1337 Ventures opens up applications for Alpha Startups
By Digital News Asia December 24, 2014
- Successful teams to receive funding for MVP & market validation
- Applications close on Jan 1, 2015
1337 VENTURES is on the hunt for aspiring entrepreneurs to join the fourth intake of Alpha Startups, its pre-accelerator programme, which begins on Jan 5, 2015.
Alpha Startups is a five-day intensive bootcamp where selected teams of entrepreneurs, developers and designers get to test and validate a scalable product or startup idea together with their peers, and guided by experienced industry mentors.
Teams that successfully validated their idea and can prove its scalability over two or more markets will stand a chance to receive RM10,000 (US$ 2,857) in funding which will be used towards development of their minimum viable products (MVPs), advertising via Facebook and Google and also a design makeover of their pitch decks – to aid in further market validation.
“With more business people coming into the programme, we wanted to give them a head start in getting their MVP to see the light of day; hence this batch will see some teams receiving just enough funding to make it happen,” said Bikesh Lakhmichand, chief executive officer of 1337 Ventures.
Alpha Startups also serves as a pipeline into 1337’s accelerator programme where successful teams become seed/ pre-series A ready faster, with a validated business model.
The pre-accelerator programme took in 80 entrepreneurs in three batches throughout the course of 2014, which proved to be a fruitful year.
The third batch, which was focused on the telecommunications sector, saw six teams being accepted into Telekom Malaysia’s IX Accelerator programme.
“We’ve been seeing many more rock solid, first-time entrepreneurs coming into the programme and willing to put money where their mouth is,” said Bikesh.
In one case, an angel investor put money into an Alpha Startup idea, which saw the founder matching the angel investment. 1337 has also picked two teams to invest in and are evaluating three more across all batches.
He added that many participants have taken their validated ideas and revamped pitch decks to use in applications for the third Integrated Content Development Programme (ICON3) programme under the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) as well as funding from Cradle, an agency under the Ministry of Finance.
Bikesh said that the programme doesn’t benchmark the success of participating teams via funding raised, with the main goal being to get the product out as soon as possible.
“It was great to see four of the AlphaStartups participants get into the [email protected] programme that was recently organized by MaGIC (Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre).
“Most of the programme participants are working their ideas to becoming actual businesses,” he added.
Entrepreneurs that found out there wasn’t a market for an initial idea have pivoted, reiterated and are on course to come up with the next big thing.
“In addition, we recently helped facilitate a merger between a property startup that came through the programme with an established regional startup from Singapore, Zoposh (Placematch), as we rather enhance existing offerings in the region rather than reinvent the wheel,” he added.
The plan for 2015 is to continue the Alpha Startups programme consistently on a quarterly basis with the objective of raising the quality of local entrepreneurs. The organisations also uses the platform to scout for deals to expand its portfolio or refer deals to other investment partners.
A Campus edition of Alpha Startups will also be introduced in January, with the goal of finding “the best minds” among Malaysian students, and offer them an accelerated path toward building their own companies.
During the internship period, three teams via 10 local universities will stand a chance to receive RM10,000 (US$ 2,857) in funding along with mentoring for them to kick-start their ideas.
Applications close on Jan 1, 2015 and those interested can send applications in the form of a one-minute video pitch on any technology-enabled ideas. For more information, click here.