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Exploring the Future of Technology and Collaboration: Highlights from the June 2023 APAC Summit

The June 2023 APAC Summit was an extraordinary gathering of industry leaders, innovators, and disruptors, who came together to explore the latest trends, technologies, and strategies shaping the future of business in the Asia Pacific region. This dynamic event, hosted by Plug and Play APAC, provided a platform for networking, knowledge sharing, and fostering meaningful connections. During the one-day conference, we had 30+ exciting keynote and panel discussion speakers and over 40+ startups pitching to a network of business executives from large corporations, government officials, and investors.

Plug and Play APAC Summit 2023 Photos

Let's take a moment to reflect on the highlights and key takeaways from this remarkable summit.


Summit Kickoff & Global Innovation Alliance (GIA Expo)

This year, our summit commenced with an exclusive open-innovation showcase, setting the stage for an exhilarating exploration of the innovation ecosystem. We were thrilled to announce our strategic partnerships with industry leaders such as Celcomdigi, Equinor, FWD, Hitachi Payment Services, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Korea Information Security Industry Association (KISIA), Khazanah Nasional Berhad, OPPO and Petronas, signaling our commitment to funding disruptive technology startups across various industries.


We were privileged to have Peter Tay, the Chief Digital Officer of Income Insurance, share his insights on the topic of "From Insurer to Insurtech" during the summit. As the driving force behind Income Insurance's digital growth strategy, Peter leads the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) in creating innovative business propositions that revolutionize the insurance industry. This includes pioneering concepts like lifestyle-embedded micro-insurance and investment offerings such as SNACK, Rainsurance, and Droplet.


During his session, Peter provided valuable lessons and mindset shifts in transforming leadership. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Transforming Leadership: Peter emphasized the importance of challenging the norm and adopting a transformative mindset to drive change within the organization.

  • Key Lessons: Rather than worrying about running out of funding, it is crucial to focus on maintaining stakeholders' patience and trust. Additionally, instead of comparing oneself to successful incumbents, startups should measure their progress and success on their own terms.

  • Mindset Shifts: Peter highlighted the significance of starting a venture not just based on appetite but when there is a solid foundation to support its growth. He encouraged a future-back transformation approach, where organizations should immerse themselves in forward-thinking initiatives rather than solely focusing on present-forward initiatives.

  • Lastly, Peter emphasized the concept of "build, borrow, buy" to overcome the idea of owning and doing everything internally, by leveraging external resources and partnerships.

These key learnings from Peter's session serve as valuable insights for individuals and organizations seeking to navigate the evolving landscape of digital transformation and embrace innovation in the insurance industry.


Next up, we had a captivating panel discussion titled "Empowering Innovation Ecosystems: Fostering Global Impact from Local Objectives." Moderated by Akito Tanaka, Chief Business News Correspondent at Nikkei Asia, the discussion featured esteemed speakers Clarence Hoe, Executive Director, Americas and Europe at Enterprise Singapore, and Jojo Flores, Co-founder of Plug and Play Tech Center. This thought-provoking session shed light on the transformative potential of collaboration in cultivating thriving innovation ecosystems that surpass regional limitations. The panelists shared valuable insights into the initiatives spearheaded by leaders from both the public and private sectors, emphasizing the importance of cross-sector partnerships in driving global impact.


This segment ended with a showcase of remarkable startups from our Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) program through a series of inspiring pitches. This cohort of forward-thinking entrepreneurs is at the forefront of developing groundbreaking business solutions for global corporations, with a particular emphasis on IoT, SaaS, AI, Data Analytics, and other cutting-edge technologies. We are thrilled to collaborate with these innovative startups as they lead the way in shaping the future of industries worldwide.




Financial Services & Health Expo

Sumil Vikamsey, the Managing Director and CEO of Hitachi Payment Services, kicked off the Financial Services & Health Expo with an insightful keynote speech on the thriving global and India payments ecosystem. Attendees had the opportunity to delve into the latest trends, groundbreaking technologies, and game-changing opportunities that are shaping the future of payments. The session provided valuable insights into the ever-evolving landscape of the payments industry, both globally and in India.


Following the keynote, a panel discussion titled "Innovating Together: Unleashing the Power of Corporate-Startup Collaboration" brought together esteemed speakers, including Anuj Khosla, Chief Executive Officer – Digital Business at Hitachi Payments, Kunal Chatterjee, VP and Head of Innovation, Asia Pacific at VISA, Ramesh Narayanaswamy, Chief Technology Officer at Aditya Birla Capital, Teo Cher Hwa, Senior Vice President, Health Innovation Delivery at Mirxes, and moderated by Leila Yu, Head of Partner Success, Financial Services & Health at Plug and Play APAC. The panel of industry experts shared their insights on corporate-startup collaboration in the financial services industry, discussing various forms of collaboration, such as product co-creation and strategic investments. They explored the evolving dynamics and best practices in establishing effective partnerships between corporations and startups, providing valuable perspectives on fostering innovation through collaboration.


