Surge is our own startup journey, and we are learning as we go. The process of selecting our first group of Surge startups was exhilarating, humbling and painful at the same time. We were overwhelmed by the response we got but unfortunately had to say no to many wonderful entrepreneurs. We had originally thought we would start small, with perhaps 10-12 startups, as Surge was in ‘beta’. But we met so many incredible startups that the number of companies in Surge 01 grew to 17 – as a gesture of thanks to the founder community, we decided to try and include as many as we possibly could.
The docs are signed with each of the startups and we’re ready to tell you more about the 17 terrific companies that are a part of Surge 01 2019.
It is a wonderfully diverse group with founders from eight nationalities and headquarters in India, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Bangladesh. We’re super psyched that five out of 17 Surge 01 startups have at least one female founder. These startups span a wide range of sectors, including Travel and Hospitality, e-Commerce, Social Commerce, EdTech, Fintech/InsurTech, Consumer Brands, SaaS, HealthTech and B2B commerce.
They range from pre-launch to several that have terrific monthly or weekly growth momentum and in industry parlance, are simply “on fire” :-).
We designed Surge with an ‘open architecture’ in mind, so we could include other seed funds and angel investors, in order to better serve founders. Alongside Surge, approximately a dozen seed funds and institutional co-investors are joining the Surge rounds – tying in a total investment of USD 36 Mn across the 17 companies.
We couldn’t be more grateful to the founders who have chosen to give us a chance to be a part of their journey. With much gratitude and admiration, we present you Surge 01 2019.
Azani is a D2C performance sportswear brand that offers high-quality footwear, apparel and accessories that are both aspirational and accessible to mainstream consumers in emerging markets. The company’s in-house design and manufacturing facilities are geared to reduce the gap between design and delivery from six months, which is the industry standard, to just two weeks. This positions Azani, which has launched over 300 new products in just eight months, to set the pace with an ever-fresh range of product lines, ranges and styles.
FoundersIndra Gunawan and Antonius Bong
Co-InvestorsAlphaJWC, Genesia, Agaeti, Everhaus
Bobobox is a tech-first Indonesian capsule hotel brand built for millennial adventurers and smart business travellers. The first hotel the company opened boasts an 88% occupancy rate. Bobobox aims to create a new category of ‘on demand’ sleep that anyone who needs a quality rest can book anywhere, any time.
FoundersAlex Seyfert, Amit Bendale, Avi Patchava, Avinash Ramakanth, Petko Plachkov, Varun Modi
Bright is an artificial intelligence (AI) finance platform powered by its unique MoneyScience™ algorithm, designed to help users take control of their debt and start building real wealth.
FoundersSachin Bhatia, Atit Jain and Sichen (Sianna) Liu
Bulbul is India’s first vernacular live-streaming e-commerce platform. The company is redefining how products are sold in India by providing a live, engaging and interactive experience for buyers and sellers in most regional languages. Bulbul, which hit 500 transactions per day just 40 days after launch, will pass the 1,000 per day mark by end April and is growing 2x month-on-month.
DancingMind has pioneered a VR-based ‘one to many’ remote therapy solution for stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s and cognitively-impaired patients. The company is making therapy more engaging, affordable and accessible in a sector where therapists are, globally, in short supply. The startup has signed up 15 healthcare facilities in Singapore and the UK within six months of launch.
FoundersTanushree Nagori and Aditya Shankar
Co-InvestorsWaterBridge Ventures, Omidyar, AET
Doubtnut makes learning easy: just snap a photo of a problem to find a solution and watch videos that help students learn the topic better. Doubtnut is a comprehensive learning app that features a simple user interface in multiple local Indian languages, and uses complex AI and ML technologies to serve up answers and video lessons in response to photos of specific problems. The company has 3.5m+ monthly active users, and over 90% are from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. The app is ranked amongst the top 10 free education apps on Google Play Store in India.
