Three Vietnamese early-stage startups receive support from MIST
Updated at Thursday, 28 Jun 2018, 15:52
The Hanoitimes - Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) will support ten innovative travel and hospitality companies in the region in 2018.
The two-year-old innovation program aims to identify and support high-growth travel and hospitality businesses that have potential to contribute positively to local communities, economies, and the environment. It is jointly supported by the Asian Development Bank, Australian Government, and six-government Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. MIST features a startup accelerator as well as a separate market access program.
The MIST Startup Accelerator teaches business fundamentals to early-stage travel and hospitality startups, while connecting them with industry and investors. Five local entrepreneurs from Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam earned spots:
• BambooLao (Lao PDR) produces reusable bamboo straws to replace single-use plastic
• Ecohost (Viet Nam) improves the local homestay experience, improving the management of homestays and local activities while making them easier to book.
• Go Explore (Viet Nam) organizes “workation” programs aimed at international and domestic remote workers.
• Sidesbag (Cambodia) is a mobile application enabling airline passengers to purchase available luggage allowance from fellow travelers.
• VDEs (Viet Nam) connects event planners with event venues and makes them bookable
through their database.
The Startup Accelerator finalists are attending the Mekong Tourism Forum to showcase their solutions and explore industry partnerships. They will reconvene in October, concurrent with ITB Asia in Singapore, to pitch investors and compete for innovation grants up to US$$10,000.
The MIST Market Access Program invites innovators from around the world to solve tourism and hospitality industry challenges in the Greater Mekong Subregion. The program helps innovators clear market entry obstacles, form local partnerships, and secure financing for proof-of-concept pilots. MIST selected five international travel and hospitality innovators to join the Market Access program:
• Adventoro offers bucket-list worthy activities including whitewater rafting, jungle treks, and diving excursions. Currently serving Malaysia, Adventoro will use the MIST Market Access Program to enter Viet Nam.
• DidaTravel Technology, based in China, offers backend technology for hotel booking, providing real-time inventory and rates.
• hereO, creator of the heroO GPS watch for kids, offers plug-and-play IoT technology. It is considering IoT solutions for last-mile tourist transportation in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
• Moneybay provides a digital cross-border currency exchange platform. The Malaysian fintech makes it simple for tourists to make payments online and collect currency from local partners.
• Monkey Theory creates fun and happy experiences with branded sporting events –encouraging public health and social activity.
“There is no doubt that technology is rapidly transforming travel. The trick is to harness and accelerate innovative business models that also positively transform lives, communities, and the natural environment,” said Jens Thraenhart, executive director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office.
“MIST has received more than 350 applications from all over the world, demonstrating the Greater Mekong Subregion’s dynamism as a destination and its attractiveness to innovators. We are excited to see how these technologies and business models will transform an already fast-growing industry,” said Dominic Mellor, senior investment advisor for the ADB.