Made in Asia: The SaaS Startups disrupting Asian business12 min read

Asia SaaS Startups

Tech is having a moment in Asia, and the SaaS space has not been spared in that momentum. There is no better indicator of that than the number of startups that are quickly gaining traction and solving some thorny business problems for companies in the region and beyond. In other words, there is no shortage of Asian SaaS startups disrupting business. From allowing a better handle on complex construction projects or retaining great talent, through aiding the management of medical devices or delivery logistics, all the way to disrupting business banking or company credit scores, these 16 startups are already leaving their impact on Asian and global business in a big way.

We will welcome some of them to our Startup program, tailored especially for SaaS startups. We will run the 1-day program on May 14th, the day before the official SaaStock Asia conference kicks off. The Startup day will offer mentoring, coaching, pitch practice, a masterclass and many other essentials to the success of any SaaS startup.

If you are a startup looking to gain more traction and growth, you can still apply for the Startup Program until midnight April 28th. Don’t hold back, this is a rare opportunity.

Neat

Elevator pitch: Nested in Hong Kong, Neat provides banking services and products to SMEs. The startup aims to take away the obstacles SMEs face in dealing with financial institutions: the paperwork, bureaucracy and long waiting times. Unlike financial institutions, Neat is focused on user experience and engaging with the community every step of the way. Neat is open for business worldwide and to date has customers in 100 countries as account holders don’t need to be resident in, or incorporated in Hong Kong, to qualify for the service.

Why we like it: Banking is a nightmare anywhere in the world, but Asia is particularly tricky for that. The likes of Monzo, Revolut, etc. are proving to be great models for personal banking and we are impressed that Neat is taking things a step further bringing it to SMEs.

Founders: David Rosa, Igor Wos
Founded: 2015
Based in: Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island
Funding to Date: $5M

Builk

Elevator pitch: Builk is a big data service targeting the construction industry, offering a business management software solution. Companies use it to manage their projects, covering aspects such as budgeting, job costing, purchasing, invoicing and site collaboration. The data derived from these initiatives helps its customers better understand the industry.

Why we like it: Tackling the construction industry successfully is no easy feat. What Builk has done is to essentially create a Salesforce-like solution, which not only eases the management of these tedious projects but also extracts valuable data so that everyone can better understand the industry.

Founders: Patai Padungtin, Pongsawat Krishnamra, Teeraboon Ariyasuthiwong
Founded: 2009
Based in: Bangkok, Thailand
Funding to Date: Undisclosed

Pickupp

Elevator pitch: Pickupp is a logistics tech platform that offers efficient, dynamic, low-cost solutions for merchants that have delivery needs. On the outset, Pickupp may appear as a regular delivery service, yet, its uniqueness lies in the highly optimized batching & chaining technology that allows flexibility as if the fleet belonged to merchants. Their flexible delivery window and scheduling feature for routine deliveries and sporadic demand spikes have already assisted 7,000+ online and offline retailers to delight their customers with same-day delivery.

Why we like it: The model which Pickupp uses (utilizing the time of people with free time), takes the sharing economy to a whole new level, using one of humankind’s most precious assets – time, thus solving a thorny problem in the logistics space.

Founders: An Nguyen, Crystal Pang, Eric San, Paco Chan
Founded: 2016
Based in: Hong Kong
Funding to Date: Undisclosed

SelfDrvn

Elevator pitch: Employee engagement holds the power to transform organizations, boost team productivity, incentivize innovation, retain talent, and ultimately drive profitability. But only when applied correctly. SelfDrvn helps companies keep employees engaged with an integrative and intuitive SaaS platform which encourages talent recognition and rewards positive behavior and achievement with appreciation badges, points, and levels. It also uses gamification to allow an effective feedback system to help build trust, cultivate leadership, and include the team in decisions.

Why we like it: Employee engagement is something every company in the world struggles with. We have certainly learned that it’s not perks like ping pong tables or free beer happy hours that contribute to the happiness of people. It’s something more elusive and harder to grasp. Through their data-driven approach, SelfDrvn seem to have a much saner approach to it.

Founders: An Nguyen, Crystal Pang, Eric San, Paco Chan
Founded: 2015
Based in: Singapore
Funding to Date: $2M

Techpacker

Elevator pitch: Techpacker is a web application that enables fashion designers and factories to work together proficiently. The application allows designers to sketch out their prototypes, or tech packs as they are known in fashion, and send them out for manufacturing in a short period.

