Category: General

IdeaSpace launches 2017 Philippines startup competition

IdeaSpace Foundation, an early-stage technology incubator and accelerator in the Philippines has formally launched its National Startup Competition for 2017 and has begun accepting innovative technology ideas.

IdeaSpace is a non-profit foundation backed by First Pacific, Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC), Metro Pacific Tollways Corp (MPTC), MPIC hospital group, PLDT, Meralco, Smart Communications, Maynilad, Voyager Innovations, and PayMaya Philippines.

On its fifth year, the 2017 IdeaSpace National Startup Competition will be increasing its finalist quota, accepting 15 startups instead of the usual 10, into the final acceleration process.

The acceptance of more startups is part of IdeaSpace’s efforts to expand and accommodate the local startup ecosystem, which it noted has seen robust growth over the past four years.

“We’ve seen very inspiring stories of startup founders joining IdeaSpace over the years, from husband-and-wife tandems to students looking to make their own mark in the world,” said the Executive Director of IdeaSpace, Diane Eustaquio.

“This year, we’re looking to extend our support to more startup founders with burning passion for starting up their own business and helping the country progress with the help of technology and innovation,” she adds.

All 15 startups that make it to the finals next year will receive an equity fee funding of PHP 500,000, which translates to an approximate amount of US$ 10,000.

Besides, the teams will also receive support for housing, transportation, incorporation, office space, communication, software, classes and training, as well as mentorship from executives under First Pacific companies, the total value of which amounts to more than PHP 1 million.

However, IdeaSpace will not have a stake in their early-stage startups.

Newly appointed IdeaSpace president Butch Meily said the foundation has been extending its capacity into a – full ecosystem support. This is to ensure that most of the startups are guided every step of the way.

“We’ve realized over the years that startups need as much support as they can get in every step of the process, from bringing their ideas to life to launching them into the market, and even to making their startups grow further,” Meily explains.

But aside from incubation and acceleration programs, IdeaSpace has also been an avid supporter of startup community events in the country and overseas, such as the annual Geeks on a Beach conference, the Slingshot MNL programme by the Department of Trade & Industry, as well as the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival.

Since launching in 2012, IdeaSpace has incubated and funded a total of 52 startups, some of which have grown and evolved into large businesses and enterprises such as PinoyTravel and TimeFree Innovations.

Interested individuals or groups may submit their unique startup ideas by logging on to Deadline for submission of ideas is on January 12, 2017.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Airfrov, a Singaporean online shopping app connecting buyers with travellers enters Indonesia

Airfrov, a platform that connects buyers with travellers for requesting products from abroad is now expanding its market reach to Indonesia – a strategic move responding to the opportunities in the increasing numbers of travelers that are crossing Indonesian borders.

Based in Singapore, the startup launched in 2015 has been operating for a year and a half, before it began expanding its businesses into Indonesia that has started since last August.

But entering Indonesia, Airfrov will be facing competition from existing peer courier services such as BisTip and Neetip.

“This trend of bringing back overseas products is getting popular, but there are some issues concerning the conventional process, for example, the limited number of products that can be sent, the long duration of delivery, the payment guarantee, and the high delivery fees,” said Airfrov, CEO Cai Li.

In response to the competition, Airfrov intends to set itself apart from other P2P courier services, through offering a safer solution that prioritise the needs of users.

Through its website and mobile application, Airfrov offers a simple way to shop abroad. Requesters simply post the desired items and offer a price quote, while Travelers abroad who are interested will meet the demand.

Additionally, the company will handle the payment from the requester and keep it until the items have been paid for. Travellers will receive their money only after the products have arrived in the requesters’ hands.

Besides, Airfrov also features information on the latest trends and popular existing products abroad.

“We are currently focusing on building the best user experience for our users in Indonesia and a strong local team to understand the people’s culture and local trends more deeply,” said Airfrov CTO Robi Ng, who is an Indonesian.

In this aspect, Airfrov also continued their efforts through approaching users who have used their services in order to get input related to Airfrov development as well as maintaining relationships in order to re-use the service and recommend it to people nearby.

Airfrov is said to have more than 95,000 active users, some of whom reside in Indonesia. Its soft launch event held in August has claimed to have received more than 1,000 offers from 150 travelers.

