by Tech in Asia
Investors judging the teams included Kuo-Yi Lim of Monk’s Hill Ventures, Ben Liu of KAMIA, Albert Shyee of Gree Ventures, and angel investor Brian Yang. The winner of the session was selected to receive passes to Tech in Asia Singapore 2014, along with free plane tickets and accommodation.
Which team took home the prize? It was a tough call, but ultimately the judges went with…
Founded by James Shen, Jimi Wen, and Yiting Lin, Trigger is an anonymous social app that connects users with one another through online media that they consume.
Trigger aggregates content from media outlets and sites like Reddit and Hacker News, and then lets people upvote articles and comment anonymously. Users can connect and chat with one another anonymously as well. Ultimately, the startup hopes to carve out a “content-based social graph” which can later be used for ads and analytics. The app launched in Private Beta earlier this month, and after topping the charts on Product Hunt and Beta List, it racked up 4,000 in one week. It also has obtained seed funding from undisclosed investors.
Unsurprisingly, investors’ foremost concerns were about user acquisition. Shen said that Trigger requires new users to invite three friends upon joining, and adds that he’s targeting early-adopter tech types. Kuo-Yi Lim said that Trigger in its current state would not yet warrant an investment. “What I always say to social apps like this is – show me the traction,” he remarked.
Ultimately, judges picked Trigger as the evening’s winner because they considered it a “moonshot bet.”
The runners up included…
Created by Nick Budden and Emery Denuncio, Vectr is a web-based graphics illustrator. According to Budden, most design applications like Photoshop and Pixelmator are difficult to use and not built for the workflows that design teams require. Budden and Denuncio have built Vectr as a Google Docs-esque illustrator that allows for real-time collaboration, feedback, and sharing. The team also hopes to add a marketplace into its app, where Vectr users can buy and sell image templates. The team intends to monetize by charging users US$25 a month for collaboration, and also by taking a commission on marketplace purchases. Budden said Vectr has secured undisclosed seed funding, but hasn’t yet rolled out its beta version.
When asked about customer acquisition, Budden says the team has been working to meet with influential designers, understand their needs, earn their loyalty as users, and use that credibility to drive organic growth. Kuo-Yi Lim asked if Budden could think of a precedent where a marketplace was tied to a design program, implying that Vectr might be aiming for too much too soon.
QSearch, which Tech in Asia profiled earlier this year, crawls Facebook for keyword usage and then provides its users – most likely businesses – with relevant analytics. The company monetizes by charging clients a subscription fee. Roger Do, CEO of Qsearch, claimed that the company has secured deals with about a dozen Taiwanese companies, and is on track to quadruple its revenue in 2015 to US$250,000.
“What’s going to happen when Facebook starts doing this itself,” asked Shyy. Roger Do, CEO replied that the company doesn’t see Facebook providing an analogous service anytime soon, despite reports of the company ramping up its search technology. Judges also asked about language compatibility. Do admitted that while QSearch was strongest in Chinese and English, it was improving in other languages, and offered its services at a discount when analysis wasn’t at its best.
Led by Marc Nagel, Todd Gordon, Elias Ek, and Arthur Kater, Docceo gives hotels a mobile app that guests can use to operate all the smart gadgetry in their rooms. In addition, hotels can give out deals through the app to encourage guests to go to the property’s restaurant or spa, or attend nearby businesses. Hotels benefit by collecting fees from advertising, and can also gather data about the way guests use their facility. Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel currently deploys the app.
Investors were primarily concerned with the scaleability of the Docceo’s business model. Brian Yang and Lim asked how difficult it would be to adapt the technology to different rooms in different hotels. Ek and Gordon said that the technology in the rooms is generally simple and versatile.
SocialLanguage is a mobile app that connects language learners with one another. Users can find a language exchange partner and converse with one another in their native languages. The team also said they would offer coursework, and monetize by charging for these courses.
Investors were confused about the specifics of the pitch, as well as the numbers the team provided. Roger Liu, who pitched on behalf of Social Language, claimed that the app had racked in 400,000 downloads one month after hitting app stores in the US and China, and was poised to pass 10 million users by April.
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