Bowei Gai is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who sold his company to LinkedIn for millions of dollars and became a globetrotter. But if that raises visions of him sipping Bacardi by the beach on a Caribbean island, you have a double take coming. The 28-year-old set off instead on a journey to study startup ecosystems around the world.
It began with a startup report on his homeland China. When that went viral, he did one on India - the first of 29 countries on his list.
One year down the road, after startup-hopping from country to country, Bowei has figured there's a better, more collaborative and self-sustaining way to do this: a startup wiki for each country. To get it going, his World Startup Report team has put together a wiki for the Philippines which will go live on Monday (March 17).
Apart from data on the country and its startups, it allows interactive exploration. Somebody looking for funds, for example, can look up investors to see how active they have been recently and in which domains. This can save time by helping a startup to focus on VCs that actually have money on hand to invest and are active in the local ecosystem.
Another useful tool in the wiki is to find opportunities in a particular ecosystem. Bowei points out that several tested and tried business models can be successfully replicated across countries, but it helps to have a first mover advantage. In the Philippines, for instance, an auction site like eBay is non-existent. Ecommerce itself is in its infancy, with just one online superstore Galleon following the Amazon model. When it comes to listing sites like Craigslist, however, the market is saturated with a number of local players like Sulit, Ayos Dito, and OLX Philippines.
From nodal agencies and prevailing regulations, availability of relevant talent to setting up costs, everything you need to know before starting up in the Philippines comes together on the wiki. There are more than 1000 data points in it for both founders and investors. The information is curated by the startup community of that country, and there are also local volunteers listed who are willing to help with more information because they would like the ecosystem to grow.
The World Startup Wiki starts with one country, the Philippines, on March 17, but Bowei hopes it will have a cascading effect: “I hope to use this to inspire startup communities around the world to come together and share their data,” so that there will soon be a startup wiki for each country.
Would you like to see a wiki get going on the Indian startup ecosystem? Let us know in the comments section below. Then head out to the Philippines startup wiki on Monday to play around with it and see how it works...