Category Archives: News

KakaoTalk 4.0 for Android Now Available!

KakaoTalk

KakaoTalk 4.0 for Android Now Available!

Meet the more sophisticated and user friendly KakaoTalk

News Highlight:
• KakaoTalk version 4.0 with a focus on service usability, accessibility to hidden functions, and emphasis on brand identity
• A makeover in design to lead the quickly evolving mobile OS user interface and design trends and in product experience across different OS more uniform
• Newly transformed KakaoTalk brand identity with improved readability and esthetic elements to be adopted

Kuala Lumpur, September 18, 2013 – Kakao announced the release of a freshly upgraded version of KakaoTalk, a global mobile messenger boasting more than 110 million users worldwide. Graduating from v3.0 and leaping onto v4.0, KakaoTalk has gone through a fresh makeover with renewed designs, features, and brand identity. The update falls in line with Kakao’ service philosophy of developing and evolving continuously with users at the core, by staying true to user feedback and focusing mainly on improving user convenience.

Kakao TalkThe 4.0 version provides users with easier interface to start chatting as well as receiving calls and using hilarious voice filters, since it brings out menus that were previously accessed through the Android hard key buttons to the screen area, giving a more uniform experience for both Android and iOS users.

In the chat rooms, options such as ‘notification,’ ‘invite,’ ‘leave’ and ‘setting’ that were previously accessed through the hard key menu were replicated to a soft key menu on the upper right hand of the screen, while in the ‘chats’ tab, a floating icon has been added so that users don’t have to scroll to the end of the chat room list to create a new chat room. Also, instead of having to click on the tab menu such as ‘friends’, ‘chats’, ‘find’ and ‘more’ to move from one screen to another, users can now simply swipe the screen right and left to move from one tab to the next.

Adding to the existing ‘Find a Friend’ feature, such as ‘ID Search’ and ‘QR code’, the new upgrade introduces a location sharing feature in which users can share their current locations.

The new design places extra emphasis on the brand identity of KakaoTalk. Users will be greeted with a new splash screen upon upgrade, with a more voluminous brand identity that enhances readability and a sophisticated look. Yellow, KakaoTalk’s representative color, is also more visible across the service. The status message on users profile and the ‘add’ buttons for Plus Friends have adopted a yellow touch, to subtly strengthen KakaoTalk’s image. Another obvious change is the group chat room profile image. For group chat rooms with three or more members, the profile images of participating friends are tiled as a collage on the profile picture area. A maximum of four pictures are displayed at a time.

“We focused on enhancing usability, discoverability of key features in KakaoTalk and user convenience through subtle but meaningful changes. We hope this update will help users discover our useful features in a quicker and more convenient manner,” and continued, “We will continue to develop our service in the forefront of the evolving Smartphone user environment and design trends.” said Kate Sohn, Vice President, Global Business Development of Kakao Corp.

Following the Android version, KakaoTalk for iOS (currently v.3.6.9) will be upgraded to v.4.0 within the year.

kakao talkAbout Kakao Corp
is the developer of KakaoTalk, the mobile messenger application. Established in 2006, Kakao has solidified its position as the leader in the global mobile platform industry, expanding its services beyond messaging to mobile platform encompassing games, digital contents, marketing and commerce. Kakao’s mission is to build a mobile ecosystem at the global scale, offering win-win solutions for third-party partners.

About KakaoTalk
KakaoTalk is a free mobile messenger app with more than 110 million users from 230 countries that allows users to send and receive unlimited calls and texts anywhere around the world. Its main features include group chats with unlimited number of friends, free group calls, coupons, games, and digital items (animated emoticons, themes). Available in 13 different languages, KakaoTalk is a cross-platform messenger that supports Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows OS and Bada.

Richard Duncan, the author and economist is coming to Malaysia!

RICHARD DUNCAN, the author and economist, is sticking with his investments in gold and property to avoid stock market shocks.

