Philippines startup PawnHero bags Hack Osaka pitch contest in Japan

Photo from Global Innovation Conference Hack Osaka's Facebook page.

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.

Also read: PH startup mClinica wins Hack Osaka 2015, eyes Vietnam launch

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.

Also Read: PH startup PawnHero wins the Judges’ Choice award at Echelon Asia Summit 2015

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.”

Also Read: PH fintech Ayannah wins Rising Expo 2015 startup contest in Indonesia

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.

Also read:

Exclusive: Ayannah raising $3m financing, ropes in 500 Startups & Life.SREDA as investors

Australia fintech Peppermint Innovation raises $2.8m in IPO to fuel Philippine expansion

PH fintech startup SCI creates offline digital payments technology

Philippine payment firm gains $1.5 M fund to serve migrants, unbanked customers

PH startup Rebit partners US mobile money app ZipZap

14 Philippine startups to watch out for in 2016

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.