Four startups from Vietnam, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Singapore are winners at Microsoft’s inaugural Emerge X Regional Pitching Competition in the Asia Pacific.
Abivin from Vietnam is an AI-powered platform that optimizes supply chains across multiple sectors by solving the vehicle routing problem. Lifetrack Medical Systems in the Philippines and Singapore is a cloud-based platform that provides affordable access to medical imaging in emerging markets. Agrithmics from Sri Lanka is a cloud-based solution that enriches the agri-industry by digitizing the farm to factory supply chain and connecting farmers and buyers. Milky Way Al from Singapore is an AI-powered smart retail solution leveraging image recognition technology to help retailers manage shelf inventory and maximize sales.
“For the Asia Pacific to remain at the forefront of global transformation, it takes disruptors, visionaries, and futurists. There are no limits to what people can achieve when the world and technology reflect the diversity of everyone who uses it. This is why at Microsoft, we build technology so that others can create technology, and to be successful, we all need to come together,” said Andrea Della Mattea, President, Microsoft Asia Pacific. “Through the Highway to a 100 Unicorns and our Emerge X program, we aim to help startups on the road to innovation, where they can meet unarticulated needs of the industry and help businesses become resilient.”
“The world is changing, and we have already stepped into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Hence, it has become important to nurture and grow innovative startups, especially in emerging markets like Bangladesh,” said Afif Mohamed Ali, Country Managing Director, Microsoft Bangladesh. “These startups have the power to transform the nation and help it achieve the vision of Digital Bangladesh at a faster rate. I would like to congratulate all the Emerge X startups who have participated in the competition, especially the ones from Bangladesh. They all have shown immense resilience during the pandemic and are in the middle of turning to newer business channels by harnessing the power of technology. We are looking forward to nurturing all of them for a better tomorrow.”
The Emerge X Program is part of Microsoft’s Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative, which was launched in the Asia Pacific in October 2020 after overwhelming success in India. Microsoft engaged with more than 70 prominent startup ecosystem players and governments across 16 countries, who then nominated more than 300 of their most promising for the program.
The 16 countries engaged in the program are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
79 startups were selected to join the Microsoft Emerge X program, including Alice Labs, Loop, PriyoShop, and Sigmind.ai from Bangladesh. As an Emerge X startup, they will participate in a year-long mentorship program with Microsoft for Startups, which is designed to help them scale and accelerate their growth. They will also receive GitHub and Azure credits, have the opportunity to attend a Founder Bootcamp for 3 days, gain access to enterprise clients globally through Microsoft’s unique co-sell program, and interact with Microsoft experts and industry stalwarts.
Of these, 21 of the Emerge X startups pitched their ideas at the Emerge X Regional Pitching Competition, held at the Philippine Startup Week 2020, with Abivin, Lifetrack Medical Systems, Agrithmics, and Milky Way AI identified as the top startups in the whole region. They were selected by a jury of leading investors and startup ecosystem leaders, including investors from BOV Capital, Cradle, Monk’s Hill Ventures, Movac, M12, SBK Tech Ventures, Sequoia, Vista Consulting Group, and 54i Ventures, and ecosystem leaders from GitHub and Target Accelerator.
“Congratulations to all the Emerge X startups from Southeast Asia who pitched their ideas at the Microsoft Emerge X Regional Pitching Competition in APAC,” said Sook Hoon Cheah, General Manager, South East Asia New Markets, Microsoft Asia Pacific. “Emerge X aims to engage with high-potential startups to bring them recognition across the region and help them achieve their scaling goals.”
Microsoft’s Highway to a 100 Unicorns Regional APAC Event was held at Singapore Week of Innovation & Technology (SWITCH) 2020 on December 9th, 2020. At the session, industry leaders from Microsoft and their partners discussed the opportunities ahead and how to manage the challenges startups could face in APAC. The top four Emerge X startups also shared their founding stories and how they have leveraged technology to solve some of the key challenges faced by business owners across different industry sectors.
“We are happy that Microsoft has chosen to launch its inaugural Highway to a 100 Unicorns Regional APAC Event in Singapore,” said Peter Ong, Chairman of Enterprise Singapore. “Culminating at SWITCH after its mentorship program and pitching competition, we see great synergies in bringing together the region’s most innovative and ambitious startups to network with our diverse line-up of speakers and participants. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Microsoft to provide a vibrant and conducive ecosystem for the development of innovative startups.”