Seven innovative tourism startups qualify for MIST

Seven innovative tourism startups qualify for MIST

  The Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) Startup Accelerator has announced that 19 startups have qualified to join its 2018 program. Vietnamese startups include Dichoichung, which connects travelers and enables them to share travel experiences or pair up to split costs; ECOHOST, which makes homestays bookable with an online booking system, mobile app, and a database of selected partners; Go Explore, which organizes “workation” programs, aimed at remote international and domestic workers, while providing marketing services to business-to-business partners; IM VENTURE VIETNAM, which organizes educational tours that connect international and local young people through community activities; Nest Nearby, which makes immediate bookings easy by connecting last-minute bookers with nearby available rooms; Offbeat.ai, a mobile app that analyzes a global database of travel blogs and articles and generates a personalized travel plan for users; and VDEs, which connects event planners with event venues and allows for bookings through its database. Vietnamese startups and others from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand will join a MIST Travel Startups Fundamental Bootcamp from May 17 to 22 in Ho Chi Minh City. The five most outstanding startups will subsequently receive innovation grants of up to $10,000, six months of intensive coaching, a trip to meet industry experts at the Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, and an opportunity to pitch to investors in Singapore. “Our selection panel of investors and industry experts had a difficult choice from more than 100 MIST Startup Accelerator applications,” said Mr. Jason Lusk, Director of MIST. “The 19 startups that made it through represent the best of the Greater Mekong Subregion’s travel startups, with innovative models, the ability to scale, the capacity to impact on local communities, and the potential to help resolve key challenges facing tourism in the region.” The MIST Startup Accelerator propels innovative startups and companies operating in travel tech, hospitality, and tourism. It is funded by the Australian Government in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and also receives support from the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI, also co-financed by the Australian Government and the ADB), Destination Mekong, and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. The ADB and the Australian Government jointly launched MBI in 2015. It catalyzes private sector development in emerging ASEAN markets, focusing on Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. The program aims to improve the business-enabling environment in these four emerging ASEAN markets with a particular focus on business advocacy, alternative finance, and innovation. MBI supports four innovation accelerators: MIST, the Mekong AgriTech Challenge (MATCh), the SMART City Innovation Challenge, and the Fintech Challenge Vietnam. It is also the principal organizer of the Women’s Initiative for Startup and Entrepreneurship (WISE), a network of women-owned and women-led startups in the Mekong Region. VN Economic Times
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