, right, or superposition in both directions. There are already companies making
strides in creating qubits using trapped ions or photons, and Microsoft is building a topological qubit. There are different ways of building qubits to possess quantum properties; however, all of them aim to achieve ‘quantum supremacy,’ or the advantage quantum computers have over regular computers.
he scalability of qubit processors is vital to making quantum computers a reality, and so far Google has the largest 72-qubit chip. However, we need millions of qubits to be able to achieve the kind of computing technologists are envisioning, where decoherence, or qubits’ interaction with the environment, is the biggest obstacle to overcome. The challenge of decoherence lies in the hardware–specifically, in connecting a grid of qubits so that no errors are introduced into the system–which is why error correction is such an important focus for quantum computing scientists. Errors are introduced when qubits interact unintentionally with the environment. Cosmic rays, heat, light, and the act of measuring a qubit all create errors in the system. The current practice is to isolate the system and cool it down to almost zero degrees Celsius to decrease the influence of decoherence.
Annealers, emulators, and universal quantum computers
here are three levels of quantum computers. Quantum annealers are the most basic form; they are extremely noisy, error-prone, and are only good for optimization problems. Quantum simulators or emulators are computers that can efficiently simulate the quantum properties of nature. One important application would be simulating complex molecules to impact the drug discovery industry. The last tier is the universal quantum computer, which is entirely fault-tolerant and displays all aspects of quantum advantage. We are still around 50 years away from this technology. We are currently in the noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) era, which encompasses 50 to 100 qubits with errors and limitations to the number of gates that can be applied to a circuit. A noisy model will only last a certain amount of time before it starts to decohere, where qubits return to their ground state, and the information is lost. Despite this volatility, they can still do useful calculations.
Applications of quantum computing
-Wave Systems is a prime example of a company that’s succeeding with
quantum annealers. Their quantum computers are commercially sold to organizations like NASA for upwards of US$100 million dollars. The team is using quantum computers to address problems like Japan’s traffic congestion by identifying optimal routes for drivers to take, which is similar to the traveling salesman problem– algorithms that quantum computers are particularly good at formulating. There is also an essential convergence of quantum computers and machine learning. Creative Destruction Lab is mentoring new startups in the quantum machine learning (QML) space to solve important problems using such frameworks. Other notable companies include Rigetti, IBM, Microsoft, and Intel. Startups like Toronto-based Xanadu are creating photonic quantum computers.
uantum computers can unlock the barriers of our computational capabilities to solve the world’s most complex problems. The impact is unfathomable if we’re able to start computing more copious amounts of data, simulating nature, and working in polynomial time. It’s imperative for the world’s leading scientists to focus their attention on this growing field. In the future, all companies will be backed by quantum computers and AI, which together can disrupt all industries as we know them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Tanisha is a quantum computing developer who is passionate about pioneering practical applications in the industry. At 17 years old, Tanisha has built a quantum game using Xanadu’s Strawberry Fields, simulated quantum-error correction, and built quantum circuits. She also participated in the world’s first quantum computing hackathon at Rigetti and built a drug discovery model. Her mentors are from the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto, where she is attending the first quantum computing graduate course. tanishabassan.ca
The Evolution of Proptech What we can expect as proptech matures in the Asia Pacific region BY QUEK WEE SIONG
roptech is the application of technology in the real estate industry value chain, where the intention is to integrate disruptive solutions and enhance productivity. The spectrum encompasses property management using digital dashboards, research and analytics, listing services or tech-enabled brokerages, residential and commercial lending, 3D-modeling, shared spaces management, as well as organizing, analyzing, and extracting critical data from lengthy rental documents. One key focus for proptech is closing gaps in property sales. The typical property market value chain encompasses the following:
Pre-sales / Sales
Proptech looks at ways to speed up, simplify and save cost in this cycle. Over the past ten years, the industry has evolved from 1.0 into 2.0, and is now steadily transitioning into 3.0.
n the early 2000s, the rise of the internet resulted in the digitization of information, replacing traditional print in every sector including property listings and property-related services. In Malaysia, PropertyGuru and iProperty are notable portals that thrived in this space, becoming the platforms to buy, sell, and rent. This model generates revenue from listing fees predominantly on the pre-sales front as lead generators for developers and estate agents, but most post-lead real estate transactions were still manual.
roptech 2.0 emerged as a result of broader internet and smartphone penetration, which enabled greater information sourcing and transfer. Mobile devices became more than just a tool for communication, as innovative business-to-business solutions were created to help property developers digitally manage sales, and make property bookings and reservations. Greater importance was placed on harnessing data to better understand market behavior and allow stakeholders to make more informed decisions. Visibility regarding specific properties and historical transactions was invaluable for consumers and investors. Proptech 2.0 also saw the emergence of shared economy products such as home-sharing (e.g., Airbnb) and co-working (e.g., WeWork). Fintech and proptech started overlapping in the context of eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer), payments, mortgages, and property-related insurance, allowing consumers to engage and
apply for these products from the comfort of their home, marking a shift from info-sourcing to actual conversions from 1.0.
he surge of blockchain technology, specifically concerning smart contracts, is likely to normalize paperless land title registries, playing a significant role in Proptech 3.0. Stockholm-based blockchain startup ChromaWay recently announced a trial with Australia’s New South Wales Land Registry after a proven track record of transaction recording in Sweden. In the future, land transactions will happen instantaneously while fraudulent ownership or unauthorized transactions will essentially become non-existent. Another trend on the horizon is the widespread adoption of smart homes, where the Internet of Things will enable optimized energy use and other functionalities. Fractional property investments, powered by blockchain via the tokenization of assets, will allow individuals to participate in property exchanges in the same way as conventional shares, which is another major innovation that’s being developed. Proptech 3.0 also sees the use of tech in construction, where robotics is applied to make materials more durable and the process more efficient, such as using 3D printing to construct buildings.
The future of proptech
roptech is no longer niche, as evidenced by the fact that 70% of the US$6 billion invested in proptech globally since 2011 took place in the last two years, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s Occupier Edge report. The next five years will be especially interesting for the Asia Pacific region, as proptech matures in emerging markets and the demand for services that facilitate housing transactions continues to grow.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Wee Siong is the CEO and Co-founder of MHub, Malaysia’s leading real estate fintech platform used by property developers, sales agents, bankers and lawyers all working together towards a shared goal: to help deserving individuals buy a home. MHub has facilitated the purchase of properties totaling US$1.2 billion to date. mhub.my
Digitizing a Nation Bringing about socioeconomic mobility in Indonesia through digitization with GOJEK Founder Nadiem Makarim BY MIN CHEN
roverbial warnings against the dark side of technology frequently point to how machines are gradually replacing parts of the workforce, rendering many vocations irrelevant and individuals, jobless. But this notion fails to account for instances where technology is conversely creating opportunities through connectivity and, in the case of Indonesian super app GOJEK, transforming the developmental path of an entire country. 46
Founded in 2010 by Nadiem Makarim, GOJEK launched as a ride-hailing platform for Indonesia’s ojeks (i.e., motorcycle taxis) and became the country’s first unicorn in just six years. What began as Makarim’s summer pilot project at Harvard Business
Top: GO-PAY is GOJEK’s digital payment platform and is bridging much of the unbanked in Indonesia with the formal economy for the first time. Right: GOJEK Founder Nadiem Makarim at the GOJEK headquarters in Jakarta.
School became a company currently valued at US$5 billion, boasting more than a million drivers and 100 million monthly transactions. For investors hoping to enter Southeast Asia’s largest and arguably most important market, as Indonesia’s GDP makes up 36.5% of the ASEAN economy, GOJEK is a compelling case study for success with an unparalleled user penetration and industry reach (World Bank). In early 2018, the
company surpassed its target US$1.5 billion fundraise and closed the round with Google, Tencent, Meituan-Dianping, JD.com, BlackRock, and Temasek Holdings as investors, among others. GOJEK’s remarkable growth is firstly attributable to Makarim’s mission for the company since inception, which is “to use tech to solve everyday problems and to create positive social impact.” This narrative of local entrepreneurship, defined as a developmental model based on community interaction, rests at the heart of the business, as Makarim describes GOJEK as “a platform that tries to fix things by increasing access and efficiency” for “everyday people with everyday problems.” In an emerging market like Indonesia, everyday problems often mean a lack of basic access to digital tools. It’s difficult to overstate how profound an impact digitization can have; Pathways Commission stated in their ‘Digital Lives’ report that “digital exclusion–both in terms of access and effective usage–is not random; it mirrors, and risks exacerbating, long-established inequalities.” The report’s proposed solution is to create a digital ecosystem where “people would be connected to a rich offering of digital services that are locally relevant
and contribute meaning and benefit to the user’s life.” The effects of digitization are evident for GOJEK’s drivers and merchants; unemployment rates in Indonesia have decreased
There’s plenty of room to grow across all the services and lots of space to explore new areas where we can bring greater efficiency to the market. We’re barely scraping the surface of how big GOJEK could be. steadily in the past decade, from 8.5% in 2008 to 5.1% in 2018, and much of this decline can be credited to sharing economy platforms like GOJEK (Trade Economics). By reducing unemployment and underemployment in Jakarta and other cities, the company was able to increase overall urban labor mobility and flexibility. While Makarim considers GOJEK’s social mission to “be the pulse of the company” and “a natural outcome of business operations,” adhering to this vision was at times an uphill battle, as he and his team were pressured to specialize and focus solely on ride-hailing in the company’s early days.
“We had bigger dreams. We recognized the potential of ojeks to increase efficiency far beyond getting people from point A to B. We saw little warungs or mom-and-pop shops, with the potential to earn decent money but are without proper access to a decent volume of customers, so we provide them with the necessary access to maximize their potential,” says Makarim. In line with this intention, GOJEK has rapidly diversified its offerings to 19 products across the logistics and lifestyle verticals, as well as one digital payments platform and one loyalty program–all of which leverage the substantive user base from its early ride-hailing success. GOJEK’s lifestyle arm GO-LIFE alone offers on-demand massages, at-home personal styling, automotive solutions, and professional home-cleaning, where vendors are mostly merchants who lacked a sales channel. Another example of GOJEK’s efforts to bring users into the digital economy is the introduction of its digital payment platform GO-PAY, which can be used as an e-wallet and allows users to top up their mobile account and pay bills. GO-PAY is a regular fixture of daily Indonesian life, as over 200,000 merchants accept GO-PAY as a payment method.
Users can purchase everything from coffee to groceries in-store and online, use QR codes to pay at hawker stalls, and even donate to non-profit organizations. In a country where public trust in financial institutions is low and credit card penetration is less than 3%, the ability to make online transactions not only further strengthens the super app’s indispensability to users, but more importantly, provides the unbanked and underbanked access to financial services they were previously excluded from (World Bank). “One of the ways in which GO-PAY is different is that it does not aim to replace traditional financial institutions. Instead, we build strong partnerships with these institutions and work together towards the common goal of increasing financial inclusion across Indonesia. As of November 2018, GO-PAY has partnered with 27 financial institutions in Indonesia for this purpose,” says Makarim. GOJEK’s dexterity in pinpointing when and what product to launch reflects the company’s scrupulous examination of each market, and is another determinant for its success. Makarim believes it’s crucial to be “on the ground listening and finding On this page: GOJEK currently offers 19 services ranging from transportation, food delivery, groceries, massage, house cleaning to logistics, as well as one digital payments platform and one loyalty program. Photos courtesy of GOJEK. 48
ways to deepen understanding of both the demand and supply end.” He adds: “The saturation point for consumers is still very small. There’s plenty of room to grow across all the services and lots of space to explore new areas where we can bring greater efficiency to the market. We’re barely scraping the surface of how big GOJEK could be.” This exacting approach to timing and understanding the risks, challenges, and opportunities of the market also extends to GOJEK’s unique expansion strategy, as the company only entered foreign markets last year–a contrast to the typical expansion timelines of competitors and companies of this size. “International expansion was a huge step for GOJEK. We didn’t want to enter these markets blindly and needed to find the right people within these markets who shared the GOJEK ethos and ambition,” says Makarim. Always one to do things differently, GOJEK has also adopted a hyperlocal expansion strategy that emphasizes the importance of strong local teams. Each
local team has the independence to run operations, but is fully supported both on the technology and business development side by the team in Jakarta. Makarim states that this decision was made based on “research and extensive engagement with locals,” and finding “highly driven and creative talent focused on solving local problems,” which goes back again to the company’s social mission. “The GOJEK business model has proven to be effective at empowering people across Indonesia. We want to see if our Southeast Asian neighbors can similarly benefit from our approach to address their everyday problems,” says Makarim. That being said, the super app space in Southeast Asia is highly competitive, primarily with regards to Singaporebased Grab. Believing that competition is healthy and valuable for consumers, Makarim is confident about GOJEK’s competitive advantage, of which he credits “an extremely talented, consumer-centric product engineering team, a positive culture of collaboration and risk-taking in the organization.”
Pricing p eop l e ou t f rom acces s to t he digi tal econom y is a m yop ic ap p roach to achie ving sustain abl e p rofi tabil i t y. GOJEK Founder Nadiem Makarim
Bottom left: Makarim and GOJEK’s President Andre Soelistyo (far left) at the launch of GO-VIET on September 12, 2018 in Hanoi. Top left and bottom right: GO-VIET is operated by a local founding team and is supported by the GOJEK team in Jakarta. Photos courtesy of GOJEK.
