Supernewsroom, a Malaysian startup that helps connect startup founders with journalists and influencers, was crowned the winner at last night’s Vikingcubator pitching competition.
As a reward for winning, the team will receive S$10,000 and the opportunity to work closely with NHST Media Group, a leading business media company in Scandinavia.
“So we will be bringing them in and offered mentorship, the cash price and they will be able to work directly with a corporate that can scale them. We will even offer office space if they are so inclined,” said Tore André Godager, Director of Global Business Development at NHST Media Group.
“We want to invite startups closer to the incumbent legacy companies so we work together instead of by ourselves.”
Supernewsroom has built an all-in-one platform that it wants to use to help eliminate the media approach for many startups that looks more like random dart throwing than a cohesive plan. It can be a challenge for Founders to understand who is a relevant journalist in their field — which makes a big difference in crafting pitches that actually turn into media attention.
The product leverages a person’s Klout Score (an influence metric), their most recent articles and social media posts to help Founders reach out to the correct people via a nifty search tool.
Two other startups were highlighted as honorable mentions. One is a blockchain-for-gaming startup called Bountie that has built an exciting platform to help gamers get paid. The other is called Driven, a P2P car buying and selling platform that showed a capability to scale really well.
As with all pitching competitions, the winners are the decisions of the judges and really solid companies will not taste glory. So, let’s take a look at the startups that pitched!
An app that helps people buy and sell cars from one another, Driven is designed by Durwin Ho, a car collector who wants to make automobiles more accessible to the average person.
It takes about 30 seconds to list a car, the P2P system is curated and the search capabilities allow people to find the perfect car to match their desires.
The app makes money from advertising, and based on the pitch it was clear Ho wanted to take the app regionally and thinks it’s well built to simply “drag and drop” into various markets in Southeast Asia.
The team is working on a tool that will allow users to take a picture of the license plate and receive data about how many people are looking at the car, the model and the latest selling price for similar vehicles.
2. Team Pumpkin
Team Pumpkin is a tech-focussed PR firm based in Bangalore, India. From a technology perspective, they are working on an all-in-one advocacy tool called Sayahak. The plan is to use this product to eventually help clients manage and promote their brands in a one-stop shop.
The company is working to raise US$1 million with the goal of growing into a US$25 million company in the next 5 years.
Find jobs is a job-searching portal in Singapore that has built and English and Chinese language version of the product that both have unique characteristics.
One of its most unique features is the ‘shout out’ function for Chinese-language postings. The team is targeting blue collar workers who may not be keen to spend a lot of time online reading through job listings.
The shout-out function works a bit like a voicemail, whereby the user clicks the listing and the details are spoken to the job hunter in a given dialect.
Playground is an app that connects people who want to play sports with one another. The hope from the team is to use technology to connect people offline and facilitate the meeting of people who enjoy being active and outside.
While there is certainly a dating component to this app, it also has a function that allows people to filter out singles and only meet up with married people. Theoretically this would connect people who simply want to get together for a match of tennis.
The team is focussing on building mass adoption in Singapore but plans to expand outside of the country after it has built it’s brand in the Lion City.
Bountie is using the blockchain to help gamers monetise their skills. The idea is to solve the payouts and incentivized rewards in e-sports.
For companies that offer cash rewards, it can take months for people to receive their money and cross-border transfer fees can be expensive. Other companies let people buy in-game goodies but that can be underwhelming.
Bountie uses tokens to provide a financial reward that can be turned into real money fairly easily. The technology also helps facilitate scaling as the distributed ledger helps tremendously with authentication and transparency.
Covering the culture and LGBT community in Singapore, Popspoken is a digital media company that has been around for awhile in the city. However, the team looks ready to ‘make a move’ and pursue growth strategies for the site.
With about 80,00 monthly page views and 12,333 Facebook Followers, Popspoken pitched the idea of serving the Bleisure industry — which refers to people who travel a lot for business and tend to extend the trips by a day or two and turn it into a mini-vacation after the work is done.
Popspoken has made a name for itself in the LGBT community because it is one of the only platforms in Singapore that covers the day-in-day-out ‘what’s going on’ for Singapore’s LGBT culture.
Superble wants to be the ‘Quora for products’ and help people find reviews and recommendations quickly and easily. The company is building a massive blogging network so if people are searching for product advice and recommendations, Superble becomes the go-to spot.
While it has the blog, what it really wants to build is a place where Superble users simply post a product (and a photo) and the community discusses whether or not it is a good purchase.
ByKido is an event discovery platform targeting families. The pain point being solved is that it can be very hard to find kid-friendly events that fit the location and dates desired.
Family-focussed media in Asia is often advice and articles with some events while events-focussed platforms target the entire city — kids and adults alike.
A lot of time parents enter the weekend thinking, “how am I going to entertain these little ones for the next two days?”. ByKido wants to become the go-to place for people to answer that question.
Launching in June, 2018, Zowedo is an all-in-one platform for booking independent service providers. So think language tutors, yoga teachers and art mentors. The platform wants to ‘democratize the independent service’ industry by building a booking system for all sorts of industries, not just one vertical.
For the professionals, the platform comes with an intuitive back-end scheduling tool that lets them stay organized and on-top of their bookings without leaving Zowedo.
The company plans to make money by charging a 10-15 per cent commission on sales made through the platform.
As traditional magazines come online, there isn’t really an option in Asia for consumers to have the entire issue, from multiple publishers, on one platform. MagBe is this platform and it has deals with notable brands like SPH (they whitelabeled the ‘My Reading Room’ app), The Economist and Wind&Dine and the Singapore Business Review
MagBe makes money by offering a small pay-per-article fee and a subscription all-you-can-eat price.
The company also allows users to personalise their feeds to they receive the news that is most relevant to them.
This startup is gamifying e-learning by offering blockchain tokens for users who are keen to perform educational tasks. The startup is hoping to build a social media aspect and make itself a top place for people to come together and help one another become smarter individuals.
The product will go live in June on freemium model while also offering its services to educational institutes for S$5 per user.
Tartle is a platform based in India for content creators to find and match with potential jobs. What the pitch focussed on was the multi-lingual nature of the platform and its offline community events.
The startup has received seed funding and generates revenue via a freemium model.
The goal is to help content creators build a universal portfolio so people looking for workers can visit Tartl to find the best matches.
13. Tide Creatives
Tide Creatives is a digital marketing agency based in Malaysia. It is focussed on branding and content strategy for its clients.
It also can help with business strategy and SEO optimization.
The company has eight employees and pitched at Vikincubator in part to improve its visibility.
Our event winner, Supernewsroom is a an all-in-one platform to connect startups with media professionals. It is affiliated with Intelectasia Consultancy, a PR firm in Malaysia.
One neat tool not mentioned in the introduction is the ‘quick response tool’ for journalists. It works a bit like the automated Gmail responses but it’s more tailored the the media industry. It helps journalists keep in touch with PR people while managing the boatload of emails they receive every day.
Storyhive is a VR/AR product being built by Hiverlab. What the company wants to become is a place for people to upload their virtual reality experiences.
The company is targeting business use-cases and while it requires their clients to build the 3D-modeling of the experience, it hopes to build a large library of stock VR experiences companies can use.
The startup launched its beta version in April 2018 and thinks it will be a useful product for corporate training exercises.