Got what it takes? Here are the 7 things we look for in a startup

As we gear up for cohort 1 of The Asia Accelerator I am getting asked “What profile of startups are you looking for?”.  It’s a good question since we don’t have a vertical focus and our investment terms are very flexible in terms of valuation (we use a SAFE).  

At a top level we are open to any awesome founders solving big problems, but the following offers more detail:

1) Team:  

You have a full team with all of the requisite skill-sets needed to execute on your vision for the next 18-36 months.  The background of the founders fit the roles they are executing. Ideally the founders have known each other for a while and have a history together.

2) Traction:  

You have a product that is being experienced by users and you are getting feedback from them so you can improve.  Ideally you have some revenue.

3) Business model:  

Your business model is high-potential and makes financial sense.  There is a path to profitability.

4) Attitude:  

The founders (especially the CEO) are team players and believe in “paying it forward”.  You will be helpful to the other people in the cohort and will be a positive influence in its success.  In our founder surveys, about 50% of the value of our program is from your cohort-mates. You are moral; you don’t cut corners or act dishonestly towards customers, investors, etc.  This is really important!

5) Program Fit:  

Is The Asia Accelerator a good fit for your startup?  Will our program resources and networks be of high value to your business?  If you are currently based outside of Singapore does it makes sense for you to move here for the duration of the program?

6) Diversity:  

We believe that diverse cohorts add the most value to the group.  We value founders from different backgrounds (country, religion, gender, etc.) and look to ensure diversity of thought and experience in the cohort.

7) Social Impact:  

Ultimately we’re looking for ‘good businesses’. What does this mean? We are looking for startups that are solving a real problem. So bonus points if you have a solution that makes the world a better place in some way. This could be through sustainability, energy efficiency, financial inclusion or reducing inequality. Read more about Our Commitment to Change.


There’s a gap in Southeast Asia

At The Asia Accelerator we believe there is a gap left in the Southeast Asian startup ecosystem:  Startups that embody the 7 points above are often too mature to consider the investment terms of the existing accelerator programs in the region or they simply don’t qualify due to vertical focus, strategic alignment, etc. of the program. Often these startups also aren’t quite ready for institutional investment by a VC.  The Asia Accelerator has a focus on taking high-potential startups with traction and helping accelerate their business so that within 12-18 months from beginning our program they can close a Seed or Series A funding round. Our investment terms are very founder-friendly because we believe that our formula means we take less risk and reach potential exists more quickly than other programs.  We also have the track record and experience to prove that this concept works.


Don’t think you meet all 7 points?

For startups that don’t embody all of the 7 points I mentioned above, don’t worry; you should still apply.  Many/most of the startups in our previous programs did not embody all of them (#4 is a must however) and were still accepted.  And even if you don’t get accepted to the program this time your startup can learn a lot and meet useful people just by going through the application process and attending our Roadshow events.


Applications open 15th January 2019

We’re also coming to your city!  Our Roadshow starts on 15 Jan.  We’ll be hosting a series of events where you can meet our leadership team, hear about the program and practice your pitch in our pitch competition. RSVP ASAP at the links below:

15 Jan:  Singapore

17 Jan:  KL

22 Jan: Jakarta

24 Jan:  Ho Chi Minh City

29 Jan: Bangkok

31 Jan:  Manila

8 Feb: Dhaka

About The Asia Accelerator

The Asia Accelerator is the only independent accelerator program in Singapore.  We invest S$100,000 in our selected startups through a SAFE note. The program is 3+1 months:  3 months of program held at our CBD Singapore office and 1 month comprised of our startup mastery course in Silicon Valley and then our Demo Day grand finale in Singapore.

Applications open on 15 January - follow us on Facebook to see announcements and subscribe to get the latest updates right to your inbox.