Exploring the Asian Start-up Scene at SLUSH Asia


From Finland to Tokyo: For the first time SLUSH, a pitching contest, came to Asia. Metalworks was part of this event, to find out more about the most promising startups in the region. Alex Jaspers, strategist at Metalworks, visited SLUSH to get in touch with these startups and deliver the newest technologies to help clients lean into change. Some of the technologies at the conference were real game changers.

Interacting with virtual reality environments so far has been quite difficult, and most of the times special controllers and inputs are needed to navigate virtual worlds. FOVE VR is about to change the game: using eye-tracking, users can interact with the virtual world and control whats happening in this space while maintaining a realistic depth of field.

FOVE is headed by Yuka Kojima, who prior to developing the technology worked as a gaming director with Sony and Gree. The project is currently on Kickstarter and has already reached its funding. Effectively solving the problem of controlling virtual environments, we will see how FOVE will change the way we interact.

The variety of start-ups at SLUSH was incredible, as the private space company *Astroscale* shows: The company’s mission is to free the space from debris, which has limited the possibility of new space endeavours for the past decades. Recently raising 7.7M in a Series A round, the company has great ambitions to remove space litter which could destroy satellites or space vehicles.

Using a special satellite, which disperses smaller satellites that will then stick to space debris, Astroscale aims to move space debris into the atmosphere where it will fall apart due to forces present in the atmosphere. Brands are jumping on board of this mission, with sport-drink *Pocari Sweat* as a sponsor to send a can of the drink into the sky.

Drone Space Defence
Presented by Team IcARus, a diverse team of engineers who aim to create the future, Drone Space Defence combines two technologies: virtual-reality goggles and quadcopter drones. Using these two technologies, the collective has created a game that augments reality which is captured by a user-controlled drone with spaceships that the user has to eliminate.

While this sounds like a fun game, it is all the more interesting that the game is just a way to get people to create another product. As people fly their drones to play the game through landscapes and cities, the company captures the video data to create interactive 3D maps. Truly combining entertainment and utility, these maps will then be made available to interested parties.

Overall, the conference presented a wide array of start-ups presenting their ideas. Even though a lot of the start-ups were existing ideas in a new form, or simple e-commerce platforms, some start-ups (like the ones above) stood out.