It was not easy for the judging panel to pick the three winners from the startling 10 startups pitched at Echelon Asia Summit 2015. The panel that included such prominent names as Khun Hsu, Principal, Gree Ventures; Saemin Ahn, Managing partner, Rakuten Ventures; Minette Navarrete, President, Kickstart Ventures; Khailee Ng, Managing partner, 500 startups; and Hisashi Suzuki-san, Singapore Office Representative, Global Brain,had to literally ponder over and again before reaching a consensus on the winners.
Finally, they announced the winners, to the enthusiasm of the jam-packed audience, who were desperately waiting at the main hall of the Singapore Expo for the results.
Here are the names and the details of the three winners.
PawnHero (Philippines Qualifier) — Judges’ Choice Award
PawnHero provides an easy way of overcoming short-term cash needs by giving customers the best deal in town—high appraisal, low interest rate—with no service charge or penalty costs for late payment or loan renewal. A loan seeker can take a photo and describe the item(s) — jewellery, precious metals, loose stones, luxury eyewear and watches, designer bags and shoes, mobile phones, electronic gadgets, musical instruments, cameras, computers, and equipment — he/she wants to pawn so that PawnHero’s expert team can review the request. He/she then gets a free estimate in minutes, and he/she needs to accept to schedule a free pick-up. Once the item(s) are received and fully appraised, the firm will instantly deposit the cash to his/her PawnHero Card or chosen payment method. When he repays the loan, the company will ship back the item(s), again fully insured and for free.
myRealTrip (South Korea Qualifier) — Global Brain Award
myRealTrip is a platform connecting travellers with local guides or destination experts. It calls itself the Airbnb for tour/activities. Developed in 2012, Myrealtrip curates courses provided by local guides/experts of each city so that users can take diverse specific courses different from general travel agencies. myRealTrip has been scaling up and currently has 980 tours over more than 233 cities. Through the years, myRealTrips has built its own content, local guide network, which is a big barrier against other similar services.
ChaseFuture (Malaysia Qualifier) — People’s Choice and Braintree_Paypal Awards
ChaseFuture, based in Shanghai, is an admission consulting platform that connects top international applicants with admissions experts for paid consulting services. Applicants can discover potential schools from the platform’s comprehensive database, use its tools to track their applications and stay on schedule, and learn from hundreds of articles and videos from its admissions experts. Applicants can also get paired with an international admissions expert who matches their field and target schools, and receive tailored, one-on-one guidance from its mentor throughout the admissions process.
Congratulations to all the competing startups!