Taiwan’s 91APP Raises $9M To Make Launching E-Commerce Apps Easier

– by TechCrunch » Startups

91App 91APP, a Taipei-based startup that wants to make it easy for small merchants to launch e-commerce apps, has raised $9 million in series A funding, led by AppWorks with participation by CID Group, NineYi Capital, Hung-tze Jan (founder of PChome, one of Taiwan’s leading e-commerce marketplaces), and Senao chairman Paul Lin. Read More

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Supahands Offers Multilingual Virtual Assistants For Clients In Asia

– by TechCrunch » Startups

Supahands_group Southeast Asia is the second-largest outsourcing destination in the world, but a new company called Supahands wants to help locals by bringing virtual assistants to the region. Based in Malaysia and Singapore, the startup plans to expand to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Bangkok, and Australia. Read More

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Taiwan Fitness Startup iFit Raises $900K In Seed Funding

– by TechCrunch » Startups

iFit, a Taiwanese fitness startup and online community (not to be confused with the fitness tracking app iFit), has raised $900,000 in seed funding from Cherubic Ventures, a venture capital firm that focuses on early-stage companies in Taiwan, China, and Silicon Valley. The company plans to use the funding to expand overseas and begin making branded products, including wearable tech devices.… Read More

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News Aggregator: HackerEarth Raises $500K To Help Startups Find Great Programmers


HackerEarth, a Bangalore-based startup that helps other startups hire programmers through technical challenges, has raised $500,000 in seed funding from Angelprime incubator.

Launched in late 2012 by former Google engineer Sachin Gupta and his IIT batch mate Vivek Prakash, HackerEarth helps India’s growth-stage startups find technical talent they so desperately need. Unlike in the Silicon Valley, where many engineers still find it more lucrative to work for a hot startup than an IBM, or even a Microsoft, Indian startups have to fight perception battles and work harder to attract engineers who mostly prefer to work with more stable, bigger tech companies.

HackerEarth is like a GItHub, except that it’s not only about the Open Source projects.

“For developers, LinkedIn profiles does not matter as much as a platform where they can showcase their work, and GitHub is mostly about Open Source projects,” Gupta told TechCrunch.

Recently, one of the fastest growing Indian startups, InMobi, was looking to hire a Python and Ruby programmer urgently. HackerEarth helped it find one programmer in Taiwan. The startup now wants to tap into Eastern Europe and other Asian markets. 

“Back in 2008, Java was hot around here. But now, many newer startups are looking to hire programmers who know Ruby, Python and even HTML in Javascript for front-end applications,” said Gupta.

With almost three million engineers currently employed in India’s over $100 billion technology sector, around one million software coders and programmers are added every year. Clearly, the supply is not the challenge, at least not for the country’s biggest software outsourcing powerhouses such as Infosys and TCS who still hire thousands of engineers and non-engineers every year to perform commoditized application development.

And it’s not just the startups looking to hire programmers who are not just Java developers. Many bigger companies scrambling to get high-paying software projects from WalMart and Citi are beginning to hunt for such talent.

Startups such as Practo, which develops online clinic management software, find it even more tough to hire programmers they really want.

“Finding a good developer is like looking for a needle in a haystack”, Sri Karthik Sayana, hiring manager at Practo said in a statement. “By using HackerEarth, we have experienced greater than 80% fit between the candidates identified by the platform and the ones we offered a role at our company”.

As we wrote in April last year, HackerEarth is able to help startups do real-time evaluation through its online engine.

HackerEarth competes with YC alum InterviewStreet, apart from several others in the recruitment space. But the startup says its obsessive focus on finding the right technical talent is a differentiator.

“We will be spending more on sales and big data matching engine,” said Gupta. HackerEarth was part of the GSF Accelerator’s first batch. GSF SuperAngels has also participated in the latest funding round.

Unlike traditional recruiters, the startup evaluates programmers on some of the very basic parameters including the computing memory footprint and quality of code. All this is achieved by holding programming challenges. In one such recent challenge, HackerEarth heaped InMobi hire around half a dozen programmers in one day, a process that could have taken at least a week.

With the latest seed round, HackerEarth joins a small, but growing alumni of startups incubated by Angelprime. Backed by Mayfield, Jerry Yang and Social+Capital Partnership’s Chamath Palihapitiya among several Silicon Valley investors, Angelprime was launched

As I wrote recently, India’s accelerator ecosystem is facing some harsh realities, and many of them are beginning to work with late-stage startups without Y Combinator-like batches. For its part, Angelprime has always been focused on investing in fewer, but focused startups that have the potential to scale and become $10 million companies in three years. Since it was launched three years ago, Angelprime has incubated four companies — ZipDial, Ezetap, SmartOwner, and now HackerEarth.

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Disclaimer: This is aggregated from the above-linked news website. We do not own any of this material, and we do not necessarily share the same views.

Image Recognition Startup ViSenze Gets $3.5M From Rakuten Ventures


It’s been a very busy week for Rakuten as it seeks to take over the Internet. Earlier today the Tokyo-based online services giant announced the opening of its first R&D center in Europe. Just last week, Rakuten disclosed that it will acquire messaging app Viber for a cool $900 million.

Now ViSenze, a Singapore-based image recognition startup, has announced that it received a $3.5 million Series A led by Rakuten Ventures (the company’s venture capital arm). Investors Walden International and UOB Venture Management also participated.

The investment comes seven months after ViSenze, an spin-off company of the National University of Singapore, first announced that it had started collaborating with Rakuten Taiwan to launch visual fashion search and recognition tools on the e-commerce site.

Rakuten’s involvement with ViSenze is especially interesting because it parallels Amazon’s interest in image recognition tech. The U.S. e-commerce behemoth added a shopping-by-camera functionality to its main iOS app earlier this month that makes it easier for shoppers to compare prices on the site while visiting brick-and-mortar stores.

Amazon had previously released a standalone app called Flow, two years after acquiring visual product search startup SnapTell in 2009.

One of ViSenze’s products, called ViSearch, is a cloud-based visual search tool that could potentially allow Rakuten to add similar image recognition features to its apps and sites. Previous moves by Rakuten to establish itself as a stronger competitor to Amazon and other e-commerce platforms outside of Asia include the acquisition of U.S.-based logistics company Webgistix and its launch of the Kobo e-reader.

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