Future Asia Ventures The Unsustainable Boom: Accelerators & Startups June 2016
Page 1Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
The Unsustainable Boom: Accelerators & Startups
Page 2Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
Future Asia Ventures has made every effort to use reliable, up-to-date and comprehensive information and analysis, but all
information is provided without warranty of any kind, express or implied. Some of the information used in preparing these
materials was obtained from third party and or public sources. Future Asia Ventures and Falguni Desai assume no responsibility
for independent verification of such information and Future Asia Ventures has relied on such information being complete and
accurate in all material respects. We disclaim any responsibility to update the information or conclusions in this report.
Future Asia Ventures and Falguni Desai accept no liability to you or any third party for any loss arising from any action taken or
refrained from, or any reliance placed on, or use of, the information herein by you or any third party, howsoever arising, as a
result of information contained in this report or any reports or sources of information referred to herein, or for any
consequential, special or similar damages even if advised of the possibility of such damages.
Opinions expressed herein are current opinions as of the date appearing in this material only and are subject to change without
notice. This information is provided with the understanding that with respect to the material provided herein, you will make
your own independent decision with respect to any course of action based on your own judgment, and that you are capable of
understanding and assessing the merits of a course of action.
Neither the information, nor any opinion contained herein, constitute a solicitation or offer by Future Asia Ventures or Falguni
Desai to buy or sell any securities, futures, options or other financial instruments or provide any investment advice or service.
Future Asia Ventures and Falguni Desai does not purport to, and does not, in any fashion, provide broker/dealer, investment
advisory or any financial advisory services. This information has been prepared solely for informational purposes. This report is
not investment advice and should not be relied on for such advice or as a substitute for consultation with professional
accountants, tax, legal or financial advisers.
No part of this document may be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of Falguni
Desai or Future Asia Ventures. By accepting this material, you acknowledge, understand and accept the foregoing.
Page 3Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
Media & Distribution Partners
Funding the next
generation of startups
Connecting Asia’s startup
Covering the emerging
global industry of
Page 4Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
Table of Contents
• Executive Summary
• Global Accelerator Overview
• Fintech: The Boom Inside of a Boom
• Advice for Early Stage Startups
Page 5Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
This report, similar to the prior three reports, contains a global overview of the corporate accelerator
landscape. In addition, it also features observations on the growth of the fintech startup sector and advice
from startup advisors from around the world.
Key findings and themes are summarized below:
There are now 131 corporate accelerators worldwide. While 13 new launches have happened this year, this
represents a significant slowdown from the prior year which had 46 launches.
From a country perspective, Singapore has boosted its profile with several government initiatives which
support various startup sectors. The island nation stands out in its monetary commitment to entrepreneurs
and its strong stance towards innovation.
With an estimated 6,000 fintech startups around the world, the fintech sector is a boom inside of the startup
boom. This is unsustainable and we expect to see a weeding out in the next 1-2 years.
Asia is the dominant region for fintech as 3,000 companies are tackling payments, mobile wallets, currency
exchange, remittances, credit scoring and other financial processes. The diverse mix of affluent and rural
populations in the region creates a need for all types of fintech services and the region is likely to be a leader
in the B2C fintech innovation.
Finally, our guest writers provide their unique viewpoints and advice on sales, operations, pitching, choosing
an accelerator program and more. The writers hail from Australia, Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and
the United States.
Page 6Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
Global Accelerator Overview
Page 7Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Number of Corporate Accelerators Launched Each Year
Source: Company Websites and Florian Heinemann Accelerator website www.corporate-accelerators.net
Note: This count only includes programs which have designated and formally titled as “accelerators”.
Labs. Incubators and other open innovation formats are not included in this count.
Corporate Accelerator Launches Decrease Significantly
Corporate accelerator launches have slowed down
since last year. At the mid-year point in 2016, there
have only been 13 launches worldwide. The slowdown
is due to new open innovation formats and organic
innovation taking place at companies.