FoundersAbhinav Prakash, Ankit Abhishek, Devvarat Meena, Parth Pratik and Shukant Agrawal
Flynote believes that seeing the world is the ultimate form of education. But in a world of mass travel, it is not easy for the millennial traveller to find authentic and personalized experiences. Flynote is building a global community of travel enthusiasts, known as Flynote Fellows, who travel and experience the world on the company’s sponsorship. They then leverage this experience to monetise their passion for travel, using Flynote’s technology platform to plan and book highly tailored itineraries for their customers, followers and communities. The company has grown by 25% month on month since April 2018, and has earned a 4.9/5 rating from travellers
FoundersKarthi Mariappan, Nilam Chand Jain and Srinivasan Krishnan
User engagement is moving to video but creating personalized video at scale is hard. Hippo Video is a next-gen video marketing SaaS platform that helps marketers create, edit and personalize video content on a mass scale, as well as analyse responses and convert more viewers into customers. The company has over 200 customers worldwide, including Freshworks, Lessonly, Tailwinds, Chargebee, Essilor and Goulet Pens. Its freemium platform has over 400,000 users; the majority are based in the U.S., where the company is also incorporated.
FoundersAnshuman Singh and Abhimanyu Saxena
InterviewBit Academy offers computer science education via live online classes to prepare students for jobs in leading technology companies. Students pay only when they land a job beyond a target salary threshold. Their first cohort, which went live on April 15 includes 300 candidates selected from 9,000 applications. The company started as an interview prep platform and recruitment agency, and now has 500,000 registered users globally, placing 4,000 engineers in over 450 tier-one tech companies.
FoundersRavish Naresh, Jaideep Poonia, Dhanesh Kumar & Ashish Sonone
Khatabook is India’s leading multi-language mobile application for small and medium businesses to record cash transactions and track payments. They recently crossed 120,000+ weekly active merchants and are growing organically at 40% MoM. Khatabook is ranked among the top 10 business apps on Google Play Store in India
FoundersHarshet Lunani & Tommy Martin
Co-InvestorsSeedPlus, MassMutual Ventures SEA, Golden Gate, MDI, CCV, Genesia
Qoala is an Insurtech company that works with insurers to offer innovative insurance products for new use cases like flight delays, phone screen damages, e-commerce logistics etc, using a combination of underwriting risk for high frequency events, digital fraud detection, and a simplified, photo-based claims process.
FoundersAfeef Zubaer Zaman, Siffat Sarwar & Ataur Rahim Chowdhury
ShopUp is a social commerce platform that helps micro-entrepreneurs in Bangladesh set up and run their businesses on Facebook, which accounts for more than 80% of the country’s online commerce sector. The ShopUp platform provides tools for sourcing, cataloguing, payments, shipping and access to business loans. There are currently over 95,000 micro-entrepreneurs on the ShopUp platform, and over 5,000 more joining every week.
Skillmatics is a D2C brand that develops innovative educational products and games that enable children to build core skills ranging from math and language to science and logic through systematic play. Skillmatics, which aims to disrupt a $100 billion global industry, has hit USD 1 Mn in revenue run rate. They sell across 15+ countries, with a strong focus on North America, and is the first Indian brand ever to sell across Hamleys globally.
Telio is building Vietnam’s largest B2B commerce company using the power of tech and data. In Vietnam’s highly-fragmented $20B FMCG market, Telio enables small retailers to procure goods from its web and mobile platform, replacing the need to deal with multiple wholesalers and providing more choice, better pricing and more efficient logistics. In few months of launch, Telio is doing over 100 orders per day, growing 30% week-on-week.
Based InVietnam & Singapore
FoundersKevin Nguyen & Gareth Nguyen
The world is moving to video and streaming. Setting up a video streaming infrastructure is complex and expensive, while leveraging YouTube makes it harder to monetize, increase user engagement and capture user data. Uiza is an API platform for video streaming that enables developers and companies to stream videos directly from their own app in a fast and cost-effective manner through a set of simple API's. The company has built a sophisticated video infrastructure, which is currently used by over 250 apps, and serving viewers from over 100 countries.
