Updated: Nov 11, 2021
Issue #9 Hope you are having a good weekend!
The Asia Startup Network serves to help promising early stage tech startups expand globally and amplify their positive impact in the world. We do it through this newsletter as well as two not-for-profit initiatives, Mentor for Hope and Makan for Hope.
In this issue, we are featuring impressive founders unleashing the power of communities. Feel free to reach out to Elise Tan, if you wish to be introduced to any of the founders featured here.
Thank you for your support!
Disclaimer: The Opinions Expressed In This newsletter Are My Own (Elise) And Not related to My Employer.
People Diagnostix (Healthtech, Australia)
About the company
People Diagnostix is a health technology company providing psychologically based solutions internationally that improve health, wellbeing, productivity and safety outcomes. Key SaaS products include FlourishDx and Flourishing at School.
People Diagnostix physically expanded into Singapore this month with their first hire in the region and two local partnerships. The focus initially will be organisations with mature safety management systems, MNCs, companies with strong ESG focus and other leading organisations who recognise the benefits of addressing mental health in the workplace to both the organisation and individuals. The company also expects the pastoral care features of their Flourishing at School product will appeal to Singaporean schools.
FlourishDx (aimed at workplaces) helps companies to adopt a risk-based approach to work-related stress via data driven insights into psychosocial hazards (sources of work-related stress – e.g. work overload, lack of autonomy, bullying and harassment). The solution is aligned to the new International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 45003:2021 standard ‘Psychological Health and Safety at Work’ which was released in June 2021. As an integrated solution, it also has a built-in learning management system with courses on mental health aimed at both employees and line managers. It also has a mental wellness app as is expected from a mental health digital tool in order to provide self-care advice and coaching to users.
Unlike other digital mental health tools that focus purely on individual level interventions (e.g. education, mindfulness, building resilience, access to counselling etc.), FlourishDx understands that environment whether that be the workplace or school, is also a powerful determinant of mental health. FlourishDx is already in use by organisations located in Singapore, Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and Australia. It has enviable partnerships including with Generali Employee Benefits (the leading provider of employee benefits to MNCs), has received significant funding from an Australia regulator (for deployment of FlourishDx to 3,600 teachers), has achieved ISO 27001:2013 certification for its information security management system, won a start-up competition run by DXC Technology, and has developed global brand recognition thanks to its ‘Psych health and safety’ podcast and ‘45003 Academy’ (for free training on ISO 45003:2021 www.45003.org).
Flourishing at School
Flourishing at School (for secondary schools) is a pastoral care platform, that aims to put individual student wellbeing data in the hands of administrators in order to help all students develop tools to stay mentally healthy and optimise wellbeing, as well as to identify students who may be in need of assistance.
About the founder
Jason Van Schie, Founder & Managing Director
Jason is a psychologist who is passionate about helping organisations create mentally healthy workplaces, which is why he founded People Diagnostix and launched two B2B SaaS products, FlourishDx and Flourishing at school. During his free time, Jason is also a co-host of Psych Health and Safety Podcast, which aims to helping people and safety professionals fast track their adoption of psych health and safety into their workplaces.
Jason graduated at Murdock University with a Bachelor of Arts and Psychology in 2003 and later went on to attain his Masters of Applied Psychology and Occupational Psychology in the same university. Jason started his career as a consultant psychologist at People Solutions. 2 years later, he founded People Diagnostix and at the same time, he became a senior consultant at BSS Corporate Psychology Services in which he was involved in the delivery of fitness for work training and consulting services. During his successful 5 years stint, Jason created an approach to employee stress auditing based on best-practice that was used successfully to inform future interventions in a large oil and gas company.
Soda (Social Discovery App, Singapore)
About the company
Soda is a community-focused platform that utilises engagement techniques and game mechanics from top-tier video gaming studios to solve challenges of low engagement and growth for communities. As the first of its interaction-based tools, Soda is launching with huddles to create opportunities for more focused, authentic small group conversation within wider communities. Soda is the home of communities where users can experience new dynamics and unlock opportunities for meaningful connections within their friend groups, affiliations, and beyond. For community managers, Soda provides them with more granular data that enables the creation of relevant experiences and content, while simultaneously growing the value of their communities.