Our Financial Services & Health Expo also featured a panel discussion on “HE & HEr HEalth - Funding in Digital Health Ecosystem”. Esteemed speakers including Susan L. Hanna from Organon, Daniel Ting from Singapore National Eye Centre, Sastya Wardani from Ruangmom, and Dr. Yudara Kularathne from HeHealth, joined the panel moderated by Ana Kollcaku, APAC Commercial Lead at Galen Growth. This engaging panel discussion brought together experts and stakeholders from the digital health ecosystem to delve into the latest data, innovative solutions, barriers, and future scenarios in healthcare. Panelists shared their valuable insights on digital healthcare trends, transformative technologies, and the challenges faced in the healthcare industry. The session provided a comprehensive understanding of the ongoing digital transformation in the healthcare sector, offering attendees valuable perspectives on the future of healthcare.


This segment concluded with an insightful panel discussion on the dynamics and challenges faced by startups when engaging with large corporations in proof-of-concept (PoC) initiatives. Esteemed industry experts including Fiona Symons, Head of APAC, Stere, Byron Pei, Founder & CEO, Dowsure, Joel Lee, Co-Founder & CEO, Protos Labs and Ashwin Padbidri, Manager, Programs, Fintech & Insurtech, Plug and Play APAC shared their experiences and insights, shedding light on the intricacies of navigating the PoC process, validating innovative solutions, and forging strategic partnerships. This engaging discussion provided attendees with valuable knowledge and practical advice on effective collaboration between startups and corporations, ultimately driving innovation forward.


Throughout the APAC Summit sessions, industry leaders, experts, and innovators came together to share their knowledge and insights on key topics in the fintech, insurtech, and financial services sectors. The event provided a platform for meaningful discussions, fostering collaboration and advancing the future of these industries.


Sustainable Cities Showcase

The Sustainable Cities Showcase commenced with a thought-provoking fireside chat focused on the topic "Bridging the Gap: Exploring Multi-Faceted Possibilities between Corporate-Startup Collaborations and Discovering What Corporates Look for in a Startup." Esteemed speakers Ajinkya Kadam, Director Strategic Partnerships at RightShip, and Gerald Chua, Venture Strategy & Investment Principal at f(dev) Digital Foundry, shared their insights and perspectives on this crucial subject. Guiding the discussion as the moderator was Wayne Soh, VP Investment APAC & Head of Singapore, who expertly facilitated the conversation.


Following the fireside chat, the panel discussion shed light on the topic "Sustainable Industries: Powering the Future of Innovation and Transformation." Distinguished panelists including T Kugan, Chief Innovation Officer at CelcomDigi, Rhodri James, Strategy Manager, Asia-Pacific at Equinor, and Filipa Ricciardi, Executive Director of Client Solutions and Asset Operations at EDPR APAC, shared their expertise and experiences in driving sustainability in various industries. Aadarsh Baijal, Partner and Head of Digital Practice in Southeast Asia at Bain & Company, skillfully moderated the panel, facilitating insightful discussions and exploring the potential for innovation and transformation in sustainable industries.


The showcase culminated with startup pitches, where emerging entrepreneurs had the opportunity to present their innovative solutions aimed at promoting sustainable cities. This segment provided a platform for startups to showcase their ideas, products, and technologies that contribute to the development of sustainable urban environments. The pitches highlighted the diverse range of solutions addressing key challenges in areas such as renewable energy, waste management, urban mobility, and resource efficiency. The audience had the opportunity to witness the exciting innovations and entrepreneurial spirit driving sustainability forward.



Portfolio Startup Showcase

The final segment of the event was the Portfolio Startups Showcase, which highlighted the innovative solutions and entrepreneurial ventures of our featured portfolio startups. This session provided a platform for these startups to pitch their ideas, products, and technologies to a diverse audience of industry leaders, investors, and potential partners.


After a short round of startup pitches, we had a dynamic panel discussion on "Rise of API Economy." The panelists included Anik Islam, Regional Business Development Lead at Brankas, Saskham Shubham, Business Head - SEA at Decentro, and Christian Schneider, Co-Founder & CEO of Bluesheets. Together, they delved into the emerging trends and opportunities in the API economy, discussing the transformative power of application programming interfaces (APIs) in driving innovation, enabling seamless integrations, and fostering collaboration between businesses. Jielun Ong, Senior Director, Ventures at Plug and Play APAC, skillfully moderated the panel, guiding the conversation and extracting valuable insights from the panelists.


Following the panel discussion, the spotlight shifted back to the portfolio startups as they took the stage to pitch their ideas and showcase their solutions. The pitches were engaging and informative, providing the audience with a glimpse into the cutting-edge technologies and disruptive innovations being developed by these startups.


The Portfolio Startups Showcase not only allowed the featured startups to gain visibility and attract potential partners and investors but also provided the audience with a firsthand experience of the exciting developments happening in the startup ecosystem. It served as a platform for collaboration, networking, and knowledge exchange, fostering connections between startups, corporates, and investors, and contributing to the growth and advancement of the API economy.


 

With that, we close the 9th edition of our bi-annual APAC Summit. The APAC Summit 2023 truly exemplified the power of innovation, collaboration, and forward-thinking. It served as a catalyst for transformative ideas and meaningful connections, setting the stage for future advancements and breakthroughs in the region. As we reflect on the event, we express our gratitude to all the participants, speakers, startups, and partners who contributed to its success. Together, we have sparked a wave of innovation that will shape the future of the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.


Stay connected with us as we continue to foster innovation, drive collaboration, and empower the next generation of disruptors. We look forward to welcoming you to our future events and embarking on a journey of endless possibilities.



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