FoundersWei Qing Jen and Samuel Lipoff
Co-InvestorsDSG Consumer Partners
Vybes is on a mission to enable influencer-driven commerce in today’s social media powered world. Using a proprietary AI engine, Vybes matches influencers with brands, and provides them with a wide array of products and online tools to enable sales to their large follower base. Vybes has over 400,000 influencers in its database and has been onboarding brands at a monthly growth rate of 140%.
FoundersJulian Artope and Frederik Krass
Zenyum is a fast-growing dental care brand providing high-quality 3D-printed invisible braces to consumers. The dental care market in ASEAN and India is growing rapidly, especially amongst Asia’s burgeoning young, middle class. Zenyum has launched in four countries. The company has already hit single-digit million dollars in annualised revenue, and is growing 55% MoM.
Azani Sport is a performance sportswear brand that offers high-quality footwear, apparel and accessories for men, women and kids. With its direct-to-consumer model, Azani Sport democratizes access to a wide collection of world-class gear across sporting disciplines for a fast-growing segment of fitness-conscious consumers.
Azani Sport offers consumers a constantly updated selection of attractive and functional gear, produced by its fully integrated, in-house design and manufacturing facilities that reduce the gap between design and delivery from the six-month industry standard to just two weeks. Its products are available online, as well as on leading e-commerce destinations and specialty sports outlets across India. International athletes from a range of sporting fields such as ultra-marathons, squash, boxing and badminton, train and win in Azani gear.
Azani Sport was founded by Indian squash champion Siddharth Suchde, whose professional sporting career included captaining the Indian junior team, winning the US Collegiate National Championship while at Harvard University, and entering the top 40 in global squash rankings.
Bobobox is a tech-first Indonesian capsule hotel brand built for millennial adventurers, smart business travellers and anyone else who needs a quality rest during the course of their day.
Bobobox aims to define a new category in ‘on-demand sleep’ that customers can book anytime, anywhere for as long as they need it – for a couple of hours or a couple of days – via its app.
The company’s futuristic, insta-worthy pods are equipped with app-controlled door access, customizable lights, security, bluetooth speakers, a king-size bed, compact working space, and personal air conditioners. Each pod is meticulously designed to enhance guests’ experience, convenience, privacy, space and value.
The company was founded by Indra Gunawan, who has 10 years of experience running his own budget hotel chain, and Antonius Bong, who spent a decade in finance and real estate.
While capsule hotels are big in Japan, Bobobox’s offering represents a new concept in Indonesia. At present, about 80% of their guests are domestic travellers, and there is a large opportunity for Bobobox to create a new ‘staycation’ lifestyle for Indonesian millennials who want to take mini-getaways to holiday destinations with friends.
With a mission to improve people’s lives by enabling anyone who needs rest to get quality sleep, the company also plans to make Bobobox available across a wide range of facilities, like airports, train stations, coworking spaces and hospitals too.
Bright is an artificial intelligence (AI) finance platform powered by its unique MoneyScience™ algorithm, designed to help users take control of their debt and start building real wealth.
Bright’s technology allows all users to access highly customized financial plans – typically only available from financial planners who charge thousands of dollars – to pay down credit card debt, build their credit score and start saving. A Bright Money user has typically been underserved by banks and even recent ‘neobanks’. In contrast to existing products, Bright Money does not just give users more loans or a one-size-fits-all product. Instead, it focuses on highly individualized planning, including intelligent automated payments that reduce debt and help users to start building wealth fast.
MoneyScience, Bright’s patented AI platform, uses thousands of data points on each consumer’s financial life and 34 algorithms to build these plans for users.
Bright delivers results for its users with the average customer paying down up to $1000 in debt in the first 3 months and saving $750 a year in interest. Bright’s patented platform manages hundreds of millions in debt and is compatible with thousands of banks across the US, with plans to launch in India and Southeast Asia.
