TOP100 relaunches with new features to bridge gaps between startups, investors
By Digital News Asia April 1, 2017
- Powered by “Echelon Connect” to pre-match and qualify startups and investors
- Startups and investors are able to connect online all year round instead of only at conferences
ECHELON’S pitching competition TOP100 powered by Echelon Connect returns with a new spin to redefine the journey of fundraising.
Now a full-fledged fundraising platform for Asia’s startups unconstrained by distance or time, it will enable startups to fundraise all year round, and investors to expand deal flow opportunities.
Officially soft-launched on e27.co, over 150 startups (estimated 800-1000 by the end of June) and notable investors like 500 Startups, Queen’s Capital Road, Golden Gate Ventures, KK Fund, and others have joined since the launch, accounting for access of up to US$500 million in combined fund size.
How the platform works
The new TOP100 aims to empower any startup that expresses interest in fundraising, and any investor looking to discover startups through:
- Matching: Startups and investors are matched based on their compatibility with each other (using multiple metrics including the basic vertical, funding round and market access interest).
- Connections: Once a mutual interest is indicated on both sides, e27 will then provide a direct communication portal via e27’s messaging platform) between a startup and investor, who can then take the conversation further.
For startups and investors that are matched successfully, Echelon provides the offline avenue - conferences in major SEA cities - for startups to showcase their business to a wider audience and for investors to follow-up with their prospects and conversations more intimately.
A refreshed programme
A major challenge most young startups face is getting noticed. “Any startup in the region can apply to TOP100,” says e27 chief operating officer Thaddeus Koh.
“TOP100’s online platform overcomes those obstacles that many new startups face, and provides an even playing field for them. These startups can then potentially meet the right investors and fund their businesses.
“It is now easier than ever for startups and investors to establish relationships - starting online,” Koh adds.
“When compared to the typical delays one gets from email, the messaging platform will reduce the formalities involved and ease the flow of conversation between both parties.”
While TOP100’s new features may be getting most of the spotlight, Echelon’s pitching competition will carry on, this time with a slight twist.
TOP100 aims to continue bridging innovative solution providers across geographic boundaries to expand their networks through targeted connections and showcases - rather than being judged by a standalone intense seven-minute pitch on stage.
“After winning Echelon’s TOP100 programme last June, we started gaining traction across Southeast Asia, even globally,” said Jee Shen Lee, founder of Softinn Solutions based in Malaysia.
“Even more quality investors and partners approached us after each Echelon participation, further spurring our strategic growth into Vietnam and Indonesia markets.”
To discover and support more young enterprises like Softinn, each Echelon will host its own standalone version of pitching (called TOP100 Fight Club), but do not act as pre-qualifiers to Echelon Asia Summit.
Instead, startups registered in TOP100 will have the chance to qualify for the main summit’s startup pitching, based on merit gained from the support TOP100 will provide across the year.
Applications are now open at e27.co/echelon/top100/register. While the TOP100 programme runs through the year, each Echelon conference has its own deadline.
Startups looking to gain exposure, win prizes, and make connections can look to apply to the following TOP100 Fight Club opportunities at:
- Echelon Malaysia: by March 19th, 23:59; Conference: April 12-13, Penang
- Echelon Thailand: by April 16th, 23:59; Conference: May 15-16, Bangkok
- Echelon Asia Summit: by May 24th, 23:59; Conference: June 28-29, Singapore dded.
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