On the 15th and 16th of January 2020, the ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards (ARBSA) 2019 was held in Sasana Kijang, a convention center for Bank Negara Malaysia in the heart of Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur.
Taking cue from the Malaysian Rice Bowl Awards held earlier, the two day event was preceded by panel talks, keynotes and even one debate.
Highlights of the talks collectively:
Bank Negara Malaysia's recent stance of proactive self disruption before external disruption happens, which is a surprise for a more commonly perceived institution like the national bank.
The debate on "Are Malaysian Startups Worth Investing In?" drew in some heated discussions, but the general consensus from the debate was that yes, Malaysian startups are worth investing in but: - Need a stronger team roster. - Currently lack accountability and transparency, in which investors prefer to see more improvements. - Need to be more than local country/region centric in their focus so it would scale better.
More women CEO's and founders are being brought forwards and center, which inspires and promote the diversity of featured leaders that ARBSA is aiming for.
Here's a list of regional champions for ARBSA 2019:
Best e-Commerce & Supply Chain Startup: EasyParcel (Malaysia)
Best AI/Machine Learning Startup: Kata.ai (Indonesia)
Best Coworking Space: Common Ground (Malaysia)
Best Fintech Startup: YouTrip (Singapore)
Best FoodTech/AgriTech Startup: VillageLink (Myanmar)
Best IoT Startup: Qlue (Indonesia)
Best Life Helper: Fixzy (Thailand)
People's Choice Award: BIG Agent (Indonesia)
Best Newcomer: Teky (Vietnam)
Best Accelerator or Incubator Program: 1337 Ventures (Malaysia)
Founder of the Year: Kengo Kitaura of Agribuddy (Cambodia)
Investor of the Year: Gobi Partners (Malaysia)
ASEAN's Startup of the Year: YouTrip (Singapore)
Congratulations to all the winners of 2019!
Bonus side trip: While the talks and keynotes are the main draws of the event, the audience was also drawn to the attention of the adjoining museum which even featured an art gallery on the rooftop. There was roughly an hour before it closes after the talks of Day 1 so I made a short visit and took a few pictures as well.