Philippine health startup mClinica wins this year’s HackOsaka Award

PhilippinesHackOsaka 2015, held earlier this month in Osaka, featured a pitch contest where 10 startups pitched their services and products. The event was hosted by Osaka Innovation Hub (OIH) and Osaka Economic Strategy Bureau. I would like to introduce prize winners and other presenting startups. mClinica CEO Frouk Meralli is originally from Canada but now based out Manila, the Philippines.

Singapore startup Skoolbo out to boost education for millions worldwide

SingaporeSINGAPORE startup Skoolbo said its game-based education platform, which runs on Microsoft Corp’s Azure PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) offering, has reached more than five million students in 22,000 schools globally over the past 12 months. Skoolbo aims to improve learning experiences, particularly in English and Mathematics, among children aged four to 10, Microsoft said in a statement.

Budget 2015 should focus on digital literacy, mobile internet penetration: Kenny Ye, UCWeb India

IndiaThe IT industry has high expectations from Budget 2015-16 in terms of attention and budget allocation. “We expect PM Modi government’s first complete Union Budget to outline the policy and regulatory framework to aid business sentiments and bolster growth,” says Kenny Ye, MD of UCWeb India. He says he hopes the new government is able to provide adequate thrust to investments in IT and its infrastructure, which could in turn act as an impetus to the the government’s Digital India mission.

Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists hail venture debt initiative

SingaporeSINGAPORE – Investment in the Singapore startup ecosystem proposed for Budget 2015 were welcomed by entrepreneurs and venture capitalists (VCs) here, even as concerns over their limitation in scope and challenges in implementation lingered. The new venture debt programme – where the government will provide 50 per cent risk-sharing with banks to fund companies with “minimal collateral” – was one of the more monumental initiatives unveiled on Monday, according to those BT spoke to.

500 Startups launches $15M microfund for South Korea, calls it 500 Kimchi

Korea500 Startups today announced the launch of its latest microfund, 500 Kimchi. The US$15 million fund will target early stage startups in South Korea’s mobile space. Tim Chae, former entrepreneur in residence at 500 Startups and a K-Pop instructor, takes the helm as 500 Kimchi’s investing partner. The announcement says a new office will be set up in Seoul soon.

Jakarta’s Smart City app ready to partner with local tech startups

IndonesiaJakarta is a megacity with a bad rep for underserving its inhabitants. Regular floods, fires, record-breaking traffic gridlocks, and pollution make life in Indonesia’s capital a daily stress test. But the tide is slowly turning as Jakarta’s government, now under the leadership of governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, is discovering how to make communication technology work in its favor.

Singapore govt pushes venture debt financing for startups, M&As, skills education

SingaporeSingapore has announced new measures to invest in innovation and modernize its economy. Finance minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam mentioned in his Budget speech on February 23 that the government has added “advanced robotics” and “additive manufacturing” – 3D printing in other words – to a list of areas Singapore should be a leader in. To support its ambition, it is starting a SkillsFuture program that will finance every Singaporean’s pursuit of new skills.

Singapore space startup Astroscale raises $7.7M series A round

SingaporeAstroscale, a Singapore-based startup developing satellites to remove space debris from Earth’s orbit, has raised a US$7.7 million series A round, it announced last week. Founded by Japanese entrepreneur Mitsunobu Okada, the company’s new round also consists of investors who are heavyweights in the Japanese tech industry.

Professor Bao Chau nurtures Vietnamese young talent

VietnamThe building that houses the club located at BT 41 villas, waterfront Nam Tuan Chau. Villa was a gift from Dao Hong Tuyen – Chairman Tuan Chau, which was donated with the understanding it would be used for the club and other community uses. Professor Ngo Bao Chau’s hope is that it will develop into a place for young scientists to interact with leading national and international scientists. At the same time, he wants it to become a place where students can learn to flap their wings and fly.

Microsoft Innovation Center will assist tech start-ups

ThailandMicrosoft Corporation, the world’s largest software maker, has joined with the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) to open an innovation centre for tech business start-up entrepreneurs under the government’s digital economy policy.  “Building up new-tech start-up firms that create innovative products and services is a critical factor for Thais,” NSTDA president Thaweesak Koanantakoolsaid yesterday.