Page 8Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
2016 Proving To Be Slower Year in Americas and EMEA
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Number of Corporate Accelerators Launched Each Year by Region
Page 9Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
Corporate Accelerator Facts and Figures
31 22 12
Top 3 countries by corporate
USA UK Germany
More than half of all corporate
accelerators are focused on 3 sectors
+ 23 Financials
+ 20 Telecoms
been shutdown in
India has 9
of the 32
Page 11Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
41 58 32
Corporate Accelerators by Region
131 Corporate Accelerators Exist Worldwide
The global corporate accelerator count stands at 131. While accelerator launches have significantly
slowed down this year for the Americas and EMEA regions, Asia Pacific has kept pace launching 8 new
corporate accelerators. While the region has an initially slower start, the Asia Pacific regional count of
32 accelerators is beginning to close the gap with other regions.
Around the World
Page 12Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
Singapore’s Innovation Ambition
"The Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council’s 2020
Plan will allocate $19 billion over the next five years
towards developing Singapore as a knowledge-based,
innovation-driven and future-ready economy. To turn this
vision into a reality, people need to find inspiration and
then act. Participants in the ecosystem need to discover
new talent, learn from other innovation champions and
create alliances that shape the future of their business."
- Michelle Yong, Founder, Collision 8
Singapore Fast Facts
Population 5.69 million
GDP $307 Billion
Map of Southeast Asia
Government Funding for Innovation & Startups
National Research Foundation
ESVF Program -SGD $100 million fund for Series A and
National Research Foundation
Technology Incubation Scheme for early stage startups
Matches 85% of VC investments up to SGD $500k
Cofunding program matches up to $1 million in VC funding
Sector Specific Accelerator
SGD $60 million fund focused on cleantech and medtech
Singapore Tourism Board
Business Improvement Fund focused on technology
Covers 70% of eligible costs
Technology Entrepreneurs Commercialization
R&D project funding up to SGD $750k
ACE Action Community for Entrepreneurs
SGD $50k matching grants for startups
Media Development Authority
iJAM grants for media startups in 2 parts up to SGD $250k
Monetary Authority of Singapore
FSTI Financial ServicesTechnology & Innovation program
SGD $225 million fund
Incentives for banks to open innovation hubs in Singapore
Page 13Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
Fintech: The Boom Inside of a Boom
Page 14Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
The Unsustainable Ascent of Fintech Startups
The fintech ecosystem is unquestionably active, eclipsing other startup sectors as it continues to grow.
There are an estimated 6,000 fintech startups around the world. As with any sector, we expect there to be
winners and losers. The coming years will naturally see a fall off as companies face regulatory hurdles,
merge with other players or simply run out of capital without gaining traction.
1. Is your company building
commercial partnerships with a
large financial institution?
2. Have you raised enough capital to
last a 24 month period?
3. Are you cooperating with
regulators and securing licenses
to conduct business?
4. What is the key factor about your
service that will drive sales and do
you have the necessary sales
5. What is the biggest risk or threat
to your business and what is your
plan to deal with it?
Key Questions for Founders
Page 16Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
What Makes Fintech Different in Asia?
While most startup sectors have historically been dominated by Silicon Valley, the fintech boom of the last
five years has had a very different geographic footprint and a very broad set of stakeholders. Asia’s market
dynamics and diverse population create a different set of opportunities and challenges, from those in the
U.S. or Europe. Here are four factors that make Asia’s fintech landscape different:
Geographic Fragmentation. Asia has more than 20
countries, each with their own economies, currencies and
regulatory bodies. Aside from Indonesia, China and India,
founders from the other nations live in small markets, so they
must look outside their borders. While this poses hurdles it
is also an effective weeding out process. Entrepreneurs who
make it past their own country understand the importance of
product design that can function in diverse markets.
Unbanked Populations. According to The World Bank, 2
billion people are un-banked. Slightly over 50% of them are
in Asia, particularly India. The un-banked live in rural, they
lack of trust in banks and generally don’t have enough
money. In India, UIDAI is in the process of registering all
Indians with a unique 12 digit number which can be used as
proof of identity. The program is the largest biometric
database in the world and may prove to be a game changing
project for fintech and financial inclusion
Mobile Potential. Asia leapfrogged the landline era and
went straight to wireless and mobile. The result has been
mobile phone penetration rates of 80% to as high as 99%.
Mobile apps have become a focal point for fintech in Asia.
But a key gap is credit data. Credit bureaus are still a
relatively new addition in Asia. In Hong Kong, the consumer
credit reference agency has only been operating since 1982.
