ECHELON

DesignBold, a startup that allows professional designers to contribute (and make money) to an online studio won the Echelon Vietnam 2016 Top 100 pitching competition in Vietnam today.

The startup will be fast-tracked to compete in the pitching competition finale at Echelon Singapore in June 2017 to battle it out against the other regional champions.

DesignBold has positioned itself to be a more user friendly, and time efficient platform than photoshop; but it also pays professional freelancers to contribute designs to the platform, giving it more flexibility than Canva.

There were two other awards given out during the pitching event.

First, Skolkovo, a Russian startup community builder, presented an award to CopyRobo (an online copyrighting startup) and Nouslogic (a QR-code based information system). Skolkovo will fly the two startups to Moscow to attend the organisation’s Startup Village event this coming June.

Finally, Microsoft awarded AZ Stack (a company that builds mobile communication SDKs for clients) US$40,000 worth of Microsoft BizSpark Credit for their pitch.

Judges of the competition were Shuyin Tang (Vice Principal at Unitus Impact) Anh-Minh Do (Director of Communications, Vertex Ventures), Victor Chua (Investment Director, MAVCAP), Dzung Nguyen (Founding Investor at Food Corporation) and Eddy Lee (Managing Partner, Coffee Ventures).

12 startups pitched at the competition, so let’s meet them!

DesignBold

With US$135,ooo in sales to date and 3,300 paid users, DesignBold has proven people are willing to pay for its product.

The company is an online design tool for everyone, with a drag and drop interface that called itself ‘easier than photoshop but different than Canva’. DesignBold is unique because it is a service where pro designers can contribute and gain revenue from their designs. Normal users can use those designs.

CopyRobo

Initially targetting Europe, Copy Robo provides fast and easy copyright services for websites so they are guaranteed to not get their URL shut down by accidentally violating copyright laws.

It leverages blockchain to create qualified timestamp evidence similar to a notary stamp. It costs one dollar (and less than a minute) and creates a URL evidence page so the public can see it is valid.

Nouslogic

The company uses QR-codes that allow people to transfer information, or start chatting instantly. It positioned itself for a few uses. First it called itself the world’s first ‘smart doorbell’ that would allow people to scan the QR Code and start talking to the home’s residents instantly.

It also created a cheap smart tag for doctors, so they can just scan the code and pull the patient’s medical information.

Also Read: Straight from their mouth: five entrepreneurs give the good and bad of starting up in Vietnam

However, the startup is fairly agnostic about its use-cases as exemplified by their client AirBnB, who purchased 2,000 tags to use at an event.

AZ Stack

A B2B communication platform SDK, AZ Stack helps traditional businesses and telcos integrate a more modern communication/chat app system into their infrastructure. The SDK uses a cloud-based API to provide chat, voice call, video call, conference, live streaming, call-out to number and broadcast services for clients.

Captii Ventures is an investor and the startup claims 250,000 active users on the application.

Meete

Meete is an e-voucher publishing and distribution startup. The idea is to help individual merchants issue their own e-voucher by using the same technique of the biggest internet companies.

The team is focussed on F&B but wants to expand to other verticals. It has 12 partners including Uber and Wifi Chua. The company makes money by charging merchants per redemption.

Btaskee.com

A localised marketplace for on-demand household services in Vietnam, users can book instantly and have someone at their doorstep in about two hours to clean the home.

Btaskee.com launched in April and today has 2,400 customers, has facilitated 7,000 transactions and contributed to 15,000 working hours through its platform. It charges 15 per cent per transaction.  

Komorebi

Also using QR-codes, Komorebi is a two-way communication tool between consumers and manufacturers. People  scan the code and an app pops up where they can find content like videos and images for the product.

After signing-up into the system, consumers can provide suggestions and dive more deeply into the company.

For manufacturers, Komorebi collect meaningful intelligence and provides to manufacturers (it targets SMEs).

BankGo

BankGo is a financial comparison platform for housing, cars and consumer loans in Vietnam. It compares information across the banking sector, confirms the information, gets the bank’s solution and facilitates the application.

Also Read: Faye Alund: Running a coworking space in Indonesia is like promoting a gym membership

It compares itself to the global players Rongo360, Bankrate and BankBazaar.

CheckIt

The company is for the busy professional who lacks the time to read books, but miss the stories. It summarises books in english local Southeast Asian languages, which it points to as being a differentiator from the international competition.

The product costs US$25 per year or people can buy packages for US$1 per download.

Lexis

Lexis is a cloud-based pre-paid legal certificate that allows banks to sell legal insurance to customers and helps individuals receive instant legal services. It pitched itself as a value-add service that can be encapsulated within a loan agreement.

The prepaid certificate allows people to ‘top-up’ on what they can purchase with the certificate (for example, US$30 would buy them a telephone consultation with a lawyer).

Sentbe

Sentbe is an international remittances startup focussed on the back-and-forth in the Korean market. It uses two strategies to send money — blockchain and bank pooling — and takes about one day to process.

The startup leverages an internal algorithm to automatically choose the least expensive channel to send the money. It charges on average a 3.8 per cent transaction fee. Sentbe is a SparksLabs accelerator alumni.

Apoup

Apoup targets freelance content writers through social media. Companies can find posts with high shares, check writers profile and send requests for further work.

The idea is it provides a platform for writers to advertise their work while being a one-stop-shop for business owners to find the correct people to build content.

Also Read: Circle of Young Intrapreneurs: A grassroots initiative in Singapore fostering corporate innovation

So there you have it! The twelve companies that pitched at Echelon Vietnam 2016.