Lai See

Private sector rushes in where government fears to tread

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 October, 2014, 5:33am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 October, 2014, 5:33am

We're pleased to see that EzeeCube, a start-up company we wrote about in June, appears to have achieved lift-off. It recently completed one of Asia's most successful crowd funding campaigns this year. It was initially looking for US$75,000 on crowd-funding site Indiegogo but ended up raising more than US$160,000 with upfront sales of more than 1,000 units. Recently it signed an agreement with Hong Kong-based Nest Investments to be included in its portfolio of the most promising start-ups in Asia. Nest has committed to invest US$100,000 to help EzeeCube scale up marketing and sales activities.

The company's product, according to founder Ashok Jaiswal, is a stackable media-hub. It is an open system which can be extended and is based on open-source XBMC that supports all manner of file types. It connects to a television and will automatically sync and sort photos, videos, music and contacts from iOS and Android phones or tablets. EzeeCube's base unit can store up to 500,000 photos and will automatically store them by location, date, album and so on.

"Basically it enables you to store all your digital media without having to think too hard about it," Jaiswal told Lai See. It is modular so more storage can be stacked on top of the unit without the need for wiring or setting up. Other modules such as a Blu-ray player can be added similarly and future add-ons will be connected in the same, simple way.

There is an irony in EzeeCube's success achieving one of the best crowd funding campaigns in Asia this year. Jaiswal initially applied to one of the Hong Kong government schemes established to help develop start-up companies in Hong Kong. But the review committee comprising civil servants, a few university professors along with some businesspeople, turned him down. Jaiswal went on to find seed funding through Hong Kong-based angel investors BigColors and Big Bloom.


A better Facebook?

After spending nine years with Goldman Sach's Asia, Rajeev Gupta a technology banker and investor has now become a technology entrepreneur. If he succeeds in his venture, generations of parents will be forever grateful. He is attempting, according to the website efinancialcareers, to change patterns and behaviour of the young for the better through his social networking site GeckoLife. This aims to be the antithesis to Facebook.

"We think social media should be less instant," says Gupta. "Social networks shouldn't be about being on technology all the time, but about creating archived events that can be revisited."

So in order to create a more reflective social network, the site doesn't allow live chats. According to the GeckoLife website, it aims to be a social platform suitable for groups, families and children to safely communicate and collaborate with a focus on safe and private online communication. So far it has 5,000 users, of which 64 per cent are in Asia and Australia, where Gupta now lives.


Fluff and nonsense

We live in a world bristling with highly valued "experts". So it was with some interest that we read an email informing us that "leading shaving expert" Mark Sproston aka The Shavedoctor would be gracing Hong Kong with his appearance at next month's Cosmoprof Asia, the region's leading beauty trade show. His claim to expertdom is his "revolutionary" new way to shave for men and women. The "heavily patented" Neo and Ava are essentially razor blades attached to the top of a can of shaving cream. This feeds cream through the blades apparently "giving the ultimate in fuss free shaving." Still hard to beat disposable razors.