Singapore’s was formed only in 2002. Fintech entrepreneurs
see an opportunity to supplement limited credit history with
mobile data and social media to create new credit metrics.
Growing Consumer Class. As Asian economies emerge and
develop, a growing middle class population is consuming
more. While the U.S. has had Amazon and others since the
mid nineties, e-commerce in Asia is still a very young sector.
That coupled with low credit card penetration ranging
anywhere from 2% to over 50%, e-commerce retailers
themselves are innovating payment tools which allow
consumers to pay directly from their bank accounts or mobile
Page 17Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
The Asia Pacific region is seeing strong activity in the fintech arena, with more than 3,000 fintech startups
across major and emerging economies. High populations of un-banked and under-banked and a strong
mobile penetration, are giving rise to payment, mobile wallet and simple tech-enabled services for handling
Asia Pacific’s Fintech Boom
Source: Estimates based on Angellist and Tech in Asia
# of Fintech
Hong Kong 150
Asia holds great potential for fintech innovation. While the
Western world might lead the world in B2B innovations that
change institutional processes, Asia will likely lead in B2C fintech
Page 18Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
Advice for Early Stage Startups
Page 19Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
Reaching Terminal Velocity: How To Make the Most of
An Accelerator Program
The value doesn't end when the accelerator does
If you are diligent with the mentors and program leaders these
relationships will last and pay dividends over time. As these accelerator
programs evolve and mature their network will grow and you will have
access to new partners, talent, and mentors. Reciprocate and improve
the value of your accelerator network by connecting program leaders to
the next group of rising startups and corporate partners looking to get
involved with an accelerator. You will foster strong business
relationships and built a network that will last beyond your first venture.
Provide value to that network and it will give back ten-fold.
Be 100% transparent
Accelerators are invested in you and wish you nothing but success. You
must be transparent with your program leaders or you risk damaging
the reputation of the accelerator. Nothing is worse for a partner coming
into an accelerator than to be promised one thing by the program
leaders and pitched something completely different by a startup team.
This damages the reputation of the accelerator and puts future
relationships in jeopardy. Being part of an accelerator network should
give you instant legitimacy but this legitimacy requires you to be honest
to your program leadership. Be open and protect the reputation of your
Network is everything and the right accelerator can provide you the
access and the tools to be successful. Choose wisely, avoid
complacency, and you may propel your startup to terminal velocity.
By Casey Lawlor
Co-Founder & Director of Marketing
Choose the right accelerator for the stage of your startup
Accelerator programs vary in both the stage of the company they
support and the goals they aim to achieve. Having navigated three
accelerators and mentored at a fourth, we have seen the diversity of
resources and metrics of success present in different stage
accelerators. Early stage programs provide mentors, technologists,
and business strategy or lean canvas experts to help develop your
MVP or prepare you for a series seed raise. Other later stage
accelerators are often built to aid in business development or
navigate regulatory environments for specific spaces that are hard to
penetrate such as medical device or fintech industries. Some include
a mix of all of the above. Be upfront about what you want to achieve
during your time at the accelerator and ask how they measure
success. Check your alignment.
You get out what you put in
We hear from startups all the time that they feel they are not getting
enough face time, connections, or investment dollars from their
respective accelerators. Meanwhile, they have yet to identify and
reach out to any of the mentors in the network, attend program
events, or even engage the program management with their
Be explicit, be diligent, and put forth the effort to maximize your time
at an accelerator as it goes by quickly.
“Look for mentors who have been in your shoes, know the
market, and seem genuinely interested in helping without
asking for anything in return. And if you take only one thing
from this article - always follow up with mentors. And then
follow up again.”
Page 20Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
Outsource: It's Not a Dirty Word
You have an idea for the next billion dollar mobile app. Your mind
is dreaming about that amazing new website you’ve planned.
You fantasize about becoming your own boss, building a global
company, or becoming a leader in your industry. But you don’t
know how to code. Ah, well … it was a cool idea. And that’s that.
Don’t let that happen.
“The only thing worse than not doing what you
want in life is knowing what you want but not
knowing how to get it.”
This is especially true in an industry where so much is dependent
on highly refined skills, knowledge, and experience. Combine that
with the costs associated with either obtaining those skills yourself,
or hiring someone else to do that, and it’s no wonder that many
potential entrepreneurs stop themselves from turning their
dreams into reality.
