CORE Hub Bali: Where Tech, Art, and Innovation Converge
The Yak recently sat down with Melissa, founder at S21 Community, the creator and CEO of CORE Hub Bali & Satoshi21. We asked her to provide us with a comprehensive understanding of the offerings and CORE’s unique positioning in the market.
Melissa, greetings. What brought you to Bali, and how long ago was that?
Hello, and thank you for the warm welcome. I came to Bali in January 2020 for what was intended to be a two-month stay, but it eventually turned into two years. Initially, I came to Bali for a bit of exploration with my previous company, Eurydice Consultancy, focusing on sustainability-related startups. I knew Bali as a wellness and cultural center, as well as a hub for digital nomads. I had a vision of reconciling culture and technology, which is now embedded in CORE.
You recently founded CORE Hub Bali. When exactly was that, and why?
CORE is the result of five months of dedicated work. We opened our doors with a soft launch in August, featuring a Trailblazers panel gathering women leaders in the Web3 ecosystem in Southeast Asia, as a kickstarter for our collaboration. CORE represents a natural progression in my journey and the evolution of the S21 community. It stands for Collaboration and Reciprocity, which I believe are essential for a genuine community. It also stands for Community and Regeneration. The idea is simple: to create an international hub for founders, talents, investors, mentors, providing resources and experience to catalyse their success as individuals and professionals while incubating impactful projects. All of this is built around a pleasant lifestyle and a mindful approach so that individuals are equipped with the skills to evolve as human beings as well as successful professionals without depleting resources along the way.
What specific features of CORE Hub Bali cater to project owners and innovators seeking support?
Our strength lies in our community. Alongside a well-connected network of global mentors, VCs, and advisors, we will soon be running a series of seminars and programs to provide the tools for innovation, not only in technology but also in the way we run businesses in the 21st century. This includes collaborating with remote teams, leadership, community building, and management. As the world and technology change, traditional approaches also evolve. Our programs are tailored to the needs of international business, working with diverse and remote teams to achieve globally relevant results in the new era of the web. This goes beyond coding, managing, engineering, and funding. Diversity and inclusion require understanding and patience, flexibility, and the ability to capture the essential qualities and differences of global communities. Once you’ve discovered what you’re passionate about in life, your skills, and how you want to serve the community, you should consider your CORE values. Core values allow us to utilise available resources in a direction that not only brings profit but also success and happiness, making us a part of something bigger than ourselves, which, in turn, builds resilience when facing adversity on the path to success. We thrive on collaboration, inclusion, diversity, impact, and authenticity. The rest is usually just one connection away at CORE.
The incubation and Accelerator programs at CORE Hub Bali? What purpose do they serve?
Incubation and accelerator programs mainly target founders seeking support, mentorship, community engagement to convey their efforts and vision, secure funding, and build the right team. Being a founder has become more accessible with the emergence of new technologies like Web3 and various tools, leading to a rise in first-time founders. However, they face challenges at each stage of their business journey, from psychological hurdles to building, hiring, and managing teams. We provide tailored support to help them navigate these challenges, allowing everyone to focus on what they excel at. I would like to mention our valued collaborators, such as Nakama.Id and Temmy, local incubators for Web2 and traditional businesses that work with thousands of university students, as well as Raine Renaldi, one of our main advisors. We have a network of over 450 local and global venture capitalists (VCs), and we collaborate with global organisations like H.E.R. DAO, Women in Blockchain Asia, APAC DAO, Philippines Blockchain Week, and Embolden Ventures, all contributing to the success of outstanding projects.
CORE Hub Bali as an innovation hub? What initiatives support this portrayal?
As mentioned earlier, CORE Hub Bali benefits from advisors and partners from around the world, with strong connections to various influential entities. These connections include collaborations with KADIN (the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce) and the Digital Assets Committee. We are also supported by the Kingdom of Bali Pura Klungkung and WOW Bali’s regenerative and implement spiritual technology program. Furthermore, our ties extend to Luxembourg Web3 House, Maja Labs, the local developers’ network BlockDev.Id, ICP Disruptives, and the Internet Computer Protocol. We actively participate in the Open Ethics Committee’s AI ethics initiative, the Bali Blockchain Center, and Women in Tech Pakistan. Our global network includes a pool of angel investors and venture capitalists. We maintain ongoing communication with local governments, primarily focused on collaborating to develop favourable regulations and serve the community effectively. We participate in panels and forums organised by local governments and ministries, including those related to SMEs and tourism. Our contribution to these discussions expands the possibilities we provide within our ecosystem, and we have received significant support thus far. In a recent hackathon & bootcamp, we partnered with Amazon Web Services to provide 5.000 USD credits for the winners. We have a global network to facilitate infrastructure, funding access, tech builders, regulators, talents, and connections to build partnerships.
What are the benefits and purposes of Future Fusion conducted at CORE Hub Bali?
Future Fusion is traditionally an S21 event where we feature keynotes from experts in their respective fields, founders, or key opinion leaders. We have expanded the scope of this event to cover a wide range of topics, including AI, AR/VR, and soft skills such as leadership, negotiation, communication, management, as well as the use of web2 and offline tools and community building. It operates on the concept of a decentralised academy, providing a platform to hear from experts and ask questions, gaining valuable insights into specific subjects.
How does CORE Hub Bali facilitate the connection between talent and projects?
Our approach involves listing job opportunities and job research while fostering partnerships and providing avenues for job opportunities within our community. Soon, we will introduce specialised services aimed at training local talents to work on projects under the guidance of experienced project leads. They will receive mentorship and guidance until they can confidently handle tasks on their own. Once they have reached this level of proficiency, we will list them as vetted talents who can consistently deliver high-quality results.
Expert advisory services offered by CORE Hub Bali. Please expand.
Our global mentors have specific rights, discounts, office usage, and exclusive networking advantages, but their primary role is to volunteer and offer one-on-one mentoring to projects before these projects reach the fundraising stage. To enrol in these programs, projects need to sign up and be selected. Currently, we have 14 projects enrolled in our program that are eligible for mentorship using co-working as well.
How does CORE Hub Bali assist ventures in need of financial resources or visibility? What opportunities do you provide?
Fundraising is a stage that comes later in the process. It requires extensive due diligence, commitment from the founders, and a solid team to protect both our reputation and the interests of the investors. We only get involved in fundraising for projects that have successfully completed the accelerator or incubator programs, with us or with partners. Recently, we conducted an online bootcamp and hackathon, resulting in two winners with regenerative finance projects. These winning founders are now starting our accelerator program, where they will refine their business models, define go-to-market strategies, build economic models for self-sustainability, identify key team members and advisors, and establish and manage their initial communities. It is at this point, in collaboration with our mentors and advisors, that we decide on the fundraising strategy. At a later stage, if the business generates revenue and requires funding for scaling, we introduce these projects to venture capitalists (VCs) after conducting rigorous further due diligence.
The community aspect of CORE Hub Bali? What role does it play in the ecosystem?
S21 is a Bali born global community of blockchain founders, builders, and investors, boasting over 1.8k+ members from around the world. A strong community is essential for web professionals, providing not only the opportunity to share experiences but also to access funding and introductions when needed. S21 online community serves as a hub where you can connect with individuals who have valuable connections, whether it’s with Binance, a particular listing, a money-maker protocol, a builder, or c-level executives from local exchanges. It functions as a safety net within the global ecosystem, helping members avoid mistakes, forge connections, and leverage resources. Now, at CORE, we are expanding this community to include artists, digital nomads, web2 builders, freelancers, and individuals in the creative domain, all guided by the same principles.
Why is collaboration highlighted as crucial at CORE Hub Bali, and how is this contributing to its success?
Collaboration has undergone significant transformation in recent decades, driven by advances in AI, Web3, and the use of various tools. Our devices have become extensions of a global workspace, redefining the way we work. At CORE, we aim to introduce reciprocity to foster a collaborative environment rather than competition. This is a challenging task, relying on authenticity. As long as authenticity is maintained, collaboration can occur without jealousy because the success of others should be equally desired. At CORE, we are actively working to establish these dynamics, creating a genuine foundation for collaboration that goes beyond mere barter.
Fostering both innovation and creativity within the community. What is CORE Hub Bali’s contribution?
Innovation and creativity are intrinsically linked. To imagine new technologies, one must think differently. Technology is disruptive, shaping people’s lives, daily habits, challenging generational knowledge, creating leisure, and driving societal change based on these new habits and available time. Whether it’s the washing machine liberating women from household labour or GPS opening up new worlds for nomads and travellers, the cumulative effects of these innovations shape the destinies of local and global communities. I position CORE Hub Bali to contribute specifically to the conscious evolution of this ecosystem and its professionals. We provide resources, education, etiquette, and business practices that encourage the development of technology with a mindfulness of its societal impact, fostering enduring relationships and regeneration. Our goal is to not only sustain but also elevate every component, user, investor, and contributor. We expect a network effect that generates desirable, non-conflicting, conscious results on a global scale. Our approach encourages artists and technologists to create for more than just profit, fostering innovation in their methods and their own personal development. This activates each component as a value-generating node within the creative and innovative process, contributing to a society where individuals are not merely consumers but conscious participants in regenerative practices through their engagement with these technological tools.
Finally, can you highlight a few of the fun and fabulous aspects of the space? Events, immersions, F&B etc.
The restaurant Fork was created by my business partner and best friend as well as a great supporter, Nadeem Siraj who is a Michelin Guide Chef and Masterchef judge in Spain. It is incredible to have his support and a great pleasure to work with him.
One event I am particularly proud of, starting in November, is ‘Spiel Yourself.’ This event is inspired by the challenge of presenting oneself, regardless of talents or achievements, within underrepresented communities. Community empowerment begins with listening to each other and finding meaningful connections among individuals. We have previously provided a stage for successful individuals and founders over the last three years. Now, we are expanding this opportunity to include first-time founders, freelancers, digital nomads, solo entrepreneurs, and undiscovered talents, giving them a platform to share their unique stories, visions, challenges, and how they can thrive with our support. Sometimes, we need to ‘Spiel’ ourselves a little to be heard. It’s simply a matter of doing it truthfully and authentically to embark on a new journey in our career path. We don’t envision a typical co-working space where you don’t know the person sitting next to you, or you only recognize them by their importance or relevance to you. Instead, we envision a community house where you can go to your locker in the morning, leave your surfboard, walk a few minutes to go surfing, join a breathwork session and breakfast, head to your desk for work, have one-on-one meetings with key advisors, read a book from the library while engaging in discussions with your peers, and then wrap up the day with a pool party. You can share the story of how you built your first business at ‘Spiel Yourself,’ over cocktails and live music, with your community. CORE is all about this immersive experience decorated with great events and art experience. We will know we have succeeded when today’s attendees become tomorrow’s mentors, supporting CORE members with their wealth of experience.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us Melissa – just such as fabulous space and so central (near the Berawa / Batubelig bridge).