Lots of Buttons, a Hong Kong-based startup that claims to be the world’s largest site dedicate to selling buttons, has been given a nice dose of publicity and money after it won the Startup Arena Singapore 2013 competition held at Tech In Asia‘s Startup Asia event today.
The event pitted twenty promising startups from across Asia head-to-head, with each pitching to a four-man judging panel. Alongside the US$10,000 prize money, Lots of Buttons has also won a trip to a networking event from Japanese VC Globalbrain, and a booth at top Chinese tech show GMIC.
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While the button making space is an unconventional industry to enter, since it serves a very niche audience, the company says there is strong demand since most crafters and designers lack easy access to stores — especially if they live in small cities — and may not have time to go and physically peruse buttons. Putting them online makes them easy to find, not to mention that the company sells them at a price that it claims is 50 percent lower than its rivals.
The B2B service houses more than 15,000 button designs and is aiming to “eventually put every single button in the world online so that you can choose the exact button you’re looking for”. It uses social networks, including Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, to help spread word of its products and is generally a beautifully laid out website.
Primarily focused on the US crafts market, the company told Tech In Asia that its philosophy is simple: “Market in English, ship cheaper than [its] competitors and be close to [its manufacturers] China.”
For now, it is keen on raising a round of angel investment with a view to introducing its own Etsy-like marketplace to enable its users to sell buttons to others.
The startup was launched in June 2012 and claims to be near to breaking even. Its close proximity to suppliers is key to its low pricing, founder Ken Lee says.
Second place in the contest went to Xunta, a hybrid of popular gay app Grindr and Chinese flirting service Momo — which has 16 million users and raised a recent $40 million Series B round. Fashion visualization site Pudding rounded out the top three spots.
You can find more details of the competition over at Tech In Asia.
Headline image via Apostolos Mastoris / Shutterstock, image from Startup Arena Singapore 2013 via Tech In Asia