Richard Duncan

Richard Duncan is the author of three books on the global economic crisis. The Dollar Crisis: Causes, Consequences, Cures (2003) explained why a worldwide economic calamity was inevitable given the flaws in the post-Bretton Woods international monetary system. It was an international bestseller. The Corruption of Capitalism (2009) described the long series of US policy mistakes responsible for the crisis. It also outlined the policies necessary to permanently resolve it. His latest book, which was released in 2012, focuses specifically on the role that credit creation has played in this disaster. Its title is The New Depression: The Breakdown Of The Paper Money Economy.

Since beginning his career as an equities analyst in Hong Kong in 1986, Richard Duncan has served as global head of investment strategy at ABN AMRO Asset Management in London, worked as a financial sector specialist for the World Bank in Washington D.C., and headed equity research departments for James Capel Securities and Salomon Brothers in Bangkok. He also worked as a consultant for the IMF in Thailand during the Asia Crisis. Richard Duncan is consultant and speaker on issues related to the global economic crisis in addition to his responsibilities as chief economist at Blackhorse Asset Management in Singapore.

richard DuncanRichard Duncan has appeared frequently on CNBC, CNN, BBC and Bloomberg Television, as well as on BBC World Service Radio. He has published articles in The Financial Times, The Far East Economic Review, FinanceAsia and CFO Asia. He is also a well-known speaker whose audiences have included The World Economic Forum’s East Asia Economic Summit in Singapore, The EuroFinance Conference in Copenhagen, The Chief Financial Officers’ Roundtable in Shanghai, and The World Knowledge Forum in Seoul. Richard’s blog can be found at: http://www.richardduncaneconomics.com/

Richard Duncan studied literature and economics at Vanderbilt University (1983) and international finance at Babson College (1986); and, between the two, spent a year travelling around the world as a backpacker.

Article Source: http://conference.financialintelligence.asia/richardduncan/

Richard Duncan

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Traveloka.com Raises Series A – Investment from Global Founders Capital

Traveloka.com Raises Series A – Investment from Global Founders Capital

Jakarta, 10 September 2013 – Traveloka.com, a Jakarta-based flight booking website, has announced that it has raised a Series A round from Global Founders Capital, VC arm of Rocket Internet’s Samwer brothers, a first in Asia for the newly setup venture capital fund. This marks 2013 as an exciting and eventful year for the fast-growing startup that pioneers transformation of Indonesia’s online travel industry.

Traveloka.com

Ever since its official launch in September 2012, the website has experienced a stellar growth in revenue and number of users. Only a month after the launch, Traveloka.com has served over 400.000 flight searches for users from more than 200 different cities. Today the website serves the same amount every couple days and boasts one of the largest flight booking volume in the whole country.
Global Founders Capital was started by the Rocket Internet’s Samwer brothers, builders of some of the most successful internet companies in Europe and emerging Markets such as Zalando, Zalora or Lazada and Fabian Siegel who amongst others built global online food ordering giant Delivery Hero.
Traveloka.com has achieved firm growth and showed solid technical and industry know- how to attract support from Global Founders Capital. With the funding and global expertise backing, the Indonesian e-commerce company is fueled to boost its first-rate services. The funding is to be used to expedite growth, accommodate more talents and add new services such as hotels and packages.
Currently, Traveloka.com ranks as Indonesia’s No. 1 Flight Search and Booking Service (outside official airline websites) according to the leading Internet analytics company comScore. The accomplishment actually serves the company’s enduring vision to make travel simpler and more compelling for Indonesians.

Traveloka.com
The entire service is tailored to meet the needs of price-sensitive Indonesian market while at the same time help them plan their travel in a much better way. “We don’t only provide best flight deals”, said Ferry Unardi, Managing Director of Traveloka.com. He continued, “The combination of our simple, instructive and compelling transactional interface is none to be found elsewhere. In the booking process, users learn to plan their travel smarter and hence more effective.”
Traveloka.com was first launched as a meta-search and continually upgrades its comprehensive services, now including direct booking, to better meet the demands and expectations of travelers and the local travel industry.
Traveloka.com

About Traveloka.com
Traveloka.com is a leading Indonesian flight booking website with a mission to make travel simpler and more compelling. The Jakarta-based online flight booking was founded by Indonesian engineers with years of experience working for reputable tech companies in Silicon Valley, US. Traveloka.com previously raised its early stage investment from East Ventures.

