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Rice Bowl Startup Awards 2015



KUALA LUMPUR, 22 November, 2015 – Winners for the inaugural Rice Bowl Startup Awards were celebrated at a gala event closing the 1 Asean Entrepreneurship Summit in Kuala Lumpur earlier today. The Golden Rice Bowl Award for Startup of the Year was awarded to NeonRunner, a startup from Malaysia which offers last mile on-demand services for the masses at an affordable price. “From the very beginning our goal was to celebrate the rising stars of entrepreneurship throughout Southeast Asia, and tonight’s gala honoured startups who are a clear embodiment of excellence and innovation,” said Ashran Dato’ Ghazi, Chairman of New Entrepreneurs Foundation (myNEF). All 33 finalists were automatically in the running for the Golden Rice Bowl Award, and were awarded startup training worth USD15,000, regional media engagements and investor matching. “Cumulatively, USD82 million in funding has been pledged by investors to date to invest in the finalists, and we are confident that this figure will expand as more investors recognise the quality and innovation of these startups,” added Ashran.

The Rice Bowl Startup Awards is the first ASEAN awards to celebrate rising startups that harness technology to propel their business regionally, with the aim of building an ASEAN ecosystem for the startup community. The awards focus on developmental elements, with all of our finalists being media trained, given media exposure and matched with investors. 376 entries were submitted from nine countries across South East Asia during the nomination phase from 1 June to 15 September 2015. A panel of over 30 judges from the awards’ community partners then evaluated the entries in four broad areas – Business, Traction, USP and Investability.

Finalists were judged by the Rice Bowl Startup Awards Grand Jury, lead by Tan Sri Dr. Mohamed Irwan Serigar Abdullah, Chairman of the 1 ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit as Head Judge and comprising of Nadira Yusoff, President of Nadi-Ayu Technologies & CoChairperson of 1 ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit; Hamdi Mokhtar, Board Member of New Entrepreneurs Foundation; Cheryl Yeoh, CEO of Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre; Leigh Reyes, President & Chief Creative Officer of LOWE Philippines; Matthew Badalucco, Vice President of Catcha Group; and Amran Hassan, Head of Innovation of Maybank.

The Winners for the inaugural Rice Bowl Startup Awards are:


1. Retail Startup of the Year Poundit (Philippines)

● E-commerce site for consumer electronics founded by Kristian Salvo, CEO.

2. Media Startup of the Year (Malaysia)

● Food review and recommendation site founded and curated by Kenny Hew, CEO and Kay Stanford Jr. Kastum, Digital Producer.

3. Digital/Online Startup of the Year Eatigo (Thailand)

● Online restaurant reservations with time-based discounts. Cofounded by Michael Cluzel, CEO and Siddhanta Kothari, COO.

4. Tech Startup of the Year Star Ticket (Myanmar)

● The first bus ticketing solution in Myanmar. Co-founded by Thet Mon Aye and Zarni Nway Oo. CROSS-SECTOR AWARD CATEGORY

5. Product Startup of the Year QLIPP (Singapore)

● Lightweight sensor that helps improve tennis game. Co-founded by Donny Soh, CEO and Lee Chee How, COO.

6. Service Startup of the Year a. NeonRunner (Malaysia)

● On demand, same day delivery service enabler co-founded by M. Kanashan, CEO and Arvind Patmarajah, CFO.

7. Innovative Go-To-Market Startup of the Year GetLinks (Thailand)

● Connects companies with the next generation of passionate digital talent and innovators. Co-founded by Djoann Fal and Polpat Songthamjitti. SPECIAL AWARD CATEGORY

8. FinTech Business Startup of the Year (category sponsored by Maybank) Qwikwire (Phillipines)

● Pay bills from anywhere in the world brought by Bing Bryan Tan, CTO and Zairo Hererro Ko, Head Of Business Development.

9. University Startup of the Year (category sponsored by University Malaya) Flexilicate (Malaysia)

● Custom designed optical fibers for telecommunications applications, sensing & non-linear effects spearheaded by Prof. Dr. Faisal Rafiq Mahamd Adikan, Director and Dr. Ghafour Amouzad Mahdiraji, Managing Director.


10. Social Enterprise Startup of the Year Kapital Boost (Singapore)

● Islamic crowdfunding platform that helps small businesses pay for goods and capital purchases. Co-founded by Erly Witoyo, Managing Partner and Umar Munshi, Partner.

11. Woman in Business Startup of the Year Silvia Wetherell, MumRadar (Singapore)

● Helping mums find nursing rooms, baby friendly cafes, playgrounds and more on the go. Co-founded by mums Silvia Wetherell and Rita Bishop.

The awards were held as a closing ceremony for the 1 ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit (1AES 2015). 1 AES 2015 aims to inspire and promote ideas by sharing the learnings of successful entrepreneurs and industry experts with young entrepreneurs. At the same time, motivating youth to think big and leverage on the ASEAN community to capture the global market.