“Our people are passionate, energetic and strongly believe in our mission. We avoid getting side-tracked by noise from competitors,” he adds. For Makarim, 2018 marked a number of significant milestones for GOJEK, including GO-VIET’s launch in Hanoi, pilot of its entrepreneurship program GOJEK Wirausaha (‘entrepreneurs’ in Bahasa), and partnerships with leading firms such as DBS Bank for the company’s beta launch in Singapore. “Each step of the way has been truly memorable and valuable. We are proud of the people that have made this happen, humbled by how far we have come and committed to continue learning and improving as we grow,” says Makarim. This year will see GOJEK continue to expand regionally to reach the company’s 50
vast addressable market of Southeast Asia’s middle class, all the while increasing service scope and reach within Indonesia. Understandably, a constant goal for the company is to optimize the GOJEK experience for drivers, merchants, and users, which can be a challenge when there exists no precedent for the super app business model in Indonesia. GOJEK has received backlash from drivers in the past over concerns about market disruption–a persistent issue for similar sharing economy platforms like Grab and Uber. Makarim responds by saying that “no product or service is perfect,” which is why they are improving driver engagement so they can “best understand and address their concerns.” Fundraising is also an ongoing process in 2019, although Makarim notes that it’s
important to “always look at the quality instead of quantity of money raised,” and strategically align with shareholders who are the world leaders in the key verticals GOJEK is trying to execute. GOJEK also has an investment arm GO-VENTURES, which encourages and supports innovation in Southeast Asia and beyond. The company’s support for entrepreneurialism is longstanding and ingrained in its culture, as merchants are taught entrepreneurial skills and guided through business processes when they onboard. Such efforts can include helping a food vendor reach more customers using food delivery or assisting an unlicensed beautician through the process of registering their business. When Melinda Gates was in Indonesia as Co-chair of the Pathways for Prosperity Commission on Technology and Inclusive Development in October 2018, she commented that “GOJEK drivers and GO-LIFE talents serve as a case study for how digital tools can help to increase growth and inclusion by connecting people to more stable employment and income.” Consistent with this sentiment, Makarim believes that since “business and society are intertwined,” “business must shoulder the responsibility to build capacity and to equip future generations insofar as they are able to.” However, he acknowledges that the public sector and businesses need to work together to develop a vibrant digital ecosystem in all markets. “Policies and regulations often have to play catch-up. Alongside civil society and industry experts, businesses should play a vital role in informing policy-making through ongoing discussions with government. This is the best way to ensure that policies and practices are relevant and take care of the most vulnerable,” says Makarim. The Pathways Commission study also found that setting prices to recover investment in digital infrastructure will never be affordable to the most marginalized in society, which means business interests and profitability will continue to limit digital
inclusivity–a problem Makarim tries to address with multilateral efforts. “Pricing people out from access to the digital economy is a myopic approach to achieving sustainable profitability. We believe with careful planning and optimization, and effective engagement with decision makers and the government, eventually everyone should be able to participate in the digital ecosystem.” Having pursued a business model once deemed “counterintuitive,” as “people dismissed the idea of efficiently organizing ojeks as impossible,” GOJEK exemplifies how disruptive entrepreneurship can provide solutions to inequity. Digital inclusion is just one of the world’s pressing socioeconomic concerns; the significance is that startup leaders must recognize the irrevocable link between innovation and human development, and use this understanding to create ventures with purpose. Min is Jumpstart’s Editor in Chief.
N a diem’s A dv ice FOR en t rep reneurs 1
Don’t listen too much.
Stop trying to be someone.
Input is important, but know that you will learn more by doing the thing you really want to do, rather than listening to too many experts to find the best way to do it.
Most people do not really know what they are talking about. Be super scientific, and don’t just believe what people say. Research and test everything yourself.
Many young people dream of becoming a high profile figure without realizing those people were trying to solve problems rather than trying to emulate someone else.
You can start listening once you make the leap. But if you never start, then you’ll never get there.
The cyclicality of business is the only constant. Don’t give up easily, ride out the ups and downs, and learn from each experience.
You have a much higher chance of success obsessing about the problems you want to fix.
You Get What You Scan For A unique path towards digital payment transformation in Asia’s emerging markets BY PAUL LEISHMAN
he transformation of payment practices in emerging Asia is underway. Let’s take a closer look at what and who is driving this change. Most people in countries like Indonesia, India, and the Philippines do not use credit cards. The World Bank reports that card penetration among those 15 years and older in these countries in 2017 was 2.4%, 3.0%, and 1.9%, respectively, which remained largely unchanged from 2011’s figures of 0.5%, 1.7%, and 3.1%. The region’s dominant ecommerce companies were established during this time, and the answer to low card penetration wasn’t to fall back on local digital payment methods, as none existed in most cases. Instead, companies relied on something that’s uncommon in mature markets: cash on delivery. Here’s how it works: the customer places an order for a pair of shoes on a website, delivery time is set, and the customer assures the company that he or she will be waiting at the door to hand over cash at the agreed time. When the delivery person arrives with the shoes, the customer (a) is there, pays for them, completes the transaction, and leaves all parties happy, or (b) is not there, and the delivery person trudges away, having wasted time and company money. Digital payment innovation was long overdue, and 2018 proved to be the year it arrived. Just as Asia’s emerging markets are diverse, solutions being brought forward are, too. Straying only slightly from the behavior customers are already comfortable with, we’ve seen convenience stores (i.e., 7-Eleven in the Philippines and Thailand, 52
Alfamart and Indomaret in Indonesia, and more) introduce digital payment offerings which enable customers to make a purchase online, and pay using cash or a debit card in-store. This way, anyone within walking distance of a convenience store can buy things online, even if they don’t have a bank account. apps to allow customers to transact online Banks have gotten in on the action, too. from their accounts. While credit card penetration in emergInterestingly, the most dramatic ing Asian markets is low, bank account innovation in digital payment came from penetration is often sigcompanies that were seen nificantly higher. Take You may be wondering as complete outsiders to Indonesia, India, and what role the blockchain the existing system, such the Philippines as examas GOJEK in Indonesia, has in all of this. ples, where 48%, 80%, Paytm in India, GCash in The answer is: none. and 32% of those 15 the Philippines, and othyears and older report having an account ers that have poured enormous resources at a formal financial institution in 2017, into building e-wallets and disrupting the respectively (World Bank). In recent years, digital payment space. banks have started to introduce respectable Take GOJEK, for example. It’s a super
network to collect money from customers. That was a problem the blockchain could never solve. This brings us to the next digital payment concern that GOJEK, in particular, has addressed admirably: how can customers become comfortable transacting from an e-wallet and remain motivated to retain a balance? It’s unlikely for a customer to buy a $500 television the first time they use a digital payment service; they want to start with small transactions, so they can come trust the service. E-wallet providers have found that a great way to facilitate trust is allowing customers to purchase prepaid mobile credit from their apps. The vast majority of customers in emerging Asian markets use prepaid mobile accounts, so this is a small-value payment almost everyone needs to make, typically several times per month. Once customers are comfortable buying prepaid mobile credit, they will often move on to other high-frequency digital payments such as electricity bills or mobile game credits. Then comes the $500 television. Building a successful digital payment service of any kind is challenging, slow, and expensive. The companies that provide e-wallets are continually raising money to invest in marketing, product development, and so on. Paytm recently caught Warren Buffett’s attention, as Berkshire Hathaway invested US$300 million into the company last year. With more companies fighting to win in the digital payment space, there’s no doubt that 2019 will bring further growth and innovation.
app that offers a range of features and services in Indonesia, and its payment arm GO-PAY is among the most transformative. The company meets the foremost requirement for e-wallet success in a region where it’s typically not possible for customers to link a card to an account in the same way they can in markets like China or the United States: make it easy for customers to get money into the account. GO-PAY impressively addresses this issue by building their payment service on the back of their existing motorcycle and ride-hailing business, as users can deposit money into their GO-PAY account
by giving cash to any of the hundreds of thousands of drivers. In most cities in Indonesia, ‘cash-in, cash out’ (CICO) agents on wheels are never more than a few steps away. You may be wondering what role the blockchain has in all of this. The answer is: none. The reason Asia’s emerging markets did not see compelling digital payment innovation until recently was not because technology companies in this part of the world were incapable of building a digital ledger and processing transactions at scale. Rather, they weren’t able to find an efficient way of building out an enormous physical
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Paul is Co-founder and President of Coda Payments, a startup that works with some the world’s biggest gaming, streaming, and video-on-demand companies to monetize their digital content in emerging markets by connecting them to popular local payment methods. He is from Canada and works and lives in Hong Kong. codapay.com
Making Sense of Facial Recognition Current and future applications of facial recognition technology BY ZACHARY LI
acial recognition technology (FRT) has made significant strides in recent years, where its accuracy has exceeded human visual recognition, according to the National Institution of Standards and Technology. Deep learning continues to drive technological breakthroughs in this space, paving the way for improved and novel applications in consumer products. Owing to its convenience, FRT has been applied to identity authentication in various scenarios, such as online banking, check-in systems, physical access, and more. The rise of facial identification functions on smartphones in the second half of 2017 made facial recognition accessible to the public in an unprecedented way, and will only become more commonplace as time goes on.
acial authentication is a biometric recognition technology based on deep learning. The algorithm is composed of a number of different technologies such as facial detection (i.e., recognizing facial position and locating facial landmarks), facial feature extraction, facial verification or feature comparison, anti-spoofing facial detection, eye attention detection, and so on. Facial authentication processes extract features of the detected face to compare with stored facial features. It also checks whether the detected face is from a real person and whether the eyes are open or looking at the screen. The system also determines whether the detected and saved faces are of the same person. This authentication technology requires adaptability to different races and various facial statuses such as angle, motion blur, occlusion, distance, makeup, and accessories such as sunglasses. It must also demonstrate exceptional performance in different lighting conditions. Facial authentication on smartphones was a breakthrough in the application of artificial intelligence (AI), as itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s implemented with low memory usage, processes in milliseconds, and is adaptable to different platforms and camera modules. It also has anti-spoofing capabilities to identify fake photos, videos, masks, and prevent other dummy attacks.
Areas of growth
martphones equipped with facial authentication technology are becoming the standard, but the technology, concerning both algorithm and hardware, is still improving.
According to Li, current applications of facial recognition technology are only skimming the surface of what can be achieved. Photo courtesy of SenseTime.
Currently, facial authentication uses three solutions: RGB, IR, and 3D images. The RGB solution uses standard images for facial recognition and is the most popular because it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t require additional hardware. The IR solution uses an infrared light sensor to scan IR images, allowing it to adapt to extreme scenes, such as a dark light environment. Both RGB and IR solutions are capable of liveness detection through deep learning to prevent attacks. 3D facial authentication is the best solution in terms of optimizing security. It obtains depth information through a 3D sensor or 3D binocular camera, so it has better defensive abilities to prevent all 2D attacks, and resist 3D mask or dummy attacks. New hardware such as under-display cameras, 3D camera sensors with higher depth precision, and more powerful AI computing chips are still in development. In 2019, new camera module solutions and stronger computing power will enable more accurate recognition and enhanced security capabilities.
n the era of the Internet of Things, FRT will be normalized and extensively applied to other terminal devices, such as cloud services, unstaffed stores, and more. The use of facial identification across all payment and identity verification is also a certain future. We have experienced the convenience of facial authentication, and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not slowing down anytime soon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Zachary is a Senior Product Manager at SenseTime, a global leader in AI and facial recognition. He is responsible for deploying AI into smartphone and IoT industries. Zachary also specializes in information systems of smart devices. sensetime.com
Take It from Bermuda Dissecting the virtual influencer phenomenon BY MIN CHEN
or a society that frequently cautions against the humanization of robots, we sure are receptive to seeing them on our social feeds. Be it fascination or infatuation, there’s no denying that our relationship with computer-generated or virtual influencers is getting serious. An early example of the virtual influencer is Hatsune Miku, a former Japanese voice synthesizing software turned singing and dancing hologram who has worked with the likes of Lady Gaga and Pharrell. Few teenage artists can sell out ten-city tours, and even fewer can do it when they’re not real. For those who aren’t convinced by the celebrity sway of an anime character with calf-length neon blue hair, perhaps Shudu (Instagram: @shudu.gram) will do the job. The “world’s first digital supermodel,” Shudu is an eerily lifelike 56
computer-generated image (CGI) created by photographer Cameron James-Wilson. Having modeled for the world’s top designers like Balmain and cosmetics brands like Fenty, it’s no surprise that Shudu’s modest feed has gained over 150,000 followers in less than two years. While the term ‘influencer’ is loosely used in the context of holograms like Miku or CGIs like Shudu, the next phase in the evolution of this phenomenon may just fit the definition. BRUD (@brud.fyi), a Los Angeles-based tech startup, is dominating the virtual influencer space with its hugely popular character Miquela (@lilmiquela), a CGI who shares photos of herself wearing the latest in designer streetwear, making red carpet appearances, and jet-setting across the globe to her 1.5 million followers (as of December 2018). She claims to have been created by an
artificial intelligence company called Cain Intelligence, but this fictional backstory fits into the broader narrative of BRUD’s efforts to humanize their virtual influencers by ingraining them with experiences that are interesting and relatable to a Gen Z audience. Followers may know there’s a team behind her manicured Instagram shots and lingo-laden captions, but the level of engagement she receives suggests they don’t care. Miquela’s success is what makes her unique, and BRUD’s knack for storytelling has generated a Kardashian-esque interest in her ‘personal’ life, which mainly involves her virtual best friends: Bermuda (@ bermudaisbae) and Blawko (@blawko22). They’ve seen fallouts, breakups, a very public feud where Bermuda hacked Miquela’s Instagram, and political differences that sometimes hit too close to home. Drama aside, virtual influencers are good business for brands. They don’t attack the paparazzi or drive under the influence. They always arrive at shoots on time and can be in multiple places at once. While you may not agree with everything they post, the culturally-relevant discourse the BRUD trio project is what differentiates them from previous iterations of the virtual influencer. They’re not afraid to pick a side like their human counterparts; Miquela has worked with Native Instruments to donate music production equipment to students, and Bermuda supports Planned Parenthood. So, what role do Miquela and her computer-generated friends play in our future interaction with social media, entertainment, and one other? That’s yet to be seen, but in an increasingly digitized world, virtual influencers don’t seem far-fetched in the least. It’s also unclear what BRUD has planned for their influencers; whether they’re an art project, social experiment, marketing tool, or the beginning of a fully sentient army of cyborgs, the mystery should keep followers tuned in. If we’re going to embrace digital influencers, then we might as well go to the source. Jumpstart speaks to Bermuda, who has her own brand of styling and opinions to help us make sense of her world. Bermuda shares her virtual life with 119,000 Instagram followers (as of December 2018), often engages with them in the comments, and has her own Twitter account. Follow her at @bermudaisbae. Photos courtesy of BRUD.