Cradle’s Ideas To Invest (i2i) – Satellite Event at the 4th Global Entrepreneurship Summit

Cradle’s Ideas To Invest (i2i) – Satellite Event at the 4th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) Oct 4 – 12, 2013

Ideas2invest
IDEAS TO INVEST” or i2i, is anbje event organized by Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, in association with Angels Den. The main objective of the event is to bring together ICT product developers and entrepreneurs (Founders) with potential high-net worth investors (angel investors), to give the founders & developers an opportunity to raise early stage capital, and to ‘expose’ new and budding angels to the vibrancy, excitement and potential opportunities of the technology start-up environment.

Set in a relaxed atmosphere, Founders and Investors will be supported by Cradle investment analysts and Peer Coaches to develop and launch on-line-based products/services (web-based, apps etc.) for immediate market validation. The team(s) behind the winning product(s)/service(s) shall receive grant funding from Cradle, as well as have the potential opportunity to attract investment from early-stage equity partners and angel investors. i2i will also have corporate partners from local and global technology companies to provide real-life industrial perspective on the product design and business modeling process, and potentially offer commercial partnering to assist opportunities they see as having a good strategic fit. More information here: http://www.cradle.com.my/ideas2invest/

ideas2invest

Why should I participate as an ANGEL?
If you are already an investor, then it is a chance for you to connect to entrepreneurs who may share your enthusiasm and interest in a certain product or service.  Connecting with new angel investors may also lead to opportunities for co-investing in tech or non-tech ventures further down the line.

If you are new but are planning to invest, the workshops conducted by Angels Den is a chance for you to learn the intricacies of tech investing and possible risk mitigation measures, and also a chance to learn from the established investors during the panel sessions and through networking during the event.

 

Why should I participate as an ENTREPRENEUR?
If your product is the winning idea, your team will receive CIP Catalyst funding of RM150,000 to fully develop and enhance your product for full commercialization.  In addition, you can connect with like-minded entrepreneurs from technical or business backgrounds, and also new and established individual investors who may be interested in bringing your idea to market.

To register for Ideas to invest (i2i), please visit: http://evenesis.ent.yus.com.my/SITE/Cradle/Ideas2Invest_PreReg_Form.aspx
For Ideas to invest (i2i) FAQ, please visit: http://www.cradle.com.my/ideas2invest-faq/
For any other information, please drop an email to [email protected] or [email protected]

BootstrapAccelerator open its doors and annouces its july 2013 class of Entrepreneurs!

BootstrapAccelerator Asia, the joint-venture between Silicon Valley-based BootstrapLabs, and Malaysia-based MAD Incubator is opening its doors officially to the public July 3rd, 2013.

BootstrapAccelerator

It is the first Southeast Asia-focused Tech Startup Accelerator with a Silicon Valley Fast TrackTM program for its most promising candidates.

First announced back in May of this year, BootstrapAccelerator focuses on early-stage capital efficient software startups that leverage the speed of Internet distribution and the scalability of cloud infrastructure, regardless of their vertical or segment. Its mission is to nurture and support entrepreneurs willing to build innovative, and sometime disruptive, technology startups focused on the South East Asian market and provide a bridge to Silicon Valley for the ones with global potential.

Unlike most accelerator program, BootstrapAccelerator is a 12 month program that enrolls startups each month. It also runs an ideation program where selected wannabe founders can refine, validate and plan for the launch of their startups.