In an effort to continue increasing the number of users in Indonesia, Airfrov has partnered with Martha Tilaar, a homegrown cosmetics company. This partnership is in part due to the potential of the beauty school student who requires imported beauty supplies not found in Indonesia.

“Those who need products that are outside the country is expected to see Airfrov as a solution,” Cai Li adds.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

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China’s Luye Pharma Completes Acquistion Of Acino’s Transdermal Drug Delivery System For US$260 Million

Luye Pharma Group Ltd. (02186.HK), a professional pharmaceutical enterprise focused on R&D and manufacture of innovative pharmaceutical products has announced the completion of its acquisition of the transdermal drug delivery systems (TDS) business, Acino which is located in Zurich, Switzerland, according to a press release.

Acino has established itself as a global leader in the niche transdermal markets. The company is said to be one of the largest independent TDS manufacturers in Europe, with a product portfolio primarily focused on higher margin specialty patch categories such as central nervous system (CNS), pain and hormone spaces.

Some of the company’s notable commercialized and complex formulations include Rivastigmine, Buprenorphine, Fentanyl and fertility control patch. Post acquisition, Acino will retain the marketing rights to certain of these patched in strategic emerging markets.

The transaction saw Luye Pharma acquiring the TDS business from Acino, through the purchase of the entire issued share capital of Acino AG and Acino Supply AG for an amount of €245 million (about US$260 million).

This acquisition will allow Luye Pharma to learn and adopt practices from the integration of its acquired business. Greatly enhancing Luye Pharma’s developmental efforts in R&D, manufacturing, international registration, and market promotion of new formulation products to international standards.

“As we execute our international strategy, this transaction serves as an important milestone,” says Yehong Zhang, the chief executive of Luye Pharma, “This acquisition will significantly enhance Luye Pharma’s international capabilities and accelerate its penetration into broader therapeutic areas and geographies.”

In addition, the TDS business, with its high-quality factories with EU GMP certificate and certification from the U.S. FDA, will help Luye Pharma in meeting and exceed international standards in production, quality control, and global operations.

At the same time, Acino with its mature sales network and international presence in many developed markets around the world – especially the European region will definitely aid the giant pharmaceutical enterprise to pave the way for its mission of globalization.

The global market sales of transdermal patches reached over 5 billion Euros in 2014 and are expected to hit 6.4 billion Euros by 2020, with a projected compound annual growth rate greater than 4%1. The global market for TDS business is huge with strong growth potential.

It would also appears that Luye Pharma is leveraging its growth on M&A as Luye Pharma has also previously acquired Healthe Care Australia in April this year for an undisclosed amount. Acino, which acquisitions has begun since July is, in fact, its second acquisition.

Still, Luye Pharma, the leading Chinese pharmaceutical enterprise will continue to serve and promote human health through professional technology, especially when the China mainland is an emerging market which is facing the challenges of an aging population that are accompanied by potential patients of chronic diseases, which represents a substantial market for TDS. At present, there are currently 260 million people suffering from chronic diseases in China.

Despite that, the company is moving forward and working to develop Luye Pharma into one of the most respected leading global pharmaceutical enterprises in the world. The enterprise, since inception, has adopted innovation, being one of the pioneering Chinese pharmaceutical enterprises to have conducted clinical trials in international markets. Luye Pharma currently has 5 innovative products at various stages of clinical research with significant breakthroughs in the U.S.

On a similar note, Luye Pharma is backed by CITIC Private Equity, which 5.92% ownership of Luye Pharma Group remains unchanged since 2014, according to the company’s 2015 annual report.

For more information, please visit

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

KFit, Guardian, La Juiceria Join BookDoc Activ To Give Rewards For Staying Fit

Combining walking with every Malaysians’ favorite cultural pastime – getting discounts, BookDoc is introducing BookDoc Activ, an excuse much needed to start your exercise plan.

This is a new collaboration where BookDoc will have an ongoing partnership with major retailers and service providers which share the same theme – that is three well-known healthcare brands in Malaysia, namely Guardian, La Juiceria and Kfit to reward BookDoc Activ users for their daily steps.

Users are required to hook the app to a pedometer application and start walking until they reach a daily step threshold. With accumulated points, they can then trade it for the offer they desire. Simply put, the app is an incentive for people to start living a healthier life.

