Asia’s first crowdfunding summit
By Crowdfund Vibe Staff Writers
“When I first heard about crowdfunding I thought it was too good to be true. They told me I could pitch my idea to the public on a crowdfunding platform or event, and if people liked the idea, they’d contribute to it.” says Ms Kwek Hong Sin, organiser of the Singapore Summit.
Hong Sin, a former cyber security business developer, heard of crowdfunding when she was rejected by venture capitalists for another business in 2013. She travelled to San Diego, Silicon Valley, Las Vegas to find out more about the crowdfunding phenomenon. On her trip, she met some of the leading lights in crowdfunding and observed the impact it had on the regional economy and startups across the United States. “I went to the US to get money, but I left wanting to drive Asian crowdfunding,” she relates. Since that time she has been working tirelessly to organise the two day event which starts on Monday.
The summit has been designed to raise the awareness and promote crowdfunding as a strong option for startups, entrepreneurs, innovators and communities to raise funds in Asia. While now widespread in many developed countries, crowdfunding has been slow to take off in Asia. Hong Sin sees a lot of potential especially in Singapore, with its first-world IT infrastructure and digital savvy community.
The conference programme includes two full days of knowledge imparting, policy discussion, technology demonstrating and promoting campaigners. The distinguished line-up of international speakers include the who’s who of the crowdfunding economy: Paul Niederer (ASSOB), Douglas Ellenoff (Ellenoff Scoff Group), Elizabeth Braman (Realty Mogul), Jason Best (Crowdfund Capital Advisors), Andrew Dix (Crowdfund Insider), Jonathan Sandlund (TheCrowdCafe.com), Oscar Joffre (Boardsuite), Dr I-Chien Jan (AppWorks Ventures), Tim Cheng (FlyingV.cc) and more.
An intriguing & exciting part of the programme is a “Pitch Perfect” session, during which campaigners will be given three minutes to pitch and invite funding from the audience, backers, funders and investors.
There are a number of challenges for crowdfunding in Asia. From a technical and marketing perspective this includes developing appropriate platforms that have brand recognition. Less tangible and potentially more difficult to surmount are some cultural issues, such as the Asian need to maintain face, fear of public failure and a preference for interpersonal relationships to underpin business transactions. For equity crowdfunding there is also a need for a supporting regulatory system. It will be interesting to hear from the experts how these issues are being addressed and what solutions are emerging to deal with them.
It has been a busy year for crowdfunding conferences in Singapore with several others already held. This includes Crowdsourcing Week, which features a day on crowdfunding, and the recent Expo for Property Investing & Crowdfunding (EPIC) organised by CoAssets. This two day Summit promises an in-depth treatment of the issues which will help build the momentum behind crowdfunding in Singapore and the region.
Editor’s note: We will be reporting on this event in a future article on this website.