Budget 2015: IT-ITeS industry seeks clarity on Rs 10,000-crore startup fund

IndiaHYDERABAD: The local IT and ITeS industry has sought more clarity on the Rs 10,000-crore startup initiative announced by the Centre in last Budget. The industry here is also keen on tapping the potential of ‘Make in India’ initiative. “Hyderabad is very well positioned for the ‘Make in India’ initiative as the city has a strong presence in defence and aerospace besides pharma & lifesciences,” said Ramesh Loganathan, Vice President and MD, Progress Software and President of Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association.

Fukuoka’s Nulab now offers collaborative diagrams for enterprises

JapanFukuoka-based team collaboration software startup Nulab today announced that its Cacoo platform, which allows users to share and edit online diagrams in real time, will begin offering business plans for corporate users. Cacoo for Business will allow companies to securely share and manage diagrams created by employees, while opening a new revenue stream for the bootstrapped startup as it expands abroad.

Raksul is changing printing in Japan and just scored $33.7M

JapanLast week, Metaps’ online payment system and app monetization know-how powered it to a hefty US$36 million series C funding round. In roiling markets like China or India, 36 million might not stand out, but in Japan it’s rare for even one startup to get that sort of cash per year. 2015 might turn into a special one – today Raksul, a startup that lowers printing costs, publically confirmed it scored US$33.7 million for its own series C.

Startup meets showbiz on reality TV program

MyanmarLast year, restaurant management platform provider Code2LAB won a Yangon start-up bootcamp put on by Lithan University College, earning Ko Min Zeya Phyo US$2000 and a spot on Channel NewsAsia’s second season of Start-UP, a Singapore-based reality television show which aired its first episode last week. The entrepreneur has survived the cut to eight finalists, and is in the midst of filming episodes that see Code2LAB and fellow ventures face challenges and try to crowd-fund their start-ups.

Indonesia’s tech minister Rudiantara aims to raise $1B for startups

IndonesiaIndonesia’s tech minister revealed earlier this week that he aims to raise about Rp 12 trillion (US$1 billion) to help develop Indonesia’s digital startups, reports Kompas. Rudiantara, the minister of communications and information technology, claims the funds will be collected from the nation’s large conglomerates. His goal is not just to raise funds for local companies, but also to persuade local conglomerates who invest or save their money in foreign countries to think about investing in Indonesian companies instead.

Line Life Global Gateway has $42M for startups

JapanLine, the messaging app taking over the world one sticker at a time, just announced a new investment fund. Titled the Line Life Global Gateway, the fund will operate independently from Line Ventures, although the latter company along with Line itself are the only two parties putting up capital. The JPY 500 million (US$42 million) fund went live on February 4th and is expected to operate for 10 years.

NewsHunt, India’s news reader app for local languages, raises $40.5M in funding

IndiaIndia’s homegrown news reader app NewsHunt has secured INR 2.5 billion (US$40.5 million) in a series C funding round led by New York-based hedge fund Falcon Edge Capital. Existing investors Matrix Partners India, Sequoia Capital India, and Omidyar Network also participated in this round of funding, reports NextBigWhat. Newshunt raised US$16 million in a Series B round of funding led by Sequoia Capital last year.

Why Kamelio, Japan’s most overlooked news app, has a bright future

JapanIf you had met Akira Shibata for the first time 18 years ago when he dropped out of high school, you might have thought he was just another aimless youth, rebelling without cause or direction. If you met him today for the first time and learned that he created Kamelio, a news curation app with about 100,000 downloads, you might think he is just another wannabe entrepreneur, pumping out a consumer app in a crowded market without cause or direction.

Inventec sets up innovation incubation fund

TaiwanNotebook ODM Inventec has established an innovation incubation fund and aims to invest in 20 innovation teams in 2015, according to company chairman Richard Lee. The fund has NT$30 million (US$945,000) in the first phase, and 10 of the planned 20 teams will be selected from finalists at an innovation competition to be held by the Cloud Computing Association in Taiwan (CCAT) for which Lee is president.

AnyPerk, Japan’s first YCombinator graduate, nabs $8.5M series A

JapanAnyPerk, the startup making it easier for companies to shower their employees with fun extras, just grabbed US$8.5 million in series A funding, according to TechCrunch. The company last raised money in June 2014, to the tune of a US$4.5 million seed round. DCM Ventures and Digital Garage funded this round, joining Andreessen Horowitz and SV Angel as backers of the company.