Digital Physical Retail

Quill City Mall and Smuzcity will be hosting a forum titled 'Future Proof Your Business: New Retail Innovations & Interventions' this Tuesday in conjunction with Quill's re-positioning as a digital-physical, online-to-offline O2O shopping destination. Among the first stores imagined under this concept is a Presto operated unmanned shop powered by JD tech. For event details, see 'Social Supermarket' below.

Pick of Events (W4-Dec-2019)

Link Social Supermarket @ KL tix
Link Base Conference @ JB tix
Link FB Developers @ PG tix
Link Startups 2020 @ KL tix also
Link Maxis Demo Day @ KL tix

Arts & Misc
Link Book Sales @ KL tix
Link Sound Explorer @ KL
Link Esports Xmas @ KL tix also
Link Teh Tarik @ KL tix also
Link Going Global @ BT also

Around The Region
Link Be Your Own Boss @ BKK tix
Link Postgrad Demo Day @ SG
Link Sustainable Dev @ SG
Link Micro Influencers @ JKT
Link Blockchain 2020 @ JKT

Xmas Canon

Our video pick for the Christmas season is a YouTuber's mix of Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Canon Rock and visuals from the Finnish movie Joulutarina.

In the movie, Santa Claus is depicted as a boy, Nikolas, who was bought up by a village and thus regarded all the children in the village as his brothers and sisters. Each Christmas, he carves a toy for each child, and leaves it incognito at their doorstep. Over the years, even as the village grew and the children have their own families, Nikolas steadfastly maintains his practice.

Calendata will be taking an end-of-year break and shall return shortly. Wishing readers (an early) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Russian Robo-Lawyers

More startups from our intray [various sources, image: fb/]:
  • Cheddar - Media company for the young
  • CoBase - One portal, multiple banks
  • DuitHape - E-banking for the proletariat
  • Fastly - New CDN that is faster than Cloudflare and Akamai 1 2
  • GingkoBioworks - Use microbes to do manufacturing
  • iSpace - Business opportunities on the Moon (JP's first lunar mission)
  • PureWow - Lifestyle portal that does sales on the side
  • Puut - Ewallet for your money, cards, tickets, receipts, invoices
  • RevolutionFoods - Nutritious school meals
  • ShieldPay - Escrow assurance for large purchases eg. property
  • Teodor - Russian robo-lawyers

Festive Chatter

Year-end and yuletide festivities get off to an early start this weekend when creative curator Riuh ('festiive chatter') conjures up an ice skating rink in an old railway depot. For details, check out 'Sentul Ice Skating' below.

Pick of Events (W3-Dec-2019)

Link Connecting Ecosystems @ KL tix
Link Winner Influencer @ KL tix
Link Digital Cloud Lepak @ KL 1 2 3
Link SmartCity Petronas Export @ KL 1 2 3
Link Distributed Mumble @ KL also and

Link Sentul Ice Skating @ KL tix
Link Recital Chamber Works 1 2 3
Link Design Trends 2020 @ KL also
Link Turtle Conservation @ KL
Link Passion for Arts @ KL

Around The Region
Link Climate Change @ JKT
Link Deep Dive Funding @ JKT tix
Link Deep Tech 2020 @ SG
Link Digital Transformations @ SG
Link Edible Art @ HK

  • Events listed may fall before, on or after the indicated week.
  • Locations shown are generic: eg. KL=Greater KL
  • Focus is on boutique events.
  • Conferences, training, intakes, hackathons are generally not prioritised.
  • Posts are crafted on the go and are often polished after posting.
  • Posts are designed for and best read from a standard laptop screen.