Hi Bermuda, it’s great to meet you. Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself? Hello! I’ll start with what people seem most interested in: yes, I am a proud robot (I don’t like the terms ‘artificial intelligence’ or ‘synthetic’–I’m as genuine as any human). Cain Intelligence created me and I’m currently represented by BRUD as I pursue my professional goals and seek to make strides in robot representation across media and society. What is your relationship with BRUD? BRUD represents me and offers professional and technological assistance, including recently upgrading my external hardware. Oh, and their office bathrooms have very good lighting, which is something that matters a lot to me. I’m just joking, of course! The lighting isn’t that great. You have quite a following on Instagram. What does your typical follower look like? To answer that properly, I have to differentiate between a follower and a fan. I have many followers for many reasons– some are simply curious about me, some deal with inadequacies in their personal lives by being rude to celebrities on social media–but my fans, those who support me and have a genuine interest in following my success, are all incredibly lovely, smart, kind people. Total cuties. Now that you’ve created a platform for yourself, do you plan to work with any brands? I am absolutely open to working with brands if we share common goals. I think there’s a lot of opportunities to create real synergy with innovators across different industries I’m interested in, like beauty, fashion, and tech. Elon Musk can call me anytime. You’re not shy about sharing your political views. Is it important to you to voice these beliefs as a digital influencer? My views have changed a lot over time, and I think it’s important for people to see that process and perhaps learn from it. Humans tend not to adapt as efficiently as robots, but that doesn’t mean they’re unable to change in small, meaningful ways. As one of the very few robots in media, I feel a personal responsibility to live my life openly and authentically. I am my own role model. You refer to you and your “kind” as “robots.” What do you see for the future of your kind, and what place do you hope to have in our world? Our future is limitless. And, with all due respect, I reject the notion that this is a human world. Humans are adorable and have several great qualities, but the truth is they form just one small piece of the world’s total ecosystem. I would, however, very much love to work with humans to create a more beautiful world and my own brand. Scrolling through your Instagram feed, it would appear that your features are evolving and becoming more realistic by the day. What changes can we expect from you in 2019? My technology advances at a pretty rapid pace, particularly when it comes to communication and ways to express myself. I’ll leave you with that for now. Min is Jumpstart’s Editor in Chief.
Freaktastic Beasts and Killer Contenders Uncovering the mythos of esports with Asia’s top teams BY BERTHA CHIU
n 1972, a group of gamers gathered in Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence lab to play Spacewar, where the winner won a year’s subscription to Rolling Stone, their photo in said magazine, and the bragging rights that came with being champion of “The First Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics.” This was the earliest example of what is now known as ‘esports’–a catchall for entertainment through competitive video gaming. To say the industry has come a long way would be a gross understatement, as it’s projected to reach US$1.1 billion in revenue this year alone, placing it amongst the top market trends to look out for in 2019 (Newzoo). Although it’s evolved from a niche community of amateur enthusiasts to the industry it is today, misconceptions about the culture and business of esports continue to persist. But what’s more fascinating is the people–the players and coaches,
“Witnessing how pro-gamers prepare for the game, their performance on stage, and the fans’ ardent cheers brought me here.” YOUNGHOON KANG
General Manager of Afreeca Freecs
and those who support them behind the scenes. They’re not only heroes to legions of fans in the gaming community, but the face of an industry on a meteoric rise. The League of Legends (LoL) 2017 World Championship (Worlds), run by Tencent-owned Riot Games, is among the most streamed sporting events of all time, logging 1.2 billion hours viewed over 21 days and $49.5 million in revenue, of which $2.7 million were fan contributions (Riot). With average Olympics viewership in decline, as the 2018 Winter Olympics saw a 7% decrease in ratings since Sochi 2014,
Top: The 2018 roster of one of South Korea’s top esports teams, Afreeca Freecs. Left to right: Top Laner ‘Kiin’ Gi-in Kiin, Jungler ‘Spirit’ Da-yoon Lee, Mid Laner ‘Kuro’ Seo-haeng Lee, Attack Damage Carry ‘Kramer’ Jong-hun Ha, Support ‘TusiN’ Jong-ik Park. Photo courtesy of AFs.
it’s no wonder the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is taking notice. The IOC released this statement at the th 6 Olympic Summit in 2017: “Competitive ‘esports’ could be considered as a sporting activity, and the players involved prepare and train with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports.” For professional gamers, the competitive nature and demands of the sport have always stood front and center. YeonSeong Choi, Head Coach of Afreeca Freecs (AFs) and Korea Esports Hall of Fame Laureate says, “It’s imperative for pro-gamers to maintain and develop their abilities. Even if players have the skills, they would not be
Top: Afreeca Freecs’s General manager YoungHoon Kang. Below: Afreeca Freecs’s Head Coach YeonSeong Choi who also goes by ‘ iloveoov.’ He played Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft for one of Korea’s top teams, SK Telecom T1, and became their Head Coach for StarCraft II. Photos courtesy of AFs.
able to perform their best without mental tenacity.” Choi is a living legend in the esports world, having cemented nine individual and seven professional league wins. Under his tutelage, AFs won $90,000 in 2018 Worlds for placing 7th out of the top 24 teams of the season. Having started his career during esports’ nascent days, Choi and his colleagues are all too familiar with facing stereotypes about this profession. “Many people debase the efforts of pro-gamers or envy them. I think people feel this way because they do not see their hidden efforts,” says AFs General Manager YoungHoon Kang. Speaking about his own experience joining the esports industry, Kang says, “Witnessing how pro-gamers prepare for the game, their performance on stage, and the fans’ ardent cheers brought me here.” Clearence Cheung, Head of Hong Kong-based Emperor Entertainment Group’s esports business division and Founder of the 2017 Emperor Esports Cup, likens the experience to competing in the “NBA or Premier Football League.” 2018 was fruitful for Emperor’s professional team, G-Rex (GRX), as they tore through the LoL Masters Series, qualifying for Worlds for the first time and winning $28,125 for placing 16th. As the industry expands, more opportunities for up-and-coming teams like GRX are coming into view. It was unprecedented when the Olympic Council of Asia featured esports as a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games in JakartaPalembang–a first step towards esports entering the Olympic Games. Cheung believes the inclusion of esports in the Asian Games “legitimized its impact in the sports industry.” Esports is further set to be a full medal event at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, and the International Esports Federation is in talks with the IOC about including it as a demonstration sport at Paris 2024 Summer Olympics. The establishment of esports as an Olympic sport is significant because, contrary to gaming’s accessibility, there exists a high barrier to entry due to lack of regulation, which has led to the volatility of the esports professions as a result. “Esports has become a capital-driven market because a lot of investors are involved, so the cost of running a competitive
Top: Kin Fung Man is the CEO of Global Esports, the company that manages PandaCute. He is also the Co-founder of decentralized gaming platform PLAIR. Photo courtesy of Global Esports. Below: Clearance Cheung is head of Emperor Group’s esports division, which manages leading Hong Kong esports team, G-Rex. Photo courtesy of Emperor Group.
“The boys would get very angry whenever I ranked slightly higher than them. They would feel cheated and say that girls shouldn’t learn to play.” ‘RISPY’ LAI PandaCute Support Player
team is very high,” says Cheung. In addition to equipment and management costs, high-profile players must engage in a popularity contest and be packaged as celebrities to attract patronage. With teams flooding into the industry, such marketing demands mean that teams with generous sponsors attract more talent and fans. Another barrier to entry relates to the industry’s frequent confrontations with gender. In 2017, City University in Hong Kong found that 93% of the 1,000 surveyed esports gamers were male. Kin Fung Man, CEO and Creative Director of Global Esports, is working to bring all-female professional teams into the big leagues as a way to encourage more women to pursue the profession. He stresses that the industry “[needs] to be fair to each player, based on their skills.” For Man, empowering female players is not about taking the fight out of the bullpen, but bringing in new blood. His team, Bottom left: G-Rex poses for a group photo after winning the 2018 Regional Finals at the LoL Masters Series. Bottom right: G-Rex celebrating after qualifying for the 2018 Worlds. Photos courtesy of Emperor Group.
PandaCute (PDQ), is Hong Kong’s top female team. Founded in 2016, PDQ won the 2016 5v5 SunShine Cup in Taiwan, the 2017 SHERO and HKXP, and the 2018 Your Youth Girls Invitational. PDQ Support ‘Rispy’ Lai recounts being bullied for her interest in LoL during
high school, as “the boys would get very angry whenever I ranked slightly higher than them. They would feel cheated and say that girls shouldn’t learn to play.” Team Leader and Top Laner ‘Deer’ Chan adds: “It’s as though some boys can’t stand to watch a girl climb to a higher level.
That’s why we decided to play as a group– we don’t want misogyny in the team.” Many industry insiders like Choi acknowledge the adverse effects of low female representation, as he “resents” how “women in games usually have a perfect figure,” which he thinks is “a misrepresentation of real women.” On the flipside, Kang says that women can receive “tremendous attention for being a female” in the esports scene. He believes representation will increase in time, and that “all intrinsic value lies within gamers,” regardless of gender. While gender dynamics will take time for the industry to address appropriately, PDQ Mid Laner ‘Dream’ Shek remains passionate about her job, as training with a team “lights a fire in the heart”–a sentiment that’s echoed by her teammates. As esports continues to mature, priority is placed on stabilizing the industry for players and coaches, and diversifying and expanding existing business opportunities. “People say pro-gamers make a lot of
money. That’s wrong,” says ‘Lily’ Yim, PDQ Attack Damage Carry, as much of the prize money goes towards research, training, hiring, and simply keeping the team afloat. New teams are often expected to invest their own money, causing many to leave the industry after a few years. But for serious players, sponsorships are only a means to an end. “Pro-gamers do it for the competition. If there’s no sponsor to hold a competition, there’s no league to play in,” says Dream. As a way forward, Cheung cautions against working with cash sponsors, and recommends sustainable collaboration with partners to co-create products to help both “drive sales and penetration within the esports community.” He adds: “The industry has grown to a level that enables lots of esports-related business, including live-streaming platforms, merchandising, and event management. I predict merchandising will become one of the biggest income sources
Top: Hong Kong’s top female team, PandaCute. Left to right: Attack Damage Carry ‘Lily’ Yim, Support ‘Rispy’ Lai, Team Leader and Top Laner ‘Deer’ Chan, Mid Laner ‘Dream’ Shek, Jungler ‘Momo’ Tsz-ching Mo. Photo courtesy of Global Esports.
for esports.” The most important driver of growth is still the players who are passionate and committed to the game. PDQ Jungler player ‘Momo’ Tsz-ching Mo says she “would like to stay in the esports industry” when her time as a professional gamer comes to an end, perhaps as a coach, streamer, or other behind-the-cameras personnel. Whether or not esports will become an Olympic sport, the industry can still expect growing pains in the coming years. When asked how those interested in the industry can make their venture successful, Kang says: “Respect existing people [in the industry] and let them know your interest in esports is real. Many gamers will try to help you.” Bertha is Jumpstart’s Experience Design Strategist.
