In feature image above: Team Milky Way AI – one of four winners at Microsoft’s Emerge X Regional Pitching Competition in Asia Pacific
The Emerge X Program sits within Microsoft’s Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative, which discovers and nurtures high potential technology startups & grows the ecosystem in emerging markets across APAC
Asia Pacific, 3 December 2020 – Four startups from Vietnam, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Singapore are winners at Microsoft’s inaugural Emerge X Regional Pitching Competition in Asia Pacific:
- Abivin from Vietnam: An AI-powered platform that optimizes supply chains across multiple sectors by solving the vehicle routing problem
- Lifetrack Medical Systems in the Philippines and Singapore: A cloud-based platform that provides affordable access to medical imaging in emerging markets
- Agrithmics from Sri Lanka: A cloud-based solution that enriches the agri-industry by digitizing the farm to factory supply chain and connecting farmers and buyers
- Milky Way AI, from Singapore: An AI-powered smart retail solution leveraging image recognition technology to help retailers manage shelf inventory and maximize sales
“For Asia Pacific to remain at the forefront of global transformation, it takes disruptors, visionaries, and futurists. There are no limits to what people can achieve when the world and technology reflect the diversity of everyone who uses it. Which is why at Microsoft, we build technology so that others can create technology, and to be successful we all need to come together,” said Andrea Della Mattea, President, Microsoft Asia Pacific. “Through the Highway to a 100 Unicorns and our Emerge X program, we aim to help startups on the road to innovation, where they can meet unarticulated needs of the industry and help businesses become resilient.”
Growing the Startup Ecosystem in Emerging Markets across APAC
The Emerge X Program is part of Microsoft’s Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative, which was launched in Asia Pacific in October 2020 after overwhelming success in India. Microsoft engaged with more than 70 prominent startup ecosystem players and governments across 16 countries, who then nominated more than 300 of their most promising for the program.
The 16 countries engaged in the program are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.
79 startups were selected to join the Microsoft Emerge X program. As an Emerge X startup, they will participate in a year-long mentorship program with Microsoft for Startups which is designed to help them scale and accelerate their growth. They will also receive GitHub and Azure credits, have the opportunity to attend a Founder Bootcamp for 3 days, gain access to enterprise clients globally through Microsoft’s unique co-sell program, and interact with Microsoft experts and industry stalwarts.
Of these, 21 of the Emerge X startups pitched their ideas at the Emerge X Regional Pitching Competition, held at the Philippine Startup Week 2020, with Abivin, Lifetrack Medical Systems, Agrithmics and Milky Way AI identified as the top startups in the whole region. They were selected by a jury of leading investors and startup ecosystem leaders, including investors from BOV Capital, Cradle, Monk’s Hill Ventures, Movac, M12, SBK Tech Ventures, Sequoia, Vista Consulting Group, and 54i Ventures, and ecosystem leaders from GitHub and Target Accelerator.
Details on the top four startups can be found in APPENDIX A, and a full list of Emerge X startups and jury members at the Philippine Startup Week 2020 can be found in APPENDIX B.
Highway to a 100 Unicorns at the Singapore Week of Innovation & Technology 2020
Microsoft’s Highway to a 100 Unicorns Regional APAC Event will be held at Singapore Week of Innovation & Technology (SWITCH) 2020 on 9 December, from 2pm-4pm. At that session, industry leaders from Microsoft and their partners will discuss the opportunities ahead and how to manage the challenges startups could face in APAC. The top four Emerge X startups will share their founding stories and how they have leveraged technology to solve some of the key challenges faced by business owners across different industry sectors.
Said Peter Ong, Chairman of Enterprise Singapore, who is organizing SWITCH, “We are happy that Microsoft has chosen to launch its inaugural Highway to a 100 Unicorns Regional APAC Event in Singapore. Culminating at SWITCH after its mentorship program and pitching competition, we see great synergies in bringing together the region’s most innovative and ambitious startups to network with our diverse line-up of speakers and participants. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Microsoft to provide a vibrant and conducive ecosystem for the development of innovative startups.”
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Abivin: Optimizing Supply Chains
Established in 2015, Abivin’s AI-powered solution helps manufacturers, distributors, retailers, transporters, logistics service providers and container freight operators tackle the challenges of logistics execution and solve the vehicle routing problem, resulting in up to 30% savings.
“When we applied to be a part of the Highway to a 100 Unicorns, our objective was to connect and learn from Microsoft, industry experts and other startups across the Asia Pacific. It has been a valuable experience and we are both surprised and proud to be selected as one of the top four startups in the region,” said Cassie Nguyen, COO and Co-founder, Abivin.
