Startup Roots Speaker Series #1 Recap – Joi Ito

I‘d like to thank all who showed up at our inaugural Startup Roots Speaker Series at HackerspaceSG today and gave us your support. I’ve never seen HackerspaceSG this full before; thanks to Meng and team for providing us with the venue and helping out with the logistics. We had closed our RSVP at slightly over 60 pax, with many more wanting to attend. Our apologies to those on the far side of the room who weren’t able to listen in to the conversations properly. We’ll do our best to find a better layout or venue for future sessions.

The Startup Roots Summer Fellows spent 30 minutes from 6.30pm, peppering Joi Ito with questions on education, entrepreneurship, startups and Joi’s personal experiences as an entrepreneur and investor. The inevitable “are we in a bubble?” question was also discussed and laid to rest. The rest of the crowd joined in the Q&A with Joi from 7:00pm onwards, until we broke for food and networking at 7.35pm. There was hardly any room to move about once everyone got up. The energy in the room was simply electrifying.

HackerspaceSG was so full I think we flouted fire safety rules. Surprised we didn't crash through the ceiling of that grumpy art shop owner on the ground floor.

Startup Roots is currently financed via donations, largely from participating startups. We’ll be revamping our site to reflect our recent activities soon, but here’s our current financials in the interest of complete transparency.

  • To date, a total of S$1,531 has been raised; S$1,425 came from participating startups, with another S$100 from Steven Goh (I love you!) and $6 from a Bong Chun Hian (Derrick couldn’t be sure of the exact name). Thanks guys!
  • S$522 was spent on catered food for Speaker Series Session 1 with Joi Ito;
  • A balance of S$1,009 remains;
  • Any donations to our grassroots initiative are greatly appreciated; look for Derrick at our next event with cash;
  • FWIW, Derrick, Zaizhuang and I spend our own time working on Startup Roots, and take nothing in return.

Here’s my sucky panorama of the room at around 7.15pm.

Did anyone record video segments of the discussion? I was too busy moderating to do so, and would appreciate any Youtube/Vimeo uploads from the community. Let me know via my contact page.

We’re finalizing the sequence for the rest of our speakers, and promise we’Il post more details once they’re set in stone. There should be at least 7 other speakers, leading up to the end of our Startup Roots Summer Fellows’ internship come end-July. Speakers include Carl Coryell-Martin (Singapore Practice Manager, Pivotal Labs), Derek Sivers (co-founder of CD Baby), Jeff Jonas (Chief Scientist, IBM Entity Analytics Group & IBM Distinguished Engineer), Andrew “bunnie” Huang (co-founder & VP Engineering, Chumby Industries), Darius Cheung (co-founder & CEO, tenCube) and Peng T. Ong (co-founder of, Interwoven & Encentuate).

Stay tuned to be raptured ;-).

Myself and Joi with Mike from Vinova, once everyone else was done mobbing Joi.

About James Chan

James Chan is an entrepreneur, investor, geek, photographer and husband/father based out of Singapore. Apart from frequent travels to Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia for work, James can also be found online via his trusty 15″ Retina MacBook Pro or iPhone 6+.