3 up-and-coming Asian startups to keep an eye on

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It’s a crowded marketplace for startups, but there are quite a few companies who are doing something interesting. Hopeful startups battled it out in pitch sessions at the recent Echelon 2012 event in Singapore, hoping to walk away with the title of the top startup and a smattering of prizes. Builk, a niche social network for construction industry professionals, eventually came out on top, but some of the other finalists are just as innovative. Here are three startups working in the cloud storage sphere, developing HR solutions for businesses and streamlining consumer rewards.

PayrollHero

Echelon 2012 Singapore Finalists: PayrollHero

This payroll management software from the Philippines uses facial recognition to clock in employees, whether on — or off — site. A mood identifier feature encourages employees to smile when punching in, because a smile — whether forced or natural — still releases endorphins, brightens the mood and lowers blood pressure.

PayrollHero aims to eliminate “ghost employees, time stealers, time wasters and buddy punchers” from the workplace. Bundy clocks and paper time sheets will be eliminated, because employees can log in via the web or by their mobile devices. GPS location tags ensure the employees really are where they say they are.

Employees can also use PayrollHero to log sick leave, reducing HR work in tabulating attendance and finance responsibilities in computing payroll. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in the Philippines are using the closed beta, and they reported significant reduction in payroll processing for their 700 employees — from 16 days to a mere five minutes.

Dropmyemail

drop my email

If you’re one of those people who wants to keep your 10-year-old Yahoo emails safe, then this Singapore startup is for you. Dropmyemail is a cloud-based email backup service, which has done pretty well for itself so far — they registered over 520 000 new users within 50 days of the launch.

Dropmyemail is also useful if you’re migrating from one email provider to another — it backs up your emails, secures them in the cloud and takes a daily snapshot. If you permanently deleted an important message, you can restore the previous day’s copy to recover it. Signing up is as easy as signing in to your email account. All account passwords will be encrypted and Dropmyemail won’t have any access to them. The service, which is free for the first 500MB, lets you back up multiple accounts at the same time and costs US$9.99 yearly for 5GB and US$19.99 yearly for 10GB of storage. If you refer a friend to Dropmyemail, you get 2GB free storage for your efforts.

CEO and founder John Fearon said they are going to upgrade their security system to further encrypt passwords and secure the database. He also mentioned they’re working with Twitter to integrate message backups with Dropmyemail.

Perx

Echelon 2012 Singapore Finalists: Perx

This customer loyalty and rewards app from Singapore runs on Android and iOS and helps reduce the clutter of rewards cards from your wallets. Users can download the app, go to participating merchants (over 450 locations in Singapore), scan the merchant’s QR code and get their purchase stamps (chops) electronically.

Perx veers away from the daily deals program and focuses on specific merchants who are willing to (and are already) handing out rewards stamp cards to customers. Some merchants prefer giving out freebies to loyal customers rather than handing out huge discounts to bargain hunters. Doing away with printed cards is an added bonus.

The company provides analytics to its partner merchants, showing how much sales the programme generated for the store. Perx is working with point-of-sale providers on single-use receipt-printed QR codes to eliminate cash register queues. Perx will also introduce sponsored chops, where one merchant will give out an extra chop for another merchant. The second merchant pays for the sponsored chop, which in turn subsidizes the first merchant’s participation in the Perx program.

This article by Nick Puno originally appeared on Tech Wire Asia and was published with their consent.

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