BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Top three startups from the fourth cycle of Darussalam Enterprise’s (DARe’s) Startup Bootcamp were in Singapore to pitch their business ideas to a panel of regional investors at Golden Equator’s office yesterday.
The companies – Memori, Rotuku and essentials.ai – were selected based on their performance at the 100-day accelerator programme after being evaluated by a panel of judges which include officials from Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) and Progresif as well as official facilitator Golden Equator.
The bootcamp saw legacy planning platform Memori successfully securing a US$100,000 fundraising round, and gained access to a customer pipeline via two insurance agencies and Asia’s largest bereavement service provider.
Insurance technology provider essentials.ai on the other hand, had developed a chatbot that can communicate effectively with the digital-savvy population to educate them on insurance and aimed to launch a closed beta product next month.
Additionally, online marketplace Rotuku had also started internationalising its platform by adding 25,000 new products to their website from China, Malaysia and soon Indonesia. It also opened a physical shop in Brunei to validate its existing products within the local market.
Managing Partner of Rekanext Capital Partners Ambar Machfoedy who was one of the panel of investors said he was very impressed with the pitches despite not knowing what to expect prior to the session.
“A number of them have unique ideas or approaches for addressing problems that consumers and business face, and I say that from the perspective of someone who has looked at numerous ventures from the region,” he said.
“It’s refreshing that the Brunei startups are looking at untapped opportunities like will-writing services and insurtech – I’m looking forward to having deeper conversations with these startups down the line,” he added.
Besides from the three, there were also companies that had successfully secured partnerships via the bootcamp including GroMinda Group who has partnered with Glints, a portfolio company of Golden Equator to host Brunei’s first coding competition Brunei Hacks last year.
DARe’s CEO Javed Ahmad said: “Equipping early-stage startups with the skills to accelerate growth, stress-test their business ideas, and gain international exposure are crucial in today’s globalised economy. This is an important step forward in achieving the Brunei Vision 2035’s goal in raising the standards of our talent pool to develop a dynamic, diversified, and sustainable economy to compete on the world stage.”
To date, the first three cycles of the Startup Bootcamp saw 46 local start-ups collectively raise USD919K in investment, while providing employment to more than 360 people.