With the looming threat of Southeast Asia being the next COVID-19 hotspot, and implementation of restrictions and lockdowns across the region, the next few months seem likely to be a tough time for businesses, especially startups with lean structures and capacities.

Venture capitalists and angel investors are zeroing in on aiding their existing investments in surviving the next few quarters. They will understandably demand more justification from any new startups that come on board during these uncertain times—not just the usual product-market fit or proof of concept, but also cash needs, forecast of expenses and staff utility.

Already, event planning, ride-sharing, coworking and travel platforms are finding themselves floundering, and national lockdowns will hamper logistical flows for the rest of the startup community. Companies facing higher burn rates may need to tighten their purse strings and find ways to reduce customer acquisition costs, turning their focus to short-term profitability rather than long-term market share or economies of scale. Many cash-strapped startups have even had to let go of employees.

Thankfully, though, whether you lead or work at a startup, not all is lost. As the grind continues amid social distancing, here are five FREE virtual tech events in April and May you and your team can sign up for, to give your company a business boost within the comforts of your home.

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Deal Friday: FoodTech & AgriTech

With growing concerns about food supply chains worldwide, agrifood innovations have been a highlight of the tech industry. These trailblazing technologies are working towards greater shelf life, higher yields, and alternative proteins as a potential food source and many startups are designing disruptive solutions in the pursuit of a safer, healthier and more sustainable global food supply chain. They could stand to benefit immensely from this business matchmaking session. Jointly hosted by Enterprise Singapore and the Monetary Authority of Singapore on 22 May, shortlisted startups will be offered assistance through pitching workshops and given exclusive access to financiers such as angel and family investors.

Microsoft Build

Calling all developers: Microsoft is putting together a 3-day experience from 19-21 May just for you! Come with your curiosity and questions, discover cutting-edge coding and application technologies, learn about advanced techniques for optimisation. You also learn to troubleshoot and secure your ongoing projects and expand your network to include peers all over the world and even engineers at Microsoft. Areas covered include IoT, cross-platform apps, low-code tooling, developer tooling and language innovation, DevOps automation, AI and machine learning, cloud development and containers, and building Microsoft 365 extensions.

IBM Think Digital

Geared towards accelerating business recovery and transformation in light of COVID-19, IBM’s comprehensive 2-day event focuses on sharing crucial solutions your startup can take to adapt to the changing times, scale your digital operations successfully and enhance commercial viability despite market volatility. Topics include leadership resiliency, ensuring business continuity and operational dexterity and productivity through cloud technologies, emerging cybersecurity risks, additional revenue streams through digital ecosystems, winning sales virtually, and even specialisations like blockchain in the healthcare industry. Boasting live Q&As with industry experts, this experience on 6-7 May is too jam-packed with insight and opportunity to be missed, even if you are in a different time zone. 

Data analysis & visualization using Google data studio (Live streaming)

Singapore’s The Elemental Academy is presenting this one-day event to help companies in the region connect better with their data and to use the tools available more effectively. The comprehensive seminar will leave participants with a clear understanding of how Google’s Data Studio works. They will navigate you through Google’s resources demonstrating how to connect your data, create, edit and share reports, collaborate with others and how to use the report templates. The course, under the guidance of Growth Hacking Asia founder Anna Rehermann, takes place on 19 May offering great value to startups hoping to use more thorough data analytics to grow their business. Tickets are available through Eventbrite.

Tech in Asia virtual product development conference

Focusing on how to survive the pandemic by pivoting your product development, this online Tech in Asia virtual conference is a must for product leaders in the region. The 4-day summit, divided into two 2-day sessions, is Indonesia specific on 1-2 July with the second session for anyone in Southeast Asia on 8-9 July. The conference will delve into topics such as product leadership, marketing, design and development with a strong focus on how to survive the pressures and changes to the business environment as a result of the Coronavirus. Speakers from China and Silicon Valley join local high-fliers from ASEAN unicorns such as Go-Jek, Lazada and Grab. Tickets are still available so don’t miss out. 


The economic horizon may look gloomy for Southeast Asia startups at the moment, but don’t forget – unicorns like Airbnb, Alibaba and Uber were born from previous global financial crises. Make full use of virtual tech events to gear up and stay updated regarding commercial prospects, and your business will get to make the most of the opportunities presented during this new normal. 

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