- Expected to be a ‘game-changer’ in SEA and grow region’s next unicorns
- Startups get funding and access, plus US$50K funding for 10% equity stake
SILICON Valley-based venture capital firm Fenox VC has entered into a partnership with Japanese IT service provider Infocom Corp to launch an Indonesian-based South-East Asia accelerator programme.
GnB Accelerator pools together Silicon Valley startup experience, a Japanese corporate business network, and local expertise in the region, according to the two companies.
The programme will select a few early-stage startups to invest in, and will provide mentorship as well as access to facilities such as office space, and corporate partners as additional investors.
GnB stands for green and blue, the colours of the Fenox and Infocom logos. The programme has a distinct Indonesian focus but is open to all South-East Asian startups.
Fenox general partner and chief executive officer Anis Uzzaman declared the accelerator programme would be a “game-changer” for the region.
He also said that its global multinational approach would be valuable for entrepreneurs and will help cultivate South-East Asia’s next unicorns, companies that reach valuations of US$1 billion or more.
“We feel this is the right time to introduce the accelerator programme in Indonesia,” he said, adding that Fenox has invested in 15 local startups since 2012.
“Now with high Internet penetration and [Indonesia’s] big population, we believe there are a lot of creative entrepreneurs coming up with fresh ideas,” he told a media briefing in Jakarta on Feb 22.
The head of GnB Accelerator Kentaro Hashimoto said that the main expectation from this programme was to create new business opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
“If you see the current condition in Indonesia, it reminds me of Japan 20 years ago. There are a lot of fresh and creative ideas – a huge opportunity to grow,” he said.
GnB plans to choose 16 startups which would get an opportunity to receive US$50,000 each in equity funding in return for a 10% stake. It will accept startups from a variety of verticals such as mobile, consumer Internet, or health IT.
Anis said the programme is not looking at any particular business sector, adding that the startup industry is changing very fast in every country, including in China and the United States.
The six startups from the first batch will be given three-month mentoring, starting in April. The remaining 10 in the second batch will begin their mentoring sessions in October.
Interested startups may submit their applications via the GnB Accelerator website. There will be a demo day in Jakarta in June and December.
Not restricted to Indonesian startups
While targeting Indonesian startups, GnB Accelerator is also open to startups from other South-East Asian countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam, according to Anis.
However, if accepted into the programme, they would have to comply with certain terms and conditions.
“The main requirement is that they have to travel to Jakarta for the mentoring process, because we want to make a difference growing the company, hand in hand,” he said.
“We are keen to work with global and local mentors by helping startups succeed from the day they are ‘born’ until they become global companies.
“The first problem for entrepreneurs is they don’t know how to talk – here, we help them,” he added.
Software-as-a-Service provider Talenta’s cofounder Joshua Kevin, one of the GnB Accelerator mentors, argued that mentoring is as crucial as funding for startups.
“I can’t deny that funding is important to help startups grow, but the mentoring process is even more crucial, especially in Indonesia where knowledge about startups is still limited,” he said.
Other mentors include East Ventures cofounder and managing partner Willson Cuaca, Bridestory chief executive officer (CEO) and founder Kevin Mintaraga, HijUp CEO Diajeng Lestari, Fenox head of investment Vivek Ladsariya, and Fenox South-East Asia regional manager Jeff Quigley.
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