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Daily Markup #54: Eko announces acquisition and new parent company for global expansion; Vokal…

500 Southeast Asia Team



The lowdown in today’s Daily Markup.

Introducing, Amity

  • Korawad Chearavanont, founder and CEO of 500-backed and Thailand-based Eko has announced the inception of a parent company, Amity.
  • At the same time, they have acquired local AI chatbot firm ConvoLab. With the acquisition, ConvoLab is now part of Amity’s suite of digital solutions, which already counts Eko and app development kit Upstra.
Korawad Chearavanont / Credit: Amity
  • The announcement comes after Eko saw a 200% jump in revenue in the second quarter of 2020 as hotels, hospitals and cleaning firms used its product, Korowad tells Reuters.
  • The spike has been attributed to global lockdown measures to curb the coronavirus spread. “This is for people who are not at their desks,” Korowad says.
  • To date, the company has over 5 million active users from almost 100 enterprise clients across Asia, Europe, and North America.

Talk with Koo

  • India-based and 500-backed peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing platform Vokal has launched a microblogging app reminiscent of the popular Twitter. It is, however, not in English but available in 11 local languages like Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.
  • The reason is, according to the official website, “Just 10% of India speaks English. Almost 1 billion people in India don’t know English. Instead they speak one of India’s 100s of languages. They are now getting access to smartphones and would love an internet in their language. However, majority of the internet has been in English.”
  • Called Koo, the app has gathered over 100k downloads on Google Playstore.
Credit: Koo
  • Koo is made with ease-of-use and simplicity in mind so first-time internet users can jump on it easily.
  • The launch comes after the Indian government’s decision to ban apps like TikTok and WeChat.

Let’s get cookin’

  • Co-working spaces are the norm. What about co-sharing kitchen spaces? Colloquially referred to as “cloud kitchens”, these industrial set-ups are specifically built mostly to produce food for deliveries.
  • Cookhouse is Malaysia’s first cloud kitchen. A 10,000 sq ft featuring five private kitchen studios, a shared baking production, walk-in freezers and chillers, packing facility, loading area, and food delivery pick up stations for food businesses of all sizes to prep, create, and ship their products out in an efficient manner.
  • 500-backed Food Market Hub has been listed as one of the partners in this endeavor, helping tenants with inventory sorting and goods sourcing.
Credit: Cookhouse
  • Food Market Hub is a procurement and inventory platform helping F&B establishments to manage and optimize their food cost.
Credit: Food Market Hub
  • They do this through streamlining labor-intensive processes across the F&B industry with digital solutions on major platforms (iOS, Android, and Web). Food Market Hub’s services are used by more than 2,500 F&B outlets in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand.

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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.

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500 Southeast Asia Team