Our goal is to get your startup through the initial phase. This means different things depending on the type of company you want to start but typically it means building something with enough traction to raise money from investors.
If you’re interested in applying, please do so here.
What We Do
We do 3 things.
1. Invest USD $150K
We invest US$150K for 10% of your startup. This is the least important thing we do. We think of our investment as a show of commitment and to align incentives. There is no program fee.
Note: We have made exceptions in the past but they are exceedingly rare.
2. Work With You On Your Idea
This is the most important thing we do. We’re founders too. Together we’ve started 3 companies (Decide, Weave, Divvy Homes), raised money from the best investors (a16z, Index Ventures, etc.) in Silicon Valley, sold 2 of them, 1 is still going strong.
Maybe more importantly, before each company, we tried dozens of ideas that didn’t work. As a result, we learned a lot about what ideas are promising, how to validate them, and how to grow them. Typically, we can quickly tell you whether you’re trying to do too little or too much and where you should focus. If not, we can definitely tell you how to go about answering those questions.
3. Help You With Investors
Yes, we’ll introduce you to investors in Southeast Asia and Silicon Valley, but we’ll spend much more time on the following:
- Developing Your Pitch – Most startup pitches are too long and emphasize the wrong points. We help you create a pitch that’s concise and highlights the things about your startup that are important to investors. We then help you workshop it by practicing with your batchmates then with investors who are friends of ours before finally pitching at Demo Day.
- Fundraising Guidance – Even with a strong pitch, you need to run a good process. We’ll teach you how to target the right investors and approach them in a way to maximize your chances of getting funded.
- Understanding and Negotiating Terms – If it’s your first time, understanding and negotiating the terms of an investment can be scary, especially in Southeast Asia, where the terms tend to have much more variability. We’ll help explain terms, call out abnormal ones, and give guidance on what’s typical right now.
How it Works
We fund startups in batches. We believe this works better for everyone. It allows us to run the program more efficiently, and the startups probably learn just as much from each other as they do from us.
At the start of the batch, you will be assigned a lead partner responsible for your well being during the batch. Lead partners are typically assigned based on your needs and their expertise. The first thing you and your lead partner will do is set goals for the end of the program. Where do you want to be at the end of the program? Typically this involves growing your primary metric 5% to 7% every week for the batch duration.
During the batch, you will participate in a series of events.
- Partner Meetings – Every week, you meet with your lead partner to give an update on your progress, discuss challenges, priorities, and next steps. Founders have told us they benefit from these sessions in 2 ways. First, they rarely have someone they can talk to openly, who has been where they are, and can empathize and give practical advice. Second, they come out of these meetings with clarity. When you’re the founder of an early-stage founder, you’re often so busy getting things done, and you rarely take a step back to think about whether you’re working on the right stuff. We find that the ability to prioritize and focus is the biggest difference between first and repeat founders.
- Small Group – Every other week, we split the batch up into 2 groups. Each company will give a quick update on their progress and challenges. After updates, one of the companies, on a rotating basis, will bring a specific challenge they are having to the group. The group will try to help solve that challenge by sharing how they do it or their experience with that challenge.
- AMAs – On the weeks where there isn’t a small group meeting, we invite someone who’s an expert in some aspect of startups to speak. This could be a startup founder, investors, or executives from well-known companies. In the last batch, we had speakers like Ryan Hoover (Co-Founder of Product Hunt) and Emmett Nicholas (Co-Founder of Airtable).
- Fundraising Boot Camp – A month before Demo Day, we start a series of events that help founders prepare to fundraise. First, we help you workshop your pitch through practice pitches to your batchmates then friendly investors. Second, we help you build and qualify a target list of investors. Third, we give you advice on how to talk to as many investors as you can in the shortest amount of time to increase your chances of being funded.
After 12 weeks, we host a Demo Day where startups can present to a selected audience of investors to help kickstart their fundraising efforts. Demo Day marks the end of the batch.