Nim Sivakumaran on Southeast Asia trends and building a network


Nim Sivakumaran is the head of The Co, a premium co-working operator in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. We interviewed Nim to find out what Southeast Asian trends, inspiration and tips he can share for becoming a super connector in our communities.

Nim oversees The Co’s daily operations in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, helping their mission to develop spaces that inspire creativity and growth. He is a super connector, introducing communities and neighbourhoods together to inspire collaboration. With his experience in developing business leads, sales and brand awareness, Nim has helped The Co become one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing entrepreneurial communities. Over email, Nim answered our questions about Southeast Asian trends and tips in growing a network:

What led you to the path you are on today? Most of our readers are entrepreneurs, freelancers or full-time corporates taking big risks and starting businesses from scratch. Have you ever experienced anything like that – let’s say opening a new branch?

Growing up, I always valued meeting different people and travelling. My journey has led me to interact with people and businesses across multiple cities like London, Dubai, Sydney, Melbourne, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. One story that I remember about setting up a branch was in 2014. I handled the Vietnam operation for a regional service office provider in Ho Chi Minh. Let’s just say that my Vietnamese was not great and the working culture was much different to that in Hong Kong, where I was previously stationed. Looking back, it was a great experience as I picked up some valuable skills and experience in building a business from the ground up. Back then, Disney and 500 Startups were just entering the market. It was nice to be in the right place at the right time to able to consider them as clients.

Your work with The Co has helped the company become one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing entrepreneur communities. How did you do that?

I’m proud of the team that I assembled at The Co. There’s been an influx of co-working spaces in Singapore and Malaysia, so we worked hard on the human experience as our key unique selling proposition.  In addition to being the connector and education resource, we are also passionate about promoting a Work-Live-Play concept. We give regular opportunities for our members to interact socially. Just recently, we’ve been selected as the First Digital Hub in Malaysia and as you mentioned, we are one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing entrepreneur communities. We are committed to driving the human experience in the Digital Era.

the co startup2lifeWhat is your relationship with and how has it brought value to your community?

Anna’s company, The Creative Experience, was one of our first members of The Co many years ago.  When she started her business, we invited her as “Entrepreneur in Residence,” to enrich the community through the various mentorship and small business coaching programs. My favourite memory with is with Zerlina, one of our members at the Co. She took the 6Weeks2Startup program and shared how it helped and provided her with clarity moving forward. It’s always a fulfilling experience when we see a member’s business growth.

You’ve been active in the Singapore tech and startup industry for a while now. We are curious what other books, news outlets, groups, or organisations would you recommend for any entrepreneur who wants to be in on the latest industry news? And speaking of trends, what do you think of the state of startups/entrepreneurship in the SG community today? Which industries would you bank on for 2018?

For news, I read e27, TechinAsia, Entrepreneur and of course, LinkedIn. For Singapore trends, I see that the local market is quite buoyant. More businesses are looking to capture not just the SG market but the ASEAN region. As a regional coworking space provider, we are always on hand to support these companies on the next leg of their journey. For 2018 industries, there are few hot areas now, particularly around Artificial Intelligence and Fintech. But for me, I will be placing a close eye on some niche areas such as Indoor Farming and Aged Care Services.

the co singaporeThere’s been a lot of research about entrepreneurs being very likely to experience loneliness, anxiety, and other negative emotions. How does one benefit from joining a coworking space?

Entrepreneurship is not an island. The key thing is to surround yourself with the right people who can inspire you. As an entrepreneur, your most precious commodity is time. Our community team focuses on the human experience to help our members save time by connecting them with the right partners and provide a work environment where they can be most productive.

What do you see entrepreneurs have a hard time with and what would you advise to overcome those?

Due to the nature of my role, I get to interact with people at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey. One bit of advice that has really stuck is how you should manage your energy, not your time. Also, another tip is to have a clear idea of what success looks like. Then, set your teams up to achieve this. Continue to build your network, stay humble and don’t be afraid to pivot.

If you’re looking for support, guidance, and focused mentorship, we are now accepting applications for our 6-week Startup2Life online course.

About The Co.

The Co. is one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing entrepreneurial communities, it’s also a premium work experience that uniquely weaves life and business together through an inspired sense of adventure and purpose. Everything we do orientates you towards a successful business adventure. Whether it is connecting you to the best of the neighbourhood, making sure you are in good company or providing quality, design-focused facilities, we are committed to your world working well so that you can get on with your walk.

Written by

Crystal Neri
Team Startup2Life