500 Startups’ Geeks On A Plane tour is coming to Southeast Asia for the first time in June

500 Startups’ Geeks On A Plane tour is coming to Southeast Asia for the first time in June

TNW has already written about our belief that Southeast Asia is one of the most exciting places in the world for tech right now — it’s a chance to watch a startup ecosystem develop rapidly — and its seems that we’re not alone. 500 Startups has announced its plans to bring its ‘Geeks On A Plane‘ tour to the region for the first time.

Confirming recent comments and speculation, a blog post from 500 Startup’s Mark Saldana explains that the tour is slated to take in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Bangkok in Thailand, and Jakarta in Indonesia between June 1-15.

Exact details are still to be announced, but this is the first time that the GOAP (as it is known) event has swung by Southeast Asia, and it promises to bring opportunities to both startups and entrepreneurs in the region, as well the tour visitors, who come from the US, Europe and other international places.

The tour gives visitors from outside of the region a whistle-stop look at trends, startups and other promising companies in local markets. As well as learning about locals, so the startups themselves are given an opportunity to mingle and learn from investors and entrepreneurs from overseas.

A visit to Southeast Asia with GOAP comes at a cost — currently estimated at US$8,000-10,000 — those interested can find more details and an application form here. The deadline for submissions is May 1.

The news follows an excellent post from Malaysia-based Khailee Ng, 500 Startups’ first entrepreneur-in-residence from Southeast Asia, who called the region “social on steroids”:

Having grown up in Southeast Asia and studied and worked in Australia and the US, I’ve always noticed that “back home,” it’s more culturally accepted to add and accept someone you don’t know in real life as a friend on Facebook. It’s as though, while using Facebook to connect with friends they know, SEA users are more likely to use Facebook to make new friends too. If Facebook was a party, a Southeast Asian user wouldn’t mind mingling with someone new, while a US user would only want to talk to friends they already know.

This cultural nuance – compounded with the sheer number of people under the age of 35 and rapid rollout of broadband and mobile internet – means that people in Southeast Asia represent a new generation of high-speed, uber-social citizens.

While it may be the first GOAP trip to Southeast Asia, Dave McClure, who heads up 500 Startups, is more than familiar with the region. In addition to attending events like Echelon, McClure and 500 Startups have invested in a number of startups from the region and nearby, including PayrollHero and Cubie.

500 Startups has increased its focus on Asia of late. It recently established an on-the-ground presence in China, made its first investment in Korea and partnered DoCoMo to launch an incubator and startup fund in Japan.

The most recent GOAP outing visited India this month, and previously countries covered include China and Brazil.

Headline image via Thinkstock

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