PawnHero snags Judges’ Choice, winning Echelon 2015

In a regional competition for most promising startup in Asia, fintech startup PawnHero emerged as the champion, being the first Philippine startup to take the prestigious award home for the country.

Held in Singapore, the Echelon Asia Summit annually invites a wide network of startup founders, investors, and company delegates who seek to benefit from the workshops, partnerships, and exhibitions present in the conference.

Organized by startup and technology website, e27, the Echelon Asia Summit also seeks out top 100 startups around Asia to have the opportunity to present their product in their unique exhibit.

From the 100 startups, startups were required to pass qualifier rounds to be part of the Top 17. Afterwards, these startups competed for the Top 10, ending in a final pitch on the Echelon main stage.

“According to a McKinsey report, half the world is unbanked,” began David Margendorff, founder of PawnHero. “That means 2.5 billion people in the world are not able to make important investments in healthcare and education.”

PawnHero, Margendorff explains, is an online pawnshop that will provide customers access to affordable loans in quick and hassle-free manner. Customers just only need to post pictures of their item, accept the loan estimate, and have the delivery and pickup of the item taken care of by the startup.

Because financial inclusion is important to PawnHero, customers will receive their loan through a PawnHero debit card, which will allow them to withdraw cash from the ATMs and pay their bills without undergoing the hassle of setting up a bank account.

To date, Margendorff concludes, PawnHero has received tremendous traction from the Philippines, having given over 8.6 million pesos worth of loans to Filipinos. PawnHero has also started expanding in the region, soon launching in Vietnam.

Aside from being handed the Judges’ Choice award, PawnHero also received the TechVenture award from the National Research Foundation, a department of the Prime Minister’s Office in Singapore.

“Everyone who pitched, everyone who presented, it was quite good quality content. But of course there needs to be only one winner, and the judges have decided to award this year's Judges' Choice award to PawnHero." concluded Minette Navarrete, CEO of Kickstart Ventures, one of the five judges for Echelon Asia Summit.