Bright was founded in 2019 by Avi Patchava, Petko Plachkov, Varun Modi, Alex Seyfert, Avinash Ramakath and Amit Bendale. Avi is an AI industry leader and was formerly Vice President of InMobi’s Data Sciences and Machine Learning teams. Petko Plachkov is a serial financial services entrepreneur with experience at McKinsey and an MBA from Wharton. Varun is an AI engineer with over a decade of experience, primarily with InMobi. He studied at IIT Kanpur. Alex is a former Product Growth team leader at Amazon and Yahoo. Bright has teams located in San Francisco, CA, London, UK and Bengaluru, India.
*Angels: Abhay Singhal, Amit Gupta, Gunjan Soni, Jitendra Gupta, Kuldeep Jain, Kunal Shah, Mohit Saxena, Navroz Udwadia, Naveen Tewari, Piyush Shah, Pradeep Parameswaran, Prof. R Ravi, Rick Gerson, Ryan Khoury, Ryan Gilbert, Sheel Mohnot, Omri Dahan.
Published September 2021
Bulbul, India’s first multi-language live-streaming video e-commerce platform, aims to redefine how products are sold in India by providing a live, engaging and interactive experience for buyers and sellers.
Bulbul’s app provides a platform for hosts to demonstrate their products live, and answer viewers’ questions in real time. Bulbul will also offer group buying and sharing features that allow viewers to involve their friends and family for a more social experience.
Bulbul will offer streams in most Indian languages, targeting a wide range of local-language speakers and consumers outside major urban centres who may not find existing English-language e-commerce platforms accessible or engaging.
Bulbul was founded in Delhi by Sachin Bhatia, who co-founded both TrulyMadly, a dating app for singles in India, and MakeMyTrip, India’s leading online travel company; Atit Jain, who co-founded Gigstart, a platform for performing artists, and Pluss App, an online pharmacy that was acquired by Netmeds; and Sichen (Sianna) Liu, who co-founded Hawa, a lifestyle platform for Indonesian women and short video app Wakaka, that was acquired by Kuaishou, one of China’s most popular video social networks.
DancingMind is VR-led healthtech company that creates engaging and interactive therapy modules for stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s and cognitively-impaired patients.
In a world where both therapists and therapy are extremely limited and costly, DancingMind tackles the problem of supply, and automates parts of therapy to increase affordability and accessibility to therapy.
At the core of DancingMind’s offering is a Virtual Reality-based ‘one to many’ remote therapy product that combines physical and cognitive therapy with entertainment, improving patient motivation and retention. DancingMind has signed up 15 healthcare facilities within Singapore and the UK in six months of launch and has ambitions to make therapy accessible and mainstream globally.
DancingMind was founded in Singapore by Jennifer Zhang, a people-driven technopreneur. Before studying Math and Computer Science at Oxford University, she built healthcare solutions and profitable businesses. At 15, she created an award-winning smart home and fall detection system for people with Dementia. At 18, she created a successful TechEd startup. She has also worked at Roche and Facebook.
Doubtnut is a multi-lingual online learning platform that uses AI technologies for image recognition, natural language processing and proprietary machine learning algorithms to throw up solutions to students’ queries.
Students simply snap a photo of a problem and the Doubtnut app serves up a video of a solution and suggests other concept videos to help students learn the topic better. The app, which can read questions in 16 Indian languages, as well as English, currently covers solutions to math problems from Grade 6 to 12. But this will expand to cover other subjects in the next few weeks.
Over 90% of Doubtnut users are in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, and much of the growth continues to come from outside India’s larger metropolitan centres. Doubtnut, which currently has Hindi videos, plans to offer video content in other regional languages. The app already offers features such as quizzes, assessments and communities to increase student engagement.
The company has 3.5m+ monthly active users and 8m+ monthly video views across platforms, and the app is ranked amongst the top 10 free education apps on Google Playstore in India
Doubtnut was founded by Tanushree Nagori and Aditya Shankar, IIT-Delhi alumni who are veterans in the education space. In 2009, the husband-and-wife team set up Class 21A, a brick-and mortar coaching centre, where they taught math and science to high school students.
Flynote believes that seeing the world is the ultimate form of education.
Flynote is building a global community of freelance travel enthusiasts, called Flynote Fellows, who travel, learn and experience the world on the company’s sponsorship. Flynote Fellows then use the company’s technology platform to monetise their interest and expertise by helping millennials plan and book personalized holidays.
