This post originally comes from TechOrange, a tech blog based in Taipei and was written by James Hill of iii.org.tw. Thank you James!
Leading figures from the entrepreneurial communities in Silicon Valley, Europe, and Taiwan descended on Microsoft’s Taipei offices last Friday to find out which five teams had made it through to the inaugural batch of Startup Labs, the new global initiative spearheaded by Clint Nelsen, co-founder of Startup Weekend and Arkady Moreynis, a prominent Internet entrepreneur and investor from Russia.
The 22-day acceleration program awards teams 1,000,000 NTD (~US$30,000) in exchange for 8% of company equity. Here’s what you need to know about the teams who stood out during the rigorous selection process:
Flirq puts the women in charge of the dating process, offering users a safe and fun place for people to meet. The team is a graduate of Philadelphia’s DreamIt Ventures incubator, and has honed their product on the university campuses in the same city. The draw for the guys is that once a woman is interested she will contact you, raising the chances of a successful match, avoiding awkward exchanges and painful rejection.
Based in Taichung, Foodjing is probably already a team you’ve heard of, having won Startup Weekend Taipei last August. Foodjing aims to bring the food information you want directly to you via searchable menus uploaded to their platform. Of course there’s a social aspect to it, with shared photos, comments and recommendations from other Foodjingers added into the mix to help users find the food they want nearby. The team will be relocating to Taipei for the next three weeks and launching their service in Taiwan’s largest food market.
Gumhoo is a social shopping service where users create wish lists of things they like, have already bought or plan to buy. Following and commenting on others’ purchase decisions is a big part of the service, which launched last year. Gumhoo have had some pretty good feedback from the community and have made a few changes to their service, as their end-of-2011 blog post details.
Anyone with any experience of buying insurance will know that it is a mind boggling myriad of service providers, brokers and somewhat shady salespeople. InsureMe aims to cut through all the BS and serve customers impartial, comprehensive and accurate information on insurance packages. The site will be populated by insurance salespeople, who will be evaluated by the community on their trustworthiness and previous performance. I’ve heard that the team has some kickass coders on board, so I’m eager to see what they can achieve in three short weeks.
Backed by Microsoft’s Bizspark program, TheTrueSense provides a suite of information security solutions to institutions, businesses and those running websites. Their products include SkyAnalyzer, an application security early warning system and SkyScreen, a malicious URL analyzer. With Internet security of prime concern after some high profile security breaches (Sony, Anonymous etc), there is an obvious market there for products that successfully tackle these issues.
It’s going to be a crazy three weeks for these teams as they work on achieving the goals set by themselves and the legion of mentors and advisors on hand to help them. Demo day falls on March 2, but if you’re interested in meeting the teams and checking out their first week of progress, come along to an open house event at III’s Living Lab on Friday February 17 from 6pm.