One of the advantages of having a global network is that you get a macro view of the industry landscape, and through that, identify who the next generation of movers and shakers will be.
As a startup accelerator and a community builder, Techstars understands this concept well enough—founded in 2006, the Boulder, CO-born company was quick to launch chapters in international markets such as Hong Kong, India and Singapore.
Today, Techstars has helped to build more than 1,500 innovative companies across the world. Recently, one of the first companies to graduate from a Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator program, SendGrid, got acquired by another Techstars portfolio company, Twilio, which received seed investment from Techstars investment team.
Companies who join Techstars receive more than just funding; because of the accelerator’s extensive partnerships with corporations, including Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, they have ready access to a large pool of potential clients and established distribution channels as well as industry experts.
This is important because while many startups may have developed disruptive solutions, without proper go-to-market strategies and critical business connections, their products may not see the light of day. Thanks to Techstars partnership with Rakuten, startups can use its messaging platform, Viber, to access a customer base of 900 million users worldwide. Viber also serves as an easy to use distribution channel to integrate with their products.
This is why Techstars support network is crucial ,and why startups who have graduated from the its programme have collectively raised nearly US$6 billion in funding.
At Techstars Demo Day in Singapore in October, which was held in partnership with Rakuten, Techstars curated 10 disruptive startups from across the world to pitch inside the picturesque National Museum of Singapore. While the founders hail from different cultures and upbringings, all of them possess a single important trait: the passion to build products that will change people’s lives—however small or big that change might be.
Without further ado, let’s look at these 10 brilliant companies!
Despite the rise of social media and internet communities, there are still a lot of lonely people in the world; even relationships may seem rather ephemeral.So how do we build deep, meaningful and long-lasting connections with other people?
Taiwan-based startup Rooit created a platform to help individuals find confidantes. Users go to a “virtual bar” where they can chat with a virtual bartender. Based on their preferences, users will be matched with an appropriate chat partner, anonymously. If the conversation goes stale, the bartender will help users build rapport with each other through a series of games.
Once the bartender detects that users trust each other enough to become friends, they will each be added to their private confidant’s list, where they can continue chatting with each other.
Over 1.7 million messages have been exchanged on Rooit to date.
Groovy Antoid is a mobile games studio that hails from Lebanon. It builds cute 2D platform games that appeal to a wide range of gamers.
Its flagship game, “Fat Bunny: Endless Hopper”, is a casual, endless, mobile game starring an adorable bunny hopping up a mountain, collecting carrots, and freeing his trapped bunny friends.
The game won two awards at the International Mobile Gaming Awards MENA in 2017 and has been downloaded half a million times to date. If this little studio keeps up its momentum, greater rewards are in store for it.
Singapore-based startup Shoffr has built a comprehensive white label merchant management system for brands.
Some features it provides include an in-store app that allows store staff to confirm stock availability, fulfil orders, review customer history and product performance, create new reservations for walk-ins, and track customer footfalls.
It also offers data analytics so stores can track the customers’ full journey from online to offline. Using a white label landing page, customers can check product availability and reserve products at the brand’s brick and mortar stores. Shoffr also provides chatbot APIs that brands can integrate into their websites.
Shoffr will help brands to integrate product recommendation systems so they can better target the needs and wants of their customers. It is in the process building a system that allows customers to take a photo of a product and instantly find it online.
All in all, this solution helps brands convert eyeballs and footfall into sales.
UK-based company Elumium has built a platform that aims to solve the pain points of property management and build clear communication channels between them and residents.
Through a single app, property managers can inform residents of parcel collections and send newsletters as well as maintenance updates. Residents can also book maintenance and repair appointments easily through its dedicated chat channel.
The platform provides all up-to-date documents or user manuals to residents digitally. It even has local area guides for residents new in town.
The company is targeting super prime residential developments and luxury hotels.
Remittance is a slow payment process, and this can be a problem when citizens need cash for something urgent, like a hospital bill.
Philippines-based startup JazzyPay wants to streamline and speed up payments through a mobile app, which accepts multiple payment options. It has partnered with hospitals, clinics, and schools so JazzyPay users can use the app to pay bills.
JazzyPay is also integrated with Viber so users can get bill notifications through the app and pay bills through the app.
The e-sports industry is a massive global market, in revenue worldwide in 2018. In the US, e-sports viewership numbers among millennials have matched that of incumbent sports such as baseball and hockey.
But there is still a lack of a centralised platform that provides comprehensive information on fans’ favourite games and teams (such as win/loss statistics). For producers, the challenges are about growing the fanbase and monetising it.
E-sports interactive media platform Immersive Systems, a London-based company, has built tournament brackets, information stat visualisations supported by motion graphics, and social media stories featuring important moments in a game—all on a single platform. This way fans can access important tournament information quickly and producers can interact with their fans easily.
The platform is available on mobile, desktop, and even on VR/AR.
Canada-based startup Retarget Links wants to help marketers direct their ads to the right audience by offering simple retargeting solution. It turns user-submitted links or Google Adwords into banner ads, which can be shared via social media or email or within a piece of online content.
Leading advertising brands such as WPP and POSSIBLE are already using Retarget Links.
This Hungary-based startup wants to help low-tech organisations, such as construction firms, adopt fast and simple digital communication platforms.
It has developed a product called CHEQ to help employers send real-time information to workers. For example, if a company’s shuttle bus breaks down, the employer can inform its workers of the changes in transportation schedules quickly. It also helps with bottom-up communications, allowing workers to apply for leave, report hazards, or even report sensitive matters such as abuse.
The average cost of using the platform is about US$1 per user per month.
South Korea-based company Additor has built a central platform that allows freelancers and SMEs to contribute research and information documents. Users can even add videos to the platform.
It’s kind of like a Google drive, but instead of just being a folder for information storage, it embeds videos, texts, and even documents so users can quickly access them without needing to open up an additional window or software.
In other words, its intuitive UI/UX design speeds up cross-team collaboration by organising disparate pieces of information onto a user-friendly interface.
Mongolia’s ecosystem is young, but it is already showing huge potential: AND Global is a great example.
It aims to foster financial inclusion in the country through its micro-lending mobile app-based product Lendmn. Its machine learning algorithm has achieved a 98.5% repayment rate for the platform—and this is despite the fact that there is no credit scoring, nor does it collect collateral.
In November, AND Global will be launching its solution in the Philippines, issuing 10,000 micro loans to Filipinos. AND Global has signed a POC with Viber so that users can request or receive loans using the messaging platform. The company is also teaming up with local banks to offer its fintech solution. Check out our feature on this.
Disclosure: This article was produced by the e27 marketing team, in collaboration with Techstars