Lifetrack Medical Systems: Providing Affordable Access to Medical Imaging
Lifetrack Medical Systems was started in 2011 to rethink how radiology software could be distributed and made accessible, especially in the challenging conditions of emerging markets. Via its LifeSys™ platform, over 1.7 million patients in 12 different countries have been diagnosed.
“Microsoft’s Emerge X competition has given Lifetrack a platform to share the work we have been doing to improve affordable access to medical imaging with our partners and stakeholders around the world. We are excited to join the Highway to a 100 Unicorns and looking forward to partnering with Microsoft to drive innovation forward in the region for the benefit of all,” said Dr. Eric Schulze, CEO and Founder, Lifetrack Medical Systems.
Agrithmics: Digitizing the Farm to Factory Supply Chain
Agrithmics was founded in 2016 to enrich the agri-industry in Sri Lanka and connect small hold farmers to agri-buyers, eliminating pilferage by middlemen and providing more access to cash and credit. More than 40,000 registered farmers are now using AgriX – an IOT-enabled and cloud-based procurement solution – and Agri-Pay Transaction Switch to conduct their transactions, with more than100 million kg of raw tea leaves transacted via its platforms in the last three years.
“The journey with Emerge X has been fantastic for us. It was a great opportunity to meet several regional startups and learn about their innovative ideas. Agrithmics is excited to be part of the Highway to a 100 Unicorns and I am confident we will be able to reach greater heights with Microsoft,” said Prashanth Premakumar, CEO and Founder, Agrithmics.
Milky Way AI: Helping Retailers Maximize Sales
Founded in 2019, Milky Way AI’s Instashelf platform utilizes image recognition technology to help retailers and brands better manage shelf inventory by automating the stocktaking process. It is used by major retailers and brands in four countries and has helped merchandising teams increase their in-store productivity.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Microsoft in digitizing physical retail with Computer Vision and AI, delivering innovative omni-channel customer experiences and augmenting the largest workforce globally,” said Eunice Wong, CEO and Co-founder, Milky Way AI.
Emerge X Program Startups
Startups in italics participated in the Emerge X Regional Pitching Competition at PH Startup Week 2020
- Bangladesh: Alice Labs, Loop, PriyoShop, Sigmind.ai
- Bhutan: DrukRide, One Click Shop
- Cambodia: Peth Yoeung
- Indonesia: Crowde, GREDU, Kiddo.id, Konvergen AI, Neurosensum, Ritase, Tjetak
- Malaysia: Alpha Red Services, Betacard, Leaderonomics Digital, Naluri Hidup, OrangeFIN Asia, SalesCandy, Setel, Softinn Solutions, Soft Solvers Solutions, Supplycart.my, Talentcloud.ai
- Maldives: FahiPay
- Myanmar: Better HR, Expa.ai, Karzo Co., Village Link
- Nepal: Digital Age Nepal, The Secured ID, Tootle
- New Zealand: Book Me Bob, Projectworks, Showcase Workshop, Storbie, Vibe.fyi
- Philippines: Aiah, ChatGenie, Edukasyon, Expedock, Frontlearners Inc., Investagrams, Lifetrack Medical Systems, Omnirio, Packetworx, Rumarocket, Tangere, Qwikwire
- Singapore: Accredify, Bambu, JobKred, Lifetrack Medical Systems, Milky Way AI, Sentient.io, Tookitaki, Wiz.Ai
- Sri Lanka: Agrithmics, DirectPay, Eimsky, Enhanzer, InsureMe, OMAK, Roar Global, SIXER VIDEO
- Thailand: AltoTech, Bizcuit, ENRES, FilmDoo, Finema, Jabjai Corporation, PUUN Intelligent, Ricult, Robolingo, Vonder, ZTRUS
- Vietnam: Abivin, Base.vn, House3D
Emerge X Regional Pitching Competition Jury
- Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Managing General Partner, BOV Capital
- Kishan Nadarajah, Principal, BOV Capital
- Juliana Jan, Chief Investment Officer, Cradle
- Eunice Wong, Investment Associate, Monk’s Hill Ventures
- Cassie McAdams, Investment & Community Manager, Movac
- Abhi K, Partner, India Head, M12
- Farhan Rahman, Strategic Development Specialist, SBK Tech Ventures
- Pieter Kemps, Principal, Sequoia
- Bala Girisaballa, Managing Director, APAC, Vista Consulting Group
- Dipta Shah, Founding Partner, 54i Ventures
- Maneesh Sharma, Country Manager, GitHub
- Ravi Kanniganti, Director & Head, Target Accelerator India