Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in touch via Twitter or Google+.
Making it fun for kids to learn is something that holds a lot of potential for mobile startups, and that direction is now further affirmed in Southeast Asia with Thai startup Taamkru winning the “Most Promising Startup” award at tech conference Echelon 2014.
Taamkru, which was motivated by a sense of shame that Thailand ranked near the bottom for education among ASEAN countries, aims to replace the paper workbook for preschool kids. Its iOS app features digital interactive exercises focused on fun and can be replayed over and over again. This video highlights aptly the sense of the fun culture behind Taamkru.
Although Taamkru currently focuses on Thailand, its app can easily scale to other countries in Asia including China, which opens up the door to a large population of parents eager for their children to do well in school.
The variety of the 10 startups selected for Echelon’s competition this year spanned ad solutions to e-commerce. However, this year’s Echelon also saw the introduction of two more awards — which went to two ideas that stood out among the crowd. The People’s Choice Award went to Hong Kong-based Ambi Climate, while the Global Brain Award was won by Taiwan’s iChef.
Ambi Climate has an app that takes over your air-conditioner remote control, and incorporates a learning algorithm that results in the preferred climate for you. Meanwhile, iChef is a point-of-sale system currently in use by a few hundred restaurants in Taiwan and Hong Kong — started by chefs and owners of restaurants themselves. It claims to increase efficiency in queueing, seating, and taking orders at restaurants by 30 percent.
Judges on the Echelon panel included well-known investors Dave McClure from 500 Startups, Kuan Hsu of Gree Ventures, Yasuhiko Yorimoto of Global Brain and Stefan Jung of Monk’s Hill Ventures among others.
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