With social distancing becoming the new normal worldwide in the light of the coronavirus outbreak, Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia has decided to take the third edition of its accelerator programme Surge completely online.
Surge, which was launched in January last year, is focused on nurturing early-stage startups in India and Southeast Asia. The programme claims to have supported 37 startups in the previous two cohorts.
In a statement, Sequoia said, instead of week-long in-country sessions once a month, the third edition will see day-long sessions held every week for 15 weeks starting April 13. All speaker sessions, office hours and deep dives with founders, speakers, and mentors will be conducted remotely. Besides, there will be no change in the content and speakers for Surge.
“The sessions are being designed to ensure we continue to foster a sense of community and encourage inter-geo collaboration amongst founders,” Sequoia said. “All our speakers and mentors will continue to engage with founders as before and we are grateful for how invested they are in helping our Surge founders at this time.”
Before COVID-19 the team was holding regular coffee chats with founders in Indonesia and Singapore. Those chats have now moved online, Sequoia further added. Founders based in Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, India and other parts of SEA can now sign up for virtual ‘Coffee with Surge’ meetups at https://bit.ly/onlinecoffeechats.
“The coronavirus has created unprecedented levels of stress and challenges across the world. Personal and professional lives are being disrupted. In our ecosystem, we recognize that these are tough times for young companies – and we want to be able to extend our support as much as possible to ensure that they can continue to build their businesses in the best way possible,” Sequoia said.
The Surge team will use a number of online tools to find the best possible mix to maintain the quality of engagement and interactions. The founders will also get increased time in between sessions to focus on their business.
Surge 03 founders will be invited to join the in-country sessions during the next post-Covid-19 Surge, Sequoia said.
Meanwhile, Surge has also invited applications for its fourth edition from across consumer internet, deep tech, enterprise software, healthcare, fintech, medtech, blockchain and direct-to-consumer sectors.
Selected startups will get $1 million to $2 million at the start of the programme.