Though Southeast Asia is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and benefits from a youthful, tech-savvy population, the region’s startup ecosystem is still in its infancy and many founders lack resources. The freshly launched BootstrapAccelerator Asia seeks to address that gap. Founded by San Francisco-based seed and venture capital fund BootstrapLabs and Malaysia’s MAD Incubator, BootstrapAccelerator Asia is currently seeking startups that have the potential for global expansion.
The year-long program will focus on “early-stage capital efficient startups that leverage the speed of Internet distribution and the scalability of cloud infrastructure,” bringing promising candidates to Silicon Valley.
Foreign startups that BootstrapLabs has previously relocated to Silicon Valley include Prezi, Witsbits, AudioDraft and Zerply, which have raised a combined $25 million in funding. MAD (Make A Difference) Incubator is the largest private incubator in Malaysia, with the goal of helping 1,000 startups achieve a $1 million turnover by 2015. BootstrapAccelerator Asia is supported by Malaysia’s Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), the government group that directs and oversees the country’s National Information and Communication Technology Initiative.
BootstrapAccelerator Asia’s startups will receive cash and other benefits valued at over $35,000. Instead of organizing startups into cohorts, the accelerator will evaluate candidates on a monthly basis and enroll new participants at the relative stage of their development.
Though BootstrapAccelerator Asia will draw its startups from across sectors, Benjamin Levy, a partner at BoostrapLabs, says the firm has seen “a surge in mobile, Internet Web services, software as a service and gaming products” in the region.
“We are equally excited in seeing innovations from the Internet of Things, big data and B2C that leverages on the Internet/mobile and cloud infrastructure, bringing tremendous amounts of scalability and market reach towards regional and global markets in Southeast Asia,” Levy adds.
As BootstrapAccelerator Asia’s mentors work with startup teams, they will keep an eye out for companies that have the potential to reach a worldwide market. But Levy says there are plenty of exciting growth opportunities in Southeast Asia.
The region’s startup ecosystem may still be in its infancy, but founders benefit from the close proximity of its countries, which reduces the cost of doing business across different markets. As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economy becomes more integrated with the ASEAN Economic Community, entrepreneurs will also enjoy the advantages of greater trade liberalization and open economies, Levy says.
“Being accepted in this accelerator means that in our view they are good potentials for the SE Asian market, markets such as Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam,” he says. “Our goal over time is to build our network platform in these countries so that it will be easy leverage for our accelerator startups.”
Startups can apply here. The application deadline is May 30 and the first enrollment begins on July 2.