Though BookDoc Activ is promoting the prevention is better than cure approach, the application designed by Dato’ Chevy Beh, a former Managing Director of BP Healthcare Group, BookDoc is originally intended to bridge the gaps in informational asymmetries and reduce inefficiencies in healthcare.

That is to say, BookDoc acts as a platform that can be used to help immediately connect patients in need with healthcare experts who can assist anytime and anywhere – its significance lies in the gift of time that can create a life and death difference.

But that is not all to Dato’ Chevy’s BookDoc as the application also serve another purpose, having partnered with Agoda in July, to help patients with doctor appointments that require traveling. With this feature, it can cater to the needs for booking a doctor’s appointment as well as the accommodation at the same time, through a single app.

Essentially, this function is because BookDoc recognizes that there is a big market of medical tourists. As Chevy puts it, “In this region alone, medical tourism is worth about US$6 billion. Medical tourists amount to about US$250 million in Malaysia, with around 850,000 tourists. In Singapore, there are also about 1 million tourists, generating about USD800 million.”

On a similar note, this region of medical tourism is also taken interest by another Malaysian startup, Smilelink Dental Group who intends to venture into this market of medical tourism as well, focusing on dental healthcare

Though looking back at BookDoc Activ, this new feature is a strategic one as well. As this move not only allows BookDoc to expand their target group since even healthy people now have a reason to download the app but the application through this access to a wider audience can create an awareness of the app among Malaysians.

Additionally, BookDoc has expanded its reach to Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand. And although BookDoc offers rewards, acommodation booking, and a healthcare platform, in the simplest terms, BookDoc, as a whole, is an online platform that aims to create a healthier Malaysia, addressing the public’s health problems.

“BookDoc’s objective is not only to provide a seamless platform and access to medical services but is also about taking care of healthy people, as much as we take care of the medically less fortunate, and we believe in rewarding them for staying healthy and active,” said BookDoc founder Datuk Chevy Beh.

The healthcare app is also planning to roll out more discounts with their partner in stages, so users can be on the look out for updated deals.

For more information, please visit

Malaysia’s MaGIC, Uber, And Digi Initiate Ideation Lab – ASEAN’s Next Great Idea To Groom Selected Startups

Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), ride-hailing app Uber and Telecom operator Digi have initiated an ideation lab whereby 20 startups throughout Southeast Asia will be groomed to be investment-ready and this does not require any equity from the participants. A few selected ones will also proceed to the next round and be given the chance to meet early stage investors.

The program is a six-day initiative known as “ASEAN’s Next Great Idea” which will conclude on November 30. Mentors at the MaGIC include Chelsey Lepage, Innovation Lead at UNICEF, Prashant Pathmanaban, Head of Technology at Google and Michael Octoman, Partner at Navis Capital, among others.

“During the program, the top 20 startups – shortlisted from a pool of 417 applicants – will learn how to develop three key aspects of their future business which are their customer, product, and market,” MaGIC said in an announcement on Tuesday.

Additionally, the lab will also provide participants with direct access to the best resources in the ecosystem: MaGIC’s expertise in building entrepreneurs, Uber’s real world experiences, and Digi Incub8’s strength in startup strategy. All these will help the entrepreneurs to fine-tune their ideas or concepts and create a working prototype, preparing them for the next stage of seed investment and funding.

Following this, the top 10 participants will present their refined business ideas to key executives from MaGIC, Uber, and Digi at the Global Entrepreneurship Community event on December 8 in Kuala Lumpur. Furthermore, qualified ideas will have the opportunity to meet early stage investors and key players within the entrepreneurship ecosystem in San Francisco, as well as a visit to Uber’s Silicon Valley headquarters.

“I hope with programs such as ASEAN’s Next Great Idea lab, more and more individuals are encouraged to come forward with their ideas and develop them further. The emergence of new ideas is what keeps our entrepreneurship ecosystem growing,” said MaGIC CEO Ashran Dato’ Ghazi.

With this, ASEAN’s startup ecosystem will continue to thrive with ideas that can dramatically shape people’s digital lifestyles with their smart devices. While the role MaGIC plays is through instilling an entrepreneurial mindset where solving a problem is at the heart of any startup.

“The ambition now is to help translate the growth potential of these ideas and startups into creating long-term, sustainable businesses,” Digi’s Chief Digital Officer, Praveen Rajan added.

For more information, please visit

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

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