500 Startups, MaGIC to launch growth-stage accelerator for SEA

Visual from 500 Startups' website

Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund and startup accelerator 500 Startups will be launching a new growth-stage accelerator programme for Southeast Asia, in partnership with the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MAGIC), both firms said.

The 10-week programme, called Distro Dojo, will help companies in the region that have raised at least $150,000, to take their businesses to the next level. The programme is expected to graduate 100 ASEAN startups in the three-year period.

The VC firm, which recently topped up its ‘500 Durians’ fund for Southeast Asia with an additional $5 million, will launch the programme in Kuala Lumpur in August.

Related story: 500 Startups tops up $5m more into 500 Durians SEA micro fund

Each ‘Distro Dojo’ batch will take in between 10 and 20 companies from across the ASEAN who work with mentors and the 500 Startups network to scale their user base, revenue, and other aspects of their business. The main outcome is to grow a startup’s customer/user base while upgrading the startup’s own competency in the area.

Distro Dojo was first launched in London, last month, although the concept was birthed in Asean. 500 Startups and MaGIC ran a pilot round last year in Malaysia with four companies that raised over $7 million collectively.

The programme is based on 500 Startups’ existing support network for its portfolio companies, which provides customised consultancy. With Distro Dojo, the support is being formalized and made open to all companies in Southeast Asia, not just those that 500 Startups has invested in.

500 Startups will manage and facilitate the programme including bringing in top regional and global specialists to work with the selected startups. The startups will also receive $50,000 worth of funding from 500 Startups, of which $25,000 will be available for product marketing, and $25,000 will be used for the programme training fee, e27 reported.

MaGIC’s role in the equation is to support administrative costs and provide space for 500 Startups to run the programme over a course of three years.

500 Startups’ Southeast Asia-based managing partner Khailee Ng told TechCrunch that the programme was about helping startups work on specific growth goals.

“Not all startups have world-class customer acquisition chops,” he said.

Distro Dojo’s pilot batch, which went under the project code-name Cerebro, from August to October 2014 graduated four companies, namely The Luxe Nomad (Malaysia/Singapore), CatchThatBus (Malaysia), iMoney (Malaysia) and Orori (Indonesia).

Also read: 

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.