What started out as an accidental event turned out to be more than we expected.
BEAM19 Dec, 2016
It is exactly 1 year since BEAM's first ever event. It's hard to believe a year has passed so quickly.
At the same time, it's also hard to believe that it's only been a year - So much has happened in this short span of time and we're still in awe of where this journey has brought us.
When we started BEAM, we didn't set out with many big plans. In fact, all we wanted to do was connect with more like-minded entrepreneurs and enjoy each others company. We never expected a simple event to turn into the community it has become today. It really is a humbling experience.
Thank you everyone who crossed our paths, and thank you to all of you out there who supported us to where we are today. We wouldn't be where we are if not for you.
As we mark the end of 2016, we thought of sharing a walk down memory lane of some of the highlights that took place in our journey this year.
This is our year in review:
We kickstarted our first event
Over 70 people were present. There wasn't much of an agenda for the event, our goal was just to connect with more entrepreneurs from the local community.
We had a great time and met many new friends.
Since then, we've held many events in Malaysia, Singapore, and even Japan.
BEAM kicks off in Singapore
Modelled after the events we've been running in Malaysia, we decided to kickstart our very first BEAM event in Singapore. Close to 100 people turned up.
We were really privileged to have some incredible entrepreneurs join us for the evening. Some of them include: Charlene from Paktor, Anthony from Igloohome, Jian from Viddsee, Genny from StyleInfinity, and Cherilyn from AsiaLawNetwork
It was during this time the team decided to turn BEAM from a part time hobby into something more.
Although we still didn't know what we wanted to do at this point in time, we somehow knew that BEAM had a place in this world and there was definitely more we could do.
We set out to build our community app.
Launched BEAM App to the public
After several weeks of planning and development, we rolled out the BEAM App in Malaysia and Singapore.
The main purpose was to provide a more seamless platform for everyone to connect after our events, and a better way for entrepreneurs & investors to connect with each other.
The app didn't have many features, just a basic chat and people search/filter.
There were many hiccups along the way of launching the app (servers crashing, bugs on the app, users spamming, and more). But all in all, we had many people who supported us along the way.
About 300 people signed up in the first few days, close to half of them were from Singapore.
We partnered with MAAYE
During the same time, we were invited to partner with the Malaysian Association of Young Entrepreneurs (MAAYE) at the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Carnival 2016.
It was the first time BEAM was used as the official app for any event (other than ours).
We received lots of constructive feedback that day. Many people suggested that we should add a segment for them to 'list' their startups on the app, a feature which we then added later on.
BEAM on the news
Thanks to some of our friends from DigitalNewsAsia, E27, VulcanPost, DealStreetAsia, BFM, and more, we had the opportunity to share more about our vision for BEAM and how we wanted to connect & bring more value to startups in the local ecosystem.
At this point, we have facilitated over 1000 connections between people in the local startup communities. BEAM was starting to become the platform entrepreneurs were using to connect with each other (and investors) in Malaysia and Singapore.
Some of them even reached out to us with positive feedback. That motivated us to try harder.
We ran our first Investor Connect event in Singapore
The goal was to connect more founders with investors through short 5 minute interview sessions. We're incredibly grateful for DBS Bank for sponsoring the initiative.
Some of the investors who were present: KK Fund, Segnel Ventueres, TinkBig Venture, Red Dot Ventuers, Puffin Ventures, 1823 Ventures, Wavemaker Partners, Crowdo, PitchIn, FatFish Internet Group, Gree Ventuers and more.
We introduced company profiles and fundraising tools on our app
As some investors couldn't make it that day, we wanted to ensure that everyone who attended the event had an opportunity to submit their pitches.
Users could also submit their companies on the app, which would be discoverable by other community members on a separate tab.
At this point, we were exploring the possibility of scaling BEAM more rapidly and began exploring the possibility of raising some additional capital. Our negotiations with TinkBig Venture began.
At this point, BEAM had close to 2000 users on the app, 90% of them being founders running their own startups from Malaysia and Singapore. Over 60% were active weekly.
We decided to further improve the usability of the platform.
We introduced 'Discovery'
We launched a simple feature allowing users to easily discover news and events related to business, investments, and startups.
The goal was to cut through all the noise and bring forth more curated and useful content to users of the app, for free.
We also added a simple tool to easily find support for your business on the app.
Partnership with Cyber Agent Ventures
During our visit to Japan for a technology conference, our team had the privilege of forming partnerships with several Japanese corporations and investment firms, which would later lead to the introduction of the Japan Immersion Program.
It was also during this trip the team formed collaborations with Cyber Agent Ventures for the first official event in Japan.
