Plug and Play mulls travel and hospitality vertical for SG programme

Plug and Play
Photo: Plug and Play website

Silicon Valley-based global accelerator Plug and Play is looking to launch a travel and hospitality-focused vertical for its Singapore accelerator programme this month.

According to its head of travel and hospitality centre of innovation at Plug and Play, Amir Amidi, the global accelerator is looking to launch a travel and hospitality-focused programme out of Singapore, and will host their first startup showcase on September 11 where about 25 high-potential startups will pitch to its corporate, government and investor network.

Speaking to DEALSTREETASIA, he noted Asia Pacific is a very interesting market when it comes to travel and transportation where 55 per cent venture capital investments globally took place in APAC in 2017. “Also, a lot of our corporate partners are looking to APAC startups for innovation who may be further along than European or North American startups. It’s a market that we want to definitely get involved in, both on the corporate and investment sides. So, we thought Singapore is a perfect place for us to launch the travel and hospitality programme for Plug and Play,” said Amir.

He added that there will be about 30 industry-related corporations attending the event, including the likes of Air Asia deputy CEO Aireen Omar, Changi Airport managing director Jayson Goh, senior management from Thai Air, Shangri-la Group, just to name a few.

Globally, Plug and Play has invested in 40 startups under its portfolio of travel and hospitality since the vertical was launched in 2016. It runs two accelerator programmes annually along with its 23 corporate partners, with a focus on business-to-business-focused startups.

“Our goal is to is to invest in 10 startups [this year] and we’ve invested in five so far, so we will invest in another five by end of the year. Next year, we’re going to scale our investments and will invest in at least 20 startups in the travel tech space. Ultimately, since we launched Plug and Play, the objective has not changed which is to invest in the most promising early stage technology companies but we feel like bridging the gap between industry leaders and the innovators, and encouraging cooperation between the two sides, we can speed up the rate of new technology adoption and innovations, and our venture arm get better investment opportunities,” said Amir.

The accelerator currently runs insurtech, fintech, supply chain and logistics, as well as mobility programmes in Singapore.

Plug and Play’s investment portfolio comprises over 800 startups across the globe, with over 30 investments located in Southeast Asia. Founded slightly more than a decade ago, it has graduated at least over 500 startups globally.

According to Amir, Plug and Play typically invests up to Series B, cutting check sizes up to $500,000 per round. “Our sweet spot these days are between $200,000 to $300,000 per startup or per round.”

Its international senior vice-president and managing partner for Asia Pacific, Jupe Tan had previously told this portal that Plug and Play is looking to establish its presence in at least one new location in Southeast Asia early next year. It currently has a presence in Singapore and Indonesia.

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