Soda has just launched in the App store and will soon be in the Google Play store. During the 6-week Beta, user growth was 25% week-on-week and the waitlist grew to over 2,000. Soda will also soon be home to six professional communities.
About the founders
(From left to right: Zabrina Chew, Vasilisa Mishuhina)
Zabrina Chew, Co-Founder & CEO
Zabrina has a wealth of hands-on experience convening people for desired outcomes, both professionally and socially, as a former Organising Committee Member for The Singapore Summit (a WEF-equivalent) and Co-Founder of Filtersocial network. She brings with her a deep passion for video games and experience in the video gaming industry where she was APAC Assistant Studio Manager at Ubisoft, a global top-tier video games developer and publisher, working closely with Production teams on game production and the shift towards live gaming and in-game communities.
Most recently, Zabrina was featured on the BRAVE Podcast with Jeremy Au of Monk’s Hill at https://www.linkedin.com/posts/jeremyau_cofounder-ceo-community-activity-6839478782773071872-pGTh where she talks about her background in gaming, and her vision for communities with Soda.
Vasilisa Mishuhina, Co-Founder & CTO
Vasilisa is a Ph.D. in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. As a former CTO, she worked with Neural Software/Hardware and implemented recommendation Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. Vasilisa work in data science has been featured in distinguished publications such as IEEE and Elsevier, and she is a community builder, as well as an educator and micro-influencer
Soda’s co-founders are both hugely passionate about communities.
Their demoday pitch may viewed at https://youtu.be/cU2yjg1Brro.
Mantor (Online Mental Wellbeing Platform, Singapore)
Did you know?
430 million men struggle to find accessible, curated, and affordable solutions for their mental health issues.
Mantor solves the problem through delivering online issue-specific programs, hosting support groups and Offering 1:1 / Group coaching, all alongside a safe & non-judgemental community.
About the Company
Mantor is an online mental wellbeing platform for men, powered by community, curated programs, and experts, that inspires men to live happier lives. In just 4 months, Mantor has seen tremendous traction and engaged with 30,000+ men, is revenue-generating, has secured an enterprise deal, has a growing waitlist for upcoming paid programs & has onboarded 40+ mental health experts.
About the founder
Vaibhav Toshniwal, Founder & CEO Vaibhav's vision is to create a world where men can live their best lives, where they do not have to live with an outdated idea of masculinity, be stress-free, guilt-free, happier and as a result of that, their families can be happier too. Mantor stems from Vaibhav's firsthand experience with the crippling effects that a lack of mental wellbeing resources has on men and their communities. Vaibhav is an INSEAD MBA with over a decade of corporate experience in senior commercial roles across tech and consulting businesses like PwC, his latest corporate stint was at Grab. Vaibhav is a mindfulness practitioner and has spoken at various mental well-being events and authored a book around his personal mental wellbeing and personal growth journey called 'The Happiness Project'.
pFIBRE (Plastic Waste Prevention, Singapore)
Did you know?
90% of the plastic produced every year ends up in the oceans. In another decade, there will be more plastic in the oceans that fish. Invariable, this plastic enters the food chain in the form of micro particles of plastic and eventually into human bloodstreams causing life altering diseases. At pFIBRE, the team have developed a technology to manufacture packaging material that replicates the properties of plastic films but by using abundantly and readily available plant based ingredients.
About the company
pFIBRE has developed a technology to manufacture plant based packaging films that replicate properties of single use plastic films. These films are water soluble, completely marine biodegradable, and carbon neutral.
The team at pFIBRE has achieved a majority of the desired properties for the sachet and soluble pod applications and are partnering with Wageningen University in The Netherlands to make minor modifications to their existing technology for their product launch with Estetica Labs in Singapore in September, with GRAB in October, and with Unilever by the end of this year.
pFIBRE partnered with PAXXUS in Singapore to manufacture pFIBRE resins to fulfil these pilot orders. A Life Cycle Analysis of the product with a team at A*Star (Innovation Factory) is currently ongoing to attach a dollar value to the impact created by pFIBRE’s technology.