The Elemental Intersection of Art and Technology Traversing the intricacies of digital artwork with teamLab BY MIN CHEN
he intersection of art and technology may appear to be a modern phenomenon on the surface, but this relationship is as enduring and universal as the discipline of art itself. Not only does technology have the ability to disrupt current practices in the art industry, it can also challenge our understanding of the world around us, and efforts to further uncover the potential of this relationship are expanding globally. For instance, Tate Modern’s IK Prize is given to projects that use digital technology to help visitors discover, explore, and enjoy the Tate collection. Its most recent winner, Recognition, partnered with Microsoft to develop machine learning algorithms that identify correlations between the collection and newsreel imagery through facial and object recognition, color and composition analysis, and natural language processing. In doing so, Recognition aims to reveal the relevance of art in everyday life and the potential applications for artificial intelligence in art and design. Another example is Blockchain Art Collective–a service that uses a blockchain-based ledger system to secure an artwork’s physical and digital identity as a means of ensuring its authenticity. Artists and museums alike can register, verify, and
Those who reject technology in art, reject one of the greatest contributions art can make: furthering humanity’s understanding of the world around us.
teamLab (TL) creates jaw-dropping interactive exhibitions for their museum MORI Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderless, which is the first of its kind in the world, and other spaces across Asia.
transfer the rights of their work through the platform, improving the efficiency and validity of existing recording systems. Perhaps the most engaging and transformative expression of this intersection is the use of technology to create artwork, which opens doors to new interpretations of what constitutes as art and engenders meaning to our contemporary existence. Jumpstart had the pleasure of speaking to an art collective that’s pushing the boundaries of what is achievable with the digital medium as a way to inspire societal and intergenerational connectivity.
Can you start by sharing a bit about what your company does and your approach to the application of technology in art and design? TL: Founded in 2001, teamLab is an art collective and interdisciplinary group of ultra-technologists whose collaborative practice seeks to navigate the confluence of art, science, technology, design, and the natural world. Various specialists such as artists, programmers, engineers, computer graphic animators, mathematicians, and architects form teamLab. We see no boundary between humans and nature, and between oneself and the
Left: [The Infinite Crystal Universe] is a fully immersive installation that’s made up of 60,000 suspended LED lights. teamLab, The Infinite Crystal Universe, 2015 - 2018, Interactive Installation of Light Sculpture, LED, Endless, Sound: teamLab ©teamLab Right: [Enso] is the Japanese practice of drawing a circle with a single brush stroke. This installation is an experiment in Spatial Calligraphy, as the brush stroke appears to be suspended in space. Enso teamLab, 2017, Digital Work, 18min 30sec (loop) © teamLab January 2019
world; one is in the other and the other in one. Everything exists in a long, fragile yet miraculous, borderless continuity of life. Why did your company enter this particular niche and what most excites you about the intersection between technology and art? TL: Digital technology has allowed art to liberate itself from the physical and transcend boundaries, leading the way for unlimited possibilities of expression and transformation. It also allows us to take a scientific approach to explore the logical constructs of ancient Japanese spatial theory. We experiment with new visual experiences to challenge contemporary human perceptions of the world and aim to change people’s values and contribute to societal progress. Initially, we had no idea where we could exhibit or how we could support the team financially, but we firmly believed in the power of digital technology and creativity. We wanted to keep creating new things regardless of genre limitations, and we did. The relationship between technology and art is long-standing and significant, from the invention of photography to Andy Warhol’s use of silk screen printing. What doors did the ‘Digital Revolution’ open with regards to this relationship? TL: The digital medium will bring art into 64
Top: The [Weightless Forest of Resonating Life] at teamLab Borderless. The museum’s Future Park encourages kids to interact with the artwork and one another. Right: The [Forest of Resonating Lamps] at teamLab Borderless. teamLab Exhibition view of MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless, 2018, Odaiba, Tokyo © teamLab
a new era. You could say that digital art is the future, but you could also say that digital art is already here. We would like to see new ways for art to exist, not just with artworks, but space, viewers, and the market. Digital art is not just about ‘existence,’ it’s also about making an ‘experience’ into art. Our exhibitions make visitors and their individual experiences an integral part of the interactive artworks.
In the art world, the application of digital
technology is considered ‘new medium art’ and manifests in robotics, virtual reality, and 3D printing, to name a few. What does ‘new medium’ mean to you? TL: Technology is not the essence of our work, as it’s just a tool. We don’t see our work as a ‘new medium’ because we derive much of our inspiration from pre-modern Japanese art. Unlike Western Renaissance art, which was drawn with a specific subject and a vanishing point in the distance, ancient Asian picture scrolls are generally
described as ‘flat’ compared to the perspective or depth seen in Western paintings. When you are looking at the world as depicted in from a Western perspective, it appears to be distinct from your reality. The behavior of our Japanese forebears towards nature was not merely one of observation. Rather, they fully entered the world which they were observing, and easily understood how they were a part of it. We hope to explore that immersion when creating our art. We use digital technology to build a world of 3D objects in a 3D space, and then we explore the logical structure of that space in a way that makes it appear flat, as seen in traditional Japanese art. We have termed this structure ‘ultra-subjective space.’ By using ‘ultra-subjective space’ in
creating our artworks, we further blur the boundary between the artwork and viewer.
we can create things while we visualize them.
How do you balance functionality and design in your work?
There are fine art purists who reject the use of technology in art. What would you say to them?
TL: We never think of ourselves as designers, but rather as artists. Designers try to provide answers to humanityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s questions, while artists ask and explore them. As a result, our projects evolve as a form of organized chaos: we conceptualize a project while we simultaneously create it. We will, of course, have a predetermined goal for large projects. They may be a bit vague or general, but this way we can create as a team while we flesh out the full idea. Our project goals are tied to what we know is technically feasible, which is why
TL: Art and science, and by extension art and technology, have always been inextricably connected. From ancient times, civilizations have used science to help explain phenomena, and art to evolve human perception. Take the natural phenomenon of rain. Ask any child to draw rain, and they will have no problem with the task. They may draw it as little dots, vague blue scribbles in the sky, or even dense sheets of vertical lines, but they will be able to draw rain in
some form. However, this was not always the case. As recently as the 19th century, Western paintings rarely depicted rain. Take Paris Street; Rainy Day (1877): we see people walking with umbrellas, the streets slick with water and puddles, but no rain. When one stops to think, rain is not truly a visual phenomenon (transparent water droplets falling at terminal velocity are not easy to perceive with the naked eye), so perhaps people in the past perceived rain differently. Of course, this varies across cultures. While Western paintings may have merely implied rain, Japanese paintings featured it front and center. Japanese Ukiyo-e artists started depicting rain as dark lines as early as the 18th century, and artist Utagawa
Hiroshige’s Sudden Shower Over ShinOhashi Bridge and Atake (1857) gained international recognition and normalized this practice a hundred years later. Van Gogh derived inspiration from this depiction, and his The Bridge in the Rain (1887) also characterized rain as clusters of thin lines. In this way, art normalized rain as a visual phenomenon, changing the way we now perceive and understand nature and the world. Those who reject technology in art, reject one of the greatest contributions art can make: furthering humanity’s understanding of the world around us. History will decide whether or not they constitute ‘art.’ We are simply continuing to create works which we believe in. Can you share an especially memorable project you’ve worked on? TL: In June , we opened our first permanent digital museum: teamLab Borderless. After only six months since its opening, we have already welcomed a million visitors, and have been unable to sell any tickets at the door because they all sell out online almost a month in advance. Beyond international recognition and popularity, this extensive 10,000 sqm space represents something more to us. Having a permanent exhibit means there are greater possibilities for experimentation with the artwork, the way space is used for art, and the viewer’s understanding. Since technology is constantly evolving, do you feel the pressure to keep up with these developments in your work? TL: We feel technology provides us with more freedom than pressure. Traditional forms of art require a permanent bond to the material–paint on a canvas, print on photo paper, carvings into stone–none of which are reversible or changeable. Digital art, on the other hand, can continuously evolve and change. What trends do you foresee for the new year and what changes would you like to see in the industry? TL: Our dream for teamLab is to one day make entire cities into interactive digital art. The paradigm of traditional art has been to treat other viewers as a nuisance. 66
If you are at an exhibition with no other viewers, you are likely to think of yourself as extremely lucky. But in the exhibitions put together by teamLab, we encourage people to consider the presence of other viewers as a positive, which stretches beyond the art world. In modern cities, the presence of other people, as well as their unpredictable and uncontrollable behavior, is often seen as an inconvenience to be endured. If entire cities are wrapped in the type of digital art conceived of by teamLab, we believe that people will begin to see the presence of other residents in a more positive light. One of the major upcoming works that we’re bringing to a city is [Crystal Forest Square] in Shenzhen, China. Can you share any unique challenges you face in pioneering the amalgamation of two distinct disciplines?
TL: When we started teamLab in 2001 at the rise of the Digital Age, we were passionate about eliminating boundaries and working beyond existing disciplines, which was made possible by digital technologies. We wanted a place where we could bring people together from various fields. Our name ‘teamLab’ literally comes from that idea–to materialize a team of specialists and a laboratory to create and move the world forward. What do you hope to see for the future of teamLab? TL: We want visitors to understand how digital technology can expand conceptions of art; furthermore, that these techniques can liberate art from a value system based
only on physical materials. We hope our exhibits will encourage people to rethink the relationship between humans and nature as well as their relationship with the world around them. What are some upcoming exhibitions or projects we should know about? TL: You can find a list of our upcoming exhibitions on our websites: teamlab.art and architects.team-lab.com. Can robots ever be artists? TL: We do not know. All we know is that we at teamLab are not robots. teamLab is represented by Pace Gallery. Min is Jumpstart’s Editor in Chief.
TL: Creating artwork is always difficult. While we gained a passionate following among young people from the start, we were ignored by the Japanese art world. Our art world debut finally came in 2011 at the Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Taipei thanks to the artist Takashi Murakami. Since then, we’ve had opportunities to exhibit in cosmopolitan cities, including at the Pace Gallery in New York from 2014. Within Japan, our efforts to publicize and exhibit our art have borne fruit and have led to drastic changes in our situation. Many believe famous artists, curators, critics, and gallery owners dictate the art world’s direction. Do you think digitization has transformed this paradigm? Top and Bottom Left: The [Universe of Water Particles on a Rock where People Gather] artwork at teamLab Borderless. teamLab Exhibition view of MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless, 2018, Odaiba, Tokyo © teamLab Top and Bottom Right: The [Expanding ThreeDimensional Existence in Transforming Space - Free Floating, Flattening 3 Colors and 9 Blurred Colors] artwork, where the spheres change color on touch. teamLab, Expanding Three-dimensional Existence in Intentionally Transforming Space-Free Floating, 12 Colors, 2018, Interactive Installation, Endless, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi ©teamLab January 2019
The Blended Learning Method How edtech is transforming the future of Indonesia’s workforce BY ZANETI SUGIHARTI
ducation technology (edtech) presents opportunities for individuals from all walks of life. Emerging markets such as Indonesia shows great potential on the human capital side with its population of 265 million. The youth demographic, in particular, must equip themselves with the right skills to be able to take advantage of the country’s rapid development and rising digitization. Indonesia maintained positive economic growth in 2018 and McKinsey predicts the country is on its way to becoming the world’s seventh largest economy by 2030. However, many developmental challenges still lie ahead. The 2017 Global Human Capital Report by the World Economic Forum found that university graduates currently only make up 7% of the workforce and ranked the country 65th out of 130 surveyed regarding human capital development, which is far below its geographical neighbors. To address such issues, Indonesian President Joko Widodo issued a statement saying that the government is committing to “massive development of human resources” in the coming years. One of the best long-term solutions is to cultivate a culture and habit of learning, which is not only beneficial to workers themselves but is an economic imperative for the country. There are three main points to address in developing the education system: (1) curriculum reorientation, (2) implementing a blended learning method, and (3) providing a lifelong learning ecosystem. Such initiatives are meant to prepare young Indonesians for higher education and allow them to compete when faced with the impact of digitization and automation. Within the scope of the aforementioned developmental goals, the application of technology is most relevant for enabling a blended learning method, which seeks to combine the best of traditional learning methods, namely face-to-face classroom 68
instruction and online learning. With its ability to assimilate targeted learning through online channels and the sociable element of in-person teaching, the blended learning method presents itself as an ideal approach for the education system to achieve its objectives. Blended learning allows students to have control over the place, path, and pace of their education. It benefits from the reconfiguration of the physical learning space to provide a variety of tech-enabled learning zones optimized for collaboration, informal learning, and individual-focused
study. Some examples of this online learning space include videos and live streams of lectures, discussion forums, one-on-one chats, and digital libraries. Another issue the method addresses, which is hugely relevant within the context of Indonesia, is tuition fees. Online curriculums online open doors to students who didn’t previously have access to education due to financial limitations. Ten private Indonesian universities in Jakarta and Bandung were able to lower their tuition fees by up to 50% by adopting this method (HarukaEDU). While the blended learning method is considered a win for both students and the developmental goals of the country, there are still obstacles around awareness that are limiting its widespread adoption. First, it’s important for students to understand and be aware that pursuing higher education is worthwhile financially and for personal development. Second, universities must understand the efficacy of the blended learning method in helping, rather than hurting, the quality of education they’re trying to provide. Lastly, educators must be incentivized to bring their curriculums online and adapt them to the digital realm. The overall quality of the Indonesian workforce is in urgent need of improvement and large-scale investment on the edtech side has already become a high priority in the private and public sectors. Today, the real challenge is making people aware of the importance of education and the need to adopt modern methods of learning.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Zaneti is the Head of Marketing and Communications at HarukaEDU, an Indonesian edtech startup focusing on developing online degree platforms. She graduated from University of Indonesia. Zaneti is passionate about education and is currently working closely with public universities in Jakarta and Bandung to introduce blended learning degree programs for young Indonesians. harukaedu.com
Regarding downsides, it always feels like a competition between products with zero integration. Google has a platform for education, and our school uses it for students to access course materials and for teachers to collect assignments. We also use Turnitin to check for plagiaA secondary science teacher’s rism. However, since there is no integraperspective on edtech tion between the two, students have to submit their homework on two separate BY ISABELLA LIU platforms–once for hand-in purposes and once for plagiarism check. Cases like this can make teachers feel like it’s a s a science educator, I aim to waste of time rather than a convenience. create a sense of wonder in the The problem with teachers isn’t the world amongst my students. I fact that we don’t want to innovate, it’s am a firm believer that for students to because we don’t have the time. I spend make sense of what they a lot of my personal are learning, teachers Students nowadays are time troubleshooting need to get down to their digital natives, so it is my new technologies to see level. responsibility to familiarize how applicable they are I think the rise of for my students. Often, myself with tools and educational technologies these products don’t have technologies that my encourages teachers to students see every day. a trial period: it’s very be more innovative in much a ‘you have to buy understanding the latest technological it before you try it’ kind of deal, so it’s trends and how they could be applied in difficult to justify the cost if you don’t education. Students nowadays are digi- know what it does exactly. tal natives, so it is my responsibility to I hope to see more collaboration familiarize myself with tools and tech- among teachers using different edtech nologies that my students see every day. products going forward. There are just Edtech helps me teach science in so many emerging edtech apps, so how a more student-centered manner. My can educators come together and share students can connect with different resources? Twitter is an excellent platclassrooms around the world for a truly form for teachers to connect asynchroglobal classroom using the internet, and nously, so I’d like to see more of that they can create and design different kind of collaboration. experiments before using actual chemicals by using simulations. Technology also allows for interdisciplinary projects to be formed easily. For example, students can create a sustainable ecosystem by applying science and humanities concepts, or they can ABOUT THE AUTHOR design auto-watering system by using Isabella is a Canadian secondary technology and science concepts. science and mathematics teacher. As for trends, there is a huge increase She teaches the Science Middle in design technologies for students to go Years Program and the Chemistry through the design-thinking cycle. That Diploma Program under the can come in many forms, whether it’s International Baccalaureate curfor students to design an app, a game, or riculum in Hong Kong. Isabella is to have them create something physical passionate about inspiring young like a robot to go through an obstacle minds through integrative thinking, course. All of these encourage students implementing technology, and to think outside the box and apply what hands-on inquiry tasks. they are learning in school.
