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MOX Demo Day 2 Report: Challenge network, pronunciation coach, and photo-editing


The Mobile Only Accelerator (MOX) kicked off its second demo day in Taipei on March 7. The event was introduced by MOX founder and managing director William Bao Bean, who welcomed a total of eight international startups to the event, including teams from Hong Kong, Russia, and the US.

MOX is part of venture capital firm SOSV, which specializes in building an investment infrastructure for startups and is the third most-important seed investor in the world according to TechCrunch.

MOX has more than 130 million users worldwide. The accelerator offers free user acquisition and investment mentoring to help startups along their journey. Here we are going to introduce the three presenting teams from day two, namely Eristica, Esla, and Mfoto.

Eristica: localization done right

Russian startup Eristica brings the world’s first daring platform to mobile devices. According to co-founder Nikita Akimov, him and three classmates came up with the app in 2014 to help people connect in an innovative way. Eristica aims to create a global challenge network, which enables you to dare anyone anywhere simply by using the app.

During their demo time, Akimov claimed that online videos will reach a stunning 13b views in 2017, highlighting the vast potential in the market. Southeast Asia in particular is a key region that boasts one of the fastest growing markets in global comparison.

To accommodate their different audiences, Eristica thus puts special emphasis on proper localization in their marketing. “American Apps (Youtube, Facebook) may dominate the market, but they don't really localize for the Southeast Asian region,” said Akimov. Eristica aims to change that by providing local content and “inspire people to mutually challenge each other.”

So far, the startup’s performance has garnered plenty of attention. Last year, Eristica won the McKinsey Startup Competition. In Russia, Eristica’s platform has already reached more than one million users and is ranked among the top 5 in app downloads.

Elsa: language learning as a community effort

Elsa, which is short for English Language Speech Assistant, hopes to teach the world proper English pronunciation. The American startup is actually the brainchild of CEO and co-founder Vu Van, a Vietnamese who received their tertiary education in the US.

During their pitch, Vu Van began by sharing their personal experience of learning English. Knowing that English is extremely vital for global communication, Vu Van lamented that most foreign language education focused too much on grammar, while the actual speaking part tends to be slighted.

This is where Elsa’s software comes in, as it strives to teach users the correct pronunciation through the community and deep learning technology. With 1.5 billion English learners around the world, the potential is virtually limitless, as Vu Van pointed out.

Once users download the app, all users have to do is speak the English word to their smartphone. The app will then pinpoint any errors and provide feedback as well as more details on how to improve one’s pronunciation.

Elsa has already been ranked the top app at the iOS App Store’s education category in several countries, including the Netherlands.

Mfoto: Moving pictures

By now, taking photos and sharing them on social media is already a daily routine for most of us, irrespective of where you are from. But Mfoto is here to shake things up!

The startup’s CEO Di Gui insists that there are still ways to improve the experience and astonish people, however.

A graduate from Hong Kong’s top art school and with working experience at Alibaba and China Telecom, Di Gui hopes to make picture taking more exciting and artsy again through their photo-editing software.

Mfoto’s app not only allows you to snap pictures, but also turns these shots into so-called “M-Photos,” i.e. virtual movie scenes. Besides adding fresh filters and innovative effects such as double exposure, Mfoto also allows users to add subtitles to make their photos stand out among their friends.