ASTANA – Five Kazakh startups have won the opportunity to be flown to the Echelon Asia Summit in Singapore next month, after beating out nine other local competitors.
Fourteen startups from Kazakhstan pitched to judges including Christian Mischler, co-founder of HotelQuickly of Sydney; Hassan Haider, venture partner in 500 Startups of San Francisco; Jeffrey Paine, founding partner of Golden Gate Ventures, Singapore; and Thaddeus Koh, co-founder of e27, at the April 30 Echelon Kazakhstan qualifier event at KIMEP University in Almaty, e27 reported. A total of 38 startup businesses had applied to take part in the event. Of those, one was given first prize, three were selected as runners up and one won the People’s Choice award. All will take part in the June 23 – 24 event in Singapore, which bills itself as a presentation of the 100 best startups in Asia.
The five Kazakh startups that will travel to Singapore are EcoSocket, a smart socket that helps save energy; Avita, a cheap flights search service; Mikee, a search programme for online supermarkets; Replicon, which develops software and hardware for 3D-printers to produce bandages; and PicVpic, an online shopping mall for clothing, which won the People’s Choice award based on audience voting, Tengrinews and KIMEP reported.
Prior to the judging, the panel of judges took questions from the audience and offered advice to the young entrepreneurs, KIMEP’s website reported. Opening the event, Koh spoke about the importance of creating economic connections in Asia, KIMEP reported. Central Asia offers exciting new markets, he explained.
“Kazakhstan has a good base of technical talents in software and hardware skills needed to create world class startups. Thus, e27 is working with partners, such as Idea Lab and KIMEP University, to accelerate the startup process,” he said, according to the university. The region in general, he said, represents an exciting new market with great potential.
The Echelon Asia Summit, organised by the e27 resource platform for innovative businesses, brings startups and investors together from throughout the region to advance collaboration and innovation in Asia. In the coming weeks, Echelon Asia will announce the rest of the Top 100 startups that will compete to present in Singapore. These 100 startups will attend specialised trainings and workshops and have the opportunity to network with industry leaders from around the world. At the Echelon Summit in Singapore, the top 10 startups will pitch to international judges for a chance to win funding. Based on their final scores, several of Kazakhstan’s teams have a chance, Koh said.
E27 is working to establish Almaty as a hub for future technology and innovation summits in Central Asia, KIMEP said.