About the founders
Prakruti Kodali, Co-Founder & CEO
Praktruti attained her MBA with a specialisation in Strategy and Operations back in 2016. Having worked worked as an internal consultant in both the financial services and healthcare industries for seven years, working with C-suite executives to develop growth and transformation strategies, she found herself to thoroughly enjoy the process of problem-solving. However, she began to realise how the inherent inertia and structure of corporations proves to be a limiting factor in how fast they can move and disrupt the norm.
Praktruti wanted to have more ownership over the impact she create while being able to learn and contribute across the entire value chain. She believes it is our fundamental responsibility to leave a world for the future generations to thrive, and she is thoroughly committed to taking actions to make our planet a better place. With that in mind, she took the leap of faith to join Entrepreneur First, a highly selective deep technology incubator and co-founded pFIBRE.
Dinaz Zenobia Stutterheim, Co-Founder & CTO
Dinaz Zenobia is a scientist and entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of working in academia and industry. Dinaz has graduated at Monash University with a bachelor in Mechanical Engineering in 2011. In the following year, Dinaz went on to pursue her PhD in Aerospace Engineering with a specialisation in Material Science. While pursuing her PhD, Dinaz undertook the role of an Assistant Professor of Advanced Material at Monash University.
Dinaz's core competencies ranges from structural testing of materials to modelling using FEMAP and NASTRAN. Dinaz is also highly proficient in python and Matlab and has a strong command of multiple languages with a recent Certificate in Chinese Language and Literature from Tsinghua University, China.
ArtWallStreet - First Ever Digital Auction
Makan For Hope Festival is over but we would be giving campaigns supporting worthy causes a shout out! ArtWallStreet is having its first ever digital auction in Singapore in partnership with Funan Mall, hosted directly through ArtWallStreet’s online auction platform.
The online auction will bring an exclusive curated collection of leading local artists such as Zul Othman (Zero) and Hafiiz Karim (The Next Most Famous Artist) to auction, providing an opportunity for collectors, curators and enthusiasts to experience the unique aesthetics and utilities contained within these works. This digital auction will feature a total of 15 curated and exclusive artwork by local artists Zero and Hafiiz with each artwork containing special utility that gets unlocked when an artwork is sold. One of the biggest artwork among the auction, Coping Mechanism created by Zero — a leading street artist of his generation speaks about Zero’s experience during the pandemic,”it’s okay to be not okay. There’s strength in admitting one’s weaknesses....” The winning bidder of Coping Mechanism unlocks a verifiable utility that grants the buyer a private visit to the artist’s studio and a coffee session with the artist in Kampong Glam. Alongside is a series of humorous digital creations by The Next Most Famous Artist, who reimagines classical paintings with a twist of modern local context. The winning bid of The Next Most Famous Artist’s artwork unlocks a utility where the winning bidder gets a digital painting created in renaissance style combined with a photo or a selfie. The digital auction is built on a blockchain-based platform, directly connecting buyers and sellers. Allowing anyone to buy, sell and trade ownership thus ensuring a fair, secure and transparent process. ArtWallStreet will donate its commission from the auction to the Very Special Arts Foundation, a local charity organization dedicated to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to be involved in the arts. The auction goes live on Sept 6th 2021 on ArtWallStreet.io and will run for a total of 7 days. For more information on ArtWallStreet, visit https://artwallstreet.io/ and find ArtWallStreet on Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin. About ArtWallStreet ArtWallStreet is an online investment platform for art and collectibles. The platform is on a mission to increase the accessibility of art and collectibles by helping new collectors take their first steps and seasoned collectors gain access to art and collectibles from around the world. The platform makes it easy and affordable for anyone to become a collector as users can purchase fractions of fine art and collectibles on the platform. ArtWallStreet is officially launching in Q3 2021 but has already line up major auctions featuring art from all over the world that collectors can look forward to. About VSA Very Special Arts (Singapore) is a local charity that aims to empower persons with disabilities through the arts. VSA(S) offers educational programmes in the visual, performing, and literary arts for persons with disabilities to develop their core life skills and artistic skill sets. VSA(S) also uplifts their beneficiaries in their journeys towards becoming career artists and earning a living through art creation.
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Elise Tan (founder), Everard Ong (Editor)