To those entrepreneurs, I have one bit of advice: outsource.
Outsource is a dirty word nowadays. That’s understandable;
everyone knows someone who knows someone that worked with
someone that got scammed, worked with atrocious developers, or
had their money simply stolen. Outsourcing is also a red flag in
others ways. As an investor, the moment I see a pitch deck and
that the entire technical team is outsourced, I pass, on the
spot. And indeed, outsourcing can have its problems.
But there is something far, far worse than outsourcing, and that’s
intimidation. Being intimidated by new things, or the risks
associated with working with strangers, or delving into something
you know nothing about. Because intimidation begets paralysis,
and paralysis begets inaction in pursuing what you want to do.
Outsourcing can be tricky, but like all things, outsourcing is a skill that
can be learned. Learning how to manage projects, deal with engineers’
expectations and, above all, refine the idea in your head into an actual
product. When you outsource, you are forced to understand the process
of how things are created, and that is an incredibly important quality for
any entrepreneur to have.
What to do you, then? My advice to potential entrepreneurs: think of an
idea, and outsource for it. Something simple, silly, a service that you
would get value out of, but not something you expect thousands — or
really, even dozens — of people to use.
What’s important here is that it has real-world value and use, and it’s
simple to develop. A mobile notification whenever your favorite show
comes on; an application that allows you to use your desktop keyboard
to type messages on your phone; you could even try appropriating
mainstream applications into something personalized for you.
Think of an idea, go on popular outsourcing websites, and find someone
to do it for you; UpWork is one well-trafficked example. Devote a few
hundred dollars to this; if it’s simple enough, you can still get
something fairly useful. And once you have that, not only will you have a
finer appreciation for the process of creating and launching your own
product, but you will also overcome the paralysis that handicaps so
many other potential entrepreneurs trying to overcome the technical
hurdles associated with their ideas.
So, what are you waiting for? Go build some stuff.
By Justin Hall
Golden Gate Ventures
Page 22Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
Creating a Winning Startup Pitch
To make a winning impression for your pitch, your
presentation should be quick, succinct and memorable with
particular focus on storytelling techniques and some
credible support for your idea.
Successful tech entrepreneurs also have some good advice
for startup pitchers. In speaking with Travis Kalanick of
Uber fame, he suggests practicing in front of your
friends/peers and make them believe...whatever it takes.
“Pretend you're telling your friend about your
company, and that you want to prove without a
shadow of a doubt that your thing is the best thing
that’s going to happen.”
CEO and Founder Uber
Sounds pretty basic right? Yet when you take a moment to
consider this, it’s not an easy ask - convincing anyone
‘beyond a shadow of a doubt’ of some new idea is a
formidable task. One that if you do accomplish will certainly
give you a definitive advantage at a pitch event
Alejandro Cremades is the Co-Founder of Onevest, an
investment crowdfunding site for startups. He highlights
the power of storytelling, the ability to bring the
audience into the story and introducing a sense of
timing into your presentation as key assets to a strong
”When you are pitching to investors they want
to know that you are at the right time in history
to be executing your plans with your venture.”
- Alejandro Cremades
Ultimately, you need to just get out there to practice
and pitch to different types of people. The collective
feedback may give you a perspective that gives you that
By Stephanie Kong
Principal Marketing Head, APAC
EdgeVerve Systems Ltd.
Page 23Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
Deal or No Deal? How to Work With Large Corporations
By Trey Zagante
Founder & Managing Director
Landing a deal with a big name logo can be a pivotal moment for a startup and the great news for startups is that right now, many
corporations are increasingly looking to the startup ecosystem in search of innovation. However, there are countless stories of startups
that have run out of funding whilst trying to navigate their way through what are often slow-moving, risk-averse, and complex
organisations. Here are some key questions for startups to answer before pursuing deals with large corporations:
Why do you want or need a deal with a large corporation?
“Be realistic about whether the deal is a must-have or a nice-to-have as it generally takes a lot of time and
effort to land any kind of deal with large corporations.”
Are corporations critical to your business model? For some startups, landing a corporate deal is one of the riskiest options. Revisit the
strategy and get advice before moving forward.
