Tokyo-based startup VC firm Global Brain held an annual showcase conference called Global Brain Alliance Forum in Tokyo today.
In the event, 10 startup teams from Japan and the rest of Asia gathered to compete at a startup competition session called World Ventures Pitch Battle 2014, where Taiwan-based iChef won the top award.
Judges for the competition are:
- Shinichro Isago, Evangelist, Developer & Platform, Microsoft Japan
- Oranuch Lerdsuwankij (Mimee), Founder, ThumbsUp (Thailand)
- Jimmy Rim, CEO, K Cube Ventures (Korea)
- Tomohiro Ebata, Head of Business Development and Investment Director, KDDI (Japan)
The top award winner: iChef (Taiwan)
Conventional point-of-sales solutions are slow and heavy, and they result in bottlenecks during peak restaurant hours. But in contrast, the iChef app is much quicker and versatile, using one iPad or multiple synchronized iPads.
Currently they have 400 restaurants using their solution in Taiwan and Hong Kong. They recently partnered with FoodPanda, in addition to having partnered with Taiwan’s CTBC Bank to provide credit card payment solutions for their restaurants, available with a commission of as little as 2.00%, which is even cheaper than that of Square. They are currently looking for strategic partners in Japan, Korea, and Thailand.
The Global Brain award winner: Podo Labs (USA)
While a selfie stick has recently become popular among people, Podo Labs avails an opposite approach. They have developed a camera which can stick on (most) any type of surfaces like glass, wood, concrete walls etc. It connects to the Podo smartphone app to show you a live preview of the shot, so it always turns out the way you want.
The product will be available for $89.99. They plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign for it in 2015 Q1. Podo Labs has fundraised over $1 million from investors including PCH International (known for running hardware-focused startup incubator Highway 1), Seoul-based BonAngels, and London-based Seedcamp.
The audience award winner: VMFive (Taiwan)
VMFive provides a virtual environment solution for mobile. Their solution AdPlay lets users demo an app before purchasing it with no pre-installed software or SDKs required from developers. They recently partnered with Japan’s Adways and started a service that lets users demo an app before its launch on Adway’s Yoyaku Top 10 solution (also known in English as PreLaunch Party). They also recently partnered with Japanese digital ad agency D2C, aiming to accelerate efforts to partner with ad networks and app introduction sites.