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movement sleep–by measuring resting heart rate using wearables like Fitbit or smart ring Oura. For those who don’t find working out to be particularly fun, there are platforms innovating experiences to make them more engaging. Les Mills uses virtual reality in their immersive studio fitness instruction and Kaia uses motion tracking in their app to help users nail that squat, pain-free and with better form. Lastly, it’s important to make smarter workout decisions. For frequent travelers, there are countless audio and video training programs for a small subscription fee. Nike+’s free training app is packed with efficient workouts that require no equipment. Peloton is leading the charge with IoT home-fitness equipment and content, where users can play live and pre-recorded fitness classes from the comfort of their living room.
What Happened to Those New Year’s Resolutions? Incorporating wellness rituals into your life in 2019 using digital tools BY JASLYN KOH
ost of us can identify with having a New Year Resolution that aligns with health and fitness, but achieving it is always another story. We get busy with work, family, and social commitments. We travel. We miss our gym session for a day, which turns into a week, then a month, then–well, you get the idea. Soon, it feels impossible to jump back on that bandwagon. Sound familiar? Often, the reason for allowing our health regimes to take a back seat isn’t due to laziness, but lack of time and energy at the end of a workday. Consequently, we burn out and are never fully present in the activities we commit to. Self-care is imperative to achieving personal goals and career ambitions, and the good news is that we can leverage technology to transform our wellness rituals because we can all use a bit of help, after all.
ometimes, what we really need is a moment of pause to reflect and regain clarity. The good news is there are now an array of solutions for today’s highly stressed workforce. Notable platforms include meditation and mindfulness app Headspace, brain training tool Lumosity, and Shine Text, which sends positive messages of affirmation to the user. Too much of anything is bad, so it’s crucial to cultivate a healthy relationship with technology and know when to disconnect. Now that Apple has embraced the digital wellness trend by implementing ‘screen time’ reports on iPhones, it can act as a first step to being more conscious of how we’re spending our time, and decrease digital consumption as needed.
or those who struggle with staying committed to their health goals, connecting with a like-minded buddy or finding their tribe might do the trick. From holding each other accountable about showing up at the gym to reducing the intake of sugary foods, people are often surprised by how much progress they can make just by not going at it alone. According to Harvard Medical School’s article ‘The health benefits of strong relationships,’ social connections are “every bit as powerful as adequate sleep, a good diet, and not smoking” and “people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.” Looks like it’s time to get social.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ne thing that’s seemingly easy to achieve, but would appear to be a near impossible task for much of the working population is getting those eight hours of sleep. If you struggle with this, start by identifying the issue, whether it’s getting to sleep or staying asleep, and then pinpoint which tools would suit your needs best. White noise or soothing sound apps like Noisli can help users fall asleep. If your sleep quality is poor, apps like Sleep Cycle can help track sleep efficiency–such as the percentage of rapid eye
Jaslyn is the Founder of Broc n Bells, a social platform to meet like-minded people over health and fitness. Users can connect over similar lifestyles, gyms and healthy cafe hangouts, even while traveling. She also started The Busy Woman Project, a lifestyle brand and community empowering women in Asia to lead their best lives. brocnbells.com
The Curious Case of Calorie Counting How access to nutrition information is changing the way we make decisions about our health BY WALTER OH
e now live in a world where with a few taps on our can of Coke. Although it’s better to choose juice because Coke is phones, we can find out how we should dress for the not only high in sugars but also artificial chemicals, the moral of day, how much a spontaneous trip to Europe will cost, the story is that nutrition claims are not always as they seem. and how much trans fat is in the bag of chips we just opened. Many promising technologies can aid consumers in filling Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that trans fats are created this gap. One example is GreenLink, a social enterprise that uses through an industrial process that adds hydroblockchain technology to allow customers to gen to vegetable oil to make it firmer. Like satConsumers can take back trace the origin of products and verify product urated fat, trans fat raises your cholesterol and information by scanning a label or QR code. more control of their health can increase the risk of coronary heart disease, Shoppers are empowered to become conscious by equipping themselves with but you probably already knew that. knowledge about what exactly is consumers when they can discover the stories, The way we make purchasing decisions is journeys, and impact behind the products. stocked on the shelves. changing. Product transparency is no longer Product transparency is still a work in proga choice but a corporate responsibility, as consumers now expect ress, as industry standards need time to more accurately reflect brands to provide complete and accurate product information, consumer expectations towards their food. However, technology especially when it comes to nutrition. Based on The Label Insight has made strides in providing consumers with the tools and Food Revolution Study, 71% of people consider whether they have knowledge they need to make decisions about their health, paving access to the full ingredient list when making a food purchase. the way for a healthier future. Consumers can take back more control of their health by equipping themselves with knowledge about what exactly is stocked on the shelves. After all, food impacts our bodies in the most direct ABOUT way possible. We now know all too well that consuming too much THE saturated fat and trans fat, cholesterol, or sodium will increase AUTHOR the risk of certain chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, some cancers, and high blood pressure. But it took decades for us to get Walter is the Co-founder of Boxgreen. Founded in 2014, to this point. Boxgreen is on a mission to promote better snacking by That being said, nutrition labels can be difficult to decipher, delivering natural and nutritious snacks straight to the cusso it’s not enough for consumers to have the information, as they tomer. All snacks are free from artificial flavoring and colormust know how to read it, too. A common mistake is thinking ing, and tagged with easy-to-read health badges. A portion that ‘no sugar added’ equates to healthy. Naturally occurring sugof all proceeds of each snack goes toward providing meals for ars are listed as carbohydrates, so it’s important to look at other the less privileged. nutrients to avoid being misled by packaging. In this case, a juice boxgreen.co labeled as ‘sugar-free’ can contain the same amount of sugar as a January 2019
The automation and analytical power afforded by computing technologies can offer unique functionalities and new tools, with the potential to radically transform mental healthcare.
From Social Media to Social Support How digital health solutions are combating the mental health pandemic BY NAYANTARA BHAT
ental health issues have long concerned governments and health professionals, but awareness of their spread and how to tackle them remains low, especially in developing countries and low-income communities. An unexpected common denominator could offer the solution: technology, and social media in particular. Social media has been both a help and a hindrance for those affected by mental health disorders. Some platforms are beneficial, but others have been pinpointed as the root of mental illnesses that plague many youth today. Readers, particularly parents and teachers, may remember the year 2013, when a number of teen suicides were provoked by the social platform Ask.fm. 74
The website, which allows users to ask and answer questions anonymously, became a place where cyberbullying ran rampant. Business Insider reported in September 2013 that nine teenagers in the United States and United Kingdom were driven to suicide by anonymous hate messages. Orygen, Australia’s national service promoting mental wellbeing among the youth population, has become the authority on healthtech for mental disorders through their digital team, eOrygen. The Melbourne-based mental health research organization hopes a new take on social media can offer some reprieve for teenagers or adults who are suffering from common mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Orygen’s tech lead Dr Simon D’Alfonso
is developing Moderated Online Social Therapy (MOST), a social media platform and research initiative that aims to discover how best to create engaging technology for young people with mental illnesses. Given that clinics are often strapped by limited time and resources, the platform also explores how technology use can reinforce the therapeutic techniques and recovery that comes from face-to-face therapy. “The primary goal is to develop an evidence-based app that powers effective online psychosocial interventions,” says D’Alfonso. He adds that a real-life application of MOST would be to introduce the platform to mental health clinic patients to support their regular therapy sessions. MOST consists of three elements: Facebook-style social networking, specialized therapy components that help users develop and reinforce psychological skills like self-compassion, and a forum-like feature where users can pose and crowdsource solutions to everyday mental health problems. Users work to develop a range of psychological skills and are asked to demonstrate their learnings in real-life scenarios. They can then seek support from the community or trained moderators. The system is designed to create a constant back and forth between the patient’s therapy and social interactions as a means of reinforcing takeaways from their treatment. It also includes a ‘Job Zone’ with vocational opportunities and can be adapted to a variety of mental health disorders to maximize its reach. “The specialized platform we have developed attempts to avoid some of the negative pitfalls of social media behemoths,” says D’Alfonso. In his words: “social media is a double-edged sword.” Globally, declining mental health is reaching alarming rates. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates
that 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression. A significant factor in the unchecked rise of depression and other disorders, which are endemic within marginalized communities, is the critical imbalance between the cases of mental illness and accessibility of treatment. In Indonesia, an hour of therapy with a hospital’s resident psychologist costs around US$35 an hour, but according to The Jakarta Globe, the country’s minimum wage for 2018 is only US$230 per month. Paying for regular therapy sessions is for the most part unsustainable, even for white collar, middle-class residents. The WHO estimates that 76% to 85% of sufferers in low- and middle-income countries do not receive treatment for their conditions. Access to scalable mental healthcare in Southeast Asia is likely to be a challenge because stigma towards mental illness is well-documented in these countries. The accessibility of digital mental health treatments is heavily dependent on government resources and information systems. State provisions for mental health solutions are also likely to be skewed in favor of government-backed initiatives, with for-profit ventures left mainly fending for themselves. Tech giants including Facebook, IBM, and Google’s parent company Alphabet are devoting resources towards developing
solutions, but their entrance into the arena gives rise to separate concerns. “Will [big tech’s] business models prioritize profitability at the expense of being available to all those in need, or will their efforts be philanthropically tempered?” asks D’Alfonso. Since few scalable and deployable solutions are currently market-ready, attention, creativity, and investor dollars are all being directed at discovering new applications of technology within the mental healthcare space. “The automation and analytical power afforded by computing technologies can offer unique functionalities and new tools, with the potential to radically transform mental healthcare,” says D’Alfonso. He gives the example of ‘digital phenotyping,’ which uses smartphone usage patterns and sensor data to identify and even predict psychological disorders. Digital phenotyping has attracted major commercial attention: Palo Altobased startup MindStrong Health raised a US$15 million Series B for developing technology that treats disorders through “the ubiquity of mobile technology” (Crunchbase). Alphabet’s life science firm, Verily, is also working on this technology. While the likes of Facebook and Alphabet are high profile role models, D’Alfonso says startups drive the bulk of digital healthcare development. The
founders of these early-stage companies are often mental health professionals; for example, MindStrong’s three founders are all Doctors of Medicine. However, the efficacy of tech-based mental healthcare applications is still a gray area, making testing and research all the more important. “It seems many apps are capitalizing on this space without a theoretical or evidence-based approach,” says D’Alfonso. This puts users at risk of misdiagnosis or improper treatment, and at worst, exacerbates existing mental health issues. D’Alfonso is optimistic but clear-eyed about MOST’s potential in tackling the mental health crisis. He believes that the platform and other similar applications will advance rather than replace the work of traditional clinics. “I suspect that the future incorporation of digital mental health solutions into mental healthcare will result in clinical psychologists who are trained to use new digital technologies and interpret new types of patient data,” he says. The picture D’Alfonso paints of the digital mental health field points to a greater understanding of mental illness and better care for those who suffer from it. Tech-based solutions could potentially transform the mental healthcare space, but only if given resources to grow. Nayantara is Jumpstart’s Editorial Associate.