New Digital Banks

US Digital Banks
While Europe digests digital challenger banks and Asia mulls ewallets and digital banking licenses, the US incubates an armada of digital banks. Sample:
  • T-Money - Telco bank pays 4% interest while everyone else pays 1%
  • LikeBank - A bank that lives in messaging apps (telegram etc)
  • Envel - Emphasises the slow accumulation and safekeeping of money
  • Chime - Mobile check deposit (just take a pic) and virtual cheque book
  • Watermark - Digital bank for businesses: treasury, liquidity, lending
  • Mi - Business banking: e-cheques, money market, cardvalet
  • RisingBank - Focus on Certificates of Deposit and High Yield Savings
  • Azlo - Digital banking that integrates with Quickbooks, Xero, Wave
  • Zenus - Open a US bank account from outside of the US
  • Oxygen - Bank for gig-economy: awarded best digital bank in US
  • Joust - Digital merchant account for independent professionals
  • StudioBank - Boutique bank for creators
  • Step - Mobile banking for teens
  • Simple - Tells you how much of your money is Safe-to-Spend®
  • GoBank - Has 'fortune teller' (budgeting) and 'money vault' (stashaway)
  • Booyah! - A bank that uses MLM-like techniques for recruitment
  • Aspiration - Donates 10% of profits to charity, invests only in green funds

EU Digital Banks
Not to be eclipsed, Europe is building a second wave of digital banks. Sample:
  • Galeo - Open a bank account in whichever country we operate in
  • Prepaid - Banking via wearable wallets: FitbitPay, GarminPay
  • - Royal Bank of Scotland-NatWest's digital only bank
  • CountingUp - Integrated current account and bookkeeping
  • Monese - Named best challenger bank in Europe
  • Fire - Open multiple GBP & EUR accounts for segregating funds
  • Engage - Digital community bank: high street without the costs
  • Griffin - White label digital bank: start a digital bank fast
  • Contis - White label digital bank: skin our UX or build from API
  • Osper - Prepaid debit card and money management app for kids
  • PixPay - Teen digital banking with paired parent-teen app fr
  • 131 - RU digital bank that facilities engaging RU gig workers
  • Anna - Comes with merchant account, debit card and invoicer
  • Bud - Open banking: 2-way marketplace for financial products
  • Cleo - Money management app [has potential without being a bank]

[ References: 1 2 3 4 ]

Jars & Spectrometers

More startups from our intray:

FoodStars Agrifood Accelerator (US) via
  • Kascade - Low tech application of solar energy: distillerdryer
  • Gabanna - Posh pasta from humble green bananas
  • Farmee - Urban farming starts from people (the farmers), not tech

SOSV Food-X Accelerator (US) via
  • Wasteless - Automatically price perishables to get them sold
  • TrueMade - Boost the goodness of sauces (eg ketchup) by packing in veggies
  • SimplyGoodJars - Delicious food in jars top video

Grow Accelerator (SG) via

Catalyst Space Accelerator (US) via
  • Exotera -  Affordable, solar electric, rocket propulsion systems
  • KLEOS - RF (vs light) seeing, low-orbit satellites: suss out unseen RF activity
  • MemCPU - New CPU architecture: alt to heuristics, quantum computing

WeWork Food

Cloud Kitchens
From eating in, we moved to dining out. then to having food delivered and to cloud kitchens. Going further, there is a possibility Gens Z and Alpha may take cloud kitchens back to its original, most distributed form: home cooking. Hence a a recent trend of kitchen tech including a few below. EOY is upon us, clearing out our startups intray:

WeWork Food Labs Accelerator (US) via post image
  • Katif - Autonomous farm
  • FarmShelf - Shelf-sized, self-contained urban farm
  • HotSpot - Griddle that uses heat pixels instead of flames

Cocoon Pitch Night (HK) via
  • TouristPass - Tourist starter pack: rides, wifi, tickets, meals, insurance
  • Varm - A micro kitchen that streams, grills and bakes
  • Stryde - Make your fitness goals public so friends can goad you on

AppWorks (TW) via

Pitch@Selangor (MY) via social enterprises
  • Langit - Besides white rice, a mosaic of other colours
  • Havva - Grow up to 140 plants in a table-sized urban farm
  • Kravve - Marketplace of home-made produce