According to YBhg. Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Irwan Serigar Bin Abdullah, the Secretary General of Treasury, “We have been receiving an overwhelming response from both local and ASEAN entrepreneurs since the 1AES kicked off in March, early this year. We, here at 1AES strive to provide knowledge, inspiration, motivation and ideas as well as networking platform within this 1 week period.”

The Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MAGiC) is the awards’ strategic partner, and the event is sponsored by Maybank, Microsoft and UStart. Trophy design is by Melinda Looi International, and was 3D printed by UTC Additive Manufacturing Pte Ltd. Infinite Ventures matched the finalists with investors around the region, and the awards were audited by Adib Azhar & Co. Ammanz, Aquila, Thailand Startup Review and the Malaysian Reserve are all supporters of this year’s awards. The awards’ community partners include: Bangkok Entrepreneurs, Brand Geeks, Cradle, Cyberview, Digital Kaway, Geeks in Cambodia, Hubba, IdeaSpace, Iglu, Lithan, Mad Inc, MDEC, My Harapan, MyIPO, My Performing Arts, NEF, Startup Jobs Asia, Startup Malaysia, Startup Myanmar, Startup Thailand, Startup Vietnam, The Spark Project, UStart 2015, WatchTower & Friends, Webmob, Women Entrepreneurs Network (WENA), and World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation (WIEF).


Women on Top in Tech – Dr. Sanna Gaspard, Founder and CEO of Rubitection



(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Dr. Sanna Gaspard is the Founder and CEO of Rubitection, a medical device start-up developing a diagnostic tool for early stage pressure detection, assessment, and management. She is an Entrepreneur, inventor, and biomedical engineer with a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, healthcare and medical devices. She has received recognition and awards including being selected as a finalist for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards(’13), a semi-finalist for the Big C competition (’14), a finalist for the Mass Challenge Business accelerator in Boston, and taking 1st place at the 3 Rivers Investment Venture Fair’s Technology showcase (‘11). Her vision is to make the Rubitect Assessment System the global standard solution for early bedsore detection and management.

What makes you do what you do? 
I am driven to have impact and improve healthcare as I have a strong drive to problem solve, comes up with new ideas, and see them come to life.

How did you rise in the industry you are in? 
I first focused on getting the educational background and then I pursued the goals I have for myself. I got my PhD in Biomedical Engineering with a specialization in medical device development. Having the educational background is important as a woman and minority to assist people in taking your seriously.  After completing my PhD, I focused on bringing my invention for a medical device for early bedsore detection and prevention called the Rubitect Assessment System to market to help save lives and improve care.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
I started my startup, Rubitection , because I felt it was the best way to bring the technology to market. I knew that if I did not try to commercialize the technology, it would not make it to the doctors and nurses. I also have confidence that I could manage developing the technology since I had taken classes on entrepreneurship and had my PhD in biomedical engineering with a specialization in medical devices.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work? How did you make a match if you did, and how did you end up being mentored by him/her?
No, I don’t have a specific mentor in my field. I am looking for one at the moment. However, I do look up to Steve Jobs and Oprah as examples of how one can start with nothing and work their way up and build a successful, global, and reputable business and brand.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?  
I first try to find people who have fundamental technical or work experience to be competent to complete the work. I then evaluate the person for intangible skills like independent thinking, reliability, leadership, resilience, organizational skills, strong work ethic, open mindedness/flexibility, and good communication skills.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why? 
I consciously make an effort as a minority woman in tech, I intimately understand the need to promote diversity within my business and outside my business. I first hire the best people for the job and also make a point to hire women and minorities qualified for the position.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?  
It takes resilience, vision, being a team player, an ability to inspire others and delegate work, knowing your weakness, and knowing when to put your business or yourself first.

Advice for others?
My advice to others is to take calculated risks, pursue every opportunity, surround yourself with supporters, build your team with smart dedicated people, and stay focused on your vision. I am striving to implement this advice myself as I work towards commercializing my technology for early bedsore detection, grow my team, and recruit clinical partners to address an $11 billion US healthcare problem which affects millions around the world.

If anyone is interested in learning more about our work or company, please contact us at [email protected].

To learn more about Dr. Sanna Gaspard, CEO of Rubitection visit:

If you’d like to get in touch with Dr. Sanna Gaspard, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn:

To learn more about Rubitection, please click here.

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Women on Top in Tech – Suzanne Wisse-Huiskes, Founder of MatchBox Consultancy and an Advocate at the Global Tech Advocates Network



(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Suzanne Wisse-Huiskes is a Strategic Consultant and Founder at MatchBox Consultancy with offices in the United Kingdom and Nigeria. MatchBox provides expert advise in Impact Investing, Alternative Finance, Venture Capital, Fundraising, Women Leadership, Business Development, and Economic Empowerment. She is also an Advocate at the Global Tech Advocates Network. Dedicated to challenging talented entrepreneurs, Suzanne is an official mentor at startup/accelerator programs in Africa, Europe, and Asia. She was awarded top 400 most successful women in the Netherlands for two years in a row.

