Entry from Philippines, fintech startup PawnHero, has bagged the gold prize at the Hack Osaka International Pitch Contest 2016 conducted by the Osaka Innovation Hub on Wednesday, beating nine other teams from Europe and Asia.
It was a back-to-back top grand prize win for the Philippines, which also claimed the top slot in February 2015, with startup mClinica as entry. It is now an established mobile platform and online pharmacy network.
PawnHero is the first online pawnshop in the Philippines and Southeast Asia founded last year by David Margendorff. The startup was also the top winner at the Echelon Asia Summit 2015 last June, also a startup pitching contest held in Singapore. Margendorff himself did the pitching for PawnHero on Wednesday who was later awarded with the gold prize by the Osaka Innovation Hub.
The silver and bronze awards went to UK’s Podaris, and Spain’s Shipwise, respectively. The former does real time infrastructure planning and design in the cloud, while the latter makes international shipping easier for small medium enterprise.
Apart from the recognition for PawnHero’s innovation, the startup got 500,000 Yen in cash and 50,000 Japanese Airline Miles.
In an exclusive interview with DEALSTREETASIA, Margendorff attributed the win to PawnHero’s product, good traction, and its 40 team members.
“We solve a real problem which millions of people face–not only in the Philippines. Simply put, it’s expensive to be poor, and PawnHero can have a huge impact on people’s life by providing affordable and easy accessible loans at half of the cost that they are used too,” Margendorff said.
He said PawnHero is set to launch a native Android app in the coming weeks designed to fit its targeted users, based on results of a series of A/B testing with the product.
Asked about the company’s other plans and latest business updates, Margendorff declined to provide details.
“Next week will be our first anniversary and we all have a reason to celebrate,” Margendorff said. “I will take the team, today close to 40 people, to one of the beautiful islands in the Philippines. They deserve it.”
The Osaka Innovation Hub seeks to deliver Japanese ideas for technology. It supports venture creation and commercialization, conducts partner search and teaming, backs up processes for innovation, and continues to build worldwide network for human and funding resources.
The theme included Internet of things, Internet, mobile technology, software, digital contents, consumer electronics products (including PDA and robot) and services, and we welcome companies developing overall Internet/IT-related businesses at seed/early-stage level.
Other startups who competed at the event were:
Chikaku (Japan) – IoT service to send photos and videos which you take by smart phone to your parents who live apart from you.
Fabelio (Indonesia) – A design-centric e-retailer with the best designers and factories.
budofinder (Montenegro) – A community marketplace for martial arts.
ACPAD (Germany) – World’s First Wireless MIDI Controller for Acoustic Guitar.
YesBoss (Indonesia) – Offers a virtual assistant that will help you out with anything you need, all via SMS requests.
Play Until Dark (Japan) – Location-based social app for connecting you with other dog owners in local are. And,
meleap (Japan) – AR sport application using AR technology and wearable device.