The startup industry is a fast-growing technology-dominated ecosystem. However, the hardware industry has barely made a peep in comparison to SaaS and most software-focused industries.
This is partially due to a high capital cost to setting up a hardware company, but also the complexity of setting up a hardware startup and scaling it effectively. Hardware startups like many others are subject to the market variables and have a high rate of failure.
Southeast Asia may be dominated by software technology solutions, but does have a few startups that are making waves in the hardware space. We look at a few of them here.
Drivebot | Thailand
Drivebot is a small plastic device that plugs into your vehicle’s OBD-II port or on-board computer that monitors emissions, mileage, speed, and other data about your car. The device will constantly monitor the car’s status and sends any information about problems to a smartphone that is paired with the device via Bluetooth. This high-tech solution replaces the check-engine light with information on your phone that you can actually use and understand.
The startup has also upgraded the service to do more than monitor for error codes. Through the device, car owners are now provided with information on fuel savings, optimized routes, suggestions for improving your driving, and logs your car’s activity.
Rotimatic (Zimplistic) | Singapore
This is the grand-daddy/grand-mummy of hardware startups in the region. Founded by co-inventors Pranoti Nagarkar and Rishi Israni, the Rotimatic is an automated roti-maker that has been sold to over 60,000 households since 2008. This well-funded and successful startup started in Singapore, but has gone global with the Rotimatic being sold in 20 countries.
There are billions of rotis (traditional Indian flatbread) made every single day, making the potential for the product astronomical.
eFishery | Thailand
Launched in 2013 by co-founders Huzaifah and Chrisna Aditya, this Indonesian agritech startup provides IoT solutions and a data platform for fish and shrimp farming businesses.
The startup has raised at least US$4 million from investors such as Aqua-spark, Wavemaker Partners, 500 Startups, Maloekoe Ventures, and Social Capital. According to e27 as of 2018, the startup is already used in 16 provinces and 67 regencies or cities in Indonesia, particularly in Java, Bali, Lampung, Bengkulu, West Nusa Tenggara, and South Borneo.
The company has also begun international expansion in Bangladesh, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Igloohome | Singapore
Igloohome offers a smart lock for homes and establishments to manage their properties. It offers a secure access management platform for smart infrastructure and properties.
The startup’s smart locks and lockboxes do not require Internet connection to work, which makes them immune to hacking. They claim their devices offer greater security and reliability and even utilise a unique AlgoPIN™ technology that’s similar to a One Time Password (OTP), making it easier to grant and gain access to properties.
Igloohome recently raised a US$5 million Series A round in 2018 from Insignia Ventures, Wavemaker Partners, and Singtel Innov8.