It’s been three years since East Ventures, an early stage fund based in Jakarta, Singapore, and Tokyo, launched. To mark the milestone, the firm released an infographic detailing its performance so far. It has invested in 8 or 9 startups annually in each of the three years. A small number of these startups are based in Singapore, with the rest coming from Indonesia. Majority of its investments are in the e-commerce space, followed by online publishing.
Willson Cuaca, co-founder and managing partner at East Ventures, tells me that the firm has invested between USD 50K and USD 500K in each startup. Its accelerator program, East Ventures Alpha, has invested about USD 10K per startup.
He is unable to disclose the firm’s returns for the exits of its portfolio companies. Read more
For a social network about fashion, Clozette isn’t exactly a looker, especially when compared to the sprightlier and hipper #OOTDX, an upstart that appears to be drawing the Instagrammer crowd.
But while my first impression may be less than positive, Clozette actually turns out to be more interesting than it lets on.
It certainly has enough cache to seal a partnership with SingTel’s lifestyle portal inSing.com, an arrangement that has given Clozette front page placement — on the portal’s dropdown menu. Clicking on that link will bring you to insing.clozette.com, an e-commerce site that sells goods from Clozette’s partners.
While I’m not sure how many percent of inSing’s purported 2 million monthly active users will actually land on Clozette, it’s a positive start. The partnership between these Singapore companies appears to be the right one too: Clozette, after all, has ambitions to be a one-stop shop for women’s fashion and beauty needs.
Sure, you might have heard it all before. It would seem that every online fashion and beauty retailer, your Zaloras, Luxolas, and Asoses, wants to be that first-stop for fashionable women.
But here’s the difference between Clozette and the rest: It isn’t a traditional e-commerce site at all. In fact, it fulfills an entirely different role in the online fashion ecosystem, that of discovery. Read more
The winners for the Global K-Startup Competition, which aims to help Korean startups go global, were announced in December. From an initial application of 250 teams, 30 were selected and are now in the midst of building their businesses. Earlier in October, 5 teams left for London and Silicon Valley to network with VCs and startups.
1st Prize Winner
In a nutshell: KnowRe develops adaptive learning applications for the web, tablets, and mobile devices. It believes that technology can improve the educational experience of every student by providing assessments of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses; personalized adaptive curriculum, and gamification and social features to motivate user experience. Read more
Getting media coverage for your app or startup can be a pain in the neck. It requires a lot of research, plenty of hobnobbing with journalists and bloggers, and too much heartbreak: All that relationship building could be for naught as the publication might on a whim decide that your app is too boring.
Peterpings, a new web app that launched yesterday, promises to make getting press coverage a lot earlier. Developed by Jon Yongfook’s 24-12, the same Singapore company behind online marketplace Tinytrunk and fashion social network #OOTDX, Peterpings lets users craft an email from a template, and at a click of a button, ‘ping’ all 170 websites at one go. Read more
Founded in 2010 by two De La Salle graduates, Unyx Sta Ana and Raymond del Rosario, Orchestrack developed algorithms to identify sounds given a few seconds of audio data. This capability is similar to offerings from established players like Soundhound (100m users) and Shazam (20m users), or Google’s recently launched Sound Search service.
Now, Orchestrack has shifted their focus from music and copyright identification to ad monitoring on the air. According to Ms. Sta Ana “What we’re doing now is 24/7 advertising monitoring on radio, TV and streaming media, and offer it as a B2B SaaS to automate spot detection as proof of airing.” In short, they automate the measurement of ad impressions.
Currently advertisers’ pain point is having to confirm ‘proof of airing’ –that paid ads are actually aired over hundreds of radio stations over a contracted period. This monitoring is a time-consuming and manual effort. Read more
Tiket.com, an Indonesian startup that lets users book airline tickets, concert tickets, hotel accomodation, and travel packages, has won the top prize of USD 25K at the Tech-I international competition organized by the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Initiative.
The winners were announced at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Dubai held in mid-December.
Since launching in November 2011, Tiket has gone on to grow at a 20 to 50 percent clip every month, according to TechinAsia. So far, it has partnered with 1,000 hotels, six airlines, 30 convert events, and 300 travel agents. Read more
JFDI.Asia held its first bootcamp in Asia. The question remains whether it and Asia's other startup accelerators can keep the momentum going.
Asia has become a much friendlier place to do a startup. That’s because throughout the region, more startup accelerators have been launched to provide aspiring entrepreneurs some handholding as they search for the next big idea.
In 2012 alone, at least 4 startup accelerators have begun their inaugural bootcamps. Singapore’s JFDI.Asia held a successful one from January to May, while South Korea’s SparkLabs unveiled their first batch of startups in August. Philippines’ Launchgarage and Hong Kong’s AcceleratorHK too have started their programs.
A startup accelerator, essentially, is a type of seed startup funding (see: stages of a startup) vehicle that offers a structured mentorship program and support services over a fixed duration of time — often from 3 months to a year. Investees typically have to go through a rigorous selection process. Read more
Babygram lets you share your baby's intimate moments with close family and friends.
There can be too much of a good thing. Baby photos on Facebook certainly qualify in this category. While parents are understandably proud of their kids and want to show them off to their friends, we live in a hyperconnected world where too much is shared. That includes every permutation of a photo, even blurry ones.
Babygram could save us from oversharing hell. Developed by Google Ventures funded startup Stickery, which is based in Singapore and California, Babygram is a private social network centered around babies and their immediate families. It is now available on iOS.
The app is part of a new wave of mobile social networks targeted at niche groups. There’s Path for those yearning more private online interactions, Between and LoveByte for couples, Burpple for food lovers, as well as GetGlue for those oriented towards movies and television.
While creating an “Instagram for _______” is certainly a hot startup idea, none of these companies have attained the breakout success of Dropbox, Airbnb, and yes, Facebook. But that hasn’t stopped Stickery from trying. Read more
Asia might make a promising market for carsharing. Depending on where you live, cars are either too expensive or rendered useless by traffic congestion. These problems give carsharing intiatives an invitation to come in, which is why iCarsclub wants to be an early player in this space.
The Singapore startup has been working on their solution for months, and after delays with finalizing their motor insurance terms, it finally launched on 12 December.
Collaborative consumption for motor vehicles is not new in the world or even Asia. This year, we’ve seen ridesharing apps enter the market, offering users the ability to split costs on a cab fare or find a carpooler to share a ride to work. Governments are particularly supportive of this concept due to its public benefits: Reducing air pollution and traffic congestion. Read more
We’re all familiar with fantasy football, where you pick a team, watch how their real-world counterparts perform, and see your team go up or down the rankings. TradeHero, a Singapore-based startup, is doing the same for stock traders.
This is a game that could help you make real money. The iPhone app, which just launched today, gets data from 14 stock exchanges, 45,000 global securities, and has 1,300 currency pairs. Users are given $100,000 in virtual currency, which they can then use to build to virtual portfolio.
From then on, it’s a race to the top. A leaderboard shows who are the most successful traders in the game, and they will be ranked by exchange, sector, monthly, quarterly, and overall returns. These top scorers will be called ‘Heroes’, hence the name of the app.
Here’s where things get interesting. Users can follow their favorite heroes for a small monthly fee, where they can receive stock tips via push notifications on their smartphones. The company will then split the monthly fees equally with the heroes. Read more