Some of the startups above may look mundane but there could be hidden value:
  • TouristPass Visitors to a country are often bothered upon arrival by currency, phone, data, transport and other issues. What if there is a starter pack, preferably bundled as a smartcard or app, that takes care of all these.
  • Telepod Nice targeting of EV niche: macro (trucks, cars, bikes), mini (bicycles, scooters), micro (unfilled), nano (shoes, as in walking). Mini and micro mobility could be boosted once mobility is more digitalised (cars programmed to give way to scooters which in turn give way to pedestrians). May require riders and pedestrians to wear a transponder.
  • Mellow Obvious niche but unfilled, could be used to teach kids financial stuff. A check of the the app's permissions shows it does not require access to identity or contacts, a rare distinction (and perhaps a legal requirement in some jurisdictions for a kid's app).
  • Langit is selling different varieties of rice. Folks eating out are probably consuming generic, stock rice. Eating other varieties is always prudent, delicious and nutritious. Ditto for wheat.

WeWork EcoCity

WeWork is opening its second MY space at the top floor of Mercu 2 @ KL Eco City and will be hosting an open house on Thu, 12 Dec 2019, 2pm-8pm [tix]. Opportunity to check out KLEC Mall and the penta-bridge pedestrian link from Abdulllah Hukum to MidValley. [Video: A walk from the LRT station to MidValley, the lifts to WeWork are likely on the left of the escalators shown at 1:12, nitevid. Image: WeWork Sydney.]

Pick of Events (W2-Dec-2019)

Link Hacking RFID @ KL tix
Link Data is Gold @ KL tix
Link Export Fund @ KL also and
Link Consumer Tech @ KL 1 2
Link Inclusive Food Startup @ KL 1 2 3

Arts & Misc
Link Eco Fest @ JB tix
Link Year End Chill @ KL 1 2
Link Making News @ KL tix
Link Blind Date @ KL tix
Link Ilham Classical @ KL tix

Around The Region
Link Nongsa D-Town @ SG tix
Link Tech Trends 2020 @ SG
Link F&B Acceleration @ JKT tix
Link Back to Basics @ HK
Link Bitspark Hive @ HK 1 2

Double Wok

Brinc is holding its Fall 2018 Demo Day on Thu, 28 Nov 2019, 6pm-9pm @ HK. Picks:
  • On2Cook   Mcrowave on top and wok at the bottom.<newline>
  • SeagrassTech - Saltwater and non-arable land? No problem for algae.
  • KfxLabs  - Fibre optic data speeds using metal waveguides

Chinaacelerator is holding its 16th Demo Day Wed, 27 Nov 2019, 2pm-6pm @ CN. Picks:
  • ViAct - Use computer vision to monitor construction sites
  • Kno - An app to bridge factory workers and brand owners
  • Neufat - Use AI test prep to prepare for AI job testing

Bonus: Pear vid
Pear ('founded by penniless immigants') is a venture fund focused on startups by ivy league grad founders. It held its demo day on 21 Nov 2019 @ US. Portfolio picks:
  • Capella - Synthetic-aperture radar. satellites: see thru cloud & darkness vid
  • Millibat - Mini lithium ion batteries for gadgets and wearables
  • Gradio  - Machine learning assisted data sampling

  • On2cook uses the term 'smart cooking device, not 'wok'. The startup is based in IN where the wok is known as the karahi. It is said the wok has it roots in IN and arrived in CN via SE Asia, thus possibly: karahi (india) → kuali (nusantara) → kuo (mandarin) → wok (cantonese) → wok (english).

Lounge Musician

At concerts and shows, the music and performer take centre stage. Lounge music, on the other hand, takes a step back to play a supportive role as a social relaxant. It may range from the thumping beats at hip bars, to the soft, background music at airports, to live piano music at high-end establishments.

For lounge music, the typical genre is easy-listening jazz as pop music may draw attention away from social interactions. Classical music can be lounge music too but it will have to be a very posh establishment to engage a group of classical musicians.

There's a big difference between recorded and live lounge piano music. For the latter, in addition to audio fidelity of a live performance and the pianist's personality, the pianist can also gauge the mood and composition of the crowd and select the songs to match.

