Asian Entrepreneurship Award 2014 (AEA2014) was held at Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City in a Tokyo suburb yesterday, where Singaporean wearable startup T.Ware won the first prize in the startup pitch competition.
This three-day event is organized each year by a local non-profit organization and an incubator as well as the University of Tokyo and Mitsui Fudosan real estate company. Entrepreneurs with promising ideas gathered from all over Asia, where they enjoyed networking and received mentoring, in addition to competing with their pitches against each others.
Let’s take a brief look at the top three pitch teams.
T.Ware (Singapore) won the top prize and received 3 million yen
Singapore’s T.Ware developed a wearable vest called T.Jacket in collaboration with therapists, university researchers and clinical psychologists, aiming to help people suffering from sensory ailments — such as sensory over-responsiveness — through use of controlled air pressure.
T.Jacket simulates the feel of being hugged, as controlled by a smartphone app. It helps people recover from mental disorders like sensory processing difficulties (SPD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Alzheimer’s dementia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Gissco (Thailand) was the runner-up and received 1 million yen
Die casting is a metal casting process that is used upon forming equipment such as an engine. For the conventional die casting process, molten liquid metal is poured into a mold. Given time to cool down, the metal is allowed to settle into shape. But in quite a few instances cracks and other aberrations appear unexpectedly upon forming; this may lead to an inefficiency ratio of up to 30%.
Thailand’s Gissco realized “semi-solid” die casting, which enables quicker settling into shape yet keeps down the appearance of unexpected cracks. The inefficiency ratio thus falls to as low as 10%. The metal need not be heated to the conventional high melting temperature under this method so it takes less time to cool down, improving the productivity of the entire equipment manufacturing process markedly.
YouthsToday (Malaysia) came in third and received 500,000 yen
YouthsToday helps brands or event organizers engage their potential event attendees meeting certain criteria by giving them rewards. Using the platform, brands or organizers can obtain a benefit by engaging influential persons at better cost performance. Users can win rewards like vouchers for H&M fashion retail chain or Starbucks Coffee shops.
The service is still only available for events in Malaysia, but they are planning to expand into other Asian countries, the European region as well as the US.
The AEA event allows entrepreneurs from the Asian region to further market themselves through the pitch competition. Some Japanese firms competed but unfortunately none made it to the finals. As most attending startups had been recommended and backed by local incubators or universities in the respective Asian countries, they were relatively mature enough to offer a solid technology or a monetizable business model.
I think many these days have tended to introduce intangible products on the Asian startup scene. However, this event was a great opportunity where I could meet up with many startups from Asia having solid technical backgrounds.
The application deadline for this competition is set annually in early May. Should you be interested in competing during the 2015 event, remember to check their website next spring and ready yourself to pitch.