GovTech Hackathon

MYHackathon is grassroots online GovTech hackathon organised by MOSTI. Running for the past 3 months, the hackathon culminates in a finale and showcase next Tue, Jan 26th, 2021. Sample winners (kudos for the fast-paced vids and succinct pitches):
  • BukuPINK - Digital immunisation and vaccination card
  • Anak2u - Adapt online edu to rural students (no device, bandwidth)
  • Pandai - Continuous edu via short courses (vs big conferences)
  • Avicenna - Digital disability card issued fast (vs months)
  • Vircle - Digital aid that uses the national ID card (eg for groceries)
  • eLancar - Move HRDF model from agency to marketplace
  • BossBoleh - Cloud-based company secretary and incorporation

Fintech Founders' Fave Fintechs

Sifted asked top fintech founders from Checkut, N26, Fintonic, Lunar, Penta, Bux, Bnext and Plaid what promising fintech startups to watch out for. The founders picked 21 startups, a sample:
  • Bunq - Ewallet with the works (applepay, googlepay, subaccounts...)
  • ParentPay - Ewallet for kids, parents and schools (UK market leader)
  • Luko - Home insurance with certified repairman and artisan panel
  • Flux - Give customers digital receipts (and discounts, rewards)
  • Marshmallow - App-based, accessible car insurance
  • Dymne - Cost savings app (getting the best telco plan?)
  • Public - Fractional shares in stocks (eg green, alt-meat, self-driving)

Spring Festival

Whether locked down or exercising an abundance of caution, big reunion dinners should best be scaled down this year. To keep with the occasion, perhaps eateries could accept delivery orders for the big dinner, to be delivered to homes and to gramps back at the hometown. Ditto gift baskets.

E-Red Packets
CN has had this for a few years now. send a red packet to a messaging contact. More possibilities: red packets for kids (eg young relatives), staff and other parties (eg charities), who are not in one's contact list or platform. How would you design an inclusive, easy-to-use red packet system that is more fun than a straight P2P payment?

Thaipusam, a major Tamil festival, is on Thu, Jan 28th. With lockdowns likely still in place, what will become of chariot processions & temple pilgrimages? Might the 272 steps stair climb be substituted with home based 272 squats? No electronics needed.

CNY Video
Our video pick for this year goes to RHB Bank. Happy Spring Festival and a safe and prosperous New Year!

Public Holidays 2021: KL & Selangor

  • Jan 01 Fri - New Years Day
  • Jan 28 Thu - Thaipusam
  • Feb 01 Mon - Federal Territory Day KL
  • Feb 12 Fri - Lunar New Year 2 Days
April - May
  • Apr 29 Thu - Nuzul Al-Quran
  • May 01 Sat - Labour Day
  • May 13 Thu - Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2 Days
  • May 26 Wed - Wesak Day
  • Jun 07 Mon - Agong's Birthday
  • Jun 20 Tue - Hari Raya Haji
  • Aug 10 Tue - Awal Muharam
  • Aug 31 Tue - Merdeka Day
September - November
  • Sep 16 Thu - Malaysia Day
  • Oct 19 Tue - Mawlid al-Nabi
  • Nov 04 Thu - Deepavali
  • Dec 11 Thu - Sultan's Birthday SEL
  • Dec 25 Sat - Christmas

Bullish Year

Rostov Rocks
We had two candidate posts to usher in 2021. The one that got posted was Beatles and Brexit. The above was the other candidate, a spectacular, inadvertent fireworks display at Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Dec 2020.

Bullish Year
Speaking of the New Year, the Gregorian one was on Jan 1st, the Tamilian one, Pongal, was a couple of days ago on Jan 14th, and the Lunar New Year is about a month away on Feb 12th. According to Eastern traditions, it will be the year of the Bovine. Will it be a bullish, bullpoo, bull-in-a- china-shop or cows-come-home year? We shall hope it will be a year of (at least some) milk and honey.