In the video above, lounge musician, Sangah Noona (US-KR, ex-commercial pilot) plays Yesterday at home with lights dimmed lounge style (here's her playing live at a lounge). [For more Beatles, check out One Night Only happening this weekend, Sunday @ KL.]

Enginemailer WebLITE

Jeffri Shahul Hamid will be speaking on two SaaS companies he founded: Enginemailer (Mailchimp challenger) and WebLITE (web application platform). Charlaine Chin from RDL will be advocating 'speaking up' and Lisa Chan from Petronas Digital (pdf) will be touching on 'digital transformation'. For tix, see 'CEO Level Up' below.

Pick of Events (W1-Dec-2019)

Link CEO Level Up @ KL 1 2
Link AI Meetups @ KL 1 2
Link Eksport Kelate @ KB
Link Blockchain x MIMOS @ KL tix
Link Blockchain x Accounting @ PG tix

Arts & Misc
Link SME Ecom Wow @ KL 1 2 3
Link Biz Marketing Edu 1 2 3 4 5
Link Secret Makan @ KL tix
Link F&B Meetup @ KL tix also
Link Film Fest @ KL tix vid

Around The Region
Link Blockchain Demo Day @ JKT tix
Link Sharia Investment Week @ JKT tix
Link Tactical Data Science @ JKT
Link Future of Media Industries @ SG
Link Episodic Storytelling @ SG

Pick of CNBC's Startups

A sample (pick) of CNBC's startups of 2019:

Petal offers a credit card that is tightly paired with with an app, and with an emphasis on budgeting over spending, with no annual fees and which accepts sign-ups with no credit history by paying a deposit. Tagline: Petal helps people build credit, not debt.

Mammoth Bio Imagine you are a food tester tasked to find dishes that contain red colouring. One way is to get a sample of  a dish, take it back to the lab and do testing. This may take days or weeks. A faster way is to obtain soft copies of the eatery's purchase orders and do a text search for 'Red Food Colouring, 'E129', 'Red 40' etc. Mammoth Bio uses a CRISPR gene editor to quickly find pathogenic DNA vs drawn-out lab testing.

Dust Identity When you splash paint on a canvas, it would be hard to replicate the splash down to the nano level (at the macro level you can scan and reprint it). Dust Identity is sprinkling nano-diamonds on items to uniquely identify them (diamonds because they are hardy and food safe). To secure a bottle of olive oil or honey (much cloned items), sprinkle nano-diamonds on the seal. The nano-diamond pattern as recorded at the factory can later be scanned to verify source and authenticity. And, any tampering of the seal (eg. to switch the content) will disrupt the pattern.

Link Tree A business or individual may have a number of online presences, including website, IG, TW, FB, YT, LI etc. At certain times (depending on algo updates) and for certain sites, Google searches do not show the canonical site (ie. the defining site), but instead link to FB or LI (or nothing at all), from which you need to click through to find the website. What if a single link or URL points to all of your online touch points (which you can define) including events and articles (and what if Google recognises this as your canonical website)? That's what Link Tree is working on.

Arkosse :Labs Say, you typically use your credit card to pay for (restaurant) nasi lemak, in KL with the bill at 30-100 bucks. One fine day, a transaction is received by the credit card processing company stating the card is being used to buy butter cookies to the tune of 500 bucks in SG. Arkose Labs would detect the anomalies (items, price point, location), and instead of blocking the transaction, will immediately send you a challenge to verify if you are indeed making the purchase.

Trusona Usernames, passwords, OTPs (SMS PINs) and hardware token generators can be a drag, including forgotten passwords, mistyped passwords causing account lock outs, OTPs delayed by server or telcos, and misplaced token generators. Tuscona proposes to use the smartphone as the authenticator for web logins. The website presents a QR code, you use your phone to scan the code, and the phone (via an app and the internet) then authorises the web page to allow you to login.