“Selected startups will not work toward an artificial demo day set 3 months down the line but focus on building a minimum delightful product (“MDP”) to accelerate customer adoption, widen distribution and generate revenues using lean methodologies and BootstrapAccelerator’s extensive network of professionals”, said Andrew Wong, the CEO of MAD Incubator and Co-Founder of BootstrapAccelerator.

Interestingly enough, the number of applicant idea and startups targeting web-based distribution has been higher than those targeting mobile, while the numbers focused on B2C was higher among the ideation candidates vs. B2B for actual startups.

“This is not really surprising in a region where smartphone penetration still trails feature phones and computers but we expect this trend to rapidly shift toward Mobile. Similarly, young entrepreneurs tend to focus on B2C projects as they require less knowledge of the corporate world, something they might lack exposure too” said Benjamin Levy, Partner at BootstrapLabs and Co-Founder of BootstrapAccelerator.

He went on to say that they saw a number of companies from Europe applying to join the accelerator program and focus directly on the South East Asian market (as opposed to the US where competitors might already exist). Maybe we are starting to witness an “ASEAN FIRST” trend.

Ng Wan Peng, Chief Operating Officer of Multimedia Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (MDeC) said, “Accelerator programmes such as BootstrapAccelerator Asia will enable local Malaysian entrepreneurs to foresee the vast opportunities that are abound in spurring the growth of the country’s digital content economy. MDeC, as driver of Digital Malaysia, the national digital economy initiative and the national ICT initiative via MSC Malaysia is thus highly supportive of programmes and initiatives which are aimed at inspiring Malaysians to become digital entrepreneurs”.

Having the flexibility to enroll startups each month, BootstrapAccelerator has thus far invited 3 startups to join its July 2013 Class, with 2 more slated for its August 2013 Class:

MyMobileUniversity (www.mymobileuni.com), a one touch mobile e-learning platform delivering educational content to millions of knowledge hungry minds across South East Asia and beyond. Contacts: [email protected]

iPointi (www.ipointi.com), a mobile social engagement technology platform leveraging augmented reality and location-based services to deliver memorable marketing campaign for brands, governments and businesses. iPointi was recently named the winner of the Digi Challenge for Change 2013. Contacts: [email protected]

Shoppertise (www.shoppertise.com), an e-commerce and distribution technology platform turning any 3rd party website into your digital storefront. Contacts: [email protected]

Additionally, BootstrapAccelerator has invited 6 entrepreneurs to join its Ideation program for one month. Areas of interest include children safety, social trading, business recommendation, student lodging, healthy lifestyle and B2E expats services.

BootstrapAccelerator

###

About BootstrapAccelerator Asia: BootstrapAccelerator focuses on early-stage capital efficient software startups that leverage the speed of internet distribution and the scalability of cloud infrastructure, regardless of their vertical or segment. BootstrapAccelerator brings together a Glocal (Global+Local) network of corporates, mentors and investors, as well as local government agencies, which bring critical support in everything, from ideation to executing game changing startups.

BootstrapAccelerator is a 12-month program, divided into three stages: Ideation, Incubation and Acceleration. As every startup is different, BootstrapAccelerator will not run cohorts, but will evaluate applicants on a monthly basis and enroll people / startups at the relevant stage. BootstrapLabs is able to offer the most promising startups from BootstrapAccelerator a global fast track opportunity to becoming a global company, through the Silicon Valley ecosystem.
Website: http://bootstrapaccelerator.com

About BootstrapLabs: BootstrapLabs is a Silicon Valley-based Seed+ Venture Capital Fund that invests in foreign startups to relocate to Silicon Valley, and build global companies. They employ an entrepreneurial and very hands-on approach to execution and help startups tap into the opportunities Silicon Valley presents.

Since 2009, BootstrapLabs has helped foreign startups such as Prezi, Witsbits, AudioDraft and Zerply connect and relocate to Silicon Valley, while maintaining their roots.

