Retail in Asia


UPSTARTS Awards names APAC startup retail winners

UPSTARTS hosted its first Awards Finale in Hong Kong on the 24th of November. This live pitch event was the culmination of the UPSTARTS Awards which were launched earlier in 2022, and brought together eight Asian retail startup finalists, who pitched live to a panel of judges. UPSTARTS was established to recognize the next generation of Asia’s homegrown retail players from emerging consumer brands, retailers, marketplaces, retail tech startups, and expert solution providers. The hybrid event, attended by 100+ in Hong Kong and around Asia, awarded the following winners:

Winner of the Brand Award, an achievement in brand recognition, product competition differentiation and notable results – SATURDAYS

Winner of the Brand Experience Category Award, an achievement in transforming the customer experience – Maison 21G

Winner of the Brand Personality, a personal achievement, and Audience Choice Award, the most popular brand voted by both online and offline audience – Fairmart

The event was sponsored by InvestHK, Alipay+, IWD and the Bluebell Group. It also counted the following as partners: Branding Records, Master Concept, Cyberport, Luxellence Center, Gusto Luxe, Eureka Nova, éClair, Brandstorm Communications, The Moodie Davitt Report, Genlab, The Mills Fabrica, CHAKO Sparkling Tea Cocktail, The Great Room and Startup and Angels. 

The competition’s panel of judges included Guoming Cheng, General Manager of Ant International Investment Management; Benjamin Vuchot, Chairman and CEO, DFS Group; Christophe Artaux, CEO, Qeelin; Giovanni Di Salvo, CEO Asia, Salvatore Ferragamo; Ashley Micklewright, President and CEO, Bluebell Group; Jacopo Pesavento, CEO, Branding Records; Gregory Cole, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, éCLAIR; Ben Wong, Head of Open Innovation, Eureka Nova; Martin Moodie, Founder and Chairman, The Moodie Davitt Report; Pablo Mauron, Partner and Managing Director, China, Digital Luxury Group; Chloe Reuter, Founding Partner and CEO, Gusto Luxe; Derek Chan, Director and Co-founder Master Concept; and Guillaume Dosnon, Chief Marketing Officer, IWD. The panel chose the following companies based on a variety of factors including the ability to deliver a compelling pitch, demonstrate a scalable business model, and host a quality team in their organization.

The eight retail startups that made it to the the Finale were:

Brand Category

SATURDAYS – Direct-to-consumer lifestyle brand that offers a wide selection of designer quality yet affordable eyewear.
Raloha – Skincare sunscreen brand combining evocative scents in real life with protective sunscreen formula.
Vermillion Lifestyle – Asia’s first hybrid B2B + B2C e-commerce luxury platform that curates distinctive products from designers and creators across the region.

Brand Experience Category

Maison 21G – Bespoke perfumery House of Scent Designers, where customers can create their own scents.
Alfred 24 – Tech-logistics company specialised in automated parcel lockers and software solutions.
SLOWOOD – Zero waste lifestyle and grocery concept.

Brand Personality Category

The Orange Blowfish – Independent creative branding agency.
Fairmart – Community commerce company.

Founders of startups in the Asian retail scene that are interested in the next Upstarts Awards are encouraged to get in touch with the Retail in Asia team, by sending an email now.