What makes you do what you do?
My drive is to enable entrepreneurs to grow their businesses by improving their access to funding. This can elevate an entire community. I believe that Alternative Finance can potentially be a powerful catalyst for shifting the way our financial markets work.

I love the ingredients of the alternative finance market: the innovative nature of the industry; the global playing field; the turbo speed of change. The market is booming and shows little sign of slowing down.

I founded MatchBox to support highly motivated entrepreneurs and investors in their mission to create profitable businesses with impact. MatchBox has become a trusted partner to these clients: they value our strategic and operational expertise, as well as our strong global network used to consult and connect. The requests vary from developing large investing programs to ensure access to capital for SME’s, to developing funding strategies for entrepreneurs. What works in one country may not work in others. We understand the local players and the local markets. This work is fully aligned with what is important to me.

How did you rise in the industry you are in?
I’ve been in the crowdfunding industry since 2008. Back then, Facebook only had a 100 million active users as opposed to the 2.000 million users today. Kickstarter, one of the world’s largest funding platforms, was yet to launch. Joining the industry that early in the game, allowed me to rise with it. I was fortunate to be part of initiatives that pushed the Alternative Finance ecosystem, first in Amsterdam, then on a broader European level.

Then later on other emerging markets began to interest me. I moved to Nigeria, to work in Africa’s fastest growing economy and home to exciting trends in capital and fintech. I familiarized myself with the investing ecosystems in African countries. Today, I work in alternative finance ecosystems in Asia, Africa and Europe. Being able to learn, share and compare best practices from different economies to me is key in the rise of the industry. Currently, the crowdfunding market in Asia alone is worth over 200 billion Euros. That’s huge!

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
I’ve always followed my heart in my professional life. I focus on work that I am passionate about and am not afraid to take the path less travelled. So leadership, demographics never held me back. With my experience and skills I am well positioned to successfully get the job done. For me it doesn’t feel like it’s a stretch.

Even more so, my clients see it as a big advantage to have women on the job. I recently worked on an impact investing program in West Africa focussing on women-led SME’s and experienced the benefits of a diverse team. Women entrepreneurs see the world through a different lens and, in turn, do things differently.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work? How did you make a match if you did, and how did you end up being mentored by him/her?
The industry was completely new when I started, with no seniors to learn from. As a strong believer in mentorship, I do reach out to people in other industries for feedback and to bounce ideas.

I also learn a lot from working with various entrepreneurs. Collaborating with Sir Richard Branson in the beginning of my career was encouraging. We did a successful Crowdfunding Campaign for the elephants in Botswana. But I’m equally impressed by entrepreneurs that make a huge impact on their community no matter the circumstances. I’ve seen exceptional people grow businesses in the poorest regions of Nigeria. One can only admire their leadership.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?
For me, mentoring young entrepreneurs is a great way to develop and grow talent. My focus is usually on two mentees at a time to ensure there is enough time to discuss ideas and challenges. I worked at fintech startups for almost 10 years before founding MatchBox. So there are plenty of stories to share and learn from, both on failures as well as on successes.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?
I’m very vocal on the need for diversity. I’ve always found myself in the male dominated groups. First at University, then in my first corporate position, and later as a Board Member. At some of my MBA Finance classes, I was the only woman in a room of 50 men. It never bothered or intimidated me. It just made me work a little harder.

Nonetheless, diversity is much needed. I strongly believe the industry is missing out on many brilliant women. That is why I dedicate a great deal of time mentoring female entrepreneurs. We discuss the tools their businesses require to grow and attract the right type of capital. Investors still have a different approach towards female founders. This year, we are launching an initiative called ‘the Republic of Female Founders’, to provide practical tools and guidelines that are specific for this group.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?
My general rule of thumb: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. For me, it’s all about collaborative leadership. My industry is becoming increasingly complex, so sharing best practices will bring us far. That’s why I became an Advocate of the Tech Shanghai Advocates, part of the Global Tech Advocates. This group of senior leaders in the tech community is created to champion and accelerate the growth of the local technology sector.

I am also a fan of the CrowdfundingHub and Crowddialog in Europe, and Ingressive in Africa for similar reasons: Ordinary people doing extraordinary things because they believe in the positive impact of innovation in finance. My peers are all trailblazers in the alternative finance industry, I consider myself to be in great company.

Advice for others?
I strongly believe in collaboration, so building business relationships is key. I truly foster my relations. To me it doesn’t feel like work, but rather like building bonds. Seek opportunities to connect and reach out. It really pays off to have a strong network. At MatchBox, I work with a network of exceptional local experts. If you need advice and consulting on your funding strategy, impact investing program or crowdfunding strategy, we will gladly work with you. Contact us at MatchBox.

If you’d like to get in touch with Suzanne Wisse – Huiskes, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn:

To learn more about MatchBox Consultancy, please click here.

To learn more about  Global Tech Advocates Network, please click here.

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