Social discovery e-commerce platform Wiindi emerges as the winner of Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice award at Vietnam Qualifier of Echelon’s Top100 Startups
The search for Echelon TOP100 Startups kicked off in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam! The Qualifier that took place on March 17, 2015 saw an impressive line-up of startups with some unique pitches. But one startup that clearly won the everyone’s hearts was Wiindi, a social discovery e-commerce platform.
Wiindi helps shoppers collect and track prices of products they love from any online store. It also enables merchants to monitor real-time behaviour of users to make informed decisions on sales timings and product inventory.
It was a unanimous decision to award the Judges’ Choice award to Wiindi. There was more to celebrate as it also snagged the People’s Choice award.
“Vietnam underestimates Vietnam”
Industry leaders that attended the qualifier were very bullish on Vietnam. Khailee Ng, Managing Partner of 500 Startups, was a surprise keynote speaker at the event. “Vietnam underestimates Vietnam,” he stated.
While Vietnam has the talent and increasing support within the ecosystem, the people lack the belief to create the next billion-dollar company, he elaborated. He further added that 500 Startups is gung-ho about the country and has already invested in three Vietnamese startups.
“I read a lot of news about the Vietnam startup scene and have always wanted to witness it myself,” Amarit Charoenphan, Co-founder of HUBBA said, adding, “from this event I could sense the strong passion and optimism of these Vietnamese startup founders.”
Nguyen Pham, Co-founder of 5Desire, an incubator and consulting firm, shed light on the Vietnamese startup scene stating that it is surprising how far the ecosystem has progressed in the last few years. Not only are local entities like Silicon Straits Saigon and Hub.it heavily investing in the development of the ecosystem, external parties like e27 have been supporting growth because they see the potential in the nascent-stage region, shared Nguyen.
Passion takes home the prize!
Le Phuoc Phuc, Co-founder of Wiindi, was an energetic speaker on stage. His passion for the product was palpable. After answering the questions from the judges, he ended his pitch by announcing that he and his three other Co-founders have all quit their full time jobs to commit fully to their startup. “We have risked everything to bring on the game!”
He was beaming with excitement when e27 caught up with him post-event. Attendees and investors alike surrounded him, congratulating him on Wiindi’s double win. He stopped to take a breath and said, “I am just so f**king excited! Last year, we attended the Vietnam Satellite and were watching it as attendees and didn’t pitch. We have been dreaming of pitching on this stage since then! And it’s such an honour to have won both awards tonight.”
Prizes for the Judges’ Choice at each Qualifier includes a travel and accommodation package worth S$500 (US$362), and a TOP100 Startups pack to the Echelon Asia Summit 2015 worth S$1,450 (US$1050).
Echelon Asia Summit will be held in Singapore on June 23-24, 2015.
List of startups that pitched at the Vietnam Qualifier:
- Hisella Pte. Ltd. (hiSella)
- Miii (Miii)
- ChonGiaDung.com (ChonGiaDung)
- Wiindi.com (Wiindi.com)
- Umbala (Umbala)
- Beeketing (Beeketing)
- Asia Plus Inc. (Q&Me)
- Echoes (Echoes)
- taembe.com (taembe.com)
Advice to budding startups
David Tran, former Co-founder and COO, nhomMua.com shared pitching tips with the startups in attendance. “Show off the traction and growth of your startup, he said. Get the numbers pat down, he urged. “Many startups stumbled because they couldn’t answer simple questions on the revenue,” said Tran.
Toan Tran, Co-founder and CMO, Appota, one of the biggest mobile players in Vietnam, shared tips for companies looking to go regional. A company should be taken regional “when [the product] shows the potential and fits the market,” he stressed.