Four Innovative Small Businesses Driving Change

Growing start-ups that successfully adopt new technologies to improve life are an inspiration to us all. Whether it’s streamlining online shopping or making critical life-support equipment accessible, the following four inspiring companies stand out in their ability to use technology to thrive in the new normal—driving operational transformation, creating exponential growth, and enhancing customer well-being. .

1. India – GoKwik: Simplifying Marketplaces, Maximizing Conversions, Minimizing Returns

The winner of this year’s top honors, e-commerce start-up GoKwik, was born during the pandemic. The company was founded in 2020 with one simple mission: to democratize the shopping experience.

“When the pandemic hit us… consumers started buying directly [online] from direct to consumer [D2C] websites,” says Chirag Taneja, Co-Founder and CEO, GoKwik. He adds that it soon became clear that the online customer experience was inconsistent, especially when it came to things like product selection, checkout, refunds and returns. GoKwik was able to solve these problems through its technical and data science capabilities.

Using AI and machine learning software, GoKwik was able to streamline online checkouts, minimize product returns by automatically correcting addresses, and improve checkout conversion rates by fine-tuning the order confirmation process.

To date, more than 500 merchants have used the system and engaged more than 80 million shoppers in India, creating a gross merchandise value of over USD 1 billion. The company, which currently employs more than 150 employees working remotely from 47 locations in India, is now working to expand its distribution globally over the next five years.

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2. China – magAssist: Saving lives with artificial organs

Medtech start-up magAssist, founded in 2017, focuses on developing cutting-edge technologies and products such as the ventricular assist device, more commonly known as an artificial heart. The company’s product, called MoyoAssist, works like a heart outside the human body, providing life support to patients with critical heart failure. MoyoAssist uses magnetic levitation technology and computational models to ensure adequate blood flow and prevent blood clots.

“MoyoAssist is our first product and is still in clinical trials,” says Hsu Po-Lin, founder and CEO of magAssist. “Compared to our international competitors – because they are huge companies – the start-up magAssist can act and move very quickly… and we can take advantage of new technology in the product.”

MoyoAssist has already proven itself in the field. In June, a hospital in China’s Shanxi province used the device to successfully treat a patient in cardiac shock. In Wuhan in 2021, the device was also used to support the life of a patient awaiting heart surgery.

3. Indonesia – Cargo: Uber for trucks

Based in Indonesia, Kargo Technologies is working hard to reduce logistics costs. Since its inception in 2018, the company has onboarded 80,000 trucks and 30,000 shippers on its digital platform that connects shippers with carriers and truck owners. And while 80,000 trucks may sound like a lot, it’s barely 1% of the total number of trucks in Indonesia, reveals co-founder and CEO Tiger Fang.

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In Indonesia, the company has built a reputation as the “Uber for trucks.” Indeed, the team behind Kargo was also involved in the founding of Uber in Indonesia in 2012. Despite some obvious overlaps, Fang is quick to assure that passenger transport and freight transport are two completely different concepts and are copying a successful business model, whether in the US, China or India, was not a guarantee of local success.

“There are 26 different truck headers and footers used by different companies and industries here,” explains Fang. “We need to make sure the right truck gets to the right customer, at the right time and at the right price.”

Over the next five years, Kargo wants to put one million trucks on the platform. “For the next hundred years, trucks will still be used to transport goods and cargo throughout Indonesia,” adds Fang. “We hope to be the digital infrastructure and operating system for how goods move in this country.”

4. Singapore – Homage: Digital platform for caregivers, nurses and doctors

Homage is a healthcare services platform dedicated to helping adults and seniors get fast and personalized medical support through a network of more than 15,000 licensed caregivers, nurses, therapists and doctors.

Homage currently operates in eight cities and services include doctor consultations, housing assistance, rehabilitation and specialist treatment for conditions such as Parkinson’s and dementia.

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“We are currently the only platform that combines personalized care planning with care matching and service delivery, powered by digital payments and integrated with hospitals and government providers,” explains founder and CEO Gillian Tee. “This integration of service delivery with logistics infrastructure combined with the largest number of caregivers is why we are the category leader in long-term care.”

Tee’s five-year plan for the start-up includes growing its group of care professionals to be the largest in Asia Pacific and expanding its footprint by 10 locations.

Support for transformational start-ups

As a longtime supporter of small businesses and startups, FedEx intuitively understands how much of global trade is driven by small businesses—and why it’s important that promising startups get the support and resources they need.

For winning the grand prize in the FedEx Asia Pacific Small Business 2022 grant competition, GoKwik receives a cash prize of US$30,000 from FedEx Express, while other companies receive special recognition along with a cash prize of US$13,000.

“Entrepreneurs like these are shaping the future of business,” said Kawal Preet, president of Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) at FedEx Express. “In the past, we’ve seen our competition winners take their businesses to the next level with the help of a FedEx grant. This is what we enjoy – providing small businesses with the right resources, tools and solutions they need, while remaining a trusted advisor to help them accelerate their business on the global stage.”


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