Because Flynote Fellows live an experience before they recommend it, they’re able to offer a tailored and authentic experience for travellers. Flynote’s platform is designed to help this network of travel enthusiasts grow and use their knowledge to attract more customers through community referrals, grow their own micro-businesses and inspire more people to travel.
The company was started in Bangalore in 2016 by a band of travel enthusiasts, including Abhinav Prakash, Devvarat Meena, Ankit Abhishek, Parth Pratik and Shukant Agrawal. Most of them attended IIT Kanpur together; and Abhinav and Ankit ran a travel startup before starting Flynote. The company refined their model in April 2018.
Hippo Video is a next-gen video marketing SaaS platform that leverages AI and machine learning technologies to help marketers create, edit and personalize video content, analyse responses and convert more viewers into customers.
The company sits at the intersection of two rapidly emerging trends in how companies communicate with their customers: video-based content and personalization for each customer’s needs. Hippo’s platform allows clients to embed videos, create mass-in video personalisation, design hyper-personalized account-based marketing outreach, send bulk email campaigns, generate detailed video performance reports, and onboard prospects with personalized, one-to-one sales videos.
Hippo counts over 200 companies across the globe as customers, including Freshworks, Lessonly, Tailwinds, Chargebee, Essilor and Goulet Pens. Its freemium platform has over 400,000 users; the majority are based in the U.S., where the company is also incorporated.
Hippo Video was co-founded by Karthi Mariappan, Nilam Chand Jain and Srinivasan Krishnan, who worked together for over 15 years at Zoho, a Chennai-based SaaS company. The trio, whose experience spans product strategy, full-stack architecture and data science, built more than 10 products from scratch at Zoho, including several multi-million-dollar services that cater to global customers. Girish Mathrubootham, the founder of Freshworks – which joined India’s Unicorn club last year – is both an angel investor in the company, and a strategic advisor.
Scaler Academy is a platform that offers intensive six-month computer science courses through live online classes delivered by top-tier tech mentors and instructors. Students pay only when they land a job beyond a target salary threshold. Their first cohort, which goes live on April 15 includes 300 candidates selected from close to 9,000 applications
The company, which is headquartered in Pune, started off in 2015 as a recruiting and interview prep platform for programmers to practice technical questions typically asked in interviews. The parent brand, InterviewBit, today has 500,000 registered users globally and has placed 4,000 engineers in over 450 tech companies, including Amazon, Uber and Flipkart in India.
InterviewBit was the only bootstrapped startup in LinkedIn’s 2019 Top 25 Startups in India list, which ranks the startups that professionals most want to work for by tracking employee growth, jobseeker interest, engagement and attraction of top talent.
The company was founded by IIIT Hyderabad alums Anshuman Singh, Abhimanyu Saxena and Tushar Bisht as the founding engineer. Anshuman previously worked at Facebook, where he led the team to build and scale Messenger. He is also a competitive programmer and a two-time ACM ICPC World Finalist. Abhimanyu led a team that designed NYC-based retail marketplace Fab.com’s entire front end. Tushar also worked at Facebook and built Nearby Friends, then went on to co-found hyperlocal logistics startup TownRush, which was later acquired by Grofers.
Kyte Technologies Inc is a India-based company operating Khatabook, India’s leading digital ledger that allows SMBs to record transactions and track their finances.
Khatabook is a powerful mobile application that can be used by merchants to record all their transactions and send reminders to their creditors via SMS and WhatsApp to ensure they receive payments in a timely fashion. Khatabook services SMBs that operate in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan cities and is available in a wide variety of Indian languages, including the popular Hinglish dialect. The app recently crossed 120,000+ weekly active merchants and is growing at 40% MoM.