Why we like it: Any company that figures out a much more tailored (pun intended) way for businesses to do their documentation instead of using Excel is a winner in our book. Giving specifications for any form of creative work, including fashion, so that an idea can be turned into a product is complex, and we like that Techpacker are nailing it in fashion and working with some pretty notable fashion brands.

Founders: Josie Tam, Saral Kochar, Sayam Kochar
Founded: 2013
Based in: Hong Kong
Funding to Date: $41.3K

GROM

Elevator pitch: GROM is a B2B workflow solution for medical devices. GROM connects clinicians who prescribe medical devices with their producers through an augmented reality-powered iOS, Android, and web platform. With instant access to their orders and integrated messaging, clinicians spend less time on logistics while focusing on (future) patients.

Why we like it: Medical technology has long focused solely on the creation of medical devices. However, for innovation to have its real impact, the minutiae details also need time and attention. While it’s not the most glamorous side of things, the effect is enormous.

Founders: Ivan Yeung, Koen Munneke
Founded: 2016
Based in: Hong Kong
Funding to Date: $345K

Saleswhale

Elevator pitch: Saleswhale wants to make sure you never waste a marketing lead ever again. It’s AI sales assistant engages and qualifies marketing-generated leads at scale, through two-way intelligent email conversations, before handing over qualified leads to sales reps. It tirelessly follows up, engages and qualifies leads, and includes handling requests for information and referrals.

Why we like it: Aside from the brilliant creative brand that Saleswhale have created, we will always have a soft spot for SaaS platforms that enable employees to focus on more creative and meaningful work, while taking away the tedious tasks. It’s no wonder they have just closed a new funding round and are moving to a new office.

Founders: Gabriel Lim, Le Duc Toan Ethan, Venus Wong
Founded: 2015
Based in: Singapore
Funding to Date: $6.6M

EventXtra

Elevator pitch: EventXtra empowers event organizers to deliver events by creating software and hardware solutions. It connects people, generates experiences, and facilitates knowledge exchange. Clients include Apple, Yahoo, Alibaba, InvestHK, WebSummit, and TEDx. The platform integrates a registration form, email and SMS, check-in app, CRM, and lead retrieval. EventXtra has won a couple of awards for their product, including MOB-EX-Best Direct Response Campaign and Best Social App for 2012.

Why we like it: We know all too well how difficult running an event is and have had our fair share of glitches caused by the tech stack we chose to use. Judging by the roster of events EventXtra have, they certainly are doing something right. We always get particularly excited to see that in the event industry.

Founders: Angus Luk, Sum Wong
Founded: 2013
Based in: Hong Kong
Funding to Date: Undisclosed

Dropee

Elevator pitch: Dropee is a B2B marketplace that aims to connect retailers to wholesalers, manufacturers, and principals in a secure, easy, and efficient way. It does so to create meaningful relationships between businesses to buy and sell more transparently and conveniently. Its B2B eProcurement marketplace maximizes value for large enterprises within their supply chain ecosystems and helps thousands of companies to source the right items.

Why we like it: The interaction between retailers and wholesalers is a complicated one and still involves too much pen and paper. What we loved in Dropee’s story is that the product was born from close observation of the industry, which also drove the founders to pivot once they saw that their initial idea to drop-deliver wasn’t going to be sustainable enough for B2B growth.

Founders: Lennise Ng, Aizat Rahim,
Founded: 2017
Based in: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Funding to Date: $564K

Travelstop

Elevator pitch: Travelstop is an AI-powered SaaS platform, which simplifies business travel and automates the expense management for high growth companies in Asia. Travelstop offers 3 core product features: Travel, Expenses, and Insights— integrated to provide a seamless experience. Travelstop has more than 800+ Airlines & 500K+ hotels on its platform and supports most of the Asian currencies and languages. 

Why we like it: We like that Travelstop has focused on crafting a simple and familiar user interface that is user-friendly to people every step of the way. We are also impressed by how they have managed to make it relevant for the entire Asian continent.

Founders: Prashant Kirtane
Founded: 2018
Based in: Singapore
Funding to Date: $1.2M

Chain of Demand

Elevator pitch: Chain of Demand uses AI and big data to track and predict sales demand for fashion brands. Their intuitive dashboard highlights winning products and drives purchase optimization to reduce inventory risk, positively impacts markdowns and increases overall cash flow.

