A compilation of important news from the startup world:
As Sharing Economy Starts To Trump Superstition, Asian Startups Make Their Move
When Kanika Tekriwal started her private jet sharing service two years ago in India, aircraft owners weren’t going for it. Tekriwal’s JetSetGo service now has access to 90 planes and one is always in the air somewhere. That sort of resistance to sharing possessions and to second-hand goods in general around much of Asia has challenged shared-economy apps modeled after the globally ubiquitous taxi-hailing service Uber. “In China and Asia you hardly ever see people buy second-hand stuff,” says Hong Kong native Steven Lam, co-founder and CEO of the shared-vehicle moving service GoGoVan. The anti-sharing attitude stymied GoGoVan’s early development, Lam recalls. Global market researchers don’t compile numbers for Asia alone, but the sharing economy is on track to be worth $335 billion worldwide by 2025 with Asia is no small part of it. Acceptance of sharing, in addition to market fragmentation around Asia and worries about regulations in specific countries, will determine how many succeed.
The F* Word Asian Entrepreneurs Need & Why No One Likes Saying It
If someone quits the firm in Silicon Valley to start a company that ultimately crashes, it’s more than OK to go back to the old firm. Supervisors will celebrate the attempt as an educational rite of passage even if it failed. Why do Americans, especially in the Silicon Valley, tolerate failure in startups while Asians don’t and what makes some hardy people in Asia take the risk anyway? Answers matter because Asian millennials have launched sharing economy apps, a solar energy firm and even venture capital firms. But Asian startups lag the West in terms of valuations. That’s partly because the startup trend formed here relatively late in 2007 and began notably spiraling just a couple years ago. But “fail” is a four-letter F-word in Asia, discouraging aggressive pursuit of original, high-stakes new companies. Once a startup fails, their founders usually disappear in shame rather than lionizing the experience and trying again,
CES Asia 2016 Sets New Standard
The second annual CES Asia™ shattered all expectations with more than 425 exhibitors from 23 countries, regions and territories showcasing the full breadth and depth of innovation in the Asian marketplace. The halls of the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) were bustling with more than 32,000 attendees, including more than 1,000 members of the media. The show saw the introduction of exciting new products, collaborations and services and expanded the CES exhibitor base, as 57 percent of exhibitors did not exhibit at CES 2016. CES Asia 2016 brought some of the largest companies and thought leaders together in one location and affirmed itself as the platform for key global and domestic businesses to grow and reinforce brands in Asia.
Indonesia investment co Kresna to invest up to $25m to buy startups, build internet portfolio
Indonesian investment company PT Kresna Graha Investama Tbk (KREN) said it will set aside $20 million to $25 million for acquiring startups in 2016 in a bid to expand the company’s digital business portfolio. This year alone, the firm has acquired a number of startups – including satellite services DNK, ticket booking platform Padiciti, and on-demand business performance app Kpisoft, among others. Digital startups will be the firm’s main focus along with the existing asset management and securities businesses. Kresna is the only publicly listed company in the Indonesian stock Exchange (IDX) that has a significant portfolio in the internet space.
Microsoft Indonesia to partner local VCs for funding 20 startups annually
Microsoft Indonesia has announced that it would partner with several local venture capital (VC) firms to help fund 15 to 20 startups per year, as part of its Indonesia M-Powered program that works with underprivileged children in remote areas. Director of Microsoft Indonesia Anthonius Henricus said, there are currently 364 active startups under the company’s guidance, and it aims to have at least 500 by 2020. During his keynote speech in front of 1,500 developers, Nadella reaffirmed his company’s commitment to support and empower communities in Indonesia, in order to develop a sustainable digital ecosystem. The giant tech firm has outlined three strategies to build best-in-class platforms and productivity services for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. They include building the intelligent cloud platform, reinventing productivity and business processes, and creating more personal computing.
Investors dish on food-tech startups that tantalize
The rate of investment in food-tech startups has slowed a bit over the last year, but a new generation of health-conscious, choosier consumers and a more polished batch of entrepreneurs are keeping the venture capital spigot open, according to investors at an industry conference Wednesday. S2G, which debuted its first $125 million fund last October, is a multi-stage investment firm that Friedberg cofounded with Open Table founder Chuck Templeton and investor Sanjeev Krishnan. They consider investing in startups that range from “soil to shelf” along the food pipeline, he said. Their investments include the salad chain L.A.-based Sweetgreen, and also Harrisonburg,Virginia-based Shenandoah Growers, which is aiming to solve the fresh food distribution issue with a hub-spoke model that will have food grown initially in one central greenhouse and then disburse it to urban vertical farms that will complete the process, and ultimately harvest fresh produce closer to population-dense cities.
Land O’Lakes and Techstars are launching a food and tech startup program
Agriculture giant Land O’Lakes Inc. and Techstars want to grow a crop of Minnesota food and agriculture-tech startups with a new program launching this summer. Techstars, which operates startup accelerators, and Arden Hills-based Land O’Lakes are seeking entrepreneurs for Startup Next Food & Tech, which will mentor young companies. Land O’Lakes is looking for startups serving many aspects of the food chain, spokesman Eliav Bitan said. Examples include consumer-products companies; startups developing logistics technology that could help move billions of gallons of milk; and milk-processing businesses.
Startup tech companies seek savvy channel partners
Startup tech companies are looking for channel partners with a taste for the novel and some specialized skills. Early-stage companies in a range of fields — from application deployment to IT security — see channel companies as an important go-to-market strategy. Entrepreneurs see value in the customer relationships that technology-gatekeeper status resellers, systems integrators and other IT service providers enjoy. The partners we are targeting already have strong relationships with key decision makers — CSOs and CISOs — across the financial, healthcare, energy, legal and retail verticals,” Pallas said. Because of those relationships, partners “will play a critical role” in accelerating adoption. A willingness to look beyond the usual suspects isn’t the only quality startup tech companies are looking for in a channel partner. The ability to thoroughly understand a customer’s challenges is another sought- after quality. A customer unfamiliar with a new product will lack insight into how it might address its needs. Startup tech companies hope to cultivate relations with channel partners willing and able to identify deployment opportunities among their customers.
Automakers, Tech Companies Decide to Make Deals, Not War
Tie-ups with carpooling services or short-term rental companies help automakers expose consumers to brands they might otherwise ignore. Technology companies offer access to troves of consumer data, and sophisticated ways to analyse them. From the automakers, the Silicon Valley mobility companies obtain fresh capital, access to auto industry engineers who know how cars work and discounts on vehicles for their drivers. Toyota and some rival automakers currently offer discounts to drivers for Uber and its ride-hailing rival, Lyft. An Uber driver who wants to buy a Toyota Prius, for example, could receive a $750 discount. The Uber discount for a Ford Focus is $2,100, according to information on Uber’s website. Ride hailing and car sharing companies could become outlets for automakers trying to sell more electric vehicles, or hybrid cars, to earn credits under U.S. federal and state environmental rules. The high costs of an electric car battery are more rapidly offset by ferrying passengers around a city all day than by a routine round-trip commute.