Self-updating phonebook 6degrees emerged as the best startup at Seedstars Singapore, the Singapore leg of the Seedstars World 2014, a global startup competition for emerging markets and fast growing startup scenes. Competing amongst 15 startups, the second place went to Ring MD, a communication platform for patients and doctors; the third place was captured by CreoPop, a revolutionary printing ink startup.
As a regional winner, 6degrees will be now go to Geneva in February to compete with other regional winners globally as part of Seedstars World final event, and compete for an equity investment of up to US$500,000.
On asked why 6degrees was chosen as the winner, Julien Berthomier, Organizer of SSW 2014, said, “6Degrees solves a real issue we all have: keeping our network updated about us. And to achieve that, it leverages what is probably one of the most basic features on our phone. The simplicity behind the technology, the clear vision of its founder (Niranjan Rao), combined with a real potential to become a global company is what convinced us.”
The jury comprised Michael A O’Keeffe, Senior Investment Analyst, ACE & Company; Jayesh Parekh, Managing Partner, Jungle Ventures; Rodrigo Martinez of Dikaios; Raphael Dana, CEO, Galixo; Surender Dhaleta, Editor, e27; and Julien Berthomier, Seedstars World Organiser.
Comparing the Singapore startup scene with other markets, Raphael Dana, CEO, Galixo, a business consulting firm, who was a part of the jury team in Bangalore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta and Shanghai as well, said, “The Singapore startup scene is different from other markets. Here you need to think regional or even global. The three winners from Singapore are thinking global, which is not the case with other countries where we have more copycats that focus on the local market. For example, both Indonesia and India are huge local markets. They need not think global. Their focus will largely be on catering to the local market. It’s a different mindset.”
“Humbled” by the outcome at Seedstars Singapore, Niranjan Rao, CEO, 6degrees, told e27, “While we’re generally confident people, the quality of the startups at the event was high, and spanned a wide variety of industries/ problem sets. Our win at Seedstars reconfirms to us the importance of the pain-point that we’re trying to solve, and encourages us to keep going the way we are. Singapore has a vibrant startup scene and we are thrilled and honoured to be its representatives.”
Rao hopes to keep making 6degrees better and win the “the love and trust of a lot more users, and forge synergistic partnerships with other players in the mobile ecosystem.”
“The best way to prepare for the finals in Geneva is to put our heads down and keep progressing along our roadmap. 4.6/5.0 is a very high rating on app stores for a utility app, and if we can keep it there while growing our user base, we’ll be very happy,” he added.
Available for iOS and Android, 6degrees keeps phone contacts of people — connected via 6degrees — updated. Users can also search and see all the contact names (names only) in a friend’s contact list and subsequently ask for references.
Based in Geneva, Switzerland and founded by Alisee de Tonnac and Pierre-Alain Masson, the competition is supported by the venture builder Seedstars SA. After its first successful edition in 2013 across 20 cities, SSW expanded its competition massively to more than 30 countries. Regional winners are invited back to Geneva to pitch for an equity investment of up to US$500,000. The regional events feature up to 20 startups, which must prove their worth in six minutes of pitching time and withstand the questions from a local jury of experts and a Seedstars World representative.