Cambodia Investment Review

RG 117: Amanda Cua on BackScoop – Pioneering Media Evolution in Southeast Asia’s Tech Scene

RG 117: Amanda Cua on BackScoop – Pioneering Media Evolution in Southeast Asia’s Tech Scene

Cambodia Investment Review

In the rapidly evolving startup ecosystem of Southeast Asia, a new player, BackScoop, has emerged as a game-changer in the region’s tech ecosystem. Founded by the young and ambitious Amanda Cua, this media startup aims to streamline the vast amount of business and tech news into a digestible format through its bi-weekly newsletter. Since its inception in late 2021, BackScoop has become a vital resource for thousands of the region’s top founders, executives, venture capitalists, and startup operators.

Amanda Cua’s journey, detailed in episode 117 of the Rising Giants Podcast, showcases her vision and the challenges she overcame to create BackScoop. Born and raised in the Philippines, Cua’s early exposure to the startup scene as the first employee at the Y Combinator-backed edtech Avion School planted the seeds for her future endeavor. Reflecting on the origin of BackScoop, Cua said, “The region was ripe with stories, innovations, and developments that were begging to be told in a more accessible way. The pandemic accelerated digital transformation, and with it, the volume of news. I saw a gap and a need for a platform that could consolidate this information meaningfully.”

Read more: RG 116 – Sophorth Khuon on Pioneering Digital Finance Solutions for Micro-Lenders in Cambodia and Beyond

Personal Networks & Focusing On A Minimum Viable Product

The launch of BackScoop was not without its hurdles. Cua described the initial months as a period of intense learning and validation. Leveraging her personal network and focusing on a minimum viable product, she sought direct feedback from early users through calls and surveys. “The startup ecosystem is diverse and dynamic. It was crucial for us to not just chase the trends but really listen to our audience and understand what they found valuable,” Cua emphasized.

As for the content strategy, BackScoop has adapted to the changing tides of the startup landscape. Initially focusing on IPOs, Philippine market news, and cryptocurrency, the platform has since expanded its coverage to include sectors like green technology, FoodTech, and innovative business models. “These shifts reflect our commitment to staying relevant and responsive to our readers’ interests. The startup world is not static, and neither are we,” Cua remarked, highlighting the platform’s agility in content curation.

Amanda Cua with CNN Philippines with Rico Hizon.

Discussing the operational challenges of starting BackScoop, Cua shared insights into her thought process. The initial vision of a fully AI-powered news aggregator transformed as she recognized the value of simplicity and clarity. “What really mattered was our ability to convey information in an easily digestible manner. It wasn’t about the complexity of the technology but the impact of the content,” she shared.

Focusing On A Regional Approach Rather Than A Local One

Partnerships have been a cornerstone of BackScoop’s strategy, with Cua focusing on collaborations that align with the platform’s mission to inform, entertain, and solve industry-specific problems. “Our partnerships are carefully chosen to ensure that they add value to our readers and help us fulfill our mission of making startup news accessible and engaging,” Cua explained.

Read More: Opinion – Cambodia’s Startup Ecosystem the Challenges and Opportunities in 2024

The decision to focus on a regional approach rather than a local one was strategic. “Southeast Asia is a tapestry of diverse markets, each with its unique challenges and opportunities. By adopting a regional perspective, we can provide a more comprehensive view of the ecosystem, fostering a sense of unity and shared growth,” Cua said, underlining the importance of addressing the interconnectedness of the region’s startup scene.

Amanda Cua with Onstage for Wild Digital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with Jaeson Ma (co-founder of 88Rising.

The BackScoop team has grown from a one-woman show to a dynamic group that mirrors Cua’s ethos of creating a work environment that is both fun and productive. “Each team member brings something unique to the table. It’s about creating a space where creativity thrives, and where everyone is driven by a shared passion for our mission,” she noted.

Cua also touched on the value of podcasting as a medium to share stories and insights, emphasizing the importance of genuine conversation and the exchange of ideas. “Podcasting allows us to peel back the layers and delve into the narratives that shape our industry. It’s a platform for discovery, learning, and connection,” she reflected.

BackScoop: The Heartbeat Of SEA’s Startup Community

Looking forward, Cua envisions BackScoop as an indispensable tool for the Southeast Asian startup ecosystem—a hub for news, networking, investment opportunities, and more. “Our goal is to be more than a newsletter. We want to be the heartbeat of the startup community, connecting ideas, people, and opportunities across the region,” Cua ambitiously stated.

Cua’s parting advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is a testament to her resilience and vision: “The most profound lessons come from turning adversities into advantages. It’s about owning your narrative and seeing the potential in every situation.”

Through innovation, dedication, and a keen understanding of its audience, BackScoop is poised to continue its trajectory as a leading source of startup news in Southeast Asia, proving that insightful content paired with strategic vision can create impactful change in the digital age.

Listen to the full podcast here.

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