October was a busy month what with the wrapping up of Venture Engine, Seedstars and the start of CIMA Launch Pad. It gave the startups that participated in these events a new level of visibility, and perhaps the exposure needed for further growth and sustenance. As we head into the last quarter of the year, startups are looking to grab hold of new ideas and increased opportunities that have recently arrived on our shores.
Micro e-commerce services such as PlushBox are popping up with a focus on catering to customers’ niche needs: in PlushBox’s case their focus is on gift boxes.
The site seems to still be in development, as the options aren’t quite working but they do have a Facebook page which seems to be it’s main source of interaction at present. Based on the site, they plan on offering customers both curated and ‘precurated’ gift boxes, with some of their offerings available on their Instagram feed.
It’s still early days for PlushBox, who recently featured on Venture Engine, but gift giving services (especially curated) are limited when it comes to online options, so there is definitely a space to grow into. They’ll also be up against the traditional gift vendors that have already built a customer base pre-smart phone era, so the challenge here will be to use the opportunity Facebook and Instagram provide to reach a new and potentially wider audience than old school gift stores currently may have.
Dining related services are a hot commodity in Sri Lanka, and Grubz is looking to cash in on this by introducing a deals-based approach to dining. While it’s still in the beta phase, Grubz’s aim is to use location based services to provide diners with the best deals on food and drinks.
Most services have thus far focused on delivering food to customers, but in Grubz’s case they’re hoping to catch the dine-out crowd that are willing to go out but don’t mind saving some money while they enjoy a meal.
It’s quite a niche idea, and given the increased demand of food delivery services, it remains to be seen if the dine-out crowd is a growing demographic or whether we’ll all be locked up in our homes dining-in instead.
Accidents in Sri Lanka are quite common, and with increased vehicle usage, insurance has become highly important to reduce the burden on potentially massive repair costs. Mosurance is hoping to step in and bring a more tailor-made style of car insurance by basing their insurance model on what they call UBI, which is an acronym for Usage Based Insurance.
The monitoring device will track metrics, and then pass these on to their analysis system which will then provide a custom insurance based on metrics such as the braking, acceleration, and hard cornering. The system can potentially save safe drivers by recognising the individual driving behaviour, though be careful if you share a car and have a reckless driver in your family.
It’s a highly interesting usage of IoT, and while the production of devices can potentially be costly, Mosurance usage of both IoT and big data is already happening as cars amalgamate into IoT and become another device to provide us with data to analyse.
There were plenty of other startups emerging this month, but most of them are still in the very early phases of their product or service. The ideas are definitely expanding and we’re getting more high-end level startups that are embracing IoT and big data, but there are many also simpler startups that focus on bringing new experiences to existing business models. With just two months left of 2017, we’re hoping this year ends with some truly revolutionary ideas, as it has been a pretty promising year thus far.