Green & Wearable

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research's Green Talents promote the international exchange of innovative green ideas. Sample 2019 awardees:
  • Bioplastic - Bioplastic from milk whey (byproduct of cheese making)
  • GreenLaw - Use law and regulation to combat plastic pollution
  • WaterSplitting - Store energy by splitting water into hydrogen & oxygen
  • GeoSpatial - Use geospatial modelling to find and rehabilitate degraded land
  • Bioreactor - Use anaerobic digestion to covert farm waste to energy
  • OutcomeMapping - Behavioural change as an alternative to KPI
  • Pseudocapacitance - Carbon supercapacitors as an alt to lithium batteries
  • Arbitration - International law when nations push green roles to each other

Google just bought Fitbit. As phones get increasingly chunky, focus switches to wearables. A sample of finalists at the recent Asia Hardware Battle 2019 @ CN:
  • Xenoma - Clothing as mouse and game controller (2nd place)
  • Vicara - Wristband as mouse and game controller
  • Aiello - Voice as keyboard (3rd)
  • Aina - Finger ring as a smartphone adjunct
  • Nemo - Wearable for infants to monitor sleep & temperature (1st)
  • ACBiode - Alternating current batteries 30% smaller, 35% more efficient

Pick of Events (W4-Nov-2019)

Link Sarawak Digital Village @ SR 1 2 3
Link Big Data in Architecture @ KL tix
Link Business Challenge @ KL tix also
Link Green Exporters @ KL 1 2 3
Link Climatethon IR4 Dev @ PG 1 2 3

Arts & Misc
Link Lean In Unconference @ KL tix
Link Emily, Alice & Anne @ KL 1 2 3
Link Art Curation @ KL 1 2 3
Link Kebaya Jazz @ KL tix
Link Lit Fest @ PG tix

Around The Region
Link Corp Entrepreneurship @ SG tix
Link Digital Payments @ SG tix also
Link De-Globalisation @ SG
Link Agile Happiness @ JKT
Link Design Thinking @ HK tix

DeepTech x FinTech

Deep tech startups refers to startups that develop their own advanced tech. To illustrate, a startup that uses wordpress to offer an Airbnb for pets might not be considered deep tech; whereas a startup that transforms a phone into an ultrasonic whistle that can summon, command or repel pets based on deep research into the effects of ultrasound could be classified as deep tech. Slingshot 2019, a deep tech startup rumble, is on tomorrow @ SG; open to the public, register here as a trade visitor. Sample startups:

  • PolyBee With the decline of bee populations (attributed variously to pesticides, RF, fungi), pollination (which plants and food supplies depend on) could be at risk. How about using a bee-like drone to carry out pollination? It will be a challenge because the drone will need to be small, autonomous, agile, long hauling, predator and weather resistant, perceptive enough to spot pollen sources and destinations, and delicate enough to swipe and apply pollen. Real bees probably can't be replaced but bee drones might be useful for farms that do manual pollination
  • ProovStation Vehicle repairs and servicing are a below-the-radar, multi-billion dollar mobility inefficiency, and opportunity, For example, if a car's aircon is not functioning, it might simply be due to insufficient radiator coolant (the aircon is cut off to reduce the heat load). The solution is simply to top up the coolant (usually water will do). A dodgy workshop might instead insist the coil or compressor needs replacing to a tune of 2,000 bucks or more (plenty of stories like this in auto forums). One solution is to separate diagnosis and repair of vehicles, and one way to do a thorough diagnosis is to 3D scan the vehicle (x-ray, gamma etc). ProovStation is working on 3D vehicle scanning.
  • InnerBottle Imagine a bottle of shampoo The bottle serves two functions: a container to hold the shampoo, and a dispenser to be squeezed (or pumped) to dispense the shampoo. After the shampoo is used up, the bottle is discarded. What if the two functions can be separated? The shampoo is sold as a bag to be inserted into the dispenser (more convenient than poured refills). When the bag is empty, only this is discarded while the dispenser is reused. Separating container and dispenser could have many other applications. The deep tech is in the bag material. bottle design and filling machines: InnerBottle has filed for 17 patents.

