- The Emerge X Program sits within Microsoft’s Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative, which discovers and nurtures high potential technology startups & grows the ecosystem in emerging markets across APAC
Four startups from Vietnam, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Singapore are winners at Microsoft’s inaugural Emerge X Regional Pitching Competition in Asia Pacific:
- Abivin from Vietnam: An AI-powered platform that optimizes supply chains across multiple sectors by solving the vehicle routing problem
- Lifetrack Medical Systems from the Philippines and Singapore: A cloud-based platform that provides affordable access to medical imaging in emerging markets
- Agrithmics from Sri Lanka: A cloud-based solution that enriches the agri-industry by digitizing the farm to factory supply chain and connecting farmers and buyers
- Milky Way AI, from Singapore: An AI-powered smart retail solution leveraging image recognition technology to help retailers manage shelf inventory and maximize sales
“For Asia Pacific to remain at the forefront of global transformation, it takes disruptors, visionaries, and futurists. There are no limits to what people can achieve when the world and technology reflect the diversity of everyone who uses it. At Microsoft, we build technology so that others can create technology, and to be successful we all need to come together,” said Andrea Della Mattea, President, Microsoft Asia Pacific. “Through the Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative and our Emerge X program, we aim to help startups on the road to innovation, where they can meet unarticulated needs of the industry and help businesses become resilient.”
Microsoft Philippines hosted the Emerge X Regional Pitching Competition during the 2020 Philippine Startup Week (PHSW20) from November 23 – 27, 2020, the biggest startup conference in the country which hosted more than 10,500 registrants from across the Asia-Pacific region.
“We’re very pleased and very excited to have brought the Emerge X initiative to the Philippines, giving access to Microsoft’s greater efforts towards empowering startups and digital natives to Filipino entrepreneurs and innovators,” said Microsoft Philippines COO Abid Zaidi.
In the Philippines, a total of thirteen startups emerged as finalists, with Lifetrack Medical Systems, which also represents Singapore, being chosen as one of the winners for its cloud-based platform that provides affordable access to medical imaging in emerging markets. Lifetrack Medical Systems started in 2011 to rethink how radiology software could be distributed and made available, especially in the challenging conditions of emerging markets. Via its LifeSys™ platform, over 1.7 million patients in 12 different countries have been diagnosed.
“Microsoft’s Emerge X competition has given Lifetrack a platform to share the work we have been doing to improve affordable access to medical imaging with our partners and stakeholders around the world. We are excited to join the Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative and looking forward to partnering with Microsoft to drive innovation forward in the region for the benefit of all,” said Dr. Eric Schulze, CEO and Founder, Lifetrack Medical Systems
“The potential and collective opportunity within the local startup ecosystem here in the Philippines is enormous and in our reality today, economic recovery for the country will need all businesses and organization to work together—including startups. We’re committed and invested in this now and for the future and we’re excited to join hands with the many startups and innovators of the Philippines,” said Microsoft Philippines’ Zaidi.
Growing the Startup Ecosystem in Emerging Markets across APAC
The Emerge X Program is part of Microsoft’s Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative, which was launched in the Asia Pacific in October 2020 after the overwhelming success in India. Microsoft engaged with more than 70 prominent startup ecosystem players and governments across 16 countries, who then nominated more than 300 of their most promising for the program.
The 16 countries engaged in the program are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
79 startups were selected to join the Microsoft Emerge X program, including [ Aiah, ChatGenie, Edukasyon Expedock, Frontlearners Inc., Investagrams, Lifetrack Medical Systems, Omnirio, Packetworx, Rumarocket, Tangere, and Qwikwire from the Philippines].As an Emerge X startup, they will participate in a year-long mentorship program with Microsoft for Startups which is designed to help them scale and accelerate their growth. They will also receive GitHub and Azure credits, have the opportunity to attend a Founder Bootcamp for 3 days, gain access to enterprise clients globally through Microsoft’s unique co-sell program, and interact with Microsoft experts and industry stalwarts.
Of these, 21 of the Emerge X startups pitched their ideas at the Emerge X Regional Pitching Competition, held at the Philippine Startup Week 2020, with Abivin, Lifetrack Medical Systems, Agrithmics and Milky Way AI identified as the top startups in the whole region. They were selected by a jury of leading investors and startup ecosystem leaders, including investors from BOV Capital, Cradle, Monk’s Hill Ventures, Movac, M12, SBK Tech Ventures, Sequoia, Vista Consulting Group, and 54i Ventures, and ecosystem leaders from GitHub and Target Accelerator.
Highway to a 100 Unicorns at the Singapore Week of Innovation & Technology 2020
Microsoft’s Highway to a 100 Unicorns Regional APAC Event was held at Singapore Week of Innovation & Technology (SWITCH) 2020 on 9 December, from 2pm-4pm. In that session, industry leaders from Microsoft and their partners discussed opportunities ahead and how to manage the challenges startups could face in APAC. The top four Emerge X startups shared their founding stories and how they have leveraged technology to solve some of the key challenges faced by business owners across different industry sectors.
Said Peter Ong, Chairman of Enterprise Singapore, who is organizing SWITCH, “We are happy that Microsoft has chosen to launch its inaugural Highway to a 100 Unicorns Regional APAC Event in Singapore. Culminating at SWITCH after its mentorship program and pitching competition, we see great synergies in bringing together the region’s most innovative and ambitious startups to network with our diverse line-up of speakers and participants. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Microsoft to provide a vibrant and conducive ecosystem for the development of innovative startups.”