Kyte Technologies was founded by four IIT-Bombay grads and is led by Ravish Naresh, who was Co-founder and COO at Housing.com, one of India’s largest property listing websites; Jaideep Poonia, Dhanesh Kumar and Ashish Sonone, who were co-founders of Knit Messenger, a messaging application that made it easy for teachers to connect with parents and students. The company also operates an ML-based smart SMS client Kyte.ai
Qoala is an Insurtech company on a mission to revolutionize insurance through a combination of underwriting risk for high frequency events in daily lives and photo-based claims, assisted by machine learning.
Qoala aims to delight customers by creating a seamless customer experience through parametric claims and personalized products while helping insurers reduce costs and risk through digital fraud detection. They collaborate with leading insurers to develop insurance products for new use cases, such as flight delays, hotel quality checks, e-commerce logistics, cancelled movie tickets, phone screen damages etc. and sell to end customers through a wide network of ecosystem partners.
This ease and transparency for what is usually a complicated process lets users take greater control of their lives, making insurance claims as simple as ordering a pizza through an app.
Founded by Oxford University and UCL graduates Harshet Lunani and Tommy Martin, the team comprises individuals from diverse industry backgrounds through their experiences at BCG, Traveloka, AXA, BIMA, Tokopedia, AXA, Line, Accenture and Bank Mandiri, among others.
ShopUp is a social commerce platform that helps micro-entrepreneurs in Bangladesh to set up a storefront on Facebook, access working capital and grow their business by automating many sales and operational processes.
ShopUp provides a range of sales and trade management tools to entrepreneurs, including product sourcing, order management, digital payment acceptance and a catalogue, cart and checkout system they use either on their Facebook page or through Messenger. ShopUp also provides worldwide shipping solutions through local and global logistics partners, and access to working capital through partnerships with SMB financial institutions and BRAC, one of the largest microfinance institutions in the world.
Working capital is a key constraint for many micro and small enterprises, who typically don’t meet the eligibility criteria for business loans. ShopUp uses a proprietary algorithm that analyzes over 2,000 data features to assess a merchant’s capital requirements and repayment capacity, then refers them to partner institutions for loans. By automating the credit assessment and management process, ShopUp has improved merchant’s access to capital and the speed of loan disbursement, while cutting the cost of lending borne by partner financial institutions by over 70%.
ShopUp, which was set up in Dhaka in 2016 by Afeef Zubaer Zaman, Siffat Sarwar and Ataur Rahim Chowdhury, currently has over 95,000 micro and small businesses on the platform.
Afeef founded his first company, a film animation & VR studio, at the age of 20 and led a team of 150 people there for four years before starting ShopUp. Siffat, who focuses on empowering women through sustainable development, worked previously at Standard Chartered and Airtel Bangladesh; Ataur is a hacker by nature who started his career selling websites to other entrepreneurs. He has more than eight years of engineering experience and has built products used by MNCs like Samsung, Unilever, Nestle and Axiata Ltd.
Skillmatics is a full-stack direct-to-consumer brand that develops innovative educational products and games designed to help children build core skills, ranging from math and language to science and logic through systematic play.
Skillmatics is building a new age business model to disrupt a $100 billion global industry. The company has a vertically integrated supply chain with in-house manufacturing to rapidly iterate, launch and scale new products. Skillmatics also works with product design experts in the US, integrating best-in-class design expertise in learning aids, STEM products and educational games with India’s competitive manufacturing costs and content creation expertise.
The company sells globally across 15+ countries through its own website, various e-commerce marketplaces and through an international network of 3,000+ retail stores, with a primary focus on the North American market. Skillmatics, which started shipping products in July 2017, is also the first ever Indian brand to sell across Hamleys globally.
Founder and CEO Dhvanil Sheth is a Chartered Account (All India Rank 27) who worked at Boston Consulting Group for three years prior to starting up. He has spent significant time during his BCG tenure working on consumer brands and the retail sector across Asia and North America.
Telio is using technology and data to build Vietnam’s largest B2B commerce platform.
The country’s large, unorganized traditional retail sector accounts for almost 85% of FMCG sales. Telio connects small, traditional retailers with brands and wholesalers on a centralized platform. By aggregating demand, Telio is able to provide small retailers with more choice, better pricing and more efficient logistics through economies of scale. For brands and wholesalers, Telio offers more efficient turnover, reduced costs and better end-customer level data.