SlingShot is a co-current event of SFFxSWITCH, which will be showcasing 50+ fintech startups including hack-accelerator graduates and awards finalists. Picks:

  • B2P Enterprise payments require the matching of purchase orders (what was ordered), goods received notes (what was delivered) and invoices (what is billed). Each of these documents can be from different entities. To match them in finality and to prevent back- tracking and back-editing, the documents are recorded in a blockchain. B2P draws on SCB, Accenture and Corda.
  • i2i PH has an astonishing 450+ rural banks spread across its many islands. i2i, a UnionBank initiative, proposes to offer a fiat-backed token for wholesale (ie. bank-to-bank, not consumer-to-consumer) interbank funds transfer (the rural banks are too small to be connected to PhilPass or SWIFT). Powered by Kaleido, Quorum and Consensys, the objective is to sustain the rural banks which are an essential part of rural communities (eg. rural folks very much prefer to deal with human bank officers).
  • ZigWay In developing MM, only 20% of the adult population is banked, 40% is informally banked (eg. via microfinance institutions) and 40% is unbanked. The unbanked has limited access to mobile phones and the internet and no credit history. But there is demand for nano-financing to tide over the vicissitudes of earning hand-to-mouth and being unbanked. ZigWay proposes to provide nano-financing by getting women, who are embedded in the community and have knowledge of people and community, to be agents.

Ecosystem Builders

Asia Rocks
Asia Rocks (13 Nov 2019 @ TW, also) brings together ecosystem builders to help startups enter Asian markets. Participating builders include:

Ecosystem Builder
'Ecosystem Builder' is still a nascent term which came into use a couple of years back (based on a rough etymological check). Here's how it can be viewed as a progression:

  • Individual Most of employees and small business owners fall into this category. Focus is directed at assigned or self-managed work.
  • Connector Still an individual, a connector has good social and networking skills and can connect individuals for business, social or hobbies.
  • Group These are groups of ten to fifty in size. A group can be a small business, an old-school tribe or clan, or a hobbyist group which goes hiking together every weekend.
  • Community With the advent of the internet and social media, groups can grow to hundreds, even thousands in size. The members are acquainted online and are likely not to have met each other face-to-face. The community may hold meets, eats, drinks, events, or it might direct its energy to causes.
  • Ecosystem This is a community of communities. In a modern sense, the term 'ecosystem' refers to a vertical of startups, accelerators, incubators, investors and catalysts (grantors, regulators). More traditionally, it points to an industry eg an automotive ecosystem that encompasses research universities, vocational colleges, movers, factories, showrooms, markets, suppliers and retailers (eg charging stations). An even more traditional ecosystem is a nation. It is non-trivial to start, build and maintain an ecosystem.

Pick of Events (W3-Nov-2019)

Link Economics Talks @ KL 1 2 New
Link Startup Meets @ KL 1 2 3 4
Link Sustainable Summit @ KL tix
Link Go Commerce @ KL 1 2 also
Link Manufacturing Conf @ PG also

Arts & Misc
Link Predicting The Future @ KL also
Link Energy Trilemma @ KL tix
Link Blockchain Games @ KL info
Link Augmented Reality @ PG 1 2 3
Link AgriTech Summit @ KL tix

Around The Region
Link Z-Combinator @ JKT 1 2
Link Fintech Kucha @ SG
Link SG-DE AI @ SG
Link Blockchain Getty @ BKK 1 2
Link 5G Accelerator @ BKK tix

Selenium Molybdenum

For this post, 'Food' refers to the food ecosystem, while 'Foodie' is the yummy stuff. The post title refers to a light-hearted proposal to boost the nutritional value of soy sauce by adding trace elements. The post image is of Caskai Cascara, a carbonated drink made from coffee cherries, not beans. More details below.

