Echelon 2012: An “Awesomer” Destination for Upcoming Asian Startups

Southeast Asia’s premier startup event, Echelon, is the place to be for Asia-based startups looking for funding or partnership opportunities within and around the region. Online application for this year’s Startup Marketplace is currently ongoing and will be closed on March 31. All startups based in Asia are eligible to apply by submitting a simple one-sentence product pitch and a product screenshot deck.

Over the past few years, the event has been recognized for its collection of impressive alumni, with the likes of TenCube, Flutterscape, Klout, iTwin, and most recently, Cardinal Blue and Moglue. This year Echelon Startup Marketplace has three simple processes: Apply, Pitch and Exhibit.

All online submissions will be judged by a panel from various backgrounds, ranging from serial and experienced entrepreneurs to investors and corporate figures in the tech industry. Shortlisted startups will be invited to pitch at the Satellite events in late April. The Satellite events serve as e27’s pre-Echelon outreach and selection road show tour.

Fifty of the best startups selected from the Satellites will be invited to participate at Echelon where they will be placed under the scrutiny of a prominent investor crowd at Echelon. These investors come from regions and countries such as the U.S., Europe, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan. These selected startups are required to confirm their attendance with an exhibition fee, which will provide them with two full-day exhibition facilities as well as two conference passes to attend the talks taking place simultaneously.

Furthermore, the top ten startups from the fifty will also receive a chance to pitch onstage on Day One, providing them with more valuable exposure to the Echelon crowd. The value that the Echelon alumni have received according to several participants goes beyond just monetary. It also includes critical feedback that has allowed companies like Flipter to rapidly reiterate and improve their product.

Last year, the event was merely able to manage the presence of North Asian communities which were Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Now an increased presence from Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines is expected, as e27 as the event organizer, have established more partnerships in these countries.

Since the organizers are putting more focus and providing more exposure to all the exhibiting startups at Echelon 2012, this year’s format is a bit different. Last year, they use the Satellites to choose just 10 startups for the Launchpad. This year, they are choosing all fifty exhibiting startups via the Satellites, which will provide them with the exposure even before arriving at the main event itself. It’s much way better than the pitching session at the main Echelon event being separated for the startup exhibition.

As the ecosystems in each countries participated are growing, with the support from various government, private agencies and community bodies, it should be reflected in the types of startups they churn out. And the startups that pitch should be more matured and obviously have better quality.