Accelerating Asia, a startup accelerator and venture capital fund, headquartered in Singapore, has formally unveiled its third cohort of early-stage high-growth startups for its flagship accelerator program. With a broad geographical market footprint across Southeast and South Asia, the startups have collectively raised over S$2.6M million before joining, employing over 120 people. With the incoming cohort including a number of female-led ventures, Accelerating Asia’s total portfolio now includes over 37% female co-founded startups.
The startups are solving a wide range of problems across a diverse set of B2B, B2C, and B2G verticals, including energy, transportation, healthcare, and cleantech, adding to the diversity and depth of Accelerating Asia's portfolio companies. Each company will receive an upfront investment of S$50,000 from Accelerating Asia with top performers receiving up to $S150,000 after the program's completion.
"For cohort 3, we evaluated and received 450 applications across 25 countries and selected the companies for our third cohort with a less than 2% acceptance rate to the program," said Craig Dixon, Co-Founder of Accelerating Asia. "Coming into the program, this cohort is by far, our most talented and accomplished cohort to date in terms of business traction and their potential as catalysts for positive change in a rapidly evolving post-pandemic landscape.”
Singapore-based Energy Lite specializes in the aggregation of renewable energy and is closing contracts with Fortune 500 companies, including Denso Ten and Rockwell Collins. KaryaKarsa from Indonesia has more than 7,000 content creators on its platform and has generated over US$200,000 of income for creators since October 2019. ProjectPro joins as the first portfolio company out of India with users including software developers from Amazon, Dropbox, and Google, it has a steadily growing user base in Southeast Asia. Weavair offers sensors and predictive analytics for air distribution systems to prevent the spread of contamination and infection while reducing operational and maintenance costs.
“We have expanded our geographical footprint into India and reaffirmed our presence in Indonesia via our recruitment efforts for the cohort, the talent of our startups are well placed to deliver returns for investors. We’re confident that they can be part of the solution to address the larger issues in a post-COVID-19 world,” said Dixon.
Asia's ecosystem is showing gradual signs of recovery from the pandemic with increasing levels of investment in sectors such as agritech, e-commerce, fintech, and healthcare, creating a level of optimism heading into Q3 2020. According to research from DealStreetAsia, Southeast Asia’s startups raised at least $2.8 billion in the second quarter of this year, only slightly lower than the $2.9 billion in the previous quarter, Q2 saw at least 184 deals, up 26 percent over Q1, and 63 percent over the second quarter of last year.
"Recently, investment has warmed up at the angel and institutional levels as countries are reopening, and economies roar back to life. We have also seen great portfolio traction even during this challenging time, with five of our alumni portfolio companies having closed rounds recently with institutional investment,” added Dixon.
Accelerating Asia is also approaching the final close of the fund and is continuing to sign partnerships with limited partners (LPs) for early and exclusive access to their startups, providing qualified deal-flow, pro-rata rights, and a first-option for investment. In the first four weeks since joining the program, cohort 3’s startups have already received over S$1.2M in initial commitments from existing investors and angels who are Accelerating Asia's LPs.
The accelerator has since pivoted into a 100-day virtual program that continues to emphasize and focus on startup growth, business readiness, and capital raising. "We're fortunate to work in an industry that constantly adapts and can continue remotely from wherever we might be. It’s hard to get founders all in one place on any given day as they are normally scattered across the region during the program. Because of this, we’ve always run remote entrepreneur-in-residence sessions, virtual investor coffee chats, and digital masterclasses, so making the jump to a fully online accelerator wasn’t too much of a shift,” said Amra Naidoo, Co-Founder at Accelerating Asia.
“Our priority is to ensure that our third cohort continues to grow and perform in their unique markets and verticals. Being an accelerator VC enables us to deliver a hands-on approach during the initial investment period as we deliver the program and access startups need to scale and grow, while minimizing the investment risk and focusing on delivering returns for our investors in our venture capital fund," added Naidoo.
Since launching in 2018, Accelerating Asia has grown into a community of more than 48 founders from 28 startups, spread across Asia with 40 percent female-led or co-founded ventures. They work alongside regional angel networks such as Angel Hub, ANGIN, and Angel Central as well as leading institutional investors, including Cocoon Capital, Monks Hill Ventures, and Golden Gate Ventures.
Nineteen companies from their past two cohorts have raised a collective investment of over S$5 million. Priyoshop experienced 500% growth in GMV in July, achieving over 500,000 users. Agritech startup, iFarmer raised US$500,000 to empower farmers across Bangladesh and facilitated close to US$1 million in financing for farming through the platform. Travel tech startup, IZY has continued to raise investment and close deals from partners despite an industry that was greatly affected by COVID-19.
Ms. Lim Seow Hui, Director of Startup Development at Enterprise Singapore, said, “Accelerating Asia has been a valuable part of our Startup SG network and we are encouraged by the results of the alumni companies who have completed the program. As we navigate this uncertain climate, it is important that we keep the ecosystem conducive for startups to grow. That is why Enterprise Singapore partners with ecosystem enablers, such as Accelerating Asia, who can equip our startups with the right resources to seize all opportunities available and develop innovative solutions to transform the economy.”