Aligned to the vision of being a regional event, this year’s Echelon traveled to over 10 countries and saw over 300 submissions from the region. Over 100 were chosen to present at various Echelon Satellites, out of which 10 were shortlisted to vie for the title as the region’s next Most Promising Startup.
Most Promising Startup – Waygo
Faced with this year’s strong line-up, Waygo – a visual translation mobile application, emerged to clinch the title. Waygo is a patent-pending real-time computer vision platform on mobile devices. Its first products are a suite of visual translation apps for users on the go. All that is required is a phone camera to instantly translate text — no internet connection needed. Waygo has currently about 40,000 users and is in talks to work with Lonely Planet and American Airlines. Try the app out yourself using their sample menu.
MathSpace is a cloud-based math learning software. Their proprietary system recognizes students’ inputs and highlights mistakes made along each step. The team is driven by the phenomenon that Mathematics is a global language with 461 million high-school students worldwide. Now in its trial phase for 15 schools, MathSpace has a conversion rate of 80% on its iPad version and announced that it had raised USD1.1 million prior to the founders’ own injection of USD1.2 million.
TanyaDok is an online health portal aimed to enable better health. It is founded by medical doctor Gregorius Bimantoro. Unlike the other younger startups, TanyaDok.com has been around for seven years, as a content destination for health-related information and access to the country’s healthcare network. The site current hosts 200,000 active users, and 90,000 unique visitors every month. TanyaDok also provides an online medical consultation service that features over 200 doctors and medical practitioners.
GridMarkets is a B2B market exchange for CPU capacity. According to co-founder Hakim Karim, at an average of 10% utilization rate, enterprises currently have dramatically under-used server resources. GridMarkets helps enterprises earn additional revenue on under-utilised servers, whilst allowing other enterprises to securely gain access to external servers. On the topic on cloud hosting, one might wonder if Amazon Web Services or Axure are a threat. Karim explains that these primary capacity suppliers are in fact good suppliers, and GridMarkets focuses on being a trusted secondary market. The reputations of participating organisations minimizes the risk of any misconduct.
Mylegalwhiz is an online and mobile knowledge portal for the legal industry. MyLegalWhiz organizes topics in real-time and allows users to annotate and bookmark their findings. Traditional legal research for both corporates and legal professionals tend to be time-consuming and overwhelmed with unfiltered information. For clients seeking legal advice, this could potentially lead to lower legal costs due to less professional hours engaged. To date, Mylegalwhiz has about 1.8% market penetration in the Philippines. This translates to over 1,300 paid subscribers from among lawyers, law students and other professionals, with subscription fee starting from PhP 500 (USD 12.50) per month.
TradeHero is a stock trading game launched in December 2012. To date, the company has over USD5 billion worth of virtual currency traded within its community, with a total of 50,000 registered users. The app enables users to practice trading with real sticks using virtual money. Users can also learn from best performing traders with the in-app leaderboards. The average revenue per user is three times the user acquisition cost. Having secured SGD600,000 (USD489k) in investments from TNF Ventures, the team is now currently looking to raise over USD5M to bring the platform to the next stage.
POP – short for Prototyping on Paper, has been one of the latest rising mobile applications from Taiwan. POP converts hand-drawn sketches of mobile apps into workable mockups. Launched last year to strong reception on HackerNews, the application has received over 400k mockups from companies such as 37 Signals, Zygna and Yahoo!. Prototyping is only the first phase the team seeks to address. Armed with a bigger vision of helping the world go mobile, the team aims to build an mobile app development ecosystem from the prototyping, user-testing to development stage. To date, POP has received support from Silicon Valley based AVOS, Steve Chen, 500 Startups and Golden Gate Ventures.
TopAdmit is a premiere online college admissions and essay editing company. Its assembly of more than 45 editors include native-English speaking graduates from prestigious schools as Harvard University, Stanford University, Yale University, Brown University, the University of Chicago, and Dartmouth College. Other than pure editing, TopAdmit plans to expand into editing of research papers and business editing. They charge 30 cents per English word, or a retainer fee of USD500 per month.
Loyalty card mobile applications are not a new concept to both technophiles and the average joe on the street. However, Stamp adds a new twist with a patent-pending handheld device, which means retail staff would only need to mimic the simple act of stamping physical cards to a customer’s mobile phone. 100 percent developed and manufactured in Thailand, Stamp generates a unique code each time to prevent fraud. Since October 2012, Stamp has a total of 75,000 downloads with 55 merchants on board. It currently has strong partnerships, such with Citibank in Thailand, to serve as extended sales channels.
NoonSwoon is a mobile app to matchmake singles with friends of one’s Facebook friends. Everyday at noon, the app introduces users to other singles, and upon both parties clicking “Like”, a connection would be made. Co-founder Kavin “Mickey” Asavanant, is no stranger to online dating services. Out of the seven previous other startups endeavours, six had failed with one having a small exit. The successful exit received 2.5 million downloads and was later sold to Match.com.