Startup Focus 2 – More Innovations in Asia

IDEA members & other guests gathered on Tuesday evening to listen to 6 startups share about their companies along with insights and perspectives they’ve learnt. These are some of the key insights that I gathered from the event in finding new business opportunities:

1)  Gaps lie in processes and the value chain of businesses – innovate and solve them

FoodRazor identified a pain point among small F&B owners, particularly in the food procurement process. They help them take the pain out of the otherwise tedious supply procurement process. They bring buyers and suppliers online & provide a seamless experience that also integrates with tools like cloud accounting software.

The B2B transactions of various industries may not be as transparent to those outside of it. However, FoodRazor’s journey proves that if you’re willing to dig deep into these processes, there’re likely a pain points from a particular segment waiting to be solved.

2) Look into the growing market segments people may be missing out on

HaveHalalWillTravel‘s CEO Melvin pointed out the interesting data-point that 42% of Southeast Asia is made up of Muslims. Yet, there didn’t exist many platforms that enabled Muslims to experience authentic local flavors in non-Muslim countries in Asia such as Korea and Japan. Given that he reaches millions of viewers via his web platforms, perhaps we could be more attentive to customer segments we don’t normally come into contact with.

3) If you have an invaluable skill in demand across many industries, clone yourself and sell

Konsyg showed us that if you’re great at a skill demanded by many businesses (like selling) & you’ve got a way to teach others that skill – you’ve got the ingredients for an great business. From the stories CEO William Gilchrist shared, we know how they’ve helped tech businesses sell new products for what they’re worth & train their internal teams to do so. The thing we like best about their philosophy is that William places great emphasis on how they set up to “not be needed by their customers within 1-2 years”.

4) Are there latent assets being under-utilised?

HelloSoda and SwypeOn both us that what may seem ordinary to the layman may be gold in another’s eyes. HelloSoda combines natural language processing (NLP) with web scrapers to profile and provide customer insights to other businesses that have 1) strong KYC and AML tendencies (insurance companies, banks) or 2) want to gain consumer market insights.

SwypeOn sees your mobile home screen as an under-utilised real-estate that customers and brands can benefit from. Their technology enables them to provide trigger advertising to deliver appropriate messages to the right audience at the right time – possibly increasing customer engagement and conversion.