Malaysia’s ‘Neon Runner’ Won Golden Rice Bowl Award for Startup of the Year

Published by Anuar Mat Saat @ 23/11/2015

Winners for the inaugural Rice Bowl Startup Awards were celebrated at a gala event closing the 1 Asean Entrepreneurship Summit (1AES) in Kuala Lumpur. The Golden Rice Bowl Award for Startup of the Year was awarded to NeonRunner, a startup from Malaysia which offers last mile on-demand services for the masses at an affordable price.

The Rice Bowl Startup Awards is the first ASEAN awards to celebrate rising startups that harness technology to propel their business regionally, with the aim of building an ASEAN ecosystem for the startup community. The awards focus on developmental elements, with all of our finalists being media trained, given media exposure and matched with investors. 376 entries were submitted from nine countries across South East Asia during the nomination phase.

“From the very beginning our goal was to celebrate the rising stars of entrepreneurship throughout Southeast Asia, and tonight’s gala honoured startups who are a clear embodiment of excellence and innovation,” said Ashran Dato’ Ghazi, Chairman of New Entrepreneurs Foundation (myNEF).

A panel of over 30 judges from the awards’ community partners then evaluated the entries in four broad areas – Business, Traction, USP and Investability. Finalists were judged by the Rice Bowl Startup Awards Grand Jury, led by Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, Chairman of the 1 ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit as Head Judge with Nadira Yusoff, President of Nadi-Ayu Technologies and Co- Chairperson of 1 ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit; Hamdi Mokhtar, Board Member of New Entrepreneurs Foundation; Cheryl Yeoh, CEO of Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre; Leigh Reyes, President and Chief Creative Officer of LOWE Philippines; Matthew Badalucco, Vice President of Catcha Group; and Amran Hassan, Head of Innovation of Maybank.

All 33 finalists were automatically in the running for the Golden Rice Bowl Award, and were awarded startup training worth USD15,000, regional media engagements and investor matching.

“Cumulatively, USD82 million in funding has been pledged by investors to date to invest in the finalists, and we are confident that this figure will expand as more investors recognise the quality and innovation of these startups,” added Ashran.

The complete list of winners for the inaugural Rice Bowl Startup Awards:


  • Retail Startup of the Year: Poundit (Philippines)

E-commerce site for consumer electronics founded by Kristian Salvo, CEO.

  • Media Startup of the Year: (Malaysia)

Food review and recommendation site founded and curated by Kenny Hew, CEO and Kay Stanford Jr. Kastum, Digital Producer.

  • Digital/Online Startup of the Year: Eatigo (Thailand)

Online restaurant reservations with time-based discounts. Co-founded by Michael Cluzel, CEO and Siddhanta Kothari, COO.

  • Tech Startup of the Year: Star Ticket (Myanmar)

The first bus ticketing solution in Myanmar. Co-founded by Thet Mon Aye and Zarni Nway Oo.


  • Product Startup of the Year: QLIPP (Singapore)

Lightweight sensor that helps improve tennis game. Co-founded by Donny Soh, CEO and Lee Chee How, COO.

  • Service Startup of the Year: NeonRunner (Malaysia)

On demand, same day delivery service enabler co-founded by M. Kanashan, CEO and Arvind Patmarajah, CFO.

  • Innovative Go-To-Market Startup of the Year: GetLinks (Thailand)

Connects companies with the next generation of passionate digital talent and innovators. Co-founded by Djoann Fal and Polpat Songthamjitti.


  • FinTech Business Startup of the Year (category sponsored by Maybank): Qwikwire (Phillipines)

Pay bills from anywhere in the world brought by Bing Bryan Tan, CTO and Zairo Hererro Ko, Head Of Business Development.

  • University Startup of the Year (category sponsored by University Malaya): Flexilicate (Malaysia)

Custom designed optical fibers for telecommunications applications, sensing & non-linear effects spearheaded by Prof. Dr. Faisal Rafiq Mahamd Adikan, Director and Dr. Ghafour Amouzad Mahdiraji, Managing Director.


  • Social Enterprise Startup of the Year: Kapital Boost (Singapore)

Islamic crowdfunding platform that helps small businesses pay for goods and capital purchases. Co-founded by Erly Witoyo, Managing Partner and Umar Munshi, Partner.

  • Woman in Business Startup of the Year: Silvia Wetherell, MumRadar (Singapore)

Helping mums find nursing rooms, baby friendly cafes, playgrounds and more on the go. Co-founded by mums Silvia Wetherell and Rita Bishop.

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