November 27, 2020 –Microsoft launched the first ever Emerge X regional pitch competition in the Asia Pacific region at the PH Startup Week 2020 virtual conference last November 25.
The pitching competition is part of the ‘Highway to 100 Unicorns’ initiative spearheaded by Microsoft for Startups which was expanded to the Asia Pacific region just this year after the program’s initial success in India.
“Microsoft is proud to have launched the ‘Highway to a 100 Unicorns’ program in the Philippines and 15 other countries in the Asia Pacific region. We spoke to prominent investors, accelerators and ecosystem players in each of the countries and they sent us 300+ nominations of the top startups in their region. We selected 80 of the most promising startups to join the Emerge X cohort and 21 startups presented at Philippine Startup Week and were judged by a jury of renowned investors and ecosystem leaders,” said Microsoft Philippines COO Abid Zaidi.
From the more than 300 nominated startups, 21 were chosen to represent. The startups selected to participate in the competition are as follows:
- Agiliux under Soft Solvers Solutions (Malaysia)
- Konvergen AI (Indonesia)
- SurveySensum under NeuroSensum (Indonesia)
- Milky Way AI (Singapore)
- Ztrus (Thailand)
- ABIVIN (Vietnam)
- Tookitaki (Singapore)
- Lifetrack Medical Systems (Singapore)
- Packetworx (Philippines)
- Ricult (Thailand)
- ALICE Labs (Bangladesh)
- Priyoshop (Bangladesh)
- FahiPay (Maldives)
- Village Link (Myanmar)
- Better HR (Myanmar)
- Roar Global (Sri Lanka)
- Agrithmics (Sri Lanka)
- The Secured ID (Nepal)
- Peth Yoeung (Cambodia)
- Projectworks (New Zealand)
- Druk Ride (Bhutan)
The pitching competition was moderated by Emily Rich, Microsoft for Startups for ANZ and Southeast Asia and Lathika Pai, Microsoft for Startups India and SAARC Country Head. The panel of judges included: Vista Consulting Group Managing Director for APAC Bala Girisaballa; Monk’s Hill Ventures Investment Associate Eunice Wong; Sequoia Principal Pieter Kemps; and GitHub India Country Manager Maneesh Sharma.
Each contestant was given six minutes to introduce their company and present their innovations to the panel plus additional time to answer questions from the judges. The startups showcased a variety of new solutions which utilized emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, augmented reality and IoT.
The participants of the Emerge X competition come from diverse industries including agriculture, transportation, human resources, e-commerce and logistics. Notable fintech pitchers were Singapore’s Tookitaki and the Maldives’ FahiPay.
Tookitaki provides a powerful, end-to-end anti-money laundering solution that utilizes big data, machine learning and smart applications to augment legacy systems, improving efficiency and efficacy while reducing false alerts.
FahiPay is an all-in-one e-wallet and digital payment platform that provides secure cashless transactions for the largely geographically dispersed population of Maldives.
As the Philippines’ sole finalist for Emerge X, Packetworx vied for a podium finish as the pioneering provider of long-range, wide-area network IoT technology which the company supplies to IoT solutions developers in the country.
The pitch competition sought to highlight the potential of the regional startup scene and serve as a way for Microsoft and its partner organizations to help mentor the most promising startups and provide much needed exposure to potential investors and business connections in an attempt to “spur innovative entrepreneurship” in the region.
In her opening remarks, Pai commented: “Emerge X is a program that Microsoft for Startups has brought to these countries where we engage with high-potential startups and we make sure that we help these startups achieve great heights by leveraging the Microsoft platform not just in terms of technology but also taking [them] to our clients globally.”
According to Microsoft, participating startups in the Emerge X competition will be awarded free GitHub and Microsoft Azure credits as well as focused workshops. Three finalists from each country which will be announced this month will also receive a one-year mentorship with technical and business deep dives which would include a three-day Founder Bootcamp and access to enterprise clients from around the world through Microsoft’s co-sell program.
“We at Microsoft Philippines strongly believe in the potential of the local ecosystem to disrupt industries and enable economic growth–especially in the FinTech space. We’re proud to partner with fellow ecosystem enablers QBO, DOST, DICT, DTI as well as organizations like BitPinas in growing the startup space together,” added Zaidi.
The winners of this year’s Emerge X regional pitching competition will be announced on December 2, 2020 via the Philippine Startup Week’s official Facebook page.