YC Jumpstart

Top YC Alumni
YC recently posted about its top alumni (valued at $150M and above). The top 3 are DoorDash, Dropbox and Airbnb. Most are aged 5 years+. Here's a pick of freshies from recent years (2017-2020) that made it to the list:
  • Deel - Global payroll system
  • Momentus - Delivery service to space
  • Substack - Indie news publishing
  • Brex - A business bank that is not a bank
  • ZeroDown - Zero down payment for home buying
  • May - Pandemic mobility (partition, UV sanitiser etc)
  • Volansi - Drone with vertical and horizontal propellers

Jumpstarter Top 20 finalists pitch is happening Mon (18 Jan 2020). Sample:
  • Artivive - Art augmented by AR (eg make Mona Lisa wink)
  • Rice - Indoor robot (courier, porter, butler, security etc)
  • IPification - Instant mobile authenticator (no need password, 2FA)
  • Exabyte - Materials modelling (cut 10 years work to 2 days)
  • ZwzTech - Unmanned cash register that uses RFID tags

Foodie Concepts

Back to lockdowns and home cooked, delivered or take-out food? Here are some culinary concepts to explore while under lockdown, or if starting a food kiosk, or to do some R&D to prepare for a new start after the lockdown ends.

Lemon Lime Fizzy
Among MY's top 10 YTers, at least 3 (Bella Khann, Che Nom, Sugu Pavithra) offer foodie vids. Here's Bella's recipe (narrated in MY and EN) for a fruity fizzy.

Italian Sandwich
NYC delicatessen Casa Della Mozzarella makes mozzarella cheese in-house and applies them to sumptuous Italian Sandwiches.

Garlic Egg Toast
KR's street food vendors have moved on from a gritty vibe to being techie-like and decidedly delicious looking. As in garlic egg toasts at the Olleh Market in Jeju.

CES 2021 Awards

CES 2021 picked 285 Honorees and 20 Best of Innovation from a field of approx 2,000 exhibitors. A sample:

Best of Innovation
  • E21P - Smart surfaces
  • Waymo - Autonomous car
  • Mayflower - Autonomous ship
  • ELF-SR1 - 3D hologram desktop display
  • BioButton - Wearable covid symptom monitor
  • Origin - AI analyse Wi-Fi bounce for security & health

Product Honorees
  • Ekin - Robotic traffic police
  • Nyon - E-bike system and dashboard
  • eMoped - Moped with smart features
  • Morse Micro - Wi-Fi HaLow (Wi-Fi on steroids) 
  • Mudra - Control a smart watch by moving fingers
  • BeFC - Eco-friendly button battery made from paper 

Science Meetups

Global Young Scientist Summit Jan 12-15
GYSS@one-north 2021 is a meetup of young scientists and researchers, portions which will be live streamed via YouTube. Topics include:

Open Science Conference Feb 17-19
The Open Science Conference 2021 provides a forum to discuss the latest and future developments in Open Science. Sample topics:
  • Open Science from Home - SPARC
  • Data Sharing from Ground Up - Ithaka S+R
  • Full Open Scholarships - Leiden
  • Rewards and Incentives for Open Science - RDA
  • The Sustainable Futures Academy - Humboldt
  • Student Organized Scientific Publications - JEPS

MarTech | AdTech | SalesTech

A sample of MarTech, AdTech and SalesTech startups:

  • MentionMe - Make happy customers the core of marketing
  • Yoyo - Ewallet with loyalty program and integrated CRM
  • Storyclash - Influencer performance reporting
  • Flowbox - User generated marketing contemt
  • NewEngen - Strategic marketing

  • Videocamp - Non-duplicated viewership measurement across media
  • Azerion - Connecting advertisers with real consumer and publishers
  • Beeswax - Programmatic bidding as a service
  • IronSource - In-app video ad network
  • Phrasee - AI powered copywriting

  • Refract - Close sales remotely, identify conversion points
  • Xactly - Sales performance management
  • Chorus - Analyse calls, meetings, emails for sales action
  • Sailthru - Wins best email marketing 2020 (a sales drive)
  • Exceed - Automatically follow up on leads

  • Marketing: persona, research, development, branding, events
  • Advertising: voice, ads, collateral, programmatic, publicity
  • Sales: transaction, calls, meets, presentations, tenders, contracts

