- Catcha sponsors 150 passes to accelerate participation of women in tech
- Aiming to be platform to nurture next generation of SEA disruptors and tech players
WITH its theme “Inspire. Connect. Disrupt”, Catcha Group’s Wild Digital conference returns for the fourth year to Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia aiming to leave its audience feeling inspired, connected, and disrupted with its carefully curated sessions.
New elements have also been added to the KL leg that is the anchor event of Wild Digital and is called Wild Digital SEA. With the conference now expanded to being held in Jakarta, Indonesia and Sydney Australia as well, Patrick Grove (pic above), co-founder and chairman of Catcha Group explains that Wild Digital has always been about promoting Southeast Asian (SEA) as a region that is full of untapped potential with the ability to bring about major disruption. The conference targets leaders of the startup ecosystem and its leading companies.
“I’m glad to say that the discussions and initiatives that we’ve had in our previous events have all shone the spotlight on why SEA is the space to be in now. That’s why over 2000 people have attended our different events in KL and the region over the past few years, and why we’re expecting an even bigger crowd this year.”
Exciting new elements
Expecting about 650 participants at the July 4th & 5th conference, Catcha has taken a deliberate step to ensure higher women participation this year by sponsoring 50 passes. Due to the overwhelming response to this move, Grove was happy to share that Catcha is sponsoring another 100 more passes and has also extended a special promotion where women who are interested to attend the KL leg can still purchase a pair of tickets for only US$300.
Grove believes this to be a small but important step to help accelerate the participation of women in tech.
“We’re providing the platform for more women to get involved, to network, to be exposed. It’s also part of the broader vision of bringing together a connected tech ecosystem – and giving opportunities to disruptors to disrupt! If we don’t have enough women as part of this ecosystem, chances are we’re missing out on some great ideas,” he says.
Determined to take the event up a notch and live up to its goal of becoming the platform to nurture the next generation of SEA disruptors and tech players, Wild Digital has added some new sessions with “Rapid Fire” and “Battlefield” while a new side event has also been added with the introduction of Wild Venture Tech which is about highlighting Malaysian venture policies and incentives to the non-Malaysian audience that comes down for Wild Digital and to corporates to consider investing in startups.
Held concurrently with Wild Digital, Grove is not concerned the events cannibalising each other.
“Wild Venture Tech, developed in collaboration with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), is a conference designed for corporations and investors to learn about the latest Malaysian government regulations and tax incentives which encourage investment into tech or digital companies. Themed “Investment in Frontier Markets”, it complements the Wild Digital stage as it provides a great opportunity for traditionally non-tech-focused companies and investors to stake their place in the digital economy. Also, attendance is by invitation only and limited to 150 attendees.”
While he plans to attend Wild Digital Tech, Grove does not plan to miss the debut of “Battlefield” and “Rapid Fire”. “Our Battlefield is between top co-working space players - Common Ground (which Catcha Group has invested in), JustCo and EV Hive whose founders will present the case for why businesses like theirs are disrupting traditional work environments and infrastructure,” says Grove who is excited to have Joel Neoh, co-founder of Fave as the first Rapid Fire guest. “This is a fast-paced and interactive session where the audience gets to ask him pretty much anything they want!
While there is large list of speakers, Grove does highlight a few:
- Mike Kayamori, CEO and Co-Founder (QUOINE): Kayamuri leads one of the leading crypto-currency companies in the world and is already the largest in Asia (excluding China), with a
- Ooi Huey Tyng, Managing Director (GrabPay): Huey Tyng focuses on driving adoption of GrabPay with local cash-based merchants in each market. She has more than 25 years of experience in senior positions at global banks and leading payments providers.
- SaeMin Ahn - Managing Partner (Rakuten Ventures): SaeMin is responsible for leading and evaluating investments, conducting due diligence, and analysing deal structure. Since Rakuten Venture’s launch in 2013, SaeMin has been managing its US$200 million Global Investment Fund and Japan Fund focusing on empowering the startup ecosystem to positively affect internet services globally.
Having added a Startup Disruptor Arena (SDA) to Wild Digital last year, Grove shares a new incentive for startups to take part this year.
“SDA is an important part of our Wild Digital programme as it provides a stage for emerging startups to receive recognition and exposure from key investors and other tech pioneers in the region. And this year, we’ve thrown in something new for the top three teams — a mentoring session with Khailee Ng (Managing Partner of 500 Startups) or Yasmin Mahmood (CEO of MDEC) or myself.”
Sydney and Jakarta help build hype for flagship SEA event
With three Wild Digital conferences held each year, Grove explains that Australia and Indonesia have programmes that cater to very different audiences. “We ventured into Sydney as we saw Australia as a key player in the APAC region. Indonesia, on the other hand, has the highest population in SEA and is a whole tech ecosystem on its own. Not everyone in these two huge markets can make the trip to KL so this gives them a great avenue to experience the benefits of Wild Digital on their home ground.”
Both the events however have helped build hype for his flagship Wild Digital SEA, which brings together key pioneers from all over the region, and not just Malaysia. With the tech scene in SEA rapidly evolving, Grove explains that attendees are keen on participating in the Wild Digital discussions that revolve around SEA becoming an emerging superpower in the tech space.
Digital News Asia is the media partner for Wild Digital. Further details on Wild Digital SEA can be obtained here.