500 Southeast Asia
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500 Southeast Asia

Durians Daily #74: Lingokids helps underprivileged children in India amidst Covid-19; Neuron’s latest feature keeps users safe through live-tracking; Kitabisa works with Indonesian celebrity Cathy Sharon for pandemic relief

Education for all

  • 500-backed Lingokids, the platform offering Oxford University Press-graded English language curriculums for children between the ages of two and eight, is working together with Dream Centres in India, an educational institution making quality education accessible to underprivileged communities.
Credit: Dream Centre
  • Lingokids has donated over 600 licenses to the Dream Centres schools, enabling students to continue their learning during the lockdown.
  • “Our association with the Dream Centres is an effort to contribute to the cause of education and to work towards a world of equal opportunity for everyone,” says Cristobal Viedma, Founder and CEO of Lingokids.
Credit: Lingokids
  • Thus far, Lingokids has collaborated with NGOs and foundations around the world and has donated over 30,000 licenses of the app to schools and NGOs to help address the digital divide.
  • Used by 7 million families worldwide, Lingokids’ adaptive language learning platform and online classes help children learn English through interactive and engaging games.
  • For parents and teachers, it also offers guides and tips addressing any FAQs they may have regarding the curriculums available on the platform.

Cruising safely

  • 500-backed e-scooter provider Neuron Mobility has launched its “Follow My Ride” service in Australia, which allows a Neuron rider to share their location in real-time with someone else during their e-scooter trip, and provides added security while riding alone.
  • The feature was developed after discussions with a female focus group, with the sole aim to make riders feel more confident and safe during night time trips, while also providing extra reassurance to friends and family.
  • Users can take advantage of Follow My Ride by simply choosing a contact from their phone to share a URL link to a tracking page of their location while on a trip.
Credit: Neuron Mobility
  • “The sharing status will always be visible in the app, so riders can see whenever they are sharing their location with a friend. The location data is only used during the ride, and sharing can be stopped at any time or stops automatically when a trip has ended,” Neuron says in a statement.
  • The feature complements the e-scooter’s existing 000 Emergency Button, which prompts the user with “Are you alright?” if a fall is detected. Riders can respond by selecting ‘I’m alright’ or ‘I need emergency assistance’ at the touch of a button, with the latter notifying emergency services if pressed.
  • Founded in Singapore in 2016, Neuron operates in eight locations in Australia including Brisbane, Darwin, Adelaide and Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Recently, it secured permission for a trial run in the UK.

Strength in numbers

  • In March, Indonesian celebrity Cathy Sharon and her friends banded together with one collective goal: to help those impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Through a campaign on 500-backed crowdfunding platform, Kitabisa, the aim was to assist frontliners, specifically medical staffers holding the fort at hospitals and clinics nationwide, with funds and supplies like facemasks and PPEs.
  • “It began as just a normal conversation over the daily news. It was the beginning of the pandemic and it made us fearful, anxious, and apprehensive as to what would happen. But then, instead of giving in to our fears, we decided to channel those feelings into action. After several long discussions and looking into our networks, our skills and what we knew about getting things done, we agreed to pool our money to buy medical supplies,” she says.
  • The campaign took off, gaining traction from the public and attention from her celebrity peers, including Maia Estianty, a businesswoman and musician.
Credit: Kompas
  • In total, Cathay and her peers raised almost four billion rupiah from 19,299 donations.
  • More than 100,000 3-ply masks, 5,000 N95 masks, 10,000 hazmat suits, boots and goggles have been distributed to more than 240 priority hospitals in Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara, according to Prestige Online, whom Cathy spoke with for an interview.
  • Since the coronavirus crisis broke out earlier this year, Kitabisa has been utilized as the go-to place for relief efforts in the archipelago.
  • The Jakarta Post reported in March that Kitabisa had seen a surge of fundraising campaigns for Covid-19 mitigation, most of which were initiated by the general public, NGOs, and public figures.

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500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. In Southeast Asia, 500 Startups invests through the pioneering 500 Durians family of funds. The 500 Durians funds have backed over 200 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology. It continues to connect founders with capital, expertise and powerful regional and global networks to help them succeed.

This post is intended solely for general informational or educational purposes only. 500 Startups Management Company, L.L.C. and its affiliates (collectively “500 Startups”) makes no representation as to the accuracy or information in this post and while reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the information herein is accurate and up-to-date, no liability can be accepted for any error or omissions. All third party links in this post have not been independently verified by 500 Startups and the inclusion of such links should not be interpreted as an endorsement or confirmation of the content within. Information about portfolio companies’ markets, competitors, performance, and fundraising has been provided by those companies’ founders and has not been independently verified. Under no circumstances should any content in this post be construed as investment, legal, tax or accounting advice by 500 Startups, or an offer to provide any investment advisory service with regard to securities by 500 Startups. No content or information in this post should be construed as an offer to sell or solicitation of interest to purchase any securities advised by 500 Startups. Prospective investors considering an investment into any 500 Startups fund should not consider or construe this content as fund marketing material. The views expressed herein are as at the date of this post and are subject to change without notice. One or more 500 Startups fund may have a financial interest in one or more of the companies discussed.



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500 Southeast Asia

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500 Southeast Asia is an early-stage VC firm; The company has backed over 250 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology.