A compilation of important news from the startup world:
How can businesses keep up with tech change today?
In today’s incredibly fast paced markets and operating environments, it’s safe to say that conditions are downright tough in many organizations when it comes to getting the latest technologies out in the field and creating a positive impact for the business in a timely manner. As workers and management in the lines of business become more tech savvy, they are increasingly able and willing to help out with the process of digital change and transformation. A change agent program enlists these workers in scale– each eager to apply technology to their business problems — by using a formal program that provides guidelines, quickstart kits, advice, solution blueprints, and recognition, among other types of enablement. An effective change agents program can go a long way towards overcoming IT capacity limitations as technology infuses almost everything we do in business today.
Corporate venture funds launched in Russia; MimosaTEK wins Seedstars World contest
One of significant funding activities across Asia is the inception of a least six corporate venture capital funds in Russia. Meanwhile, Seedstars World, a global startup competition organiser, has picked Vietnamese agriculture technology startup MimosaTEK as the finalist from the country to attend the worldwide competition in Switzerland in 2017. Six corporate venture funds have been launched or have started operations in Russia since the beginning of this year, according to an East-West Digital News report. Four of those funds was initiated by Russian, London Stock Exchange-listed investment conglomerate AFK Sistema. The latest one is Sistema Venture Capital, which has raised $154 million and kicked off operation last month to support globally-oriented early-stage startups from Russia and neighboring countries.
On-demand logistics startup Lalamove raises $10M more in push for profitability
Lalamove, one of a number of companies offering logistics on-demand in China and across Asia, has closed $10 million in funding as it targets profitability this year. The round was led by existing investor MindWorks with other existing investors, including China’s Crystal Stream (China), AppWorks (Taiwan), Aria Group (Hong Kong), taking part. In addition, Asia Plus from Thailand, where Lalamove recently launched a joint service with Line, joined as a new investor. Lalamove operates a consumer-facing app, but much of its customer base is business — and particularly those in the e-commerce or delivery spaces. As a logistics player, Lalamove is technically rivaled by existing, legacy players. Other on-demand startups in their space do include fellow Hong Kong-based GoGoVan, which closed a $10 million Series B round last year.
Echelon Asia Summit 2016 returns to Singapore
The annual Echelon Asia Summit, Asia’s premiere technology and business event celebrating Asia’s brightest technology and digital innovations, is set to return for its 5th official edition. It is organized to bring together the region’s tech experts, investors, and influencers to discuss Asia’s emerging trends and tackle how to ascend to a higher value proposition. The theme this year, “Tech Pioneers of Tomorrow,” is built upon the goal of Echelon to be the nexus point where technology and business leaders connect with next generation entrepreneurs to develop new technologies that can impact business and society. This year the summit will have three conference zones: Create, Build/Reach, and Future. The top 16 startups, having been selected through regional qualifying rounds from a pool of over 800 submissions, will be in Singapore to pitch live on stage to a panel of judges and vie for the winning title.
For startups, the right comms strategy can be make or break
Hong Kong may not yet be the epicenter of startup activities in Asia, but it is making waves in the right direction – driven by the city’s supportive incubators and accelerator programs such as Blueprint, Brinc, DBS Accelerator, Infiniti Accelerator and InvestHK’s StartmeupHK, to name just a few. Strong funding support for startups, burgeoning co-working spaces and a pool of angels/venture capitalists add to Hong Kong’s appeal, attracting new businesses across many different sectors. Good PR can be one of the biggest drivers for startups looking to grow their user bases, and as a result, a pretty important component for success. According to InvestHK’s latest survey, Hong Kong had 1,558 startups (as of August 2015) showing a significant increase of 46% from 2014. PR can make a huge impact for startups seeking funding, to connect with potential investors and make the brand story more compelling beyond the website. Meetup.com is a good place to start and features events from organsations like EntrepreneurHK (EHK), a private non-profit organisation that works with startup leaders and the Hong Kong government with a view to build and improve Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem.
UAE investors lead Mena region in tech startup investments
UAE has emerged as the number one destination for startup growth in the Mena region with the largest number of investors, it was revealed during the ArabNet Digital summit. According to figures made available today, 27 per cent of all investors are from the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia (16%), Lebanon (13%) and Egypt (11%). The results were part of the State of Digital Investments in Mena report. The UAE captured the lion’s share of deals, with double the number of any other market, cementing itself as a key hub for digital startups. The forum also saw detailed discussions on the online behaviour of residents in the region, with almost 80 per cent of all transactions still being cash. It was revealed that almost 38 per cent of the population still refused to use cards online simply because of trust issues. Although booking taxis online has gained traction with both Dubai Taxi, Uber and Kareem gaining popularity, only 13 per cent of those who booked did it online.
Similarly only 13 per cent of restaurant reservations were made online and using apps.
International startups: Sign up for a country pavilion at Disrupt SF
We’re just a few short months away from Disrupt SF 2016. Soon thousands of entrepreneurs, innovators and investors will flock to the beautiful Pier 48 for the best startup show in the Bay Area. In previous years, we’ve had companies from Ireland, Hong Kong, the Nordics, Japan, Korea, the Middle East and more. To sign up for a spot in the Alley, companies must be less than two years old and have secured less than US$2 million in funding. As long as your company meets those two criteria, you can sign up for a country pavilion by dropping our events team an email telling us a bit about your startup and where your company is from.
How I moved my startup from San Francisco to San Diego
Tech giant of the West, soil of the startup, epicenter of the cutting-edge. Companies have long come to the Bay Area to plant their seeds, and for good reason. The stretch of land from San Jose to San Francisco encompasses some of the most revolutionary technology in the world, and the best of the best call it home. But that’s beginning to change. Surveys show that more than one-third of Bay Area residents hope to pack up and leave in the next few years, and newcomers (those who’ve lived here five years or less) are most eager to abandon the region. Residents cite cost of living and traffic as the primary motivations to move and, increasingly, believe the Bay Area is “headed in the wrong direction.
8 Most Ambitious Startups From Lithuania
Lithuania might be a small country, but it definitely has ambitious people who are building great products.Here is the list of startups that you should keep an eye on and they might be worth investing in. Created by a 16 year old Anthony Baksys and other co-founders, SearchNode helps to engage eCommerce sites visitors and boost retention with smart Plug & Play Search. The company was 100% bootstrapped from the beginning and 4 years later it calculates 6-digit number annual revenue. At the moment, SearchNode has more than 100 clients from 13 countries including Secretescapes.com and GetGeared.co.uk. Inside Warehouse increases conversions and engagements by embedding user and expert-generated content into retailer’s product details page. inPeak is a software platform dedicated to the athletes to provide a visual and contextual output for the doctor, coach and athlete to “hear” what the body is saying. By taking this information into account coaches and doctors can adjust training intensity, schedule, diet, supplements, rest, etc., in order to ensure that the athlete does not burn out or get injured. Copictures is a worldwide photographers network uniting best photographers, media agencies and event organisers under a single platform.
How Bpifrance-backed startups are making moves around Europe
France-based investment group Bpifrance is in the business of building success stories for French tech startups around Europe and the world. Bpifrance has many objectives with the companies it works with or invests in when it comes to expanding internationally and securing partnerships. One of the companies affiliated with Bpifrance, RTsys, a manufacturer of underwater drone systems, has recently expanded its local facility in Brittany in preparation for its growing internationalisation and client base, which includes the defence sector. Grenoble’s Smart’N’Blue is developing a smart shower head, Hydrao, and is entering the burgeoning smart home and IoT market with its sights squarely on the US. Lannion startup Ticatag has designed GPS-enabled smart tracking devices.