Telio was founded by a serial entrepreneurial team with strong experience in tech, retail, logistics and financial services. Telio’s founder SyPhong Bui has 10 years of experience across telcos and banks in France and Vietnam. He founded two other companies in Vietnam before starting Telio. SyPhong drew inspiration for Telio after being selected for the Alibaba Leadership Program in 2018 and learning about the much-advanced B2B landscape in China and India.
Uiza is an API platform for video streaming that allows a wide range of companies, brands and services to bypass the likes of YouTube and stream videos directly from their own app.
The world is moving to video, but many brands find that it’s still incredibly hard to add video and livestreaming to their app. Companies that use services like YouTube miss out on monetization, user engagement and key user data. Building and maintaining a video platform from scratch, however, involves complexity around ingestion, syndication, encoding, metadata extraction, delivery and analytics.
Uiza’s platform leverages machine learning and data science to streamline this workflow and make the best in-local content delivery routing decision. All the complexity in the process is hidden behind a simple API through a hardware-agnostic infrastructure, giving users complete control, high availability and unlimited scalability. This makes it possible for developers to add both video and live streaming into their application with a few lines of code, in a simple, fast and cost-effective way.
The company’s customers include e-commerce platforms that allow sellers to demonstrate their products and interact with buyers in real time through livestreaming; a regional online education company that delivers their learning materials to millions of students in Southeast Asia; an e-sports streaming platform in Indonesia and LINE, which uses Uiza’s platform to stream content that caters to millions of women in Vietnam.
Uiza was founded by Kevin Nguyen and Gareth Nguyen. Before setting up Uiza, Kevin co-founded Topica’s Edumall, a technology platform for online open courses with 2 million students. When he was 23, he co-founded VnLoctra, building a US$1 million ARR software localization platform using machine translation, which he later sold. Gareth spent the majority of his career growing tech products, and working in sales, marketing and business development. Before Uiza, he ran his own venture, providing home automation technology including video systems to enhance living standards of Vietnamese consumers.
Vybes’ vision is to power millions of social media influencers who want to sell products to their followers, but don’t have access to awesome products or the tools to run an online store.
Vybes believes that the future of commerce is social and that influencers should be empowered to become key drivers of social commerce, not just models paid to make beautiful posts.
Vybes provides influencers with thousands of products to select from and tools to create a beautiful online store in seconds. In turn, brands gain access to influencers from around the world as new sales channels.
With over 400,000 influencers in its database, a proprietary AI engine that matches the right products to the right influencers, and a performance-based reward structure for its influencers, Vybes offers a unique, scalable and powerful influencer commerce channel.
The company was founded in Singapore by Wei Qing Jen and Samuel Lipoff, both Harvard-educated entrepreneurs who’ve built businesses in the USA, China, and Singapore.
Before co-founding Vybes, Wei Qing worked as an Associate Director at Temasek in Beijing and with McKinsey in New York. She sits on the executive committee of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Career Women’s Group. Sam started a desktop search engine company after college that became part of the first Y Combinator batch. He attended MIT as a PhD student in computational chemistry.
Zenyum is a consumer-focused healthcare brand with a mission to help their customers smile more.
Zenyum provides 3D-printed Invisible Braces, produced under the highest quality standards. Their cutting-edge technology allows them to offer cosmetic dental treatment at an affordable price to Asia’s fast-growing middle class.
The company is led by a team of experienced tech entrepreneurs and doctors. They bring the highest level of care to their customers by partnering with dentists. Zenyum, which is now available in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand, plans to expand across ASEAN and India.
Zenyum was founded in Singapore in 2018 by Julian Artope and Frederik Krass. Julian has been a tech entrepreneur for the past 13 years, and built payment, content and e-commerce companies in Europe, US and Africa, before moving to Singapore to start Zenyum. Fred has spent 6+ years building fast-moving e-commerce companies around the globe, founding and exiting SaaS businesses in SEA, India and Brazil.