It’s not everyday you see 20 outstanding startups pitch in an auditorium located in the middle of a university in Thailand. Held last Wednesday, Echelon Thailand Satellite 2014 saw educational app Taamkru (which translates to ‘ask the teacher’ in Thai) emerge champion, and dating app Dipify get crowned as People’s Choice.
Both startups pitched in front of over 250 attendees and five judges (including e27‘s Thaddeus Koh; Ardent Capital‘s Adrian Vanzyl; Galaxy Ventures‘s Adrian Stewart; AIS‘s Srihathai Prammanee; and CyberAgent Ventures‘s Thanachat Tangsriwong) in Bangkok University’s School of Entrepreneurship and Management.
Taamkru needs more results
Playing in the same industry as Khan Academy and other e-learning platforms, Taamkru allows parents to have an understanding of how their children are doing academically with relevant tests. Children are then able to better study and focus on weaker areas, instead of being forced to work on competent areas all the time.
Wicharn Manawanitjarern (popularly known as Charn), Co-founder and CEO, Taamkru, is not one to practice false modesty. He told e27, “We knew we were going to be in the top five. We know we worked very hard to get this far.”
However, he is also not one to underestimate his opponents on the pitching field. “We see a good mix of hardware and software (companies). Last year, it was mostly just mobile apps. It’s more challenging this time. We saw all the pitches; there was a lot of competition this time.”
Last year, mobile loyalty startup Stamp had won Echelon Thailand Satellite 2013 with a hardware and software hybrid of a product. It also dazzled judges in Singapore as it showcased a patent-pending solution that can rid away the need to have physical loyalty cards and rubber stamps.
He also noted, “It’s a wake up call for Thai startups,” as there are now a lot more foreigners who see Thailand as a booming market for entrepreneurship.
“We need more results,” said Charn, who added, “We only pitched the concept, team and market in Thailand. Next level, we have to show traction in Thailand.” By the end of March 2014, Taamkru will also launch in Singapore, a key market where education is taken very seriously. With Singapore on board, the app will be able to generate more data for comparison purposes. He shared, “It is the dream of every parent come true.”
In addition, Taamkru was involved in Channel News Asia’s reality TV show The START-UP Asia, where 10 startups pitch and work hard for an investment of S$2 million (US$1.5 million). “Thai startups don’t have a good track record on reality television shows (like Amazing Race Asia and Apprentice Asia). This is our time for redemption,” concluded Charn.
Dipify finds love with the people
Serendipity is a mysterious thing. No one really understands how it comes or goes, but nothing can beat the feeling of finding treasure when you aren’t looking. The same stands true for love. It always appears when you’re not busy searching.
Enter Dipify — a dating app in its alpha phase which made everyone laugh with its overtly corny video. In the video played, two people, who are watching the same YouTube video, get matched with the solution. “I like this movie,” texted one party. The other replied, “I like this movie too.” Instantly, the duo manage to find a common topic, instead of having to ponder long and hard.
All photos are reproduced with permission from HUBBA