Its Mobile First in Asia (both consumers and entrepreneurs)

Jan 25

Its Mobile First in Asia (both consumers and entrepreneurs)

This week I transited through Singapore for one day and was super impressed at its startup technology scene.

A major centre of activity is “Block 71” which is located near Fusionopolis and 2 universities. As with many things in Singapore, its government planned but not in a bad way. What I found at Block 71 was an incredible mix of innovation in all forms of maturity.

The Skoolbo Team

The Skoolbo Team


In all I took 6 meetings of which 4 were at Block 71.

One of these is a Edugaming company Skoolbo who have an incredible vision of educating kids all around the globe – as far as I can tell – for free. Their office was a kalaidascope/riot of colours and characters that are represented in their game world, they even have a fully painted truck out in the carpark that does film work in schools and apparenty puts the kids inside the game!

They are great team doing cross-platform development which does include desktop but their mobile/tablet Apps are by far the most engaging. The desktop is really available to economies that can’t yet access tablets as readily, the experience is less but still delivers on their education mission – I can see a day when all kids will have transitioned to the mobile/tablet experience.

But what blew my mind was the incubators at Block 71, there are two main ones I visited:

  1. JFDI Asia is the “Joyful Frog Digital Incubator”, you might like to think about what else the acronym means 🙂
    JFDI Cafe

    JFDI Cafe

    Like StartMate and Y-Combinator it features an limited period “sprint” program. Hugh Mason, Co-Founder of JFDI and was very generous with his time, introductions and has plenty of fun insights extending from his and Meng’s experience with the program. Their space is great with a creative feel and lots of fun touches, the interns do a great coffee!

  2. Plug-In: located adjacent to Singtel-Innov8 offices is your classic co-working space with mostly small startups who’ve sprung out of university.

But the biggest kick in the head you get from Block 71 is that the overriding attitude is “mobile first”. I’ve just spent 3 weeks in Japan, 3 days in Hong Kong and clearly seeing that mobile (of all sizes but mostly Android) is asia’s obsession – it was stark reminder that young startups in asia just get born mobile-first. This is contrast to many other startups and products from digital agencies who are still start with Web and/or Mobile Web products.

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