NUS iLead OSM Berlin 2015 Part 3

30th April (73 days to trip): The list takes shape

On the 30th of April, I send a bunch of emails to the companies that Sriram introduced to me. Also, I follow up with the companies of my friends that I had yet to reply to. The list of companies now reads:

I also wrote to Tech in Asia enquiring about the possibility of giving some column inches to the startups and the students on this trip. Tech in Asia’s drive to generate more content ala Reddit via Techinasia Talk has me thinking that maybe we can give this initiative a push and get some exposure for the program/startups/students at the same time.

Techinasia Talk

Karsten, another 9flats alumnus has agreed to our visit. He has a brain honed by his experience at McKinsey to be sharp as a razor. He used to run Operations at 9flats and was capable of capturing the complexity of a company’s health in a few deceptively simple charts. Now at, he’s slotted into a brand new role as Head of Sales.

Vamos‘ founder Luis Daniel politely declines our visit. He explains to me his space constraints, which I fully understand and won’t elaborate here. The event-discovery website looks terrific though.

Sridhar - NUS Alumnus, musician and Soundcloud employee tells me that he’ll pass on my request to someone at Berlin.

May 4th (69 days to trip): Trickle through

I reconnect with Axel, former CTO at 9flats, now co-founder at one of the most hippie startups I’ve ever known - Makerist. Makerist is a craft school for knitting, crochet, cakes and more. This is a concept that I find intriguing. I don’t believe that a market for knitting courses exists in South-East Asia, but I can easily believe that Singaporeans would love to learn to cook Japanese food, Japanese would love to learn to cook Indonesian, and everyone would want to learn to cook Thai. I would guess that the secret sauce isn’t in the technology but in the community and user experience. I suppose we will find out.

Lisa who heads marketing at Clue agrees to a visit. Clue has a surprisingly winning pitch according to my friend Stuti. They say simply “Clue is a period tracker that’s not pink, or cute”. I had no idea that period tracking apps were such a big niche, and why would I know? They say that they have a stealth hardware product under development. I hope that we’ll be granted a sneak peek at that!

I finally get down to contacting the TOA Berlin organizers for a satellite event through their contact form.

May 5th (68 days to trip): Good news and bad

Spotify politely decline us. Space is an issue for them. I suppose that it is possible to look on the bright side, since Spotify is hardly an unknown in Singapore anymore.

May 7th (66 days to trip): The BIG Event

Today I have a call with Kirsty Richmond from TOA. It is terrific! She is super supportive and it seems we will have help with sourcing for a venue for the panel discussion and possibly with speakers too. A quick check with Peng Kee reveals that he is also feeling positive about the prospect of organising an event that can involve the students and raise the program’s profile. I ought to start making it a point to ask for suggestions regarding panelists.

May 11th (62 days to trip): Slow day

I send over a pitch to Stephan for company visits and the TOA panel discussion opportunity.

13 May (60 days to trip): Parity achieved

My blog is now up-to-date with my progress. I intend to reach out to the startup incubators, and maybe VCs in the coming days. Also, I would really like to plan a visit to VentureVillage, home of startup news the way it should be, not too serious and with a literary flourish.

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