Start-up capital of South-east Asia

Start-up capital of South-east Asia

Last week was a long one for Mr Epi Ludvik Nekaj, founder of Crowdsourcing Week.

Since last Monday, he had been fretting about the four-day Crowdsourcing Week conference held at the Singapore Management University from Tuesday to Friday which featured 36 foreign crowdsourcing experts.

"It's the first time I've held a conference in Singapore, it was at the university, a new venue that I've never seen or been to. And I worked with a new team of event organisers," the American said. He registered his company here last year.

It was the first global conference on crowdsourcing - a fast- growing way of finding many people online to do small tasks for small fees. Think of hiring students to sort your photos at 5 cents a piece. The fact that it was held in Singapore is testament to the Republic's fast-growing status as a place for savvy start-ups.

As he headed out for a drink with The Straits Times on Thursday after the main conference was over, he was already thinking of regional expansion plans in Hong Kong and Seoul.

The serial entrepreneur, who started a virtual advertising agency in New York and other businesses, chose Asia for his start-up instead of the United States because Asia has the world's fastest-growing Internet population.

He chose Singapore over Hong Kong because the Republic was seen as neutral and more pan- Asian, whereas the former British colony is seen as closely affiliated to China.

He has been to Singapore a few times and felt the tempo of its start-up buzz. Venture capitalists (VCs) are here with their money scouting for buys; there is plenty of talent and willing mentors; and a busy calendar of tech events.

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