Grooming Asian startups
By Sharmila Ganapathy-Wallace June 21, 2017
- Seed-capital fund has selected five companies for its first cohort of investees.
- Plans to have 75-100 investee companies within five years
THE Javelin Startup-O Victory Fund, a seed-capital fund managed out of Singapore, has announced the first set of investees under its portfolio.
They are Impress.AI, Internet of Things company Whizpace.com, software-as-a-services company Serv.sg and recruitment technology firm Hackertrail.
In addition, UK e-wallet startup Paidup.io is also among the consideration set of ventures. The company, which serves emerging markets such as the Philippines, is now re-incorporated in Singapore to better serve its target demographics.
“Paidup is in the midst of completing a business restructure to relocate to Singapore which is a prerequisite, but deal terms are agreed and working capital is advanced,” says Startup-O co-founder and chief executive officer Anuj Jain.
The fund targets to invest up to US$500,000 per startup and is looking at three to five startups every quarter. It is a collaboration between online platform Startup-O (www.startup-o.com) and Singapore based wealth management firm Javelin Wealth Management (www.javelinwealth.com).
“Javelin Startup-O Victory Fund is an innovative fund which aims to serve high net worth investors and family offices with utmost transparency around well curated investment ideas across Asia. The early portfolio companies are already showing signs of growth and we look forward to investing in more innovative technology driven ventures,” says Javelin Wealth Management chief executive officer Steve Davies.
Anuj says that 308 tech startups from 12 countries and 15 nationalities have registered on the Startup-O platform and 159 startups have been selected to undergo the 10-week online curation programme called ‘Startup-O 'Fasttrack'.
He adds that the five companies that have been announced are from season one (November 2016 to January 2017) and that three startups from season two (February to April 2017) will be announced by end June.
“They include startups from fintech, healthtech and SaaS from three different countries,” Anuj says of the season two batch.
According to him, Startup-O curates promising startups from across Southeast Asia and beyond using its unique methodologies, combining the art of assessment by a community of experts and the science of rating algorithms.
“The rating algorithms are derived based on the assessment inputs captured by experts after interacting with startups. Each startup goes through the platform through four distinct assessment phases interacting with six to eight experts in total. Each expert completes a defined framework of data capture which feeds the rating algorithms to enable unbiased curation of most promising startups per cohort,” he adds.
Anuj explains that each quarter, they see 100-120 startups apply and they select 50-60 startups to participate in the online 'Fasttrack ' programme.
“After going through the online curation by the 'Experts Collective' through four distinct stages, the fund invests in the top three to five top-ranked startups.”
How will the Javelin Startup-O Victory Fund track and measure the progress of the startups under its portfolio?
“We have very robust and strong post investment processes which range from weekly mentoring, monthly financial reconciliation and quarterly board level discussions. We have designated and experienced 'Entrepreneurs in Residence' who help in venture building with help of our Experts Collective.
“Our experienced panel of experts who are seasoned entrepreneurs and domain experts get involved with the investee startups to open the doors at various levels for these proven tech ventures. This helps move the needle and builds all-important traction for investee companies.”
Which countries or regions are allowed to apply to the Javelin Startup-O fund?
Anuj says that while the fund is focused on South and Southeast Asia, they have seen startups from as far as UK, Canada, UAE and Austraila.
“In principle, we are open to investing in promising startups from anywhere although we tend to maintain our active focus in the defined areas. The plans are to become a 'Go to Platform' for any tech entrepreneur who is walking the walk and could 'prove his mettle' to get access to resources required to expedite their success.”
What are the long-term plans for the fund?
Apart from being a 'Go To Platform' for startups especially in Southeast Asia, they also want to serve their investors with a well-curated diversified portfolio of 75-100 companies in five years.
Anuj adds that they will also focus on venture-building with investee companies and help them scale across geographies with the help of their Experts Collective, in-market reach in Southeast Asian markets and other resources.