8 Startups That Caught Our Eye This Week



We have a couple of Asian tech startups on our radar this week, specifically from China, Indonesia, Japan, India, and Singapore for this week.

For folks who are interested in investing or partnering with these startups, drop us an email — hello[at]penn-olson[dot]com – anytime. No promises, but we’ll try our best to be a bridge. And if you’re a tech startup founder in Asia hoping to be featured, kindly send us your pitch here.

1. RedMart | Singapore

RedMart.com is an e-commerce site built for busy folks to buy your everyday goods (like rice, coffee, etc) online. You select the goods that you want, pay online, and RedMart will deliver to your doorstep. That sounds very much like Household.sg which we covered previously. But Roger Egan argued that that is not the case. RedMart doesn’t work with supermarkets and shops. Instead, it works with manufacturers directly, bypassing the retailers. It’s a big hurray for consumers as we can get better prices for our groceries. Plus RedMart provides free …

Related: Redmart Co-Founder: Foundation First, One Step At A Time

2. TuJia | China

The Chinese startup team behind TuJia, a vacation home rental service, reckons that now’s the time for this to take off in China. Like the American site Homeaway.com, which is the inspiration behind TuJia.com, it offers a hotel-like online booking system for vacant and fully-furnished holiday homes. Its CEO, Luo Jun, tells Netease Tech today that renting a house while holidaying makes great sense to discount-minded Chinese consumers. For example, a high-end home rental on the tropical island of Hainan will cost about 1,200 RMB (US$190) per night, which is well …

3. WayangForce | Indonesia

The startup team behind WayangForce, the digital magazine reader for iPad and Android tablets, made a surprising move late last year when it opened an offline venture – a café (pictured above). This coffee shop has iPads so that customers can read using the WayangForce app while taking a sip of freshly-brewed coffee or munching on your homemade sandwich. Wanting to know more about this, as well as what the startup plans for this year, I asked Jeffry Anthony (pictured below), the co-founder and CTO of WayangForce (as well as the …

4. Lounge | Japan

Tokyo-based startup Quan Inc. has invented a smartphone messaging app that allows you to communicate with others by exchanging decorated texts, pictograms, and illustrations. It’s called Lounge. The iPhone app was introduced last month, and its Android app just released earlier this week. Other Japan-made picture decoration apps (such as Decopic and Snapeee) have been booming, especially in Asia. So Quan also expects this app to spread around the region. I conducted a brief interview with the startup’s CEO Kazuhiro Mizuno to find out more. Could you tell us a little …

5. iHou | China

Karaoke is already a pretty social activity, but one Chinese startup wants to make it even more so. iHou allows users to sing pop songs online, get a score for their performances, challenge other people to a sing-off, and then share your score and recorded performances online. It’s all so neat and so perfectly fitting for China, where karaoke (or ‘KTV’ as it’s called here) is a really popular pastime, that I’m surprised one of the Chinese web giants hasn’t done this already. The site is not new – having been started …

6. Privilege Corner | India

eYantra has announced that it has acquired Privilege Corner for an undisclosed sum, we’ve learned today. India-based startup Privilege Corner provides online rewards management solutions through its platform for both employees and customers. It is like a “gamification layer” for an online employee benefits system. For example, an employee who has done a great job can enjoy discounts that would help him save 15 percent of his annual salary. Alternatively, companies can also customize their reward program through their own points/benefit system. Privilege Corner was founded in June 2010 by, Anshul …

7. Urbanesia | Indonesia

Early this week Kompas, Indonesia’s biggest national newspaper, invested in Urbanesia to deliver a keynote. This investment by Kompas could prove to be vital as they are looking to expand to hyperlocal news. We spoke with Selina Limman, the CEO of Urbanesia.com, to find out more about this: 1. Is this an acquisition? Is Kompas getting a majority share here? KCM (Kompas Cyber Media) sees a lot of potential in Urbanesia in terms of user base (youth and lifestyle focus) and business model. In addition the nature of the product in terms …

8. AllSet | China

AllSet Learning is an educational consultancy startup based in Shanghai, China. Today, AllSet has entered the tech realm by launching a Chinese grammar wiki. The wiki, which contains explanations and examples of Chinese grammar points organized by level of difficulty, is licensed with a Creative Commons license, which means that although it was created by AllSet, it can be used and shared by anyone interested in learning Chinese. AllSet Founder John Pasden told us: I’m really hoping that learners all over the world will find it useful, and that some of …

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