Why we like it: Chain of Demand epitomizes the Jack Ma term “New retail” or the integration of online and offline resources to revolutionize the retail experience. A traditional supply chain’s reaction time to replenishment can be as long as 19 weeks, and if the wrong inventory level is chosen, this can have some serious impact on the bottom line. Chain of Demand solves this with a particularly smart application of AI.

Founders: AJ Mak
Founded: 2017
Based in: Hong Kong
Funding to Date: Undisclosed

Urbanhire

Elevator pitch: Urbanhire believes hiring can be more efficient than it currently is, so they are on a mission to help companies get the best talent. Urbanhire’s platform injects values like technological excellence, collaboration, and people empowerment to design a recruiting software that works in the new economy.

Why we like it: Urbanhire is bringing the same recruitment revolution to Asia that we are seeing everywhere else – companies hiring Millenials in the right way. With their lack of belief in boring and transactional job posts, Urbanhire has created a powerful, easy-to-use, SaaS platform that hands back control to the companies and allows for sharing of jobs everywhere. That can only mean great business for Asia.

Founders: Benson Kawengian, Hengki Sihombing, Jepri Sinaga
Founded: 2016
Based in: Jakarta, Indonesia
Funding to Date: Undisclosed

Creden.co

Elevator pitch: Creden.co provides online authentication using eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer) and electronic signature. It also provides online credit scoring by analyzing multiple sources of data from social media and government agencies such as the Business Development Department to provide accurate results for financial loans for individual customers or corporations. With blockchain technology and the power of big data analytics, their credit scoring system has the capacity to offer a variety of future applications.

Why we like it: From the outset, Creden.co appears as mainly an online authentication and electronic signature platform. However, they have managed to do some pretty exciting things with the credit scoring part of the product such as allowing voters to check the ties between political candidates who were running for election at the recent General elections that Thailand held in March and business.

Founders: Pawoot Pongvitayapanu
Founded: 2018
Based in: Bangkok, Thailand
Funding to Date: Undisclosed

Ematic

Elevator pitch: Ematic provides email marketing solutions, harnessesing the power of predictive AI and automated optimization to help brands unlock massive revenue gains while turning email into their most profitable marketing channel. Hundreds of customers have achieved exceptional results using their product – including some of the world’s most beloved brands in beauty, eCommerce, fashion, hospitality, travel, and tech.

Why we like it: Ematic addresses the fundamental challenges associated with digital marketing in Southeast Asia. It does so by building something which is fundamentally fit for the geography, rather than implementing best practices from other regions, which would not work.

Founders: Jelenko Sobot, Paul Tenney
Founded: 2012
Based in: Singapore
Funding to Date: $7.1M

Lanturn

Elevator pitch: A spin-out from software maker Zave, Lanturn looks after accounting, compliance, payroll, and tax using both powerful AI and human capital. Their technology produces spot-on accounts, stores essential documents securely, and allows constant communication. The days of long email threads, lost documents, and literal paper trails are over.

Why we like it: Nobody starts a business to wrestle with annual returns, opening bank accounts, nominee directors and employment passes, yet it is a significant consumer of time for founders. After tackling this only with technology, Zeva figured it needs humans too, and Lanturn was spun out assembling an experienced team of corporate secretaries and accountants. We love a touch of human contribution when it comes to SaaS.  

Founders: Alan Schmoll
Founded: 2017
Based in: Singapore
Funding to Date: Undisclosed

Wisible

Elevator pitch: Wisible is a Next Generation CRM with Built-in Smart Assistant that helps B2B organizations increase win rates, shorten sales cycles and improve forecast accuracy. Wisible delivers business insight along with the recommendation of the next best action, personalized by role like identifying deals at risk that need immediate action or notify Reps that they are unlikely to achieve this month’s quota and recommend the action they should take with the ability to proceed in one click.

Why we like it: The newbie on the list, Wisible is only just beginning their SaaS entrepreneurial journey. Yet they already get the point of just how important it is for sales leaders to have a clear and complete picture. Their approach relies on leveraging machine learning to help manage opportunities based on data, rather than assumptions. They already have handy integration with tools like Gsuite Business Email, Line Chat, Phone, ERP in place to capture all interactions between sales and customers without requiring manual data entry is very handy.

Founders: Saroj Ativitavas, Chart Apichart, Tanapoom Danmanee
Founded: 2019
Based in: Bangkok, Thailand
Funding to Date: $242K

You can meet these great SaaS startups and many other great Asian SaaS companies at SaaStock Asia on May 14-15 in Hong Kong. Grab a ticket now. If you are a startup, apply for our Startup Program before April 28th.

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