A brief exploration of Echelon Asia 2018

Main photo provided courtesy of Leakhena Long

On 28 and 29 June, e27 hosted its annual edition of Echelon Asia in Singapore. Our team was invited to this major Asia tech event gathering over 6,000 ecosystem stakeholders representing more than 20 countries in the region. Although we could only attend a small part of it, we thought we’d share our ‘sneak peek’ take away from the event.

The event, launched in 2009 and now in its ninth edition, was designed with the objective to be completely start-up centric. As such it features two main stages; the Founders Stage and the Future Stage; start-up focused workshops, start-up and investors match-making sessions and even some ‘start-ups hiring pavilions’ designed to connect hiring start-ups and local talent.

One of our Innovation Fund portfolio start-ups was among the exhibitors at the conference. Joonaak is a Cambodia-based delivery service providing logistics for micro and small e-commerce businesses. The start-up, which recently received funding from one of Cambodia’s leading mobile operators, Smart Axiata, through their corporate venture capital arm SADIF, was invited to showcase their service as part of the Cambodia delegation.

Leakhena Long (Co-founder of Joonaak) & Kaung Sitt (GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator)

A highlight of Echelon Asia each year is the ‘Top 100 Pitches’ track which this year gathered more than 150 start-ups from the region, selected from among more than 600 online applications. Over the two days, these start-ups had been pitching their solutions and services to the jury on the now famous ‘Fight Club Startup Pitch’ stage with the ambition to receive the Echelon Most Promising Startup Award.

Singapore-based TreeDots, an online outlet mall providing an end-to-end solution to eliminate the problem of food wastage in the city-state, ended up winning the jury’s preference.

The runner-up was no other than one of our portfolio start-ups; Myanmar-based Kargo. Kargo is an online marketplace that connects truck owners with businesses and individuals for efficient and reliable logistics and delivery solutions. The start-up was also awarded best start-up in the ‘Logistics & Supply Chain’ category.

The two startups received SGD50,000 (USD $37,000) each in grants from Startup SG.

We wanted to end this short blog by congratulating the team of e27 and thanking them for inviting us to join this energising event. See you next year!

The Ecosystem Accelerator programme is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Australian Government, the GSMA and its members.