They came, they pitched, they presented, they won.
They are the 4 winning teams who just slogged through 54 hours non-stop over the weekend of July 17th to 19th at the recently concluded Startup Weekend Asia-America held at Block71 San Francisco. In line with the theme, the venue was chosen because of its history – a collaborative initiative between three iconic Singapore organizations – NUS Enterprise, Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL) and Singtel Innov8, as well as its mission to connect entrepreneurs from both Asia and America.
The crowd favorite is OFF/Packers, a travel platform that promises to connect local guides with travelers who are travelling to an unfamiliar place. Hoping to capitalize on the on-demand trend, OFF/Packers specializes in on-demand guides for nature and outdoor experiences.
Coming in 3rd place, Givfolio aims to solve the huge paperwork and bureaucratic burden surrounding dollar-for-dollar matching corporate donation programs through an app that manages the employee’s donations and automates the reporting on the corporate side. The brainchild of an ex-Disney employee who experienced the problem herself, Givfolio can potentially help employees and charities take full advantage of the donation budget set aside by companies.
First runner-up is Seeker, a platform built on top of LinkedIn that solves the biggest headache of recruiters – how do we know when a person is open and looking for new opportunities in their career? Through monitoring changes in a person’s LinkedIn profile, Seeker hopes to identify active and passive job seekers and provide this information to HR recruiters.
And finally, the winner of Startup Weekend Asia-America goes to Food to Fame. The team beat out 11 other teams to clinch the top prize of a Startup Exhibition Alley booth at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015 worth $1995, among other prizes worth a total of $6000. Food to Fame aims to help food brands market their products through Instagram influencers, helping influencers monetize their social value at the same time.
Team leader, Sylvia Look, was pleasantly surprised to know that her team won. The National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate currently on NUS’s Overseas College Silicon Valley (NCSV) program competed against teams with experienced working professionals, some of whom work in the Bay Area’s top tech companies.
It was a close call, as the point difference between the 3 winning teams were just fractions of a point from each other. The event certainly saw a lot of well-thought-out ideas and the coaches who attended commented on the high quality of work they saw this weekend.
While not everybody won prizes, everyone certainly got something out of the event. Some made new friends from a new country. OFF/Packers truly lived up to the spirit of the event as a multi-national team made up of members from Brazil, Switzerland, Austria and America. Connections with Venture Capital (VC) firms were made and the VCs got to know about some interesting startups. Last, but not least, everyone had fun!
TechCrunch is a platinum sponsor of Startup Weekend Asia-America. For more information on tickets to TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015, click here.
With an acceptance rate of a dismal 1 percent, getting into 500 Startups’ accelerator program is definitely not easy. To put that number into perspective, Stanford’s fall 2012 acceptance rate is a more encouraging 6.6 percent.
Now, to work on a bitcoin startup and get accepted into the prestigious accelerator program, that is even more challenging.
So how did CoinPip, a bitcoin wallet service and payment solution for merchants in Asia started in January 2014, get accepted into 500 Startups Batch 11?
Back in 2010, the seeds of CoinPip were already planted when Ben Bernanke announced Quantitative Easing (QE) infinity. Anson Zeall, now founder of CoinPip, was then a successful hedge fund manager returning 35% P.A. for investors. He thought it was time for something else when he heard the news. A friend of his then introduced him to bitcoin and he jumped in.
Within a short span of 1 year, the company has expanded operations quickly into neighbouring countries – Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines and even the USA. However, not all was easy and smooth sailing. In mid 2014, the company was running out of money. Around this time, a group of startups in Singapore, together with CoinPip, started the Association of Cryptocurrency Enterprises and Startups Singapore (ACCESS). This caught the attention of Sean Percival – venture partner at 500 Startups and the road to securing their seed funding began.
The first secret is – Do something big and bold to show your belief
This coming Friday, 17th July, Anson Zeall will be sharing with participants of Startup Weekend Asia-America in person, his personal story of overcoming all obstacles to finally building a company in the Bitcoin space that spans across countries in Asia and America.
See you there!
Startup Weekend Asia-America
July 17th-19th, 2015