Betatron has invested up to US$150,000 into each startup and will guide each one through its three-month program which ends in December 2019. The focus of the program is to accelerate business growth and fast-track each startup to its next funding round.
Each startup gets allocated a lead mentor from Betatron’s network of VCs and selected industry experts and also receives hands-on mentorship and support on marketing, sales, tech development, UI/UX, legal, and accounting.
For Cohort #5, Betatron received 1,301 applications, interviewed 247 startups, and conducted due diligence on 65 of them - resulting in an overall acceptance rate of 0.61%. The eight startups are an international mix of B2B focused companies from Hong Kong (2), Singapore (3), The Philippines, USA, and Egypt.
The Eight Startups in Cohort #5
Bookairfreight (Hong Kong) is an online booking platform which connects SMEs with air freight forwarders - making booking air freight as easy as booking flight tickets. Unlike other platforms, they provide instant door-to-door quotations, save businesses at least 20% on the costs, and reduce the booking process from days to seconds. Within a year of launch, they are averaging 70% MoM growth with a 40% referral rate.
ExpandCart (Egypt) is a comprehensive, cloud e-commerce platform and is essentially building the “Shopify” designed specifically for the Arabic language and MENA region, as global competitors don’t offer Arabic language functionalities due to the complexities of the language structure. ExpandCart enables individuals and businesses to create a professional online shop in minutes by themselves without the need for any technical experience or assistance, whilst also integrating with marketplaces like Amazon, Alibaba Etsy, Ebay, etc. ExpandCart has already received investment from one of the world’s largest logistics companies, putting them perfectly positioned to scale rapidly across its target market.
Next Billion (Singapore) digitizes offline retail data from independent retail stores across rural emerging markets - a large, untapped market as independent stores make up 90% of FMCG sales in Asia, but brands have limited access to this sales data. NextBillion deploys their free POS platform within rural stores, enabling them to aggregate & analyze large amounts of retail data and provide real-time, flexible, and affordable insights to brands. They incentivize stores to use their platform by paying them for verified data, sharing fair royalties when companies buy their data and leveraging their data to extend credit & insurance. Over the last few years, they’ve successfully operated thousands of rural marketing campaigns in Asia & Africa with 25 leading FMCG brands.
Positive Energy (Singapore) helps investors connect with vetted small to medium-sized renewable energy developers/projects - streamlining the full investment process with a secure digital platform. The platform offers matchmaking, standardised and digitalised due diligence workflow, 3rd party verification as well as asset management tools - reducing transaction costs & time by 50%. The team brings together a wealth of experience in the energy industry, from Schneider Electric and Royal Dutch Shell.
Sakay (Philippines) is a transportation and mapping software that understands informal transport networks. More than 500 million people in the developing world can't use apps to plan trips, because their public transport options (like family-owned and independent jeeps/buses and motorcycle sidecars) are invisible to navigation services like Google Maps. Sakay is the Waze/Citymapper for informal public transit and is being built to be the core infrastructure for navigation and real-time analysis of public transit networks worldwide - generating valuable urban planning and mapping data across Asia’s emerging markets. The team has an eight-year proven record of shipping products and solving problems for Fortune 500 companies, social enterprises and governments. Currently, they have 500,000 users in their first launched city of Manilla, Philippines.
SHIPNEXT (USA) is a Digital Automated Shipping Marketplace & Network, that creates an efficient, secure and reliable Cargo-to-Ship matching, freight trading, contracting and documentation flow. Unlike other alternatives, their unique algorithm can process thousands of emails, matching the most suitable transportation solutions with each other in seconds. They have a highly technical and scientific team with over 20 years of experience in the shipping and supply chain industry. The platform connects 85 databases, 5600+ ports, over 25000 ships positions which is 99% of the global map & dry-bulk fleet, and 2600+ users, creating over 4500 freight requests daily.
Toku (Singapore) is a cloud communication provider that enables smart customer engagement via voice and messaging APIs. As a rapidly growing CPaaS (Communications Platform-as-a-Service) player with the largest range of virtual numbers in Singapore, Toku offers a wide portfolio of services ranging from a core telco offering to next-generation communication features. To date, they have signed up over 50 telecom partners and have large customers including Grab, GoJek, and Twilio.
ZhenHub (Hong Kong) is a cloud-based inventory and order management system for eCommerce retailers to automate logistics. The platform enables clients to manage all their inventory and orders from a single online dashboard - eliminating data entry, spreadsheets and emails. The solution integrates sales channels like Shopify and automatically fulfils orders - automating the fulfilment process.
If you'd like to reach out to any of our startups, please email me and let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org
Our startups have been hard at work preparing their pitches for tomorrow's Demo Day.
We're close to finalizing the guestlist so this is your last opportunity to reserve your tickets.
As a reminder, the event will take place on Thursday 4th July at 7.00pm - 9.00pm. The venue is the HKEX Connect Hall, One Exchange Square, 8 Connaught Place, Central, Hong Kong.
The agenda is as follows.
7.00pm: Registration & Networking
7.30pm: Welcome Speech & Introduction
7.40pm: Company Demos
8.30pm: Food, Drinks & Networking
10.30pm: After-party (for VIP ticket holders)
Each startup will have their own booth and will be based there during the networking sessions before and after the pitches.
If you'd like to set up a meeting with a specific startup or with the Betatron team, please let me know.
Click here to reserve your tickets.
Demo Day for our startups in Cohort #4 has just been finalized and will be hosted again at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange's HKEX event space.
During this private event, our cohort will present their businesses to an audience of investors, strategic partners, and media.
Attendees will get exclusive first access to our startups, meet the founders, and an opportunity to network with investors, press and ecosystem catalysts.
This is Hong Kong’s opportunity to access early-stage companies of vetted quality and industry variety.
In addition to receiving funding; our startups went through a rigorous due diligence process and were carefully selected out of 654 applicants.
The companies embarked on a personalized and intensive 4-month journey during which their businesses were further validated, refined and accelerated to position them for rapid growth.
If you'd like to attend, please visit: betatron.co/demo-day to apply for a ticket.
It's been a busy travel schedule for the Betatron team over the last couple of weeks. Several of us have been on the road, visiting a variety of startup conferences and diving into their ecosystems.
We're excited to announce that applications are now officially open for our next Cohort.
It promises to be our biggest one yet, as we'll be increasing the investment amount given to each startup up to US$150,000.
In addition to that, we'll also be changing the program length. Our previous programs have lasted for four months, however, starting with Cohort #5, we will be condensing the same program into three months.
We believe that reducing the program length while keeping the same amount of content/value, will ensure it is even more intense and adds additional accountability to provide each startup with the maximum acceleration possible.
The objective of the program will largely remain the same. However, it will have even more focus on business growth and fast-tracking our startups to raise their next funding round.
We will continue to leverage our extensive network to support each of our companies along their journey.
ICW (Cohort #2) raises US$2.5M & becomes HK Gov's first investment from their new 'Innovation & Technology Venture Fund'
Congratulations to ICW from Cohort #2 for closing their Series A funding round.
The supply chain and quality management platform raised US$2.5M with MindWorks Ventures (one of our founding partners) leading the round.
The most impressive part is that they became the first investment from the new
HK$2 billion 'Innovation and Technology Venture Fund Corporation' (ITVFC), which was established the Hong Kong Government to invest in local innovation and tech startups.
To be picked as their first investment is a magnificent achievement.
The funding will be used to enhance their technology as well as expand their presence in the United States and the Middle East.
Thanks to everyone who came to our launch event last week.
During the event, three of our startