"The LGBTQIA+ community has taught me to build a sense of self-worth from within."

Favourite food: Pad Thai My favourite country: Japan

Edric Subur

A new platform facilitating deep human connection

PRIORITIZING HUMAN CONNECTION OVER MATERIAL GOALS. Edric Subur’s latest venture began with a spiritual awakening. Now several years into his entrepreneurial journey, he realized he had been caught by the trappings of material success: making lots of money, being recognised and respected was dominating his life. “I felt very externally driven, like my happiness was dependent on the approval of others.”

A trip to Burning Man in 2019 changed everything. “It really showed me what had been missing from my life, which is living in a place of authenticity, community connection and giving. Before, I was prioritizing material goals over human connection and community, and I was always having to suppress who I really am.” Fittingly, the theme of the festival that year was ‘Metamorphosis’.

A month after Burning Man, with a renewed sense of self, Edric, who was working at Google, came out as bisexual in front of hundreds of colleagues at a company conference. It was this newfound energy that also motivated him to found his company, Warmspace. The platform aims to put the ‘social’ back in social media by connecting strangers with guided conversations. By working with coaches and therapists, the objective is to create scalable experiences where people feel safe to open up and connect deeply with one another.

The concept was in part born out of the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Living in Singapore at the time, and with restrictions there particularly rigorous, Edric had an idea to connect strangers over Zoom and he would facilitate the conversations. “I was blown away by what I saw. People were crying and sharing such personal things, and I could see a heaviness being lifted off their shoulders. I realised this kind of deep conversation and connection is a universal human need.”

FINDING STRENGTH IN OUR DIFFERENCES. Edric faced a lot of self-doubt about being a founder due to his sexuality. Born in Indonesia, where being LGBTQIA+ is still considered taboo, he felt he had to hide his identity. What’s more, his early experiences in the startup world – “traditional businessmen displaying toxic masculinity values” - didn’t resonate with him. Now comfortable in his skin, he considers his sexuality a blessing despite the challenges it can bring. “It really forces us to do a lot of self-reflection and quickly develop a high level of self-awareness, resilience and strength. The community has taught me to build a sense of self-worth from within.”

Edric hopes Warmspace will help democratise access to inner wellbeing and mental health support which, despite its raised profile in recent years, is often too costly for many. “With our technology, we make it feel like a coach or therapist is there with you without them having to be there, meaning we can charge much less while still having a profound and powerful therapeutic effect.”

The seismic shifts in Edric’s life over the past few years have led him to the realization that starting a company is a spiritual journey in itself. “You're trying to put this new thing that you believe in so much out into the world and create meaningful change. This idea is like an extension of who you are, so if you're creating something from a place of non-acceptance and suppression, it will come out in the way you build your product.

“My advice to anyone before starting a company is to work on yourself. Work on your acceptance, self-love and accepting who you really are.”

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Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.