#Asia We are lovin’ these 8 startups


From the ultimate concierge app to the coolest ‘bookmark’ in Asia, these eight startups are especially tickling our fancy

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1. Sam the Local

Travelling to Hong Kong this weekend? Want to hang out with a local and do cool activities you both enjoy? With Sam the Local, a tourist can “be a local” and get an insider tour of a city full of “hole in the wall” gems.

For actual locals, it is a nice way to earn some extra cash and enjoy an activity that they may enjoy free anyway. For example, some of the listings include taking a Chinese tea tour, hanging out with a foodie or exploring the city’s vast natural environment.

Sam the Local is wise to include a rating system, an integrated calendar to keep things organised and a ‘suggested locals’ page to ensure the good ones keep getting business.

According to the website, Sam the Local is currently in its beta stage.

2. Fynd

This company is heating up the current batch in the JFDI Singapore accelerator. Who woulda thunk IT repair was ripe for disruption.

Fynd is an on-demand phone repair service that brings IT repair people straight to the home and office. The claim is that repairs can be completed in under an hour. This is a godsend for the work-from-home individuals who, if a computer crashes or a phone breaks, suddenly have their productivity sidelined by the accident.

Best of all? The charges are a fixed rate, so there is no worry that a hardware malfunction becoming more complicated than originally anticipated also becomes more expensive than the budget had predicted.

3. Ungert Designs

This Hong Kong-based company is bringing the IoS (Internet of Space) to the office.

Are you facing a deadline but have an urgent question for the product manager? Would spending 10 minutes walking to her office only to discover she is at lunch be a drag?

Ungert‘s USpace app allows companies to track employee movement in the office. No more wondering if the boss is in a meeting. Check USpace and the answer is clear.

While people may worry about privacy, Ungert points out that the goal is productivity and communication and an abusive manager is an abusive manger with or without the app. Plus, bathrooms are off-limits.

What makes Ungert stand out is the UX experience. While it uses beacon technology to track employees, the office design UX is more ‘The Sims’ than complicated coding.

Design features are fully customisable, and if the ‘drag and drop’ feature is not working for a specific office, users can just send in a design to Ungert and they will build it.

Ungert exemplifies a good idea that has been taken to the next level with fantastic design.

Ungert Final

The Ungert team

4. ButlerTech

Everyone knows how to order room service. But what about laundry? Or extra linens? Maybe the dog had an accident on the carpet and a guest wants some help cleaning. Normally, the person would probably call the front desk before getting forwarded to the proper department.

With Singapore-based ButlerTech‘s new product ButlerPad, hotels can put all of these services on an app. Mobile is the new king, so it is important for concierge service to adapt.

Furthermore, CityButler is akin to having an interactive Lonely Planet in the phone. With local experts and video content, ButlerTech is doing its best to make sure all the logistics of a vacation are handled within its platform.

5. DXMarkets

For anyone hoping to start trading Bitcoin, Singapore’s DXMarkets is a good place to start. The company pitches itself as a “powerful yet intuitive tools allow entry-level traders to learn and take advantage of professional grade features built into the platform.”

It is still in beta, so today is a good time to test the system because the company does not yet have trading fees. Currently, it is only possible to deposit digital currency, but DXMarkets says it is working to integrate fiat deposits (paper money) soon.

It also seems like e27 is not the only place that sees potential in DXMarkets — CEO Marcelo Garcia Casil was chosen to represent his company at a 12-month long accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland called Fintech FUSION. The company says this will be used as a catalyst for a launch into Europe.

6. The Next Billion

Smartphones are getting more affordable, the Internet is reaching ever more remote parts of the world and Singapore’s The Next Billion is helping companies reach those citizens on the peripheries of the Internet.

For example, a service called Mobile Movies screens educational, or entertaining, films across rural Asia. The company then collects survey data to track its impact with the goal of improving the community.

It also has a programme called MOAR! that let’s someone make a quick buck by offering consumer data to curious companies. Finally, the Rural Innovations Lab is working on developing prototypes to engage rural parts of the world.

7. Linqapp

Google Translate sucks. Translations are either hilariously wrong or overly formal. Well, this Taiwanese companies has found a solution to Google’s tech problem — people. Linqapp connects people with people and allows for quick and easy translations from native speakers.

If Linqapp just wanted to be a platform for one question, one answer solutions, its users have decided otherwise. It has become a way for people to find long-term language partners.

The cool feature is a reputation ranking and point system that integrates into a social media business model. The better the helper, the better the reputation. Linqapp says in the future they want to find a path for the premiere language translators to monetise their services.

8. SmartPlate

Business cards just went full-robot. This Japanese IoT product from Spirals is pitched as a “digital bookmark” that can be programmed with an incredible amount of content. Whether it is video, maps, product information of entertainment content, this little card can stash quite the variety of customisable content.

The receiver just scans a QR code and BAM! there is your company’s personalised content.

SmartPlate advertises the product a tool to be integrated in a bricks and mortar advertising campaign. But let’s be real, this is straight up the coolest business card in the room.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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