Lithan launches TechUP Accelerator to support Myanmar startups

Leslie Loh, founder and CEO of Lithan Academy Pte Ltd.

Lithan, a Singapore based private education institution, is launching a TechUP accelerator programme in Yangon, and the top-five shortlisted  teams will be given seed investment, and also be connected with investors in Singapore, an executive with the company said.

Aspiring Myanmar youth, including those starting from scratch are welcome to apply, said Leslie Loh, founder and CEO of Lithan Academy Pte Ltd. Loh is also the chief mentor and founder of Red Dot Ventures, a tech incubator in Singapore with an investment portfolio of 40 tech startups.

He further added that the six-month-long full-time programme would start by September, and the accelerator would have 20 shortlisted individuals, who would be empowered with multidisciplinary start-up skills, an idea and even a co-founder.

“We focus on individuals. As long as they have passion and talent, they are digital savvy, – we want to access their talent. Only after that, we will figure what is their business idea…even form a team if they don’t have a team member,” Loh explained.

As an education institution, Lithan will provide training to deliver the skills sets that these future entrepreneurs will need, he added.

The accelerator will also offer courses on new venture creation, digital marketing, sales and managing a start-up enterprise to the selected individuals.

The six-month programme will include provision of an allowance, a co-working space and mentorship in addition to training, said Loh.

The top five teams will be brought to Singapore, and they will be given $10,000 by Red Dot Ventures as a seed investment , and these startups will be exposed to the network of investors that Lithen and Red Dot Ventures already have

The 40 startups that Red Dot Ventures had invested in Singapore could be potential partners for some of the startups from Myanmar, and the latter would also get introduced to a network of angle investors in the city-state for additional investments, he said.

Lithan and Red Dot Ventures will own a 10 percent equity in the five startups and the mentors will have a 1 percent equity.

“Once they get out of our incubation, we don’t want to stop helping them. Our mentor programme is a lot more intensive than any other accelerators because we actually give our mentors equity … We want them to be serious of helping the startups,” said Sneha Kataria, lead at Linthan accelerator.

“A lot of other accelerators are not training institutions. We are actually an education institution that have many training programs,” said Loh.

Lithan will also help meet possible partners that can bring in technology for the startups.

Lithan and Red Dot Ventures plan to invest up to $3 million for  incubations of 100 start-ups for the next three years.

Outside Singapore, this accelerator programme is the first to be held abroad, added Loh.

“Lithan has offices in India and Malaysia but we choose to do it in Myanmar because we think that country has the greatest growth potential for the startup ecosystem. Because of a lot of growth potential, there is a lot of opportunity to create the startups and Lithan choose Myanmar to be the first overseas Launchpad for this programme,” added Loh.

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