Philippine financial technology (fintech) startup Ayannah won the main award at the Rising Expo SEA 2015 startup pitching competition in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Led by its founder and CEO Mikko Perez, Ayannah beat the tech startups from Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, among others in the event conducted by Japan-based venture capital company CyberAgent Ventures at the Jakarta Grand Sahid Jaya Hotel.
Ayannah is a fintech brand marketed by Veritas Mobile Holdings, a Philippine-based digital commerce and payment services firm.
The winners were voted in by the guests and sponsors of the event; they comprised of executives and key individuals of leading venture capital companies in Japan and overseas, as well as major operating companies that support startups.
Other notable startups in the competition were Singapore’s Viddsee, a hybrid online video platform; Indonesia’s Pricebook, a price comparison search engine; HiNative, a language app run by Lang-8 Inc in Japan; and Thailand’s Claim Di, a mobile application for individuals who drive and have an insurance policy.
All winners were awarded cash prizes at the contest. Ayannah will receive an extra prize of a free trip to the Rising Expo 2015 event (August 7) to Tokyo for a chance to pitch to more investors.
“It was totally unexpected, not kidding! I didn’t realize that it was a competition until after the fact,” Perez told DEALSTREETASIA in an interview.
“First of all, we didn’t set out to beat anyone. I honestly didn’t know that it was a contest. I just accepted the kind invitation of Kim Ngo of 500 Durians, Taka-san of CyberAgent Ventures and Yasu-san of IMJ to participate in Rising Asia. I thought it was a conference,” Perez explained.
“We are passionate about our mission, which is to bring affordable and accessible financial services to the unbanked, most of whom live in the base of the economic pyramid,” Perez added. “I give full credit to the Ayannah Team. We have worked hard to earn the trust of our customers and partners and we continue to work hard to serve more people.”
Asked about his speculation on why the judges chose him, Perez replied: “I don’t think its me — I am a lousy public speaker. I really think its our mission. We are helping solve real social problems that affect hundreds of millions of people. If we succeed, it’s not just our investors who will benefit, but hundreds of millions will benefit.”
The victory is now the fourth consecutive win for the Philippine startup community in the global and Asian competitions this year — beginning with payroll service tech Salarium at the global Seedstars World (SSW) Competition in Switzerland last February 5, followed shortly in the same month by health tech startup mClinica who bagged the Hack Osaka 2015 award in Japan, then thirdly PawnHero, the first online pawnshop in SEA that grabbed Wednesday’s Judges’ Choice Award at the Echelon Asia Summit 2015 in Singapore, and then Ayannah’s win the very next day.