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Why 100 Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs are Sailing Around Asia Right Now

Anh-Minh Do

Somewhere out in the South China Sea right now, there’s a boat-load of entrepreneurs, business people, non-profit folks, and general movers and shakers from Silicon Valley who are heading toward Singapore. They’ll be making their way through Myanmar, India, South Africa, and all the way over to Morocco and Spain before they finally finish in Barcelona.

The mission behind the ‘Unreasonable At Sea’ project is to “put all our portfolio companies on one ship, align them with some of the world’s greatest mentors, and set sail more than 25,000 nautical miles while visiting 13 countries over the course of 100 days.”

This concept of being unreasonable, according Daniel Epstein, the sailing founder of Unreasonable at Sea, is derived from a famous quote from George Bernard Shaw who said that “all progress depends on the unreasonable man” because he “persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.” Thus, the ship carries entrepreneurs who are eager to make their dent in the universe. Most of the companies have a humanitarian mission that is focused on changing the world for the better.

Just yesterday, Unreasonable At Sea had its first event in Ho Chi Minh city. With nearly 100 people in attendance including An Le, the country’s consulate general to the United States, the event’s workshop was led by Tom Chi, one of the Unreasonable At Sea mentors. Citing lessons he personally learned from prototyping the Google Glass and gestural interfaces, Tom advocated prototyping many solutions rather than focusing too heavily on a problem.

In addition to the workshop, the audience got to hear pitches from a handful of startups, including:

  • Guru-G from India: an educational startup focused on training teachers on an online platform
  • Solar Ear: is developing a solar charger for hearing aids.
  • Aquaphytex: an agricultural startup aiming to clean water using plants.
  • Protei from Europe: a startup that builds shape-shifting wind-powered open-source sailing drones that clean lakes.
  • Evo Tech from the US: a medical startup that builds cheaper, easier-to-use endoscopy machines for hospitals.
  • Prakti from Vietnam, Cambodia, US: a startup focused on making energy-efficient and waste-effective stoves.

The event, although smaller than expected because of the Lunar New Year last week, was a healthy networking opportunity for the Vietnamese people in attendance who wanted to learn about the design thinking behind a Silicon Valley startup. So check out their map as they may be coming to a city near you. By the way, their next stop is Singapore.

Here's a quick video about the project: .
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