Our new tech start up, Carbengkel was recently shortlisted as the top 10 qualifier a the Echelon Thailand 2015 but unfortunately, it was on the same date as the SME Innovation Challenge 2015 Top 6 pitching date. We had to split our team with me pitching in Kuala Lumpur and, Anny and Amnan in Bangkok.

Our main purpose and objective for participating in the Echelon Thailand was to have some preliminary market validation for us to launch CarBengkel in Thailand next year. We have a booth attended by Amnan and the feedback we received was very encouraging and positive. Our booth was like pasar malam packed with so many people. Thailand automotive market is huge and the biggest in the region. Thailand automotive market was not new to me. My former company, Jackspeed was a tier-1 vendor in Thailand to various automotive manufacturers. While we cant wait to launched CarBengkel in Thailand and have even translated our apps in Thai but we are not rushing. We want to thoroughly understand the consumer behaviour there first and Amnan took the first step with gathering feedback.

Being shortlisted as the top 10 qualifier, we were also given the opportunity to pitch.

Anny replaced me to pitch at the Echelon Thailand, a last minute attempt. We almost cancelled the trip prioritizing SME Innovation Challenge but Jiaway Koh from Echelon was very persuasive and we pursued with our initial plan.

From our initial objective for a preliminary market validation and survey, a few Venture Capital (VCs) showed deep interest to invest in our company. Echelon Thailand is a good platform for new start-ups and my team vouch for it. We are grateful especially to Jiawai Koh for the opportunity to be selected as the top 10 qualifier. I doubt we will be shortlisted as the top 5 finalist but the market feedback and the potential investors made the event worth the trip.