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Can You Understand Asia’s Hottest Markets in 3 trips Over 6 days?

Kairos360 will show you how.

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BY Ezra Ferraz - 11 Sep 2017

startup asia

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

For any founder operating in Southeast Asia, an understanding of the business landscape across the region is crucial to success. Kairos 360, or K360 for short, aims to accelerate this process.

“Kairos360 (K360) stands for 3 countries, 6 days, 0 boundaries. It is a series of exclusive, bespoke, circuit of immersive trips to the start-up ecosystems in ASEAN. The week-long summit allows a select delegation of participants to travel through the heart of the regional start-up landscape, hosted by 3 of the 6 Kairos ASEAN chapters,” says Delane Foo, head of K360 and the director of memberships for Kairos ASEAN — the organization behind the initiative.

The three countries that are part of K360 are Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. These countries were chosen because there is significant regional interest in them as markets, but they tend to be harder to access than others.

“Information on start-up resources in Singapore is relatively easy to find, for example, hence we focused on other cities where there is interest but less readily available information, [and yet have] rising hype, like Vietnam,” Foo says. He adds that Jakarta is a leading start-up player regionally, given that it has a large market and abundant venture capital, while there is a growing fintech industry in Bangkok.

In each city, participants will have visits and meetings with local founders and other key stakeholders in the start-up ecosystem. Though K360 condenses a lot of interaction into a short time frame, the goal is to really expand the perspective of participants.

“The vision is to open up, connect, and demystify markets of the region through young entrepreneurial leaders, promoting regional growth and collaboration, made possible by the strength of the Kairos ASEAN Network. We also believe that one of the best ways to learn about a market or industry is to leverage on the insights of reliable friends in those areas, which is what the networks built among the K360 participants and our host speakers will achieve,” Foo says.

How this is made possible in only six days becomes evident when you take a look at the kind of programming it’s had in the past.

“Some of the programme highlights in Jakarta are visits to Tokopedia and Silicon Valley accelerator Plug and Play, in Bangkok a fireside chat with ecosystem leaders such as Siam Commercial Bank and private dinner with founder of Eatigo, and in Hanoi the chance to chat with the city authority on Vietnam’s economic growth plans and a visit to Up co-working space,” Foo says.

Of course, programming is only as good as the participants involved. As a baseline, K360 looks for participants under 30 years old who have an interest in engaging in Southeast Asian markets while also contributing to the organization as a whole.

“We look for participants from different fields of emerging businesses and technology, knowledge, and experiences so that ideas and network can cross-fertilize,” Foo says, later adding that trying to keep good group dynamics with a delegation of entrepreneurial leaders while still maintaining diversity, can be a challenge.

Once admitted into the program, Foo encourages them to view their peers as an essential part of the program.

“We advise that delegates not only take the chance to get to learn and make connections with our speakers and guests but to also to get to know other delegates and learn from their own experiences too. The friendship among like minded youth and the support gained from a meaningful and fun shared experience was one of the more valuable things gained by last year’s delegates,” she says.

She shares the story of a delegate considering her choices for regional expansion.

“The K360 experience exposed one of last year’s delegates to partners and insights from the region which eventually helped her start-up make the crucial decision on which market to expand to from Singapore. The deeper understanding of the three Southeast Asian markets helped her make the decision on where to invest her company’s limited resources in the region,” she says.

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