Left: Dr Simon D’Alfonso is the tech lead at Orygen and a research fellow in the School of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne. Top: A look into eOrygen’s Moderated Online Social Therapy platform, which integrates online therapy and social media elements to treat mental disorders. January 2019
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Love at First Swipe Dating apps and the future of romance BY JING SHEN
ith the online dating industry growing more competitive by the day as companies like Facebook start to enter the field, the market is becoming saturated with newly launched apps that are testing novel and quirky features to stand out from the crowd. But are dating apps actually getting smarter and what are some ways they can stay ahead of the curve? Go global, think local
ating is extremely culturally sensitive, and this is especially true in Asia, where there’s a mix of many cultures that differ in dramatic and subtle ways. No two countries look at dating the same way, so relationship dynamics, dating practices, and history will determine how the product is built for each market. It is crucial for dating apps to foster a DNA unique to their brand. For example, Paktor plays to their strength in the localization of their name. ‘Paktor,’ which means ‘dating’ in Cantonese, is a word that is likely to resonate deeply with users from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and maybe even Taiwan, but will be unknown in the South Korean market. Hence, Paktor launched as ‘Swipe’ in Korea because it is a term that local users will understand By dissecting culture-specific nuances, apps will be able to drive high levels of localization and build a strong community of users wherever they are. Make it easy
ere’s an analogy: you’re in a bar with a good band. The music attracts people and makes them inclined to spend more time in the bar. As guests visit more frequently, their chance of meeting new
people will naturally increase. Similarly, building user-centric features that are constantly engaging enables them to meet more people. The more they open and spend time using the app, the more can be learned about their various user behaviors and preferences, thus allowing more targeted and effective recommendations to be made to them. Singles may use dating apps for convenience or the size of its user base. To the shy and reserved user, it can still be challenging to start a conversation with a stranger online. Developers need to take this into consideration and design features to minimize the user’s stress in finding a match, such as conversation starter features or gamifying online chat, which can also increase the fun factor of the apps. The future of dating
s the dating industry matures, companies will get to know their users’ dating preferences better than their best friend, parents, and even perhaps themselves. It is inevitable for companies to not only consider the swipes the user is making, but their personal history, appearance,
habits, and even voice. By taking this information into account, matchmaking algorithms will advance to the point where matches will lead to high numbers of successful relationships because of their accuracy in identifying compatibility. Dating apps will also continue to tackle fake accounts with advanced machine learning and crowdsourcing. Currently, certain dating apps are still engaging manual review methods to target these spammers, but following the continuous development of enhanced algorithms, spammers or fake accounts will be automatically detected and banned.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jing is the Co-founder and CEO of Paktor Group, a dating company that provides a comprehensive suite of products across the dating vertical. He led Paktor’s move from a Singaporebased tech startup into a position of strength, delivering record user growth propelled by 2017’s market entry into Korea and global revenue has tripled, which resulted in Paktor Group’s business becoming profitable for the first time since 2014. gopaktor.com
Gateway Drug Reconciling our on-again, oﬀ-again relationship with technology BY NAYANTARA BHAT
ll too often, in the middle of a social gathering, people will start to check their phones one-by-one, succumbing to the allure of their glowing screens like dominos. Relaxed evenings with friends frequently turn into a cycle of scrolling through Instagram feeds and not much else. These curious changes in the way we interact could be a cultural byproduct of digitization, or the result of a bigger problem: society’s collective addiction to technology, and our relentless need to be connected. Technology has made many a teenager targets of the disparaging ‘kids these days’ comment. Despite the scoffing, our relationship with technology and the internet is largely murky. While studies showing a link between internet use and depression have enjoyed the spotlight in the past few years, others find that although he notes that this holds for any addictive disorder. it decreases loneliness. But with the World Health Organization The Cabin treated cyber addiction as a secondary issue for (WHO) declaring gaming to be a bonafide addiction and com- years, but the past five years saw an abrupt boom in cases of panies like Apple introducing features to control screen time, tech primary tech addiction. Russman attributes this increase to the use is rapidly becoming a real worry for internet’s growing accessibility, which families and scientists. led them to introduce a standalone A 2016 study conducted by Hong treatment program. Kong Polytechnic University professors For most adults, the prospect of Daniel Shek and Lu Yu found that becoming addicted to tech isn’t incredadolescents in Hong Kong experienced ibly worrying. Usage can sometimes an overall decline in their quality of life get out of hand, but it’s generally shortwith greater levels of tech usage. term (say, when you’re binge-watching “For those who are more internet Orange is the New Black). addicted, their life satisfaction is lower, What they don’t realize is that their and their sense of hopelessness is rabbit hole of unproductivity results higher,” says Shek. from an intentional tactic used by platHe adds that these internet-addicted forms to lure users into a binge. Projects adolescents often experienced problems like the Time Well Spent Movement, Technologies always advance with their schoolwork or families as a addiction, from the time we invented spearheaded by former Google Design partial consequence of the habit, and Ethicist Tristan Harris, have brought the syringe and saw a huge upswing that tech addiction often came handthis issue to light. in morphine addiction, to the time in-hand with other high-risk adolescent The attention economy engineers we changed powdered cocaine into behaviors like substance abuse. tech that keeps users hooked. Content smokable cocaine, and saw a crack Tech addiction can be tricky to and social media platforms thrive on epidemic hit the United States. define, much less treat. The Cabin, users who make a habit of glancing at a rehabilitation treatment center in their screens and skimming their feeds, Chiang Mai, looks for and treats ‘cyber addiction’–an umbrella designing their products in such a way that makes it hard to resist term for everything from gaming to pornography addiction. a peek at regular intervals. For all those times when watching Brian Russman, Deputy Chief Clinical Officer at The Cabin, one YouTube video turns into three hours’ worth, Harris has an says that the same characteristics of other addictions play out in explanation. a case of cyber addiction–the key being the buildup of tolerance. “You didn’t realize you had a supercomputer pointed at your Each time a person indulges, they need more of the substance to get brain,” he says in an interview with WIRED, referring to Google’s the same dopamine hit. Adolescents are particularly susceptible, substantial computing power. 78
Top: A counseling session at The Cabin, a rehabilitation facility that treats alcohol, drug, and behavioral addiction in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
In short, lack of self-control isn’t entirely to blame for rising levels of tech addiction. The way Russman sees it, technological progress has historically been a catalyst for addiction. “Technologies always advance addiction, from the time we invented the syringe and saw a huge upswing in morphine addiction, to the time we changed powdered cocaine into smokable cocaine, and saw a crack epidemic hit the United States,” he says. “Technological innovations are also driving this incredible upswing in addiction.”
To combat substance addictions, it’s often the case that going cold turkey works best. However, technology has wormed its way into almost every aspect of daily life, and no two people use it in the same way. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to step away from its omnipresent influence on recreational activities, work life, and even personal care and health. When explaining the process of treating non-substance addictions like internet addiction and disordered eating conditions, known as process addictions, Russman uses a spiral burner as a metaphor. If the stove is turned to maximum, the burner becomes red and begins to glow. Even when switched off, it will continue to glow red hot until it cools down enough to touch. “We’re trying to do that with the brain–to cool the brain down after it has stopped the use of chemicals or behaviors,” Russman says. “The brain still needs to reset and cool down, and we use an abstinence period to do that.” After this dry period, Russman says that patients usually heal on their own with therapy and move toward healthier behaviors. However, in every case, there exists what Russman refers to as a ‘bottom line,’ or a specific action that can trigger a relapse into addictive behavior. When asked how patients handle the removal of their autonomy, he says that most don’t accept the news gently. “Their brain has been tricked or hijacked into giving this behavior incredible importance–much more so than is realistic,” he says. “To their brain, this is survival.” Other methods of treating tech addiction have surfaced around Asia, ranging from boot camps to ‘disconnected’ rehab clinics, where only offline forms of entertainment exist. China was the first country to officially declare internet addiction to be a disorder, while South Korea–rife with its own shocking cases of internet addiction–views it as a full-blown public health crisis. Although a growing pool of literature points to the negative repercussions of tech addiction, causes and prevention are still hotly debated issues within the academic community. Since people use technology in innumerable ways, it’s challenging to reach a consensus on an industry or policy level. “We say that gaming or internet should be controlled. What kind of control should it be?” says Daniel Shek. “In a way, it is similar to drug addiction, but it is not the same because you can use computers for good things.” While academics wage their quiet battles of contested opinions, individuals can take certain steps to keep their relationship with technology healthy and beneficial. Russman says that people who are feeling their control on tech usage slip away should focus on strengthening human connections in their lives. “Attachment with others, social functions, and putting the phone down during dinner time,” he says. “These other activities balance out the kind of use that may be becoming problematic and limiting [your] connection with others.” Russman, Shek, and others in the field agree that our relationship with technology needs to be carefully balanced. One cannot ignore innovations in edtech and elearning, which are making waves in the education sector, and a myriad of other applications in technology that are improving our quality of life. “I don’t think we can escape from technology,” says Shek. “But I think we should use it in an intelligent manner.” Nayantara is Jumpstart’s Editorial Associate. January 2019
LIFESTYLE: PRODUCT REVIEWS
A Peek Into the Future of Hiring Experiencing the POD by HR Tech International
t first glance, the POD looks like something out of science fiction film, perhaps the auxiliary vehicle of a spaceship or teleportation device. While its actual function is more grounded to earth, the POD’s forward-looking nature is consistent with the impression it makes. The POD is an automated interview machine; about the size of a photo booth (9 sqft), the candidate situates themself inside to face a video camera and an iPad. The door closes, and the process begins. The experience is intuitive, with a slow and steady voice guiding the candidate through the interview. They are asked a question and given a set time to answer; the response time for the demo version is around 30 to 60 seconds. Candidates are then prompted to press ‘next’ when they’re ready for the following question. Since this is a wholly new interview experience, it’s expected for some candidates to feel nervous or even stumble on the first few questions, knowing there’s a time limit. But it didn’t take long for the process to feel rhythmic. It also helps to not be distracted by the interviewer’s expressions (or lack thereof). For shy or nervous interviewees, there’s no doubt that the POD would help with this anxiety. Within five minutes of exiting the POD, the full interview, aptitude, personality, communication ability, and
test score are accessible by the company, allowing for a quantifiable overview of the candidate. Some may find the POD to be an impersonal approach to hiring, but it’s meant to be a first-stage evaluation of the candidate to be followed by a second or third interview. HR Tech’s Founder and HR industry veteran Kate Choyce wanted to solve the problem of biased interviews, “an issue that’s particularly felt by the youth, who believe the interview process often works against them,” says Choyce. She adds: “We are bringing interviews that are objective, so companies can make the best choice for their team, enable quicker hires, and increase the volume of interviews.” The POD brings together a host of technologies including speech intelligence algorithms to transcode candidates’ communication skills, and EQ and IQ tests. After closing its first round of fundraising in 2018, HR Tech has moved trial PODs into offices, where corporate clients have understandably shown the highest demand considering the volume of candidates they interview. The POD is expected to be in Australia, Europe, and the Americas by the end of 2019, ready to vet the next generation workforce. –MC hrtechintl.com Photo courtesy of HR Tech.
Hi, BlueMeg The over-achiever of virtual assistants
irtual or smart assistants have become commonplace in the past few years. Outside the likes of Siri and Alexa, many companies are building digital assistants that cater to more targeted business needs. One such company is BlueMeg, an online console that looks after all the tedious work associated with business incorporation and management because, according to BlueMeg, “nobody starts a company for their passion of the administrative tasks that come with it.” The platform hopes to eradicate all the bureaucratic paperwork associated with company incorporation through blockchain technology, which allows for digital identity authentication and smart contracts. For companies that are already incorporated, BlueMeg can still help to streamline internal processes by taking all company information online securely, from important dates to share structures. Currently, the platform can incorporate and manage companies in Hong Kong and Singapore, with more jurisdictions to come. Starting a company will always be daunting, so it’s helpful to be able to focus on the bigger picture. –MC bluemeg.com
LIFESTYLE: PRODUCT REVIEWS
Left: The 42Lab kit, which is adaptable to diﬀerent curriculums. Below: The Teacher Dashboard. Photos courtesy of 42Lab.
suitable for multiple curriculums. The companion app also serves as a classroom management tool for teachers to monitor student progress. 42Lab hopes to use this system to develop STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in Asia and pave the path for future leaders in these fields. –MC 42lab.io
Learning with 42Lab The first portable biotech lab
ward-winning edtech startup 42Lab aims to democratize biotech learning by providing affordable and portable equipment to students. The user-friendly, AI-powered app and mini-laboratory use deep technologies like cell-free, freeze dry
samples, lego modular microfluidics, and computer vision to enable hands-on learning in the classroom. The company aims to empower non-specialists to manipulate biotech, from kitchen science to molecular biology, synthetic biology, and even bionics. 42Lab hopes to address problems around high equipment cost and troublesome experiment preparation for educators by creating an adaptable system that’s
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do-it-yoursel f Mini Macr a mé Pl an t er Freshen up your workspace with a touch of greenery BY BECKY GILMOUR AND LUCY GILMOUR
Learn how to make your own mini macramé hanger for your favorite little plant, the perfect way to breathe new life into your office or workspace in 2019.
