Heard about the Singapore Startups’ Walkabout?


We have a lot of startup events happening in India now a days and they're getting innovative and fun by the day (check out our TechSparks). While we have been on a constant upward path to bring you the best since last 4 years, here we present a glimpse of what's happening in other buzzing startup ecosystems.

Enter Singapore Startup's Walkabout. Walkabout Singapore is a celebration of technology and entrepreneurial culture in Singapore.

May 17, 2013 was the second edition that saw over 100 startups open their doors to welcome strangers for a beer, a chat, and peek into their charming shophouse offices. No emails, no 'fixing up a meeting', just walk about and walk into offices. And for anyone finding their feet in the startup space, such initiatives are perfect!

I was privileged to be part of the Walkabout. The maps were divided into little clusters - Blk 71, Tanjong Pagar, Raffles etc. and all one needed was some sunblock and good walking shoes.

My walkabout started off at Neil road, along Craig Street, Amoy Street, Duxton Hill, I passed Stanley Street and finally ended up at Cecil Street. In that stretch, I met varied startups from travel companies, to accelerators, publishing houses and social media houses.

What was usual was the little quirky things I learnt about the startups and their people. Like how every Airbnb office across the world has 2 (yes, only 2) empty (again, I repeat, empty) cereal boxes! Story goes, when the company was still new and business wasn't generating enough revenue the founders went on to design these cereal boxes for the Obama campaign. Not only it made them a good buck, it was fantastic publicity. I was told, the boxes are reminder of bad times, how it passes and a little nudge to think creatively, when the going gets tough. (Read Airbnb’s journey here).

Other fascinating story I heard (or rather ‘saw’, through a short film) was how a social media agency, ‘We are social’, turned negative sentiments generated by bad organisation at the first standard chartered marathon in Singapore into 'feedback' and worked around that to address each of them specifically. The 'movie' ended with snapshots of all the 'thanks' that were generated on Facebook and Twitter after the second marathon!

I came across specially designed desks for 'paired coding' at the engineering company Neo, and heard the story of the ‘hunt guides’ from its publishers, Gatehouse Publishing (not to mention a free copy that they gave me!).

What does a walkabout like this do, I asked people (some of whom were participating for the second time). Here are a few responses I got:

  • Opportunity to network, network and network
  • Find partners, employees, even interns
  • Put a face to name and meet the entire team, rather than interact with just one person.

Here is my two cents of addition to that:

  • An informal chat and getting to know the people and the ‘behind the scenes’ (like some offices have a cute pug walking around the place!)
  • Understand an office’s culture - your space does speak a lot about you! (its like calling someone home, something very welcoming about it)
  • Lastly, it solved the mystery of what really goes on in those little shophouses!

Walkabout, Singapore was organized by Kristine Lauria & Vinnie Lauria. While Kristine is the founder of Mission Street Media, a community marketing group, Vinnie is the founder of Golden Gate Ventures.

We learnt from their mail after the event, that 350 liters of beer and 90 bottles of wine were consumed in the after party!

Do we, in India, need these? Can we organize this? Tell us what you think.


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