Designing a Program to Maximize Startup Success
The Asia Accelerator is unique in the region. As the only independent accelerator program we have the freedom to design a program tailored to maximizing the chances that our startups will succeed.
This is how we do it.
Founder-friendly investment terms
First, our investment terms are engineered to be attractive to the best startups. We invest through SAFE notes at a 20% discount and do not include any onerous terms like a board seat or reserve matters. We focus on the best founders who we believe have the best chance to succeed. This lowers our portfolio risk profile and therefore means we are ok with a bit less equity in the long-term. We also plan to follow-on as investors in future funding rounds with some of our startups, thus doubling down on the best bets.
The weekly program
Second, our program is designed to add value and to not prevent founders from effectively running their startups. For the first 3 months there is a weekly cadence as follows:
Monday morning 11-1145am: Standup with all founders. Run through your goals from last week and how they went. Ask the group for help, intros, advice. We’ll run through the plan for the upcoming week.
Wednesday 4-6pm: About half the weeks will have a masterclass at this time. Topics include: How to properly price your product, Fundraising, UX/UI, Scaling your business, How VCs value startups, Pitching, etc.
1 on 1s with the EiR: Each week you’ll meet with the EiR for at least 30 mins to run through challenges, ask advice, get intros, etc.
Friday Open House 5-7pm: Each week 3 startups will get the floor to pitch their business, demo a new feature, etc. followed by Q+A to a live audience. Once per month we’ll have a Super Open House with a special guest where all startups will pitch. These are very popular and attract upwards of 100 guests. Previous guests include Pieter Kemps from Sequoia, Justin Hall from Golden Gate Ventures, Roshni Matuani from Tickled Media and Jamie Camidge from Empatkali.
During the program we’ll also have at least one mentor night where you’ll meet high calibre potential mentors and pitch your business to them (they’ll also pitch to you!) with the opportunity to find valuable mentors for your startup. We’ll also have at least one investor night where qualified investors are invited to hear the cohort pitch as a group followed by networking.
The home stretch
We round off the program with a 1 month period inclusive of our startup mastery course in Silicon Valley and Demo Day.
In Silicon Valley we run events for about 40% of the first week. Past trips have included the following:
Pitch at 500 startups to their GPs and Program Manager and get fedback
Silicon Valley Angel Investor panel
Founder Communication workshop by Innerspace
Private meeting with Gary Swart, GP of Polaris Ventures and previous CEO of oDesk
Pitch at Silicon Valley Bank to SVB execs and investors
Private meeting with the head of innovation at Stanford
With the rest of your time in the Valley you’ll enter pitch competitions and organize your own meetings as appropriate for your business. We recommend staying at least one more week for follow-up meetings.
Our startups have raised substantial funding rounds and signed substantial commercial agreements off of this trip. It is a hugely valuable experience and mandatory for ALL founders.
Demo Day at The Asia Accelerator is a big event. We typically have around 200 attendees, mainly investors but also government, mentors, corporate partners, etc. We host it in a top-tier location in the evening to draw the right audience. We typically see substantial fundraising come out of demo day. In the days leading up to demo day we’ll have a pitch coach join us for prep. These sessions and Demo Day are mandatory for the pitching founder.
And that’s a wrap
That’s the program! After demo day you’re welcome to stick around in the office until the next cohort starts. We have a great track record of staying involved with our alumni once they exit the program. It’s a win-win to keep in the loop as we’re often in touch with valuable resources for your business. We look forward to being a long-term partner for your success!