#Asia Singapore’s Wobe wins world’s first cross-border startup comp for female entrepreneurs


The Ascendas-Singbridge Her Startup 2016 aims to connect female entrepreneurs with key players in Silicon Valley and across the world

left to right: 1- Mahmoud Mustafa, Product Development at ROAR, 2- Daisy Guo, Co-founder of Tezign, 3 - Yasmine Mustafa, Co-founder and CEO of ROAR, 4 - Virginia Tan, Founder and Managing Director of Lean In China, 5 - Pocket Sun, Founding Partner of SoGal Ventures, 6 - Elizabeth Galbut, Founding Partner of SoGal Ventures, 7 - Adrianna Tan, Founder, Wobe, 8 - Zihan Ling, CEO and Founder of Techbase

Left to right: Mahmoud Mustafa (ROAR), Daisy Guo (Tezign), Yasmine Mustafa (ROAR), Virginia Tan (Lean In China), Pocket Sun (SoGal Ventures), Elizabeth Galbut (SoGal Ventures), Adrianna Tan (Wobe), Zihan Ling (Techbase)

Singapore-based fintech startup Wobe is crowned as the winner of the Ascendas-Singbridge Her Startup 2016 on July 20 in Silicon Valley, US.

The startup raised US$100,000 from Tim Draper (Draper Associates Investments) who was also one of the judges in the competition. The funding helped Wobe close its seed round, which has seen participation from regional and American investors.

Founded in 2015, Wobe develops mobile business and finance tools aims at creating equal access in cash-based Asian economies such as Indonesia. Its flagship mobile app aims to enable low income groups to buy and resell prepaid credits easily, so that anyone with a smartphone and mobile internet access can start a small business selling phone airtime, electricity, water vouchers or even train tickets.

Indonesia is Wobe’s first market, with other Southeast Asian economies in the pipeline.

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“We are thrilled to be endorsed by such giants within the Silicon Valley community. The award validates our vision and hard work these past few years, and also sets our seed round in a good position,” said Wobe CEO and Founder Adrianna Tan in a press statement.

“With the funds secured, we are one step closer to making our Wobe mobile application widely available across Indonesia, and to empowering the underserved communities by giving men and women the opportunity to improve their livelihood and to be financially independent,” she explained further.

Apart from Wobe, US-based Roar for Good won second place while China-based Tezign won the third place.

Roar for Good makes smart safety jewellery to diminish attacks against women; Tezign is a global online marketplace which connects creative professionals with project.

The competition saw 16 shortlisted teams from Singapore, China, Vietnam, and the US in its final round in Silicon Valley.

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Claimed as the world’s first cross-border startup competition for female entrepreneurs, the event was sponsored by sustainable urban solutions and business space provider Ascendas-Singbridge Group and jointly organised by SoGal Ventures, TechBase, Lean In China and Kr Space.

The qualifying rounds were held across China, US, Singapore and Vietnam from May 27 to June 24.

Ahead of the grand finals in Silicon Valley, the 16 shortlisted teams were also conferred a US$5,000 scholarship to attend Draper University’s one-year “MBA” programme, and provided with an “immersive week-long Silicon Valley experience” which included a “two-day entrepreneurship king bootcamp,” as well as visits to leading tech companies, institutions, and accelerators.

The participants were also judged by the likes of Arielle Zuckerberg (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers), Tim Draper (DFJ), Veronica Wu (CSC Upshot), Crystal Huang (GGV Capital), Lisa Zhang (Intel Capital China), and Susan Kimberlin (Backstage Capital).

As a requirement, competitors had to have at least one woman on their team, or present products and services that would serve and impact women positively.

According to Pocket Sun, founding partner of SoGal Ventures (who was also a member of the judges), currently there is only less than 10 per cent of venture capital goes to startups with females CEOs.

“The competition helped change that by connecting these talented, female entrepreneurs with key players in Silicon Valley and across the world,” she said.

Image Credit: Ascendas-Singbridge

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