What kind of deal are you aiming for?
Are you selling a B2B/Enterprise product? Do you need access to customers through a channel or platform that a corporation owns or
controls? Are you positioning your startup for a future acquisition? Each desired outcome requires different planning and approaches.
Which corporations are you specifically targeting, and why?
Do your research and compile a target list of corporations that you want to deal with. This could be based on industry vertical, access to
technology assets and customer channels or their inclination to invest in startups.
When is the right time to approach a corporation?
Understand which corporations in your space are active in deal-making with startups, and through what means? Do they have open
innovation labs where they actively seek co-development opportunities? Do they have a startup outreach or support program? Are they
active in the startup ecosystem through co-working spaces, hackathons or accelerator programs? Do they have a corporate venture capital
Page 25Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
The Smart Startup
By Sudarshan Narayan
Managing Director, Amplifi SaaS Accelerator
As a startup founder, especially if one is a sole founder, there's so much to do that it can be overwhelming.
“It's very common to drown in a lot of non-core tasks and work long hours
without being very productive. This is typical of entrepreneurs because
they like to be in control of everything. And that's the biggest bottleneck.”
There are three ways to being more productive and focusing on the core - revenue, product and customer.
1. Outsourcing - accounting, legal, secretarial, digital marketing
2. Marketplaces - for design (brand collaterals, website, logo) and content (blog, website, email, video)
3. Productivity apps - for calendar scheduling, social media content scheduling and posting, team collaboration, expense
management, sales pipeline management, etc
Of course, due to the on-demand economy, there are other office related activities that can be availed on demand - like
virtual assistants, on demand office, etc.
By using a combination of the above, a founder can really focus on smart work and get things done. Remember, as a founder
your focus should be on revenue, product and customer success. And, smart work is always better than hard work to achieve
the above three KRAs.
Page 26Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
3 Steps to Remain Relevant as a Sales Leader in
The 3 steps to remain a relevant sales resource are:
1. Drive your business towards building a Massively Transformative Purpose that can attract clients,
partners and new colleagues. Challenge your top leaders; their sponsorship of this is crucial
2. Be ready to articulate how new disrupters in your market are positioning themselves. How do they
3. Be the advocate for rapid experimentation. Always be testing and turn market hypothesis into facts
every single day. Validation and facts will help you lead your team to disrupt rather than being
You are now well on your way to making exponential sales! Enjoy!
By Lars Lin Villebaek
Today’s disrupted markets are being taken over by new incumbents, who create new game rules at a breathtaking pace while
leaving behind most linear thinking businesses and their sales leaders.
Those who react to the change in time can fight back through a “Massive Transformative Purpose”, algorithm-driven processes and
other “unfair advantages” as described in the hottest literature right now such as the book Exponential Organizations by Salim Ismail
Traditionally, sales leaders have been the ones with the most intimate knowledge about the clients -but when organizations become
exponential by nature, sales must look in new directions to remain relevant and value adding! Key activities when selling into -or
competing with- exponentially growing organizations are now about positioning your transformative purpose in the right
communities and keep learning how to become a relevant component in other people’s business experiments. Both are massively
challenging for teams who need to transition away from selling products based on scarcity models and now face abundance while
answering questions such as how algorithms can help personalize a new customer experience.
Page 27Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
Past Reports by Future Asia Ventures
Published August 31, 2015
CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOAD
Published December 1, 2015
CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOAD
About the Author – Falguni Desai
Falguni Desai has over 18 years of corporate strategy,
innovation and M&A experience.
She has worked with business leaders at global firms in the
financial, digital media, technology and advisory sectors to
foster growth & expansion.
She is a regular contributor to Forbes on strategy &
innovation topics and her research has been cited in The New
York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Deal Street Asia, The
Paypers and other business publications.
She is based in New York and holds a BS in Economics from
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Published December 1, 2015
CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOAD
Page 28Copyright 2016 Future Asia Ventures
Working with corporations, private investor groups and
foundations globally to discover and invest in new
We select our clients and only work with firms which
demonstrate an authentic commitment to innovation
and bold ideas. Our services include:
Startup Business Advisory
Venture Sourcing & Due Diligence
Media & Business Inquiries:
New York, NY