GenZ Calling

Are Gen Z (early twenties and below) lazy and short on grit? Perhaps not:
  • They may want to see purpose in their work. If they are asked to make more plastic, they may not want to make more plastic.
  • Grit is relative; many of us would have noticed our gramps are/were in a different grit league compared to us.
  • Families are smaller now, so Gen Zs may have less chances of big family dynamics, giving rise to a different work dynamic.
  • It could also be perspective. The YouTube vids that we have come across by Gen Zs are spirited, substantial and diligent.
  • Try to adapt to Gen Z and bring them up, they have a very heavy responsibility to carry on in a challenging world. As reflected by Gen Z vocalist Lucy Thomas in a cover of Desperado.

Start Marketing

Business ops usually kick off with marketing, thus, fittingly, marketing events to the fore in Jan 2021.

Growth Festival info 21st Jan

Sales & Marketing Summit info 26th Jan
  • Go-To-Market Strategies - Prudential
  • Leveraging Tools To Transform Sales & Marketing - Microsoft
  • Sales and Service Insights - Hitachi
  • Empowering Sales & Marketing Staff - LinkedIn
  • Data and Insights Drive Sales - Mamee

The Next HQ

CES 2021 is happening online January 11-14. Consisting of a conference, partner programs and an exhibition, tickets are priced at $149 till Sunday. Sample content:

  • Home as The Next Headquarters - Deloitte
  • Getting Back Together Safely - Clear
  • Content for a Kinder Consumer - Vice
  • Vehicle Tech Consumers Want - CAR
  • An All Electric Future - GM
  • The Great Unbundling of Video - PlutoTV
  • CataTech: Catastrophe Technology - DHS S&T
  • An Esports League from Ground Up - Riot Games

Partner Programs

  • Adasky - Thermal: seeing what eyes and other sensors cannot
  • Lux Lab - Turn clear glass (eg a window) into a screen
  • SimpleHuman - The Apple + Dyson of home ware
  • EnergySquare - Office wireless charging
  • Zmirror - Mirror + Alexa [mirror, mirror on the wall?]
  • Cartesiam - IoT: Intelligence of Things
  • Celeno - 6th generation Wi-Fi
  • Millo - Wireless blender vid

New mobility, a highlight of recent editions, won't be out in full force. Ditto experiential products like delicious veggie burgers. Exhibitor count is around 2,000 about half of the pre-bugzilla 2019 show. Still, a good effort by CES not to be laid low by the bug, and bonus marks for a revamped, simplified event site.

Brit Invasion

Brit Invasion
The 60s was a heady decade for Brit culture, arts and tech. Out of UK, came Beatles, Rolling Stones, Twiggy, Bond movies, The Saint, The Avengers, Harrier jets and the iconic Jaguar E and XJ6. This was attributed, among a host of factors, to the post-war baby boom coming of age in the 60s. Music wise, Beatles, which Rolling Stones (the rock music mag) ranks #1 in the 100 greatest music artists, burst upon the scene sweeping away melodic doowops in favour of experimental, metal, rock and psychedelic tunes. After Brexit this Friday, could Old Blighty pull off a new Brit revolution?

The Beatles played together as a band from 1960 to 1970. I Want To Hold Your Hand, one of their early hits, is covered here by Caitlin Hart, while Let It Be, their last song together as a band, is covered by Miloš Fiala. Happy New Year!

SmartCity Updates

  • Coord - Curbs (sidewalks) are a valuable public space. Coord helps inventorise, manage and beneficially utilize curbs, including reapplying them as dynamically priced spaces. Consumers favour using curbs for public dining.
  • Adelaide - A renewable power supplier paid A$ 200M for a Tesla battery farm (to smoothen the power supply), and last year, savings totaled A$ 116M. Essentially, the facility paid for itself in 2+ years, and will save some A$ 100M per year thereafter
  • Qualcomm - Turns its San Diego campus into a mini smart city and test bed for its tech and that of its partners (IoT, security cameras, sensors, analytics, energy optimization, bus despatch etc).. FB is also building a village in San Francisco. Private sector driven mini smart cities could be the way to go (vs monolithic city hall ones).
  • Boston - While cities are increasingly being paved over, Boston does the opposite by re-introducing forests back into the city.
  • Paris - Reduces parking spaces by 50% and asks residents what they want to do with the space. Paris is also aiming to be a 15 min city where everything is just 15 mins away. [Reduction in parking works best in conjunction with new mobility.]

