Last July 9-12, I had an opportunity to attend RISE conference in Hong Kong along with Jojo Gumino, our Head of Partnerships at STORM Learning. We were among the 12 startups from the Philippines selected to present in the conference as a feature.

STORM Learning in RISE Conference

We were selected as a BETA startup which entitled us for the following:

  • Three tickets to RISE which include access to all three days of the main event and the Night Summit evening events.
  • 1.5m exhibition space for one of the three days in visible BETA area.
  • Access to meeting room space for half a day.
  • Opportunity to access workshops & roundtables
  • Startup mentor to help with preparations before the event.
  • Access to RISE mobile application to help you build connections prior to, and during, the event & curate your own schedule.
  • BETA company branding & feature on our website and within the mobile application.

(Check out this Startup Info Pack for more details)

If you are a startup focusing on regional product validation and expansion, here are 5 reasons for you to join RISE Conference.

1. Community based learning

RISE is quite different from all the other conferences as it embraces the fact that the best networking at conferences often takes place outside the event.  There were over 5,000 people wandering around the event at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. I might not remember every name of the person I met but meeting the same people after the conference on the streets of Hong Kong and being able to share a beer and strike deeper conversations with them made it easy to connect with the people. Startup founders sharing the Why behind their companies, their failures, and their struggles was a great learning experience that helped us create a checklist of do’s and don'ts for our company.

STORM Learning in RISE Conference

(Image source: RISE Conference)

The Night Summit wasn’t just about having a party. More than the happy hour enabled conversations, the Night Summit gave us a chance to network with clever and interesting people. By mingling with various startup entrepreneurs from all over the globe, there was a continuous flow of inspiring stories and advices. As the maxim goes, “the art of pitching is in the practice,” the opportunity to pitch the company in an informal setting where feedback is instantaneous and direct felt like a golden opportunity. RISE gave us the regional validation on our pitch.

2. An overview of  global and regional innovation through the RISE Speakers

This year’s RISE covered multiple topics including fin-tech, ed-tech, e-commerce, SaaS, PaaS, med-tech, tech in the movie industry, food tech, and, more prominently, the cryptocurrency space. As if the Alpha, Beta, and Growth startups presenting in their booths wasn’t enough, the conference invited world-class speakers to share their insightful opinions and analysis on the regional and global tech scene.

STORM Learning in RISE Conference

(Joe Tsai, co-founder & Executive Vice Chairman, Alibaba Group, on Centre Stage. Image Source: RISE Conference)

3. Networking made easy through the RISE app

STORM Learning in RISE Conference

One of the advantages of being selected as a featured startup is that we received exclusive access to the RISE app. The app became a strong tool for networking with the 1000+ attendees in the venue

We had 3 goals for RISE:

  1. Mentors and Strategic Partners
  2. ML and AI Acclectors
  3. Investors

During our initial days at the conference, we shared our asks with all the people we met and connected with others who could help us with our asks. Through the RISE app, I received 8 meeting requests from investors and 6 meetings with accelerators. The app also helps me keep in touch with the people I met during the conference.

4. The opportunity that the BETA booth gave

As part of the being selected as one of the beta startups, we were assigned a booth on the second day of RISE. We were staged in a prominent spot near the entrance, next to the partners’ lounge, and right beside the winners of last year’s RISE Pitch competition, Zap Zap Math. This gave us an impressive foot traffic and helped us book meetings with potential clients, investors, and strategic partners for the next day.

STORM Learning in RISE Conference

5. Belonging with the strong startup community of the Philippines

The thread that seems to connect my RISE highlights is the real sense of community, openness, and innovation we found during our four days in Hong Kong. We met investors, mentors, founders, and journalists. However, the most rewarding aspect of it all was seeing the startup ecosystem of the Philippines help each other out and come together.

STORM Learning in RISE Conference

This year over 120 people representing more than 35 companies attended the conference and all of them shared learnings and tips and willingly helped each other. This is now enabling all the companies to work together to create a great story for the Philippines startup ecosystem.

STORM Learning in RISE Conference