Southeast Asia-focused early-stage investor Expara Ventures has launched a new accelerator programme that is looking for startups developing solutions to counter challenges the world is facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a top executive of the firm.
Selected teams will receive three months of intensive online acceleration, mentorship and funding up to $50,000, culminating in an online Demo Day.
“Governments and corporates are struggling against the virus and Expara wants to invite entrepreneurs and startups to join the battle,” Douglas Abrams, CEO of Expara Ventures said in an announcement sent to DealStreetAsia.
The programme will focus on detection, information, prevention and protection and finally mitigation. It will cover improved ways to detect viruses; new tools to help share information about pandemics; solutions to protect people from infection and slow the spread of the virus in communities and solutions that aim to improve life quality and work efficiency during and after global pandemics.
“The Covid-19 global pandemic is causing enormous pain and widespread social and economic disruption. Clearly this is going to affect VC investments in the region, which I believe will be reduced in 2020,” Abrams told us in an interaction.
Founded by Abrams – a venture capitalist, entrepreneur, angel investor and educator who has been investing, venturing, and teaching in Singapore since 2000 – Expara is present across the spectrum from incubation, early-stage venture capital, entrepreneurship, VC to innovation training.
The company has launched five venture capital funds in Southeast Asia since 2007, investing in over 80 startups to date. It runs two incubator funds – Expara IDM Ventures and Expara IDM Ventures II — as well as Extream Ventures, a joint venture fund with Upstream.
DealStreetAsia had earlier reported that Expara Ventures was set to launch a $30-million vehicle, Expara Ventures IV (EV IV), to invest in its core markets of Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.
However, in his most recent interview with DealStreetAsia, Abrams said that the firm had decided to defer the fundraising for EV IV in 2019 opting instead to focus on the Thai market.
“We have now made 8 investments in our Expara-GSB fund in Thailand and also launched Batch 1 of the Space-F Global FoodTech startup incubator and accelerator in partnership with Thai Union, NIA and Mahidol University,” he added.