Last stops on the Tech in Asia tour: Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo – startups, get ready!

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Written by Louisa Chew

The Tech in Asia tour is making its last stops in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Tokyo. These stops have traditionally produced some great competition in our past tours – no surprise, considering how these cities are known to be startup hotbeds.

In the spirit of #throwbackthursday, here’s a quick rundown of our past winners from these cities, and what helped them to stand out.

Funding Societies

Winner of Tech in Asia Tour: Road to Tokyo (Singapore) 

Funding Societies is pulling its weight in the fintech boom, especially in the field of peer-to-peer lending. The Singaporean startup crowdsources loans for small businesses that face difficulties borrowing from banks. It incentivizes potential investors to finance these loans with a simple promise: higher returns than that of fixed deposits.

The judges cited Funding Societies’ market potential and the team’s collective expertise in the field as strong factors that earned them rights to the trophy.


Winner of Tech in Asia Tour: Road to Tokyo (Tokyo)

Sorabito’s product, Allstocker, strives to be the Amazon for heavy machinery, large farming equipment, and more. On top of listing machines for sale in its marketplace, the startup also provides remote quality inspections, payment services, transportation, and language localization.

Their ultimate goal? To bypass the cumbersome standard method of procurement in Asia, which currently involves spending close to two days at a large-scale auction. On top of it all, the cost of membership fees and a chunky commission to the venue leaves much to be desired, creating an opportunity for an alternative service.

Since its launch in March this year, Allstocker rocketed to become the largest online marketplace for Japanese-made machinery. Attracting more than 15,000 listings with users in 130 different countries, the startup charges a 5 to 15 percent commission based on the price of the equipment (a higher price would mean a lower commission).

They were lauded for their comprehensive understanding of both their market and customers, which ultimately gave them an edge over the other four startups that took to the stage in Tokyo.

PlayMe AR

Winner of Tech in Asia Tour: Road to Singapore (Kuala Lumpur)

PlayMe AR bridges the traditional print advertising world with its digital counterpart via augmented reality. The startup is built on the belief that adding a digital layer over existing offline ads will increase engagement with the consumer and generate more leads to help boost sales.

These advertisements can be created using a drag-and-drop interface in a pay-as-you-go format on Playme AR’s web app.

Judges were intrigued by the idea and its potential, but found it limiting that ads could only currently be viewed on Playme AR’s mobile app. A suggestion made to the team was to consider plugging it into other apps with a broader base of users to attain critical mass.

We’re back again for more

Think you can do better than these startups? We want to see you in action!

The Tech in Asia tour will be rolling through these three cities, once again on the hunt for startups to send to Tech in Asia Jakarta’s Bootstrap Alley.

Applications to join the Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Tokyo tours are now open to hardware or software startups with less than US$1 million in external funds raised (startups with mockups and screenshots are welcome to apply, but priority will be given to those with a working prototype.)