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The 5 Southeast Asian startup winners at DEMO ASEAN

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This past weekend has been huge for Vietnam’s startup scene with the running of DEMO ASEAN. The event, which has been organized for over 20 years across the world and is at the heart of the Silicon Valley, has finally come to Southeast Asia. All the cool folks from Hanoi came down to Ho Chi Minh city, and entrepreneurs from across Southeast Asia including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar came to pitch, network and participate.

The event gave out five awards for the top five startups that pitched, of a total of over 35 startups. Each of the winning teams got free tickets to the USA. Here’s the top five:

  1. SmartBike (Vietnam): The big winner of DEMO is a handy new device. This startup designs two small devices that can be placed inside of a motorbike to prevent theft and track the location of the motorbike. One device is cheaper, and costs about $25. It has weaker specs than the more costly one, but the other one is still quite cheap at $75 and brings more tracking capabilities and hardware features. These guys already have a competitor in the space by the name of SetechViet.

  2. 1Pay.vn (Vietnam): This startup is focused mainly on mobile payment. Arguably, it’s one of the leading mobile payment platforms in Vietnam. Quang, the founder, said on stage that it is on track to hit $15 million in transactions by the end of the year. I wrote about this startup last month.

  3. Builk (Thailand): The former winner of Echelon in 2012 is a construction platform company out of Bangkok. At DEMO ASEAN, the company released its new mobile app. We grabbed an interview with them in June.

  4. Digital Tour Guide (Myanmar): A young, small startup working on combining mapping and data with tourism. Since it’s one of the few startups coming out of Myanmar, it’s an interesting case study into what people in Myanmar are currently into – tourism. In this case, the team is very focused on getting more comprehensive information about Myanmar to tourists. VisitMM is another startup that is also doing travel in Myanmar, but in online booking.

  5. Asva The Monkey (Cambodia): One of Cambodia’s premier mobile gaming teams. I already wrote about these guys and many in the audience would have been surprised if this team didn’t get an award. The design is excellent and the gameplay very fun.

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BONUS: 3 student winners

In addition to the more than 35 startups that pitched to DEMO’s judges, 12 Vietnamese student teams pitched. These undergraduate teams had two minutes to make their case, instead of the standard five-minute stage time. Each winning team got a cash prize. Here are the three student winners:

  1. MultiGlove (awarded $5,000) – A hardware device that basically allows you to control objects by moving your hand around in space.

  2. Street Foods Guide (awarded $2,500) – An app for identifying street food in the cities of Vietnam.

  3. TixZone (awarded $2,000) – A platform for selling tickets online.


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