Slush Asia, the first Asian edition of the Finnish tech conference, was held in Tokyo on Friday, attracting 3,000 attendees from around the world.
Accompanied by a number of keynote presentations by speakers and demo booth exhibitions by startups, some 50 teams from Japan and the rest of the world presented their pitches in a huge dome tent venue called The White Rock.
Ten startups competed in each of five categories; cloud and marketplace, entertainment, education, tool, and hi-tech and hardware. The five teams selected out of 50 applicants were AlpacaDB, VMFive, Bento Bioworks, Fastmedia, and Fove.
Taiwan startup VMFive won the first Slush Asia Pitching Competition.
Slush Asia Pitching Competition Winner
Entertainment category finalist: VMFive (Taiwan)
VMFive provides a virtual environment solution for mobile apps. Their solution AdPlay lets users demo an app before purchasing it with no pre-installed software or SDKs from developers.
The company 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 to accelerate efforts to partner with ad networks and app introduction sites.
They mainly target game publishers, generating revenue on a cost-per-trial basis. According to VMFive founder Jessie Wu, the mobile game app market in Russia is 2.5 times larger than that of the US, where the company’s solution delivers two to five times better performance to game developers compared to conventional banner ads or video ads. VMFive has three clients, offering them the service for less than a few US dollars per API (application programming interface) call.
Cloud & Marketplace category finalist: AlpacaDB (USA)
Based in San Mateo, California, AlpacaDB provides a deep learning platform that allows systems to associate tags with or sort non-structural data, such as images leveraging image analyzing technology.
The company serves more than 10 companies including e-commerce platforms and stock photo providers. When users label their photos via the online dashboard, the platform will learn their actions and generate an algorithm to automatically sort photos. The service is free, but a fee will be charged when using based on the algorithm generated.
Education category finalist: Bento Works (UK)
Based in London, Bento Bioworks develops a hardware for biotechnology experiments for individuals. For example, the device allows you to find out what animal’s meat and ingredients are used in a hamburger by analyzing DNA sequence.
The company, founded just a few months ago, is targeting university students majoring in biology.
Tool category finalist: Fastmedia (Japan)
Fastmedia has developed a platform called Yappli that allows users to develop a mobile app via drag-and-drop operations. No need to code, but it is available for developing apps for cross-platform such as iOS and Android. SME users are charged $100 a month, while enterprise users pay $1,000.
Seeing 70% QoQ sales growth, the platform is being used in enterprise offices, non-profit organizations, TEDx events, and other citizens’ projects.
Hi-tech & Hardware category: Fove (Japan)
Tokyo-based Fove is developing a consumer-oriented head-mounted display (HMD) under the same name.
Their product allows users to control with their eyes a 360-degree virtual world using a leading-edge display, eye tracking, orientation sensing and head position tracking via integration of a high refresh rate gyro, accelerometer, and magnetometer sensors.
By detecting a 3D position which a user is looking at, the product will draw a more unblurred image around the position, giving the one a natural and immersive feeling even in the virtual reality space. It also enables users to enter characters via eye-tracking.
The company is expanding to the medical industry to help the physically challenged enter characters, or operate real objects in combination with other IoT (internet of things) devices.
- Japan’s eye-tracking HMD Fove wins SF Japan Night VII finals pitch competition
- Japan’s Fove unveils eye-tracking HMD, to avail prototype in 2015
Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by Kurt Hanson