Today these startups are valued at $150M+, employ more than 150 people, and have received over $25M in funding.
Website: http://bootstraplabs.com

About MAD Incubator
MAD (Make a Difference) Incubator is the largest private incubator and most active entrepreneur development platform in Malaysia, having helped more than 300 startups since its inception in 2009. MAD was founded by Andrew Wong on the premise that every technopreneur deserves to have a chance to succeed and experience technopreneurship to the fullest.

MAD serves only the best programs and support services, and is designed to incorporate diverse technopreneurship experiences, ensuring that startup technopreneurs are able to gain better knowledge to succeed in the technopreneurial world.

The ‘MAD Mission’ is to develop 1,000 startups achieving US$1M turnover by 2015. To achieve this, MAD develops the MAD Entrepreneur Ecosystem which consists of entrepreneur communities, collaborative partnerships, industry/commercialization partners, funding partnerships, government relations, entrepreneur education, coaching, mentoring and platform providers.
Website: http://incubator.com.my/

Forbes’ Billionaires Prove That Success Comes From Taking Risks

Risk Taker

If you’ve ever been jealous of anyone who’s rich, you might have begun to question whether they’d truly earned their fortune, mostly to make yourself feel better.

“They didn’t really work for it. Their parents had the money to set them up for success. They had it so easy.”

It can be easy to assume these things at times, especially when it helps to internally excuse your own shortcomings in life.

Well, your assumption might get crushed after considering the words of Entrepreneur staff writer Catherine Clifford, who says the one trait billionaires all share isn’t a head start, but the guts to roll the dice:

“Self-made billionaires have one business strategy in common: They took enormous risks,” she said. “There is no careful, cautious path that leads from humble beginnings to Bloomberg’s list of the richest people in the world.”

Of course, some billionaires were lucky enough to be born with a silver spoon in their month, 27 of the top 100, according to Bloomberg, to be exact.

But others had to fight their way to the top and do something that took stones: making a leap of faith.

The path to success doesn’t always involve comfortably getting good grades, to comfortably getting through college, to comfortably getting a good job to live comfortably on your way to, comfortably of course, getting a big promotion.

Just think about what a select group of billionaires in the top 100, eight of whom do not have a college degree and came from modest homes, did on their way to the top:

“Five of this elite group invested during hard times, four bought companies that were all but ruined at the time of purchase, three had one lucky deal that changed the course of their life, seven were early adopters of trends that had yet to be recognized, and for half of these self-made billionaires, their successful venture was not their first business,” said Clifford.

These people did not only take risks, some of them took risks after failing. Billionaires

Of course, plain old hard work and doing the right things from beginning to end will always pay off. But if you want to make it bigger, if you want to be greater than great, if you want to be Elite, it seems that the formula is simple.

Be bold and take risks.

This article was originally posted at Elite Daily

Photo via Tumblr 

Start Me Up HK Ventures Programme Launch!!

InvestHK is launching a new Start Me Up HK Ventures Programme

Article is contributed by Rachel Chan, Founder and Chief Catalyst, INNOFOCO

InvestHK, a HKSAR Government department, is launching a new Start Me Up HK Ventures Programme with a similar scope to the MaD Venture programme (but without any age limit to the founder). Given InvestHK’s resources and global network of offices, we believe that they are in a better position to grow the venture programme on a sustainable basis. As such, we decided not to run the MaD Ventures Programme but instead I am helping InvestHK to run the Start Me Up HK Ventures Programme.

Start Me Up HK Ventures Programme

In essence, the Start Me Up HK Ventures Programme aims to help early to growth stage, innovative and high impact ventures develop their global businesses.  12 high potential entrepreneurs from around the world will be invited, through an open application process, to attend a 4-day programme in Hong Kong in the first week of December 2013. They will have the opportunities to pitch to potential investors and business partners, network with the entrepreneurial and business communities, obtain expert advice from business leaders, and attend leading design, innovation and technology events in Hong Kong. Three Grand Award Winners will be further selected from the 12 finalists. They will be awarded with free business matching, legal, accounting and design services, free work space, media exposure and marketing opportunities.

