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All posts by Tech In Asia

  • 6 startups scaling up in India

    Startups that operate in important sectors such as healthcare, analytics, and small business lending found funding today. And then there was news of an investment by industry honcho Ratan Tata. Here are the six on our list today: UrbanClap Local services marketplace UrbanClap has just found an investor in industrialist Ratan Tata, who has put in money in his personal capacity, the company said in a statement. UrbanClap is a marketplace for hiring professionals for local services such as plumbing, yoga training, tutoring and wedding photography. It provides over 80 services and operates in NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, and Hyderabad. The...

  • 5 startups to watch in China in 2016

    It sometimes feels like China’s tech scene is dominated by giant companies. Tencent, Baidu, Xiaomi and the like are behemoth, multi-billion dollar enterprises. It’s easy to forget that five years ago Xiaomi was secretly prepping to launch its first phone. In that spirit, we examined five companies that caught our eye in 2015 – and which might turn some heads in 2016. Dianrong: because China’s small-business lending sector was a complete mess Peer-to-peer lending services exploded in China in 2015 – and no company embodied this trend better than Dianrong. Launched in 2012, the Shanghai-based company focuses on personal and small...

  • 20 startups from Asia that failed in 2015 and lessons learned

    2015 was a hot year for some startups in Asia. Venture capital flowed into China, India and South Korea in previously unheard of amounts. Southeast Asia saw a record exit with iProperty Group’s US$534million acquisition. Yet raising gargantuan rounds of financing is no guarantee for future success, and it’s in the risky nature of entrepreneurship that some companies emerge as winners while others bite the dust. Here are 20 startups from Asia that were forced to shut down this year. We clustered them by country and in no particular order. These 20 are by no means the only ones to cease operations...

  • Here are 4 books every startup founder should read

    To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be able to juggle several hats at the same time. Identifying a problem and developing a scalable solution is the easy bit. Your initial days as a founder may be spent coding and refining the technical architecture, but then comes a concerted effort on streamlining operations, drumming up sales, and executing a marketing strategy. In an ideal scenario, founders already have experience in what it takes to build a company. They might have worked different jobs in the past or have a fancy college degree which will, at the very least, point...

  • When do startups stop being startups?

    At Tech in Asia we often come across well-funded companies that have been in existence for a number of years, but began as a startup. Personally, I used to think the term “startup” simply referred to an immature technology business, or a small company starting out on their journey to success. But flying in the face of this logic are world-renowned entities like Xiaomi, Didi Kuaidi, and US companies Airbnb and Uber. They’ve all been referred to as startups, but at some point they clearly managed to graduate to fully-fledged giants. Surely there must be some way we can distinguish...

  • Uber starts testing first-ever cash payments in India

    Ride-hailing company Uber this week announced it will offer cash payments for Indian customers looking to hail a car, as part of a pilot program in Hyderabad. The move marks a global first for the company. Prior to the Hyderabad pilot, Uber has steadfastly avoided accepting cash for its car services. While riders could pay for trips using bank notes on UberAuto, the company’s India-only auto-rickshaw service, it ceased to accept cash for any of its car-oriented tiers -- both in Asia and elsewhere. Uber’s distaste for cash likely stems from two reasons. First, Uber can’t easily enforce percentage-based commissions on...

  • Y Combinator’s Kevin Hale: what toilets can teach us about user experience

    There’s this joke about a super drunk guy at a bar called Larry. He realizes he has to poop. The bartender tells him where the washroom is, and off he goes. Larry lets out a scream from behind closed doors. Seconds later, he lets another one out. The bartender rushes into the toilet, bangs on the door, and asks what’s going on. “You’re scaring customers,” he says. “I don’t know. Every time I flush, something comes up and squeezes my nuts,” says Larry, grimacing. The bartender comes in, and realises Larry is sh****ng into the mop bucket. Kevin Hale told this story...

  • Uber continues to adapt, launches rickshaw on-demand feature in India

    Uber has just announced another India-first: UberAuto. Uber app users in Delhi, India’s capital city, can now hail auto rickshaws within the app and pay for the ride in cash. For now, UberAuto is a cash-only-service, and this too is an India-first – in no other country does Uber enable cash payments. Uber has thus come a long way since its arrival in India with luxury sedans, UberBlack. Compact cars followed with UberX, and then hatchbacks with UberGo. Now we have three-wheelers in UberAuto, as the US-based company adapts to India’s value-conscious mass market. Uber’s homegrown rival Ola, which just raised...

  • Here’s why fintech startups are paving the way to gold

    Fintech is on fire. Better, it’s white hot. According to an oft-cited study released by Accenture, global investment in financial technology ventures tripled from US$928-million to US$2.97-billion between 2008 and 2013. This figure is expected to snowball to a whopping US$6 to 8 billion by 2018. To put this within the context of the wider investment landscape, in the three years leading up to 2013, global investment in fintech grew more than four times faster than venture capital investment overall. Here’s a quick lowdown on fintech or “financial technology” for those of us newer to the scene: broadly speaking, it describes...

  • 10 exciting startups from Israel you should watch out for 2015

    Of the thousands of Israeli startups vying to become global businesses, only a small percentage of them will make it to the big leagues. Everyone wants to bet big on the next Waze, Wix, or Outbrain. So which ones are on the verge of greatness? Here are some up-and-coming Israeli startups that I believe you should watch closely in 2015. StoreDot Storedot is developing quantum dot-utilizing fast-charging smartphone battery technology, among other things. A few months ago they revealed a prototype device that fully charged the phone within 30 seconds. The startup recently raised a monster US$42 million series B funding round. PlayBuzz Playbuzz...