SmartCity Startups

A selection of SmartCity startups:

Circuit Ride Hailing vid info pdf
  • Fresh take on app-based ride hailing
  • Vision: affordable, clean air, green mobility, jobs
  • Fully electric shuttle (3 rows of seats, 5 passengers)
  • For trips that are within 2 miles (3.2km) - which are 35% of all trips
  • Free or low cost, sponsored by cities, developers and/or advertisers
  • Expands organically by being invited into cities

Other Startups
  • WooDoo - Wood imbued with polymer that is as strong as steel
  • Aqua Robur - Water pipe IoT monitor that is powered by water vid
  • Eva - Drone airport/refueling station the size of a half container
  • ClearRoad - Zero infra road pricing: just requires photo of odometer
  • Plenty - 2-acre vertical farm out-produces 720-acre flat farm info
  • TransferCo - Co-work at a food market tour
  • Greenworks - AgTech Lab + VertFarm + Commercial Kitchen + CoWork

Latest New Mobility

Llatest mobility startups:
  • Fébus - Hydrogen BRT
  • Corodia iLint - Hydrogen train
  • Hyperion - Hydrogen performance car
  • RiverSimple - Light hydrogen vehicle
  • Piëch - Swiss precision engineering + minimalist design
  • HoverSurf - Urban air because no roads need to be built
  • K-Racer - Unmanned helicopter (chunky drone)
  • BiCar - A bicycle that self identifies as a car
  • Mokka-e - One year's production sold out in a month
  • D1 - Ride hailing company custom builds own EV
  • KoRail - K-Hyperloop goes 1000 kmh (620 mph)
  • AMI - 'Mobility object' for € 20 per month
  • eBussy - The van could be the new SUV

Piano Girl

Piano Man by piano girl SooSpice.

Advances @ Apple

  • In a previous post, we teased Apple as being a bit dull in its recent launches. As it turns out, it has a few cards up its sleeves.
  • The new Apple M1 chip consumes 10 watts vs 86 watts for the equivalent x86 chip (Coffee Lake, up to 8x more efficient, Apple quotes 3x). This is green cred.
  • Practical real world battery duration improvement (which includes powering the RAM etc) is around double.
  • Hardware efficiency may entice software inefficiency. If the CPU is 3 times more efficient (and 5G is 10 times faster than 4G), will web pages be 3-10 times more heavily laden with pop-ups, auto-playing videos and scripts?
  • What the web needs is a search engine for lean, clean pages - which Apple might just be working on.
  • In addition to the M1, Apple says it is just starting with Apple Watch. Currently the watch incorporates a phone, messaging, music, watch, ewallet, timer, activity tracker, proximity tracker, biosensors (heart rate and rhythm, ECG, blood oxygen level),
  • What else could be next? Apple hints more sensors, which could be breathing rate, body temp and sweat.
  • Or esoteric AI stuff like gait and movement (if one has been shuffling around lately instead of jaunting sprightly as usual, it may be a sign of something).
  • Or it might be external sensors like atmospheric CO2 levels - great for those packed meetings in poorly ventilated rooms.
  • Apple a bit out of one's budget? Keep an eye out for Wyse.

Break Dancing

Break Dancing
Break dancing is set to be included as a full event in the 2024 Paris Olympics. This will possibly be the first non-sport art to be included as such (other artistic events like gymnastics, diving, dressage and katas are rooted in sports). Factors favouring the inclusion include being hugely popular at the 2018 Youth Olympics, being youth-orientated, a world-wide following, and being accessible (one doesn't need special venues or equipment to roll).

Art Olympics
Olympics hasn't always been about sports only. Till 1948, architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture were part of the games. These were dropped because the artists were eventually considered professionals when Olympics then were for amateurs only.

The top video is a break dancing sample. The second video is an old school Russian dance battle (between two groups of dancers) with early elements of break dancing, without the ground spins.