TinkBig Venture invests in BEAM
After going back and forth with negotiations, we finally decided that TinkBig Venture and their team would make a great fit for BEAM's long term direction. We saw immense synergy in working with them and on 11th October 2016, the deal was sealed and announced.
BEAM was officially incorporated as a company 2 days later.
This was the start of a brand new relationship for us and we were incredibly excited. BEAM now had more to offer to the community.
BEAM as a soft-landing platform
Shortly after our incorporation, TinkBig Venture signed an MOU with the Mayor of New Taipei City, Innosquare, and Infocomm Singapore, positioning BEAM as the representing company to facilitate cross-border soft-landing of companies entering South East Asia and East Asia.
This was the start of our preparation for the immersion programmes that we would launch later in the year.
BEAM for the web launches
As more people began using our app to read news and discover events, we decided to launch the BEAM for the web to bring forth greater accessibility to our content and services.
Visitors of the website could now gain instant access to the latest news, events, insights, and resources for their business.
We believe this is still a work in progress and the team is constantly working hard to eventually bring the full mobile communication experience to the web as well.
We kickstarted the Japan Immersion Program - BEAM Connect Tokyo
The goal was to provide an affordable program for founders/investors who wish to gain a better understanding of the Japanese market and its opportunities.
It was through the introduction of this program that led BEAM becoming the representative company for the Malaysia-Japan Tech Business Colloboration Seminar organized by the Malaysian government (MDEC) later in December.
BEAM enters collaboration with TeAM
To further extend support for entrepreneurs who wish to expand their business overseas, we forged a collaboration with TeAM (Technoprenuers Association of Malaysia).
At that time, TeAM had just recently launched their Plugged-In Jakarta 2016 program, bringing a total of 8 startups to Indonesia for market exposure.
SME & Entrepreneurship Business Award Partnership
As BEAM continued growing, we began focusing on supporting more events that allowed more entrepreneurs and investors to connect with each other. The SME & Entrepreneurship Business Awards event was one of them.
Thanks to this event, our team managed to interview several prominent entrepreneurs to share their journey and knowledge to BEAM users on the website, the most notable one being Raja Singham of Brickfields Asia College.
NUS Global Entrepreneurs's Conference Partnership
In Singapore, many founders running startups are students, thanks to the Singaporean government's initiative of encouraging more colleges to empower more youth entrepreneurs.
BEAM became the key partner in Singapore's annual global entrepreneurs' conference in the effort to equip entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge necessary to build a technology company.
The event will be held on January 2017 and our hope is that it will bring tremendous value to young, aspiring entrepreneurs in Singapore.
Over 60 attendees were present together with international panelists running their own ventures in Japan: Takashi from Cyber Agent Venture, Casey Wohl from Justa, Jian Liang from Trabble, Jefferey Moon from Everest App, Mark Mcfarlane from Tacchi Studios, and Tim Romero from Disrupting Japan.
BEAM Launches Angel Program
Although BEAM was a prominent player in the startup ecosystem, we realized there were many more people out there who wanted to get involved with startups and entrepreneurship.
To further catalyze a greater number of investment successes with startups in the ecosystem, we launched the Angel Investment Program - A comprehensive program providing education, deal-flow access, and investment tools for investors who wish to invest in startup companies.
BEAM represents Malaysia at Japan-Malaysia Collaboration Seminar organised by MDEC & JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization)
Thanks to BEAM's initiatives outside Malaysia in both Singapore and Japan, we were privileged to be the Malaysian representative company for the Japan-Malaysia Tech Business Collaboration Seminar, an initiative organized by the Malaysian and Japanese governments (MDEC and JETRO) to empower the tech industry in both countries.
We look forward to playing a bigger role in becoming an ecosystem enabler to support more companies across SEA, Taiwan, and Japan.
A brand new 2017
So much has happened this year and the journey has definitely been a lot more than everything we listed above. Many incredible people have crossed our paths, supported us, and opened doors for us.
Although we didn't mention much on our struggles, there were many setbacks and difficult moments that came along the way too.
In fact, there were times where we felt like quitting because many things were uncertain. Thankfully, there were many incredible people who supported us along the way and lifted us up during those times.
As we close the chapter of 2016 and embark on a brand new year, we hope that our journey would some how inspire many more people to pursue their dreams, and bring meaning to the lives of people around them.
Our mission will continue to remain the same, and we will strive to bring far more value to the people who are pushing our world forward with innovation. We're doubling our efforts for 2017 and we can't wait to see what unfolds in the future.
Until then, may you have a blessed holiday season and a phenomenal new year!