News from around the world – May 24

Amsterdam has become a preferred destination for companies aiming to start small and grow into the broader European market.

A compilation of important news from the startup world: 


The Next Global Tech Hotspot? Amsterdam Stakes Its Claim
Amsterdam has become a preferred destination for companies aiming to start small and grow into the broader European market. The international mindset — about half of Amsterdam’s residents are of a foreign origin — makes it a natural place to test-drive new businesses. Its central location and transport connections make it a good spot to expand from. And it doesn’t hurt that its liberal, bike-to-work atmosphere makes Amsterdam a pretty nice place to live. The Digital City Index for 2015 ranked Amsterdam the region’s second-best city, behind London, for tech startups. On May 24, tech titans Tim Cook of Apple Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc.’s Travis Kalanick will speak at the opening of “Startup Fest,” a five-day conference intended to showcase Dutch innovation.

Hi-tech, low-value start-ups flock to ASX
The allure of the ASX as an unlikely venue of choice for low-value tech start-ups shows few signs of abating, especially for Silicon Valley players driven from their home domain by the dearth of talent and the loss of control that venture capital financing inevitably involves. Virginia-based drone detection outfit Droneshield is the latest US entity to chance the ASX back door listing route, with a $7 million raising in progress. It’s a well-worn path given Droneshield’s Virginian neighbour and fellow counter-drone specialist Department 13(D13, 10c) debuted in January after a $4m whip-around. Other Silicon Valley tech emigrants are the hot-but-now-not recruitment play 1-Page(1PG, 69c) and social media content acquirer ShareRoot(SRO, 3.9c).

Sparklist’s former CEO confirms startup’s closure by Rocket Internet
German startup investor Rocket Internet SE, has closed down its mobile classifieds startup Sparklist, that had operations in Pakistan and Philippines, this portal has confirmed. In an online interview with DEALSTREETASIA, former Sparklist CEO Nalla Karunanithy said Rocket Internet had decided that it will no longer invest in the startup which was rumored to have been closed by the Germany-based Internet platform in April. “We have decided to no longer invest in Sparklist. We start our new companies very lean, which allows us to analyze the market environment closely and decide, based on first experiences after launch, whether we see the potential to reach market leadership,” Karunanithy said. Karunanithy left Sparklist last February and immediately founded Rocket Internet-led venture, Bandist, an online plattform for musicians who sell their used instruments.

Emtek to continue startup investment, plans $29m capex
Indonesian media and and technology conglomerate PT Elang Mahkota Teknology Tbk (Emtek Group) says it plans to continue investing in startups, in an effort to boost portfolio of its online business segment. Emtek had invested in a number of startups last year, such as,,,,, Kudo,, and Emtek has announced that it will join British multinational entertainment company Sky in a funding round for iFlix – a video streaming service startup based in Kuala Lumpur. The investment will be made through Emtek’s subsidiary PT Surya Citra Media (SCM) – the group’s content branch that operates free-to-air TV stations Surya Citra Televisi (SCTV) and Indosiar.

Crowdfunding Sites Connect Chinese Tech to Eager Foreign Backers
Online crowdfunding sites have been the place to raise money to research the theory of everything or back a San Francisco startup. Now, Chinese tech companies are using them to crack the U.S. market. Yet these aren’t exactly struggling startups. China-based campaigns represent over 10 percent of the funds raised in the first three months of this year on IndieGoGo, and are its fastest growing foreign market. Overall, the San Francisco-based platform has raised $850 million from 6 million people in more than 600,000 fundraising campaigns since its inception in 2008. Take for example XGimi Technology, a Chinese manufacturer of miniature, home-theater projectors that are Internet-enabled. The company, based in the western China city of Chengdu, raised more than $300,000 this year for a new LED projector on the crowdfunding website IndieGoGo Inc. All while getting glowing coverage from tech blogs.

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