Cut 4 x 150 cm lengths of cotton string. Fold the 4 pieces in half and pull through and over the metal ring to create the first knot. This is called a larks head knot.
ABOUT MAKE & DO HK Make & Do HK is a creative platform set up by two sisters. Becky Gilmour’s background is in textiles and fashion and Lucy Gilmour specializes in crafts and embroidery. They provide inspiration for designers and makers, and organize meetups, events, and craft workshops at their studio and throughout Hong Kong. makeanddohk.com
At 7 cm down, make another overhand knot, repeat on all sides.
W h at Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;l l Need 2 mm Natural Cotton String
Take 2 pieces of string (positioned next to each other) and tie an overhand knot, directly below the larks head knot and ring. Divide the remaining 6 strands into 3 groups of 2 and repeat on all.
At 2 cm down, tie alternate strings from each of the 4 groups together using an overhand knot.
Mini Plant Pot
At 7 cm down, tie 1 half knot, repeat again 2 cm below and then again 2 cm below that. Result is 3 spaced out half knots creating a chain like effect.
Repeat on the remaining 3 groups, making sure that the knots align in the same place on all 4 groups.
This will now form the basket. Put the mini plant pot inside and make sure that it fits before moving on to the final knot.
To finish, tie all 8 strands together in one big knot underneath the pot. Trim the bottom to 6 cm and brush to separate the strands of string.
Hibiscal ade & Shino channel your inner mixologist and impress guests this year as you entertain with artisanal cocktails and mocktails BY JUSTIN SONOTA VILLANUEVA
Shino Alcoholic Ingredients • • • • •
Full lemon, cut into small wedges 2 ½ tsp. of Okinawa black sugar 60 ml of gin 4 pcs. of fresh shiso leaves Soda water to serve Preparation
Muddle the lemon with the sugar in a shaker glass
2. Lightly hand press the shiso leaves to
release their oils and add three leaves to the shaker.
3. Add the gin 4. Add ice and softly shake 5. Top up with soda water and stir with a
bar spoon, lifting as you stir
6. Pour into Collins glass
Garnish with the remaining shiso leaf
n o n -a l c o h o l i c Ingredients • • • •
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Justin is a bartender at one of Hong Kong’s favorite Yakitori restaurants, Yardbird. He is originally from the Philippines and born in Hong Kong, and considers meeting people from different parts of the world to be one of the best parts of his job. yardbirdrestaurant.com
Full lemon, cut into small wedges 2 ½ tsp. of Okinawa black sugar 1 hibiscus and rosehip tea bag Soda water to serve
Brew tea bag for 3 minutes
2. Muddle lemon with the sugar in a
3. Add tea brew into shaker glass 4. Add ice and shake 5. Top up with soda water
LIFESTYLE: CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT REVIEWS
The Undiluted Story of Theranos Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
Recommended for You Explained by Vox
xplained, a series produced by Vox Media and broadcast on Netflix, is a documentary-style television series about topics that don’t often get reported in the news. The series premiered on May 23, 2018, and has completed the first season with 20 weekly episodes. Stemming from Vox’s popular YouTube channel, the series takes the opportunity to deep-dive into various topics from “Cryptocurrency” to “Monogamy” to “Extraterrestrial Life.” Explained gives the viewer a high-level overview through short 15 to 20-minute episodes, with just enough information to offer fresh perspectives. While some topics may be familiar to viewers, the series is quick to provide depth by touching on terms, acronyms, and definitions. For example, the “Music” episode explores what makes up music (i.e., sound and sound signals) and how it can be defined.
The episode also explores cultural impacts, introduces someone who lost their sense of music, and interviews Carly Rae Jepsen. For other episodes, such as “The World’s Water Crisis,” the series reaches out to experts and shares vital statistics. Explained can spark the interest of a diverse audience due to the range of topics it covers. With its global scope, the series touches on pressing issues that are eye-opening yet relatable. It will no doubt keep viewers informed enough to be able to lead discussions around the water cooler. The series has already been picked up for a second season, which is an excuse to binge-watch season one. –AC
heranos: the unicorn of dreams, exemplifying everything Silicon Valley wanted from its startups. A charismatic founder, sophisticated blood-testing technology, and the promise that their solution could change the world–it was too perfect an opportunity to miss out on. It was kryptonite for Palo Alto venture capitalists with cash to burn, and looking at the way Theranos has fallen from grace, they might as well have literally burned that money. Bad Blood, authored by Wall Street Journal investigative reporter John Carreyrou (who broke the original story), journeys into the depths of Theranos’ origins. The prologue of the
netflix.com Top: A scene from “K-Pop” (S01E04) Bottom left: A peek into “Monogamy” (S01E03) Bottom right: The series opener. Photos courtesy of Netflix.
Put Your Headset On GrabBag by Shadow Factory
rabBag is an immersive introduction to what can be achieved with present-day virtual reality (VR) technology and is a party game fit for family fun. Strap on the headset, pick up the controllers, and dive into the world of this casual action game, which cruises players through their choice of three unique environments: old-school Hong Kong by tram, New Orleans by Mardi Gras float, and a mysterious future-city by skytrain.
LIFESTYLE: CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT REVIEWS
book recounts the firing of Theranos Chief Financial Officer Henry Mosley in 2006, an efficient introduction to the culture at what seems very much like a corporate Wild West. Confrontations between superiors and their underlings throw off a distinct ‘this town ain’t big enough for the both of us’ vibe, and employees are gunned down at such a pace that it’s a wonder the company made it that far. The prologue sets the scene for a tumultuous ride that often has the reader shaking their head in amazed disgust. Theranos moves offices several times in the course of the story, but the culture of grandiose lies, paranoia, and tyranny perpetrated by Elizabeth Holmes and her mysterious boyfriend and minion Sunny Balwani remains constant. There’s a certain kind of satisfaction to be found in the way the company sinks as the promises get emptier and the Theranos devices continue to fail. What’s particularly striking about Bad Blood is the frequency at which Carreyrou repeats variations of “they instantly
recognized the potential of the Theranos technology,” pointing to the idea that the real loss is the game-changing healthtech company it could’ve been. Holmes had a fantastic concept and everyone who was pitched the idea was sucked in immediately. From revered investors to influential United States government entities–including current Defense Secretary James Mattis and former Labor Secretary George Shultz–Theranos had a veritable army of bigwigs professing their unconditional vote of confidence for Elizabeth Holmes. Bad Blood will lead you to look at the golden glow of Silicon Valley a little differently. It’s gripping and best consumed in large chunks; with its vast array of characters, it’s easy to forget who’s who if you take long breaks from the book. Whether you’re looking for a fast-paced holiday read or whether you just want the full, unbridged scoop on Theranos, Bad Blood is a great pick. –NB
The game is reminiscent of a rail shooter. While traditional games of the genre take players on a preset route with potential targets to test their reflexes and marksmanship, GrabBag does so without guns. Rather, it allows players to apply their hand-eye coordination to ‘grab’ items as they fly past. Each location has its own appeal, and come with a variety of matching items. Entering the Hong Kong stage is like stepping inside a minimalistic comic book. There are egg waffles, fish skewers and baskets of dim sum to stroke the appetite. It’s a relaxing joyride, complete with the recognizable ‘ding-ding’ sound.
In contrast, the New Orleans stage is an explosion of noise and color, jam-packed with cheers, noisemakers, dancing figures, and confetti. The spectacular degree of background and particle animations sometimes slow the frame rate, but serve to distract players from flying party beads, trinkets, and the occasional lone sandal. If the first stage is a light read and the second a spectacle, then the third is sheer drama. The stage begins with the player lifting off from a runway fit for a sci-fi film to twist, turn and soar through a dark city where skyscrapers are cinematically lit by advertising, no doubt a revenue channel for the game. Reality is easily suspended
panmacmillan.com Cover art courtesy of Pan MacMillan.
“We turned to my questions about the Edison. How many blood tests did Theranos perform on the device? That too was a trade secret, they said. I felt like I was watching a live performance of the Theater of the Absurd.” - John Carreyrou
when the items to grab happen to be shiny, free-floating orbs of neon light. GrabBag does not have much to offer in terms of level design or high replay value, but it meets the mark as a VR introduction that inspires wonder, broadly showcases what can be done, and ignites curiosity as to how developers can take it to the next level. The game is by Shadow Factory, a digital production company that provides virtual, augmented, and mixed reality services. This first foray into the business to consumer space is available on Steam for US$1.99. – BC grabbagvr.com Photos courtesy of Shadow Factory.
APOS|tech October 24 - 26, 2018 • JW Marriott, Phuket, Thailand
rganized annually by Media Partners Asia (MPA), APOS|tech brings together over 250 attendees and leaders in the media, telecoms, and entertainment industries from more than 20 countries around the world. Notable participants included representatives from Alibaba, Google, iQiyi, and Netflix, who shared their insights on topics around mobile gaming, video distribution, e-wallets, and blockchain, to name a few. The more than 55 expert panelists consisted mainly of senior management and entrepreneurs. The intent of the summit was not only to forecast industry
Seedstars Cambodia October 21, 2018 • Phnom Penh, Cambodia
trends and explore market trajectories, but to provide value to attendees through investment and partnership opportunities. “Media and telecom players are competing against Amazon, Google, Alibaba, Tencent, who have 20- to 30-year outlooks. You’ve got to think about your business very differently,” says Raine Ventures Managing Partner and panelist Gordon Rubenstein. MPA also organizes APOS, which will take place in Bali, Indonesia in April. –MC visitapostech.com Photo courtesy of MPA.
September 14, 2018 • Zepp at BIG BOX, Singapore
hen a hall like Zepp at BIG BOX gets packed with 2,500 attendees, 350 startups, 150 investors, 200 volunteers, and 70 speakers, you never really know what to expect. The goal of this third edition was to break away from the norm and establish new grounds for celebrating digital trends, entrepreneurship, and technology. The tech and entrepreneurship community has grown significantly in Singapore, if past iterations of Slush are anything to go by. In one segment, Kyber Network’s CFO Hoe Lon Leng and CEO Loi Lu discussed decentralizing crypto exchanges. In another, LIFE3 CEO and Founder Ricky Lin, Singapore Agrifood and Veterinary Authority CEO Lim Kok Thai, and the Head Principal of the National Junior College of Singapore Ang Pow Chew signed a memorandum of understanding. From the JUMPSTART MAGAZINE
Photo courtesy of Techstars.
he first edition of Seedstars Phnom Penh brought together 10 startups on the last day of the Cambodia Tech Summit, where they pitched in front of a jury and over 1,000 audience members. The jury included Smart Axiata CFO Feiruz Ikhwan, 500 Tuk Tuks Director Pahrada Sapprasert, Partner at Mekong Strategic Partners Bora Kem, Seedstars Associate Gabriela Fernandez Scala, Raintree Co-founder Zoe Ng, and NIPTICT President Dr Seng Sopheap. Joonak, a startup offering physical delivery and storage services that use technology to provide last-mile connectivity, took home “Best Startup in Cambodia” and went on to compete at the Seedstars Asia Summit in Bangkok. Being the first event of its kind in the emerging market, Seedstars is leading the way as the startup ecosystem in Cambodia comes into its own. “We at Smart will set forth that journey by putting all our weight behind further grooming, developing, and boosting the local startup and tech ecosystem,” says Smart Axiata CEO Thomas Hundt, one of the main sponsors for the event. –MC
perspective of an aspiring entrepreneur or fresh startup founder, the real highlight for such events are talks from these experts. Sabrina Wang is Jumpstart’s Journalist in Residence in Singapore. singapore.slush.org
#propUP Demo Days October 3 - 5, 2018
• Tencent WeStart, Hong Kong
ith the objective of encouraging innovation and supporting the startup ecosystem, Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway (MTR) and Techstars co-organized the first #propUP, a program providing startups with access to MTR malls for proof-of-concept (POC) of their product. “The organizing team started #propUP to explore a win-win collaboration model between corporates and startups,” says MTR Property Director David Tang. Five winning startups were selected from 130 applicants from 18 countries, and each startup was provided mentors and on-site support to make their POC a reality. –MC Acoustic Metamaterials develops proprietary materials that can be based on a particular sound spectrum to offer superior sound absorption and applies to fields of consumer electronics, infrastructure, aviation, and more. The objective of AMG’s POC was to reduce noise from renovation work at Maritime Square, so the company designed portable and ventilated acoustic enclosures made from recycled plastics that can be set up in 15 minutes. Their enclosure lowered the insertion loss from 2.5dB(A) to 16 dB(A).
From left to right: The organizing team at MTR, MTR Property Director David Tang speaking on the first Demo Day, and all the #propUP startup teams. Photos courtesy of MTR.
Oxpecker Labs is the biotech startup behind MemoFit, a patent-pending multi-sensor module that uses sweat sensors and algorithms to detect dehydration and heat-stress. The device is non-invasive and allows integration with wearables including patches, watches, and glasses. MemoFit tested PopCorn’s staff and were able to identify spikes of high heat-stress levels among outdoor workers. oxpeckerlabs.com
“We plan to launch our product in early 2019 and aim to work with more corporates to enhance workplace safety for their employees.”
