Brunei start-ups pitch to investors in Singapore

GOLDEN Equator Consulting (GECo) and DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) yesterday concluded the fourth cycle of thee Start-up Bootcamp with a Demo Day, where the top three Bruneian companies from the accelerator programme flew into Singapore to pitch to a panel of investors at Golden Equator’s office.

The top three start-ups include Memori, an all-in-one legacy planning platform which has successfully closed a USD100,000 fundraising round, one of Brunei’s largest seed-round investments besides gaining access to customer pipeline through two insurance agencies and Asia’s largest bereavement service provider; essentials.ai, a chatbot for the insurance industry which aims to launch a closed beta product in the next month and Rotuku.com, an online Halal marketplace which has started internationalising its platform adding 25,000 new products to its website from China, Malaysia and soon Indonesia and has also opened a physical shop in Brunei to validate the existing products within the Brunei market.

GECo, which specialises in market-entry advisory for businesses, facilitated the 100-day bootcamp to help equip Bruneian start-ups with the core skillsets needed to maximise their growth potential and achieve long-term sustainability of their business. Hailing from industries such as food and beverages, agriculture, technology, healthcare and cosmetics, these startups were mentored by seasoned entrepreneurs and subject matter experts.

Managing Partner of GECo Adam Flinter said, “Beyond equipping these startups with foundational business sustainability knowledge and expansion strategies, our role is also to connect emerging startup economies like Brunei with the regional start-up ecosystems, so that their innovative businesses can have the right access to networks and opportunities that can help them speed-grow their business and strengthen their presence in the region and beyond.”

Managing Partner of Rekanext Capital Partners Ambar Machfoedy who was one of the investors on the panel, said, “I didn’t know what to expect at first when knowing I’d be hearing pitches from Bruneian start-ups, but I was very impressed with the pitches. A number of them have unique ideas or approaches for addressing problems that consumers and business face. It’s refreshing that the Brunei start-ups are looking at heretofore untapped opportunities like will-writing services and insurtech – I’m looking forward to having deeper conversations with these startups down the line!”

Besides the above highlights from the top three startups, this fourth cycle of the Startup Bootcamp also saw some successes with the Bootcamp graduates. For instance, GroMinda Group partnered with Glints, an online career discovery platform which is a portfolio company of Golden Equator and whose founder was one of the mentors in the Bootcamp, to organise Brunei Hacks 2018. The 36-hour long hackathon served as an opportunity to bring local coders, designers, and marketers together to develop solutions in tourism, fintech, and logistics.

CEO of DARe Javed Ahmad said, “Equipping early-stage start-ups 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.”

Entrepreneurs from the Bruneian start-ups with Managing Partner of Golden Equator Consulting Adam Flinter (second from right) and Deputy CEO of DARe Daniel Leong (R)