After 14 countries and 220 startups, the final six winners have emerged at the Echelon TOP100 Qualifiers in Singapore.
These six winners were chosen from an impressive array of 50 teams, which includes startups like CreoPop, BookQuickly, QLC.io, CastingDB and many more.
They team competed within three tracks: Track One consisted of mainly marketplaces, Track Two was health and fin-tech startups and Track Three had mobile-centric apps.
The judging panel consisted of prolific figures in Southeast Asia’s startup scene, including Innosight Ventures Partner Piyush Chaplot, GREE Venture Associate Albert Shyy, KK Fund founder Koichi Saito, Singtel Innov8 Associate Director Aaron Tan and SBI Ven Capital Vice President Abhinav Goswami.
“We were impressed with the quality of the pitching and the development of some of these companies. There were definitely several that we were debating during discussions,” said Shyy.
Unique ideas and good traction
Most of the six teams that were selected had both unique value propositions as well as significant traction with their products and services.
Nanu impressed the judges with their free call app’s two million user downloads, and technology that could rival other voice call platforms like Skype and Viber.
“This technology that they have developed could really impact the next billion people,” commented Tan.
SellInAll was a team singled-out as one an idea that unanimously intrigued the panel despite a relatively weaker presentation.
“E-commerce in Southeast Asia is a big deal now. You have the shopping cart and e-fulfillment side sorted out. What is not sorted is actually how to manage channel partnerships. Based on the potential alone, I think this idea has a lot of merit,” said Chaplot.
Jewel Paymentech’s One Sentry product merchant risk management solution to manage fraud, brand, credit and data security risks was seen as having the innovation factor.
“They are doing something original …that’s something that stood out. The innovation quotient was high and customer traction was high,” noted Goswami.
The potential of Singapore’s startups
The startup ecosystem in Singapore has seen massive growth since its ‘start’ in 2009, with heavy interest and investment from the government, which followed a slew of foreign investor interest from then.
In 2015, it won’t be slowing down anytime soon with three accelerators popping up over the last few months; Life.SREDA, Startupbootcamp Fintech and most recently, Telstra-backed muru-d.
“The Singapore startup scene is definitely becoming a hub for the region. Now you see a very global community out here, you see people from all over the world startup up here,” said Chaplot.
“There’s a lot of activity and funding news. New startups coming up in all areas. Overall the most diverse and developed startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia and may be top two or three in Asia,” comments Goswami.
Events like the TOP 100 Qualifiers are important in nurturing a culture of innovation and building a community in countries like Singapore.
“It’s definitely continuing to get stronger. I went to a couple of the other (Echelon) satellites as well, but just the number of startups in Singapore doing interesting things is pretty impressive,” Shyy shares.
He goes on to express that while it can be hard for the teams to put across all the important aspects of their startups in six minutes, they need to look at refining their revenue model and vision for their companies in two or three years.
Now that the TOP100 Qualifiers in all 14 countries has concluded, 100 of the most outstanding startups have been selected to showcase at the annual Echelon Asia Summit held in Singapore from June 23-24.