Startups, Discussions & Innovation: Disrupt Asia 2018


“We weren’t planning on having Disrupt Asia this year. There were challenges. We thought of having it at a hotel with a higher ticket price. But then Randhula challenged us by saying, “Before you talk about disrupting Asia, first disrupt yourselves!” said Sachindra Samararatne.

To many of us who’ve been regulars since the first Disrupt Asia, this came as a surprise. Nonetheless, Disrupt Asia 2018 did happen. But this year was indeed different. We spent eight hours inside Trace Expert City. While our tradition of writing multiple articles continues, this year’s Disrupt Asia had a lot more to offer.

Thoughts from the community

Disrupt Asia 2018Disrupt Asia isn’t simply an event that consists of panel discussions and exhibits. Over the past few years, we’ve seen it become a place where everyone in the local tech startup community gathers. And so we decided to create a special set of Readerpod podcast episodes to gather their thoughts.

Taking our seats at the Main Stage

Disrupt Asia 2018

Keynote speeches and panel discussions featuring international speakers. From the official start to the very end of the conference, this hall gave us a lot of food for thought. Click here to know more about the opening keynote and the panel discussions of the Main Stage.

Beyond the Main Stage

Disrupt Asia 2018

But the Main Stage wasn’t the only place where we saw an exchange of ideas. Inside the Stage 2.0, a series of panel discussions happened in parallel. Meanwhile, in another hall on the opposite side, a series of workshops took place. Click here to know what we found at these workshops and at Stage 2.0.

The Innovation Festival

Makerspace | Games | Art | Disrupt Asia 2018

But panel discussions and workshops weren’t the only things at Disrupt Asia 2018. If you walked out of the sessions, you’d have found a lot more than startups. There were makerspaces, a mini-arcade, colorful art exhibits, and more. This was the section that was open to the public: the Innovation Festival.

What we found inside the Investor Forum

Disrupt Asia 2018 | Investor Forum

As with previous years, this was the one section of Disrupt Asia that was exclusive to investors. Inside this hall, we found another set of panel discussions. These were focused towards conquering the challenges investors may face when funding startups. Click here to know more about these discussions.

Returning to the Main Stage

Disrupt Asia 2018

As darkness fell, the sessions in the other halls came to an end. But the show continued inside the Main Stage. For once the panel discussions ended, it was time for the Disrupt Asia 2018 Startup Battle Grand Finale. After the 4 startups gave their pitches, it was time for the final item on the agenda: the closing keynote. Click here to see who won and what Nick Marino Jr. – Director of Social Change at TangoTab had to say.

And there you have it

From colorful art exhibits to panel discussions to workshops to a startup battle. Once again, Disrupt Asia was an event that had a lot to offer. And as challenging as it was to cover all of it, we’re glad that Randhula De Silva – Chief Disrupter at GIZ threw the challenge at ICTA. Hopefully, we’ll see another edition of Disrupt Asia next year.


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