Start Me Up HK Ventures ProgrammeThe Start Me Up HK Ventures Programme will be open to applications from 1 July – 19 August. We are in the process of finalising the Programme details. I hope we could have the continuing support of NextupAsia in helping to promote and share the news of the Programme. We shall acknowledge your valuable support on the programme website and programme brochure. Many thanks!

 

Article is contributed by Rachel Chan, Founder and Chief Catalyst, INNOFOCO

 

THE 99: Islamic superheroes going global

THE 99: Islamic superheroes going global

Article From Neil Curry and Jenny Soffel, for CNN

Ten years ago a Kuwaiti graduate from an American business school took a cab ride through London. By the end of the journey he had formed an idea which would spread across the world.

It was the wake of 9/11, and Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa decided to create Islamic superheroes. Islamic religion and culture had become a global talking point and instead of complaining about the representation of his culture, Al-Mutawa decided to re-define it.

“Everytime something terrible happens in the name of my culture, my culture becomes diluted. I wanted to grab the bull by the horns and change it,” Al-Mutawa explained in an interview with CNN.

And so the CEO of Teshkeel Media Group created ‘THE 99‘ — a comic book series inspired by principles within his faith.

The series follows 99 superheroes whose powers are based on the Qu’ran’s 99 Virtues of Allah: strength, courage and wisdom among them.

But it was important to Al-Mutawa that his heroes possess universal values while at the same time offering fans something different from the comic books of DC and Marvel.

“It doesn’t matter what culture you’re from, it can still resonate. What THE 99 does is saying ‘Hey, our values, they’re the same as yours; they’re the same as the rest of the world. Let’s just focus on the positives of this.”

To be able to launch his project, Dr. Naif Al-Matawa had to call in the help of investors, eventually raising enough money. The series debuted in 2006 and its success spread quickly over the world, even turning into an animated series now showing in 70 countries.

More Comic Book Heroes: Superheroes on the big screen.

Dr. Naif Al-Matawa
Dr. Naif Al-Matawa

The big break however came in 2010 when the Justice League with Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, teamed up with ‘THE 99’. DC Comics had agreed to a six-issue crossover.

“Those story lines start off with distrust between the two groups of superheroes and they find out in Book 2 that actually it’s the bad guys from both universes causing the distrust an then they fight together cape to shoulder and move it over to trust”

The union of the two comic book universes, fighting together cape to shoulder, won the praise from U.S. president Barack Obama. At the 2010 Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, Obama mentioned the work of Dr. Naif Al-Matawa.

“His comic books have captured the imagination of so many young people, with superheroes who embody the teachings and tolerance of Islam. In his comic books, Superman and Batman reached out to their Muslim counterparts. And I hear they are making progress, too.”

But the journey of ‘THE 99’ hasn’t been marked only by praise. The animated version was originally banned in Saudi Arabia and both Europe and the U.S. have been slow to embrace the Islamic superheroes.

More Comic Book Heroes: Muslim superheroes series meets resistance in U.S.

Trying to spark a higher interest among Americans, Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa invited a group of students from Boston to Kuwait in the spring of 2013. They discussed the differences and similarities between the universes of DC and Marvel and the universe of ‘THE 99’.The 99: Islamic Superheroes

A student in attendance pointed out the costume of one of the female superheroes in ‘THE 99’.

“One of the differences I noticed was, I guess there was an issue in the Islamic world that all the women were not wearing Burkhas, but in the United States, people were upset that one of the women was wearing a Burkha.”

Being proactive in the way the Islamic culture is represented to the outside world is what’s important to Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa and he hopes he can have a positive influence on how the future generations of the Western culture will perceive it.

“For me to have been able to make kind of a dent, even if it’s a small dent on how Islam is perceived to my children, I believe, which was my intent to begin with, I have achieved that and hopefully I’ve been able to have that influence on their children as well.”

_______

For worldwide coverage of THE 99, please click here.
For the fun-filled THE 99 Kids’ website, please click here.

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Article From Neil Curry and Jenny Soffel, for CNN