PenguinT took home the championship at today’s Spark Global Accelerator Demo Day in Bangkok and will be heading to Israel to visit Google’s Launchpad Programme in the country.
The travel startup is based in Nonthaburi (a suburb of Bangkok) and it aims to leverage traditional offline travel agencies to undercut the prices of aggregator websites like Expedia.
The runner-up company was Event Banana, a marketplace for event venues to help companies shorten the process of calling everywhere to find the perfect location.
Finally, there was Talad Invoice, a marketplace that allows SMEs to sell invoices to investors for cash.
“If you take a look from the perspective of last year. We used the model, ‘Unite Rise’. But this year, the theme as been moved to scaling up. So this year it is called ‘scaleup asia’. Meaning we would like to internationalise the startups from Thailand,” said Dr. Pun-arj Chairatana, the Director of Thailand’s National Innovation Agency, to open up the event.
But, as always, the winners of pitching competitions are subjective. So let’s take a look at all 12 of the companies that graduated from the 2017 Spark Accelerator programme!
Convolab is an AI Chatbot solution or businesses. For clients, Convo Lab will design, build, and deploy an AI chatbot to fit their needs (think of the app development companies from a few years ago). So far, it has signed 18 deals and includes Google as a client.
It makes money through a licensing fee that charges on a per transaction basis. It also has a one-time installation fee.
This startup wants to be a one-stop-shop to find the perfect place to host events. According to the company, venues are almost always empty, and Event Banana wants to help generate more leads to fill that dead time.
Event Banana is experience 30 per cent month-on-month growth over 7 months since launch. It charges premium listing fee or 15 per cent commission for small-scale venues.
One interesting strategy the company is pursuing is to use its network to help foreigners host more events in Thailand.
JabJai is an online platform for internal management of Thai schools. While in places like the US and Singapore, much of schooling infrastructure has moved online, Thailand still relies heavily on paper — especially in rural areas.
The company has built the entire system and uses distributors to get their product around Thailand. So far they have five paying clients and an additional four in the demo phase.
While most real estate startups are trying to disrupt the traditional agencies, FindYourSpace wants to empower them. Real estate brokers in Thailand work offline and FindYourSpace offers them a website to manage their portal listings, social media sales and a CRM to manage content, leads and notifications.
The SaaS earns through a subscription fee, and the company thinks it can break-even by January 2018. The Japanese VC Re.A.Pra Ventures recently invested a seed round into FindYourSpace.
This O2O startup is a cloud-based supply chain management system for SMEs. It offers SMEs both a warehouse to store goods and a software system to manage the product. SMEs can track stock management, orders and sales. Everything we do to help SMEs to find the most efficient way to operate while achieving maximum growth.
Business owners need to make delivery orders online before 8am and the goods will go out that day. They also have Pick and Pack services. It is raising money to pursue regional cross-border e-commerce logistics.
PEAK is an online accounting startup. It has built a system that automates certain tasks (like data entry) while helping clients with tax forms. It can also help record transactions through and API and automatically brings the information into a useful SaaS system to help business owners keep track of their finances.
It is also targetting the online entrepreneur as more and more Thai companies embrace the internet.
A funny quirk of modern times is that while much of the world is embracing travel aggregation sites like Expedia, the traditional offline agents can often find a better deal. PenguinT wants to bring these offline agents online by connecting agencies and wholesalers to consumers across the world.
The site also scales internationally fairly easily as it just requires a few weeks to enter a country and configure the system. PenguinT also has a customer service app within the system should users run into problems. The startup is seeking a US$350,000 seed investment.
Waiting in a queue might be one of the rare universal pain-point of global life. Nobody enjoys it and yet it is a fairly common occurrence. QueQ wants to help people jump the queue in real-time. Instead of booking times in advance, QueQ wants to target people that show up to a place, see the queue, but then use the app to “save their space”. Then they can go enjoy an activity while waiting.
If this app takes off, it will have data implications as well, because it will be able to track where users go and why they wait in line.
System Stone Lab wants to help factories better manage their machinery. Often factories underutilise their equipment because of downtime and the reality that most internal quality assurance is maintained via excel. Stone lab wants to bring this into one app.
There are competitors (like SAP), but the startup claims to be six times cheaper than their rivals. The company received seed funding from the Thai incubator True Incube and is now seeking US$200,000 to scale within Thailand.
A chicken-egg problem for SMEs short on cash is they need money, but then need to convince investors to that they can repay this money. While the VC model does not follow this line of thinking, more traditional industries do. One way to convince retail investors to come on board is to sell them invoices, purchase orders, contracts etc. as guarantees.
Talad Invoice is a marketplace for investors and SMEs to buy/sell such documents.
ZeekDoc is an online healthcare discovery and booking platform. One of the interesting decisions made by the team is to do away with customer reviews. They have a large amount of metrics to get the best possible doctors, but find reviews create drama or unrealistically positive/negative reviews.
It has partnered with hospitals in Bangkok and Phuket and charges them a B2B referral fee. It also has a subscription fee for smaller clinics.
Zort is an e-commerce inventory management startup. The pain-point it wants to solve is that small business owners spend a disproportionate amount of time on administrative tasks. It is targeting distributors and retailers at the early stages of their business.
The company charges US$360 per year per business and wants to have 3,500 clients by January 2018. It is currently raising US$200,000 and wants to expand regionally.