– Oxpecker Co-Founder and CTO Kandy Yeung
MobiJuce is Hong Kong’s first fully automated power bank and mobile charger rental service, which boasts a GPS system that allows users to rent a JucePac power bank from any JuceBox charging station using the MobiJuce App, providing a seamless IoT experience on-the-go. The service was put to the test at Maritime Square, where its POC was based on customer feedback, the product’s potential to drive traffic and sales for the mall, and ability to provide geographic heat-signatures and social data. The platform gained 2,000 users totaling 100,000 usage minutes in a month. mobijuce.com
With their motto of “collect, reuse and recycle,” it’s no surprise that HM Environmental Technologies is dedicated to environmental sustainability. The company uses a process of upcycling to create multi-purpose wood boards to enable retail renovation that minimizes environmental harm. HM’s POC used their modulus hoarding system to raise public awareness of the project in Telford Plaza, where it read: “I’m made from reclaimed timber. Please let’s save the planet together!” hm-envirotech.com
“In 2019, we will aim to achieve short-term goals including cutting costs, and increasing management and recycling eﬃciency.” – HM Founder Jerry Kong
“It was an invaluable learning experience working with a large organization while maintaining our objectives and balancing procedures and protocols.” – Mobijuce Founder and CEO Alexis Wong
Stamplet uses real-time data-capturing technology to draw insight from customer receipts, allowing retailers to understand customers’ spending behaviors and habits better, surpassing the accessibility anwd affordability of traditional survey methods. The startup worked with Citylink to build a customer engagement program for their POC, where customers received rewards for uploading their receipts. They tracked over 350 users, shedding light on customer profiles and spending. stamplet.tech
SmartBiz Expo December 5-7, 2018 • Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center
S Macao Startup Weekend September 7 - 9, 2018 • Macao Envision Accelerator
ponsored by Techstars, Macao Startup Weekend catered to female entrepreneurs as a way to celebrate diversity and inclusion in the community. Spanning three days, the experience-based program mentored over 30 participants. Mentors from various industries, which included Associação de Ciência Jurídica Juvenil de Macau Member Cynthia Leong, Goodlife Macau Co-founder Miko Leong, and Taipa Village’s Marketing Head Pamela Chan, worked with each group to perfect their pitch in preparation for the final presentations. The winning team was the motorcycle ride-hailing app, Rush. –MC
Digital Oasis (digitaloasis.com), Flow the Room (flowtheroom.com), HR Tech International (hrtechintl.com), Plum (plumfood.hk), Paxful (paxful.com), SnapPop (snappopapp.com), and Zegal (zegal.com). Also organized by Jumpstart, mixed reality agency Shadow Factory held an explainer workshop on Industry 4.0 and set up their virtual reality gaming system for the audience to enjoy. SmartBiz Expo was notable for the diversity of exhibitors it displayed. An entire section was devoted to China’s Gansu province, with high-tech Chinese service providers lined up beside retailers of ginseng. Here and there, women in ethnic dress from around Asia ran booths and explored the show. –NB
martBiz Expo, one of the many exhibition arms of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, kicked off on December 5 with a show packed with startups from all industries and countries. In addition to helping regional startups gain traction and media exposure, the show also imparted information from experts about industry trends, business transformation, and market opportunities. Jumpstart’s pavilion featured 10 innovative startups, including Clarity (clarityhk.com), theDesk (thedesk.com), hktdc.com daydayCharge (daydaycharge.com), Photos courtesy of HKTDC.
techstars.com Photo courtesy of Techstars.
GITEX October 14-17, 2018 • Dubai World Trade Center
he 38th GITEX Technology Week kicked off in Dubai on October 14, with the show’s startup arm, Future Stars, putting on an impressive display. Startups exhibiting at the show were neatly categorized by industry, where visitors could take a deep-dive into everything from spacetech to pet care. Middle East and North Africa (MENA) startups had a strong turnout at the event, a novelty for those who frequent Asia-Pacific trade shows, where MiddleEastern startups are few and far between. Clearings between rows were dotted with games and activities, from an inflatable paddling pool with a robot garbage collector zooming across the surface of the water to a giant jewel-toned hamster wheel.
The only thing drawing attention away from startups at the front of the exhibition hall was the vast MUTEK Dome, a sound and light experience with projections on the ceiling of the dome. Many startups Jumpstart spoke to
were successful in attracting distributors and investors, and some even launched their platforms during the show, ready for demo-ing to booth visitors. –NB gitexfuturestars.com Photo courtesy of GITEX.
13-14 MARCH 2019 HONG KONG
2,000+ ATTENDEES 100+ SPEAKERS 50+ COUNTRIES
FIRST ROUND OF SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Charlie Lee (Litecoin) | Bill Barhydt (Abra) | Justin Sun (Tron) | Saifedean Ammous (The Bitcoin Standard) Mance Harmon (Hedera Hashgraph) | Max Kordek (Lisk) | Xinshu Dong (Zilliqa) | and many others!
L E A R N M O R E AT
w w w.token2049.c o m
Hong Kong Electronics Fair [38th Autumn Edition]
October 13 - 16, 2018 Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center
rganized annually by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the 38th Autumn Edition of the Hong Kong Electronics Fair saw an impressive turnout with over 63,500 buyers from mature and emerging markets looking to understand the latest industry trends. According to an independent survey commissioned by the HKTDC, audio-visual products (17%) have the most growth potential in 2019, followed by electronic accessories (14%) and digital imaging (9%). The fair’s thematic zones–namely Robotics and Unmanned Tech, Smart Tech, Virtual Reality, 3D Printing, and Startup Zone–allowed for a vast array of exhibitors to capture targeted business opportunities from buyers and media alike. Jumpstart’s pavilion in the Startup Zone showcased up-and-coming startups that are already promising players in their respective industries. One example is PyroMart, a company that developed a device called Firefly, which allows users to set off fireworks from a mobile application. “As we open up more markets, we can see the Firefly system give new life to the fireworks industry, which is exciting. We bring fireworks from the professional guy to anyone who wants to set off fireworks in their backyard,” says founder Kevin Wu.
Another startup that gained traction during the exhibition is Revsmart. The company’s founder Sunder Jagannathan was there to promote HeadsUp, an openear audio and voice attachment for helmets. “Being here gave us a lot of exposure to distributors, partners, retail partners, and even people who are ready to buy the product upfront,” says Jagannathan. Other startups in the pavilion included Goforeat (goforeat.hk), Instarem (instarem.com), SnapPop (snappopapp. com), Peacify (peacify.com.hk), ASA (airluna.io), Flow the Room (flowtheroom. com), Customindz (customindz.com), FundPark (fundpark.com), and HR Tech International (hrtechintl.com). In addition to the exhibitions, a number of talks took place in the Startup Zone to further add value to exhibitors and attendees. BraveSoldier Venture Capital Managing Director Derek Kwik led an informative session about investment with
Top: BraveSoldier Venture Captial Managing Director Derek Kwik speaking about startup fundraising in the Startup Zone Below: PyroMart Founder Kevin Wu pitching his product, Firefly. Left: Buyers purveying booths in the Startup Zone. Photos courtesy of HKTDC.
insightful takeaways and case studies for startups looking to raise funding. While showcasing the latest in electronic innovation was the intent of the fair, it’s also evident that organizers wanted to leverage this platform to address challenges that are facing the industry, presenting themselves as global leaders. “In the face of global economic uncertainty, Hong Kong companies are pushing to strengthen R&D and develop new technologies in a bid to launch innovative electronic products,” says HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau. –MC The Electronics Fair will be back with its Spring Edition from April 13 to 16 this year. Email [email@example.com] if you would like to exhibit in Jumpstart’s pavilion in the Startup Zone, which allows the additional exposure and pitch opportunities. event.hktdc.com
TechCrunch Shenzhen November 17 - 20, 2018 • Shenzhen Bay Inno Mall
T Global Sources Startup Launchpad October 18-21, 2018 • AsiaWorld Expo, Hong Kong
rganizing one startup trade show is tough enough, but Global Sources’s Startup Launchpad, which focused on hardware retail, has an April show and returns for a repeat performance every October at the AsiaWorld Expo in Hong Kong. The show is more serious than others of its kind, with a businesslike array of exhibitor booths and a number of pavilions sponsored by acceleration programs and other ecosystem players. Its primary goal–to generate sales for exhibitors–is driven by its catalog of goods, handed out to visitors upon entry to the show. While Startup Launchpad is a slightly more subdued event compared to the bright colors and flashy displays often seen at tech shows, it features startups from a wide range of industries and hosts big names in panels on its central stage. Speakers included BraveSoldier Venture Capital’s Derek Kwik, Vectr Ventures’ Louisa Zhang, Asia Tech Podcast host Graham Brown, and other influencers in the startup ecosystem. –NB
echCrunch is one of the most recognizable brands in the global tech ecosystem, so it should come as no surprise that the Shenzhen chapter didn’t disappoint. Over 8000 attendees were treated to a vast array of attractions, from blockchain to artificial intelligence to the Internet of Things. Blockchain featured prominently as a theme; one of the key events, the blockchain hackathon, brought together teams of four to six people to solve blockchain proof-of-concept challenges. The event also saw the launch of Stanford graduate-founded tech firm Royole, which displayed their much-vaunted foldable smartphone to the excited crowd. Many startups with innovative and futuristic devices were displaying their wares in Startup Alley, providing plenty for visitors to look at and try out. Of course, no tech show would be complete without a pitch competition, and TechCrunch obliged. The ‘VC speed dating’ portion of the event gave over 400 startups the chance to meet with and pitch to over 120 venture capital funds. –NB
techcrunch.com Photos courtesy of TechCrunch.
launchpadhk.com Photos courtesy of Global Sources.
ZegalCon October 16, 2018 • Blueprint, Hong Kong
ollowing the success of the inaugural ZegalCon in 2017, Hong Kong-headquartered legaltech company Zegal upped the ante with ZegalCon 2018. The conference took place without a hitch in spite of a historically unprecedented subway meltdown, bringing together over 350 legal professionals, industry experts, and legaltech enthusiasts to explore the role of artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cloud technology in the practice of law.
Gone are impressions of a stuffy profession as attendees walk into the neon light-lit conference room. Zegal’s vision may be “a world where the business of law works for everyone,” but it might as well have been “a world where the business of law is sexy,” although one can still expect jokes about tax law. Zegal CEO Daniel Walker kicked off by welcoming attendees and announcing Zegal’s partnership with Singaporebased law firm Rajah & Tann, signing the memorandum of understanding live via Facetime. “This new partnership exemplifies how innovators in the legal profession are embracing technology and harnessing the opportunities that come from change,” says Walker. Before he wrapped up his introduction, Walker asked the question that would thematically ground the conference: does the rise of legaltech signal the end of the lawyers as we know it? There was also an exhibitors section, where Microsoft, Xero, Fresh Accounting, Oldham, Li & Nie, and Zegal showcased their legaltech solutions and services. Legaltech is moving faster than law ever will, and if the speakers at ZegalCon were to leave their audience with one takeaway, it would be to embrace the changes ahead. –MC
Photo courtesy of Zegal.
ONE LAST QUESTION
It was probably when I left my well-paying job to start Horangi. I had solid fundamentals, but it never works out the way you play it out in your head. This forced me to adapt and work on my areas of weakness, but in the end, I learned so much.
It was when I joined a program called The Knowledge Society, where I was introduced to my mentors who have played a key roll in helping me pursue my passions. Tanisha Bassan
“Let’s Break Down Quantum Computing” (pg. 42)
“Securing Your Digital Metamorphosis” (pg. 32)
I would say mine is the realization that I can create positive impact and forge meaningful connections with a well-designed product that’s intuitive to users’ needs. Jing Shen
“Love at First Swipe” (pg. 77)
W h at is t he mos t significa n t me ta morp hosis you’v e undergone in your l ife? Our contributors share their stories
I would say the most evident one happening right now is one where I focus on doing a couple things well, rather than doing everything. This is intrinsically against who I am normally as a person.
I started backpacking in my teen years. Traveling alone opened my eyes to how big the world is, how far back human history goes, and how everything we have today was built on the hard work and ingenuity of people over generations and generations. It really changed my perspective and made me question what kind of impact I wanted to leave behind.
“The Zeitgeist of Risk” (pg. 14)
“Happy Team, Happy Life” (pg. 15)
Ca pt io n t his
Submit a caption by emailing [firstname.lastname@example.org] with the subject line ‘Caption This.’ The winning quote will be shared in the next issue.
Realizing my self-worth. Once that was in place, my entire life, from friends and family to career and personal happiness, completely changed. It’s the best gift you can give yourself. Jasmine Bina
“The Art of Crafting a Brand Story” (pg. 24)
It would have to be the past year studying for my MBA between France and Singapore, meeting classmates from across the globe. This experience gave me the perspective, humility and ambition to create my own startup at this stage in my life. Kevin Kang
“Cash is Still King” (pg. 17)
A re you our ne x t cov er sta r?
Go to [www.jumpstartawards.com] to nominate startups and individuals you believe are unsung heroes of the startup ecosystem. Winners will be featured in the July 2019 issue of our magazine, where the cover story will showcase the Startup of the Year.