Three from 600 startup pitches gain Jack Ma and Alibaba’s backing

Jack Ma at the Jumpstarter start-up pitch event in Hong Kong. Photographer: Vivek Prakash/Bloomberg

After hearing 600 pitches spanning fintech and robotics to healthy aging, three startups will share $3 million in backing from an entrepreneurs fund set up by billionaire Jack Ma.

Jumpstarter, a competition for new ideas and products similar to TechCrunch Disrupt, has the backing of Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which unveiled its HK$1 billion ($128 million) fund in 2015 to support startups.

A shortlist of six candidates made the final pitches on Tuesday, getting 8 minutes to talk about their products and then 4 minutes of questioning by the judging panel. Among the criteria used to decide winners were innovation, community impact and market potential.

Here are their ideas.

The winners:

Cuttingedge Medtech Ltd. Robot doctors may not be science fiction anymore. A team of robotic and medical imaging graduates is building specialized surgical robots for orthopedics, neural surgery and oral implants. The vision is personalized care with minimal invasive surgery.

Farm66 Investment Ltd.The company is joining the increasingly hot field of hydroponics and vertical farming as companies try to alleviate a global food crisis with sustainable agriculture. Combining indoor farming with fish ponds, this startup has already won a couple of awards from local industry associations.

En-Trak Hong Kong Ltd.This four-year-old startup targets commercial buildings with a connected device platform to help manage power use. En-Trak says it can pull in data from existing meters to manage consumption and lower costs while also lowering carbon emissions, with customers already including Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Fuji Xerox.

The other finalists:

BeeInventor Trying to bring a technology solution to an old-fashioned industry, BeeInventor has built a cloud-based platform for communication among construction workers. Its Dasloop product fits over the helmets worn on building sites and monitors body temperatures, warns of potential collisions and provides video feeds. It can also connect to gas detectors or a flashlight.

ViewiderThis startup aims to help merchants on e-commerce sites pick the best site to sell on. Viewider builds search and market research tools that help online merchants suss out global e-commerce services such as eBay or Amazon, register products for sale and price their wares accordingly.

Human Washer Ltd. Like a car wash for people. This startup offers the Sit & Shower, a device that enables the elderly and mobility impaired to bathe with automated soaping, temperature control, 13 surrounding water jets and air drying. The company says it also cleans itself.

Also read:

Alibaba’s rise creates 10 billionaires not named Jack Ma

Bloomberg

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.