Daily Markup #71: These are the SEA startups selected for Google’s accelerator program; How this…

Class in session

  • The first cohort of startups in the Google for Startups Accelerator: Southeast Asia is out — and amongst the pool are two 500-backed companies.
Credit: Kata.ai
  • Kata.ai from Indonesia specializes in providing intuitive virtual assistants for companies in the archipelago, from FMCGs to financial institutions to telecom operators.
  • The solutions are adaptable to the variety of dialects and lingos, allowing companies to direct marketing efforts to specific audience groups with ease.
Credit: Rumarocket
  • Joining Kata.ai is Philippines’ Rumarocket, a hiring platform using AI and machine-learning to manage talent recruitment and HR processes.
  • It helps companies recruit, retain, and incentivize their talents more effectively, identifies applications with potential to be successful, and the best performing employees within the company, and even anticipates employees who are likely to resign.
  • Google received over 600 applicants and only 15 startups were chosen for this first cohort.
Credit: Tech in Asia Indonesia
  • Over the next few months, these startups will receive mentorship on both technical and business challenges. They’ll also be connected with teams from Google and the wider technology industry, and provided workshops focused on designing products, customer service, and leadership development for founders.
  • Congrats on making the list, Kata.ai and Rumarocket!

Banking on AI

  • Daniel Chia of 500-backed Call Levels is the recipient of this year’s Tech Laureate Awards by The Peak Magazine. In an interview, he detailed the journey in growing the AI-powered fintech chatbot.
  • Earlier years of Call Levels saw Daniel and his team grinding to set the foundation for what the platform is today: A conversational AI chatbot focusing on making banking transactions easier and faster for everyone by facilitating interactions between customers and relationship managers with digital solutions.
Credit: The Peak Magazine
  • “You can never replace the human touch, of course, but there are many boring administrative things that can be automated. And because it’s automated, it can be made secure instantaneously,” Daniel says.
  • Daniel secured partnerships with financial institutions in Singapore and around the region to implement the product in their systems.
  • To reach as many people as possible, the chatbot was made available on popular messaging services like WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Telegram.
  • With the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating digital solutions, Danial and his team are now in the midst of upgrading the chatbot with facial recognition and treasury hedging solutions. The latest iteration is set to release later this year.
  • He revealed three local financial institutions and another eight in Indonesia have already signed up for the upgraded AI chatbot.
  • Daniel talks more on Call Levels here.

Shares go digital

  • 500-backed InvestaX and its partners have created a solution to address the complexities in Employee Share Option Plans (ESOP).
  • Simply called Digital ESOP (DESOP), it allows employees to extract value from their interest in the company from the day the employee joins the company.
  • Historically, employees can’t extract any value out of their stock options until the company has an exit, InvestaX says.
Credit: InvestaX
  • With DESOP, employees can “earn value in real-time by measuring data (personal and business-related) pulled from various sources like CRM, Fitbit, KPI’s and quarterly goals and customized to each individual and team and being rewarded for hitting those targets.”
  • Get to know more about DESOP here.
  • In other developments, InvestaX entered into a strategic partnership with LIFULL, a public listed Japanese company with decades of experience in proptech.

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500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. In Southeast Asia, 500 Startups invests through the pioneering 500 Southeast Asia family of funds. The 500 Southeast Asia funds have backed over 240 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology. It continues to connect founders with capital, expertise and powerful regional and global networks to help them succeed.


This post is intended solely for general informational or educational purposes only. 500 Startups Management Company, L.L.C. and its affiliates (collectively “500 Startups”) makes no representation as to the accuracy or information in this post and while reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the information herein is accurate and up-to-date, no liability can be accepted for any error or omissions. All third party links in this post have not been independently verified by 500 Startups and the inclusion of such links should not be interpreted as an endorsement or confirmation of the content within. Information about portfolio companies’ markets, competitors, performance, and fundraising has been provided by those companies’ founders and has not been independently verified. Under no circumstances should any content in this post be construed as investment, legal, tax or accounting advice by 500 Startups, or an offer to provide any investment advisory service with regard to securities by 500 Startups. No content or information in this post should be construed as an offer to sell or solicitation of interest to purchase any securities advised by 500 Startups. Prospective investors considering an investment into any 500 Startups fund should not consider or construe this content as fund marketing material. The views expressed herein are as at the date of this post and are subject to change without notice. One or more 500 Startups fund may have a financial interest in one or more of the companies discussed.

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