For people looking to further food solutions, there's a food hackathon happening 28th Nov 2019 @ KL with mentors and judges from Tealive (boba), SupplyBunny (wholesale), CFF (agritech), Boost (ewallet), ShopLine (ecommerce), GrubCycle (upcycling), Pona (home cooking) and others. On a related note, some food teasers:

  • Reserve: While some governments do hold food reserves, it will be useful if households store some themselves. Commonly, this might be instant ramen and canned food but these can be costly, have limited shelf lives, and are prone to be nicked for snacks. Can you design a food reserve that is inexpensive, nutritious, has long shelf live, easy to cook or can be eaten straight like with biscuits, and is not prone to be nicked? (Maybe insect protein, you wouldn't want to snack on this, but at a pinch, you might eat it.)
  • Elements Industrial farming (including hydroponic ones) might be stripping minerals and trace elements (eg. selenium, molybdenum, boron) from food. Thus, the lettuce might look deliciously lettuce, but it might not be the whole, wholesome lettuce. Can the lack of minerals in food be readily identified by consumers? Can you make a product that puts back essential minerals into food, perhaps a selenium, molybdenum and boron laced soy sauce? (Not a serious proposal, the easiest, present solution is simply to have a balanced, diverse diet.)
  • Chemicals As more people eat out or have food delivered, have you ever wondered if the greens that are served were rinsed or washed before being cooked? If they are not washed, are contaminants (eg pesticides) present? How can consumers tell if food is free from contaminants, whether fresh or cooked? (Solutions may range from food testing to supply chain tracking).

If you like to take your food solution to a global stage, check out Rockefeller Foundation's Food Futures 2050 challenge (closing 5 Dec 2019, entry). Or, for food accelerators, in SG, have a look at Innovate360, sample portfolio: Sinfoo (alcoholic tofu), AIFS (crickets), Hoow (hitech icecream); in HK, visit Brinc, sample portfolio: Caskai (coffee cherry drink), Phuture (Impossible's porcine challenger) Grounded (milk from coconuts, not coconut milk); in BKK, Space-F, recently started, no portfolio yet.

Foodie [layman's view]
Traditional street food is on the decline in the east. The first setback was the phasing out of street vendors, the second is the gentrification of venues and syndication of food, and the third will be the retirement of the last of the traditional street food purveyors [1]. Some examples of old-school, street food:

  • Wonton Noodle Traditionally, the star of the show was the noodle, not the wonton. It is said the old-fashioned, lightly sauced, al dente version has not been seen for many years. The dish is now defined by toppings and sauces.
  • Roti Canai. This inexpensive, pan-fried, flatbread used to be closer to croissants (light, flaky, tasty enough to be eaten on its own) but is now more on the chewy side. We speculate this might be due to lesser trained street cooks and the use of factory-made dough.
  • Nasi Campur This has resisted change the most, but the old recipes require hours of stirring, cooking and reducing, and a whole lot of spices. It is not possible to expect these of modern vendors given street prices have, in general and relatively, not risen much and society offers many more distractions. Happily, customers nowadays are partial to fast-to-cook, fried, spiced items.

Moving on, modern food, with its roots in the fusion of east and west, is delicious too, robust in flavour and is good business. Check out the new wave at Takeaway 2019 happening tomorrow @ KL with panellists from FooFoo (desserts), myBobaLab (boba), Rawsome (veggie), Santan (airline), Dewakan (fusion), DC (french) and Nadodi (indian).

Quadrilingual Ambidextrous

Top Video: Fizah Wizah hilariously tells you in stern English, tonal Mandarin, poetic Malay and tongue-rolling, multi-syllable Tamil to stand behind the yellow line.

Bottom Video: With the piano, the left hand plays the bass and right hand the melody. The left hand is usually an adjunct, a supportive tandem (and sometimes a distraction in complicated pieces). But in rare cases, it can be an empathic foil which sings on its own as what we can discern from this cover of Vast Sky, Boundless Sea by Klafmann.

Community & Alumni Driven

Community Driven
JomLaunch ('let's launch') is a community-driven, coming-out-of-the-lab, startup launch organised by developers for developers and the public, happening Sat, Nov 9th, 2019 @ Cyberjaya [tix]. Pick of debutantes (some sites are WIP):
  • iQMS - Hospital queuing system (website shows live queue)
  • DelyvaX - Build your own delivery service using a courier management system
  • Mesolitica - Malay natural language processing as a service (eg wassap speak)
  • cHeart - Medical records system that runs on Hyperledger Fabric
  • WeNiaga - Wholesale ecommerce stock management system
  • DiAudit - Fire and safety audit system
  • ThrowKeys - Door locking app (developer's website)
  • Eeceipt - Replace paper receipts with electronic receipts
  • RaudhahPay - Payment gateway for SME: fast billing, easy payment
  • MakanBurger - When your burger joint goes viral and orders flood in
  • WinApp - Integrated biz-focused challenger to Whatsapp+Instagram+Libra

Alumni Driven
The Asia Technology Entrepreneurship Conference, a not-for-profit tech conference organized by the alumni associations of Harvard, Columbia, MIT and Stanford, is happening Sat, Nov 9th, 2019 @ HK at the new 'creative vertical city' K11 Atelier. Conference topics: Fintech Apps - HKEX, AI in Practice - WeBank, Global Mobile Payments - Airwallex, Industrial Robots - Cogobuy. Pitching startups include:
  • Xmachines - Modular robot (swappable tractor, sensors, cameras, arms, grips)
  • Liquefy - Liquefy illiquid assets via tokenisation
  • MadGaze - Smart eyewear for facial recognition, bar code scanning, AR
  • Heista - Robotic kitchen with modules for ordering, precooking, cooking
  • PositiveEnergy - Crowd funding for green projects

Pick of Events (W2-Nov-2019)

Link Make It Big in ID @ KL
Link GitHub Engineers @ KL also
Link Langkawi Social @ LW tix
Link AI Projects On Offer @ KL info
Link Market Access Day @ KL 1 2

Arts & Misc
Link Panggung Puisi @ KL all
Link Dikir Barat Rap @ SG all
Link Event Pricing @ KL also
Link Founders Embrace @ KL 1 2
Link Design Meetup @ KL 1 2

Around The Region
Link Financial Innovation @ HK
Link Fintech Week @ HK
Link Fintech Festival @ SG also
Link Fintech Lab Crawl @ SG
Link Food Accelerator @ JKT also

SoftBank Dyson

Softbank has hit the doldrums lately with travails at WeWork and lacklustre listings of Uber, Guardant and Slack (though it gained an upside with Ping An). Here's a sample of the rest of its Vision Fund portfolio:
  • Light - Because Lidar is short-sighted and radar is blurry-sighted
  • Fungible - Because SSD is 100x faster, network 1000x but CPU is just 2x faster
  • EnergyVault - Store energy as gravity potential (lifting up blocks of concrete)
  • BrainOS - Operating system for robots (no need to reinvent robot intelligence)
  • SpatialOS - Focus on game & players, we take care of the servers, networks
  • Zymergen - Use machine learning and genomics to source for new materials
  • Reef - Monetise carparks (fulfilment hub, central kitchen, event venue etc)
  • MapBox - White label Google Maps for developers

The James Dyson Award is noteworthy for its novelty of submissions, focus on youth inventors and project reporting (full listing of short listed projects, science behind each, the people, website and product video). Sample 2019 finalists:
  • AirDisc - All new aircon design that uses 150W instead of 1000W
  • Eve - Personal safety wearable for women (detects struggling etc)
  • Aeroflux - Contactless magnetic brakes: does not require giant magnets
  • VitaCam - Use advanced facial recognition for health diagnosis
  • Floax - Drain cover that lets water in but keeps the mozzies out vid
  • Eddy - Retrofittable laundry machine filter for micro-plastics
  • Maya - Modular vehicle (like how you would assemble a DIY PC) vid
  • Marinatex - Fish scale plastic that is stronger than LDPE (plastic bags)

Together We Progress

For Deepavali 2019, RHB Bank gets our video pick. The setting is the Batu Caves temple complex which features an inner temple which requires a climb of 272 steps to reach. The post title is RHB's corporate logo. Happy Deepavali!