Accelerating Asia’s investment thesis is tech-agnostic: We invest in the best startups we can find, regardless of what technologies they use. Because of this approach, it’s always interesting when certain tech trends organically appear across our portfolio or in an individual cohort.
This phenomenon suggests that the given technology is reaching maturity in Asia Pacific: Startups are no longer just incorporating new tech for the sake of new tech, but actually finding ways to use these technologies to solve customer pain points, generate meaningful revenue, and impact lives.
One such pattern is evident in the seventh cohort of Accelerating Asia, which recently had a demo day for its 10 startups: Cocotel, Hishabee, Klink, Kooky, SafeTruck, Shoplinks, Easy Rice, HealthPro, BizB, and Ulisse. Three of those companies - Shoplinks, Easy Rice, and Ulisse - are using artificial intelligence in novel ways.
With the emergence of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, artificial intelligence has become practically synonymous with large language models (LLM). But as Shoplinks, Easy Rice, and Ulisse illustrate, AI-driven solutions can transform industries beyond those that revolve around text or code.
Here’s what they shared from demo day.
For the last ten years, Ulisse founder Luca Nestola had been working on physical space analytics and computer vision. Now he is combining both those domains in setting his sights on wasted commercial space in Asia, which costs enterprises US$1 trillion per year.
To address this problem, Ulisse has built what Nestola describes as the “most accurate, modular anonymous behavior analytics platform” based on both RADAR and LIDAR. This solution helps businesses across a wide range of industries, including retail, healthcare, warehousing, and real estate, optimize their space with data.
Based on analysis of its space, Ulisse recommended that Italian retailer Sergiorossi shrink its retail space from 150 to 25 square meters, which boosted profitability by a factor of 10. Built on successes like these, Ulisse now has 70,000 square meters in its coverage and a monthly recurring revenue of US$10k which it expects to rise to US$100k through a pending deal with a flagship client.
Watch Ulisse’s full demo day presentation here.
While rice is a staple food in many markets across Asia, few people are aware of the circuitous path it takes to our table. Easy Rice founder Phuvin Kongsawat may be one of the few people with a technology background who do understand this long value chain: He is a computer vision expert and was also a rice exporter in Thailand.
One critical part of this value chain is the quality control of rice, which is still painstakingly done by human hand. This process is crucial as up to 10% of exports are rejected by importers, which costs exporters US$36k per year and up to a week in additional operational time.
Easy Rice now provides two solutions: rice varieties recognition and milled rice quality control, which are offered in a software-as-a-service model to manufacturers and exporters at a rate of US$3,500 to US$4,500 per 9,000 transactions.
While Easy Rice has ambitious plans for a new solution that analyzes the nutritional content of rice, the company is already growing fast. Thanks to 339% year-on-year transaction growth and 66.97% user growth, the company has posted US$700,000 in revenue.
Watch Easy Rice’s full demo day presentation here.
Shoplinks is led by Teresa Condicion, who previously spent 17 years at P&G, where her last position was the Head of Retail Analytics, and co-founded Snapcart, which raised over US$20 million in funding.
Condicion described a common retailer problem: The brand promotes a product to a customer who was already planning to buy it. This kind of marketing is a waste of money and rooted in a lack of audience segmentation with data, which prevents tracking, analytics, and optimizations.
Shoplinks addresses this problem. The platform enables supermarkets to send personalized promotions to shoppers, paid for by sponsoring brands, to their WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger, or the retailer’s own app. Through machine learning that leverages historical data, Shoplinks can identify customers most likely to buy a particular brand who just need a small nudge in the form of an incentive to do so.
Thanks to this solution, Shoplinks helps both brands, who enjoy $3 dollar return for every one dollar invested, and retailers, who see gross margins jump by a factor of 10. Naturally, Shoplinks has already booked US$500k in revenue and expects to grow by 6x in 2024.
Watch the full demo day presentation of Shoplinks here.
Click here for the all demo day pitches
Accelerating Asia invests in startups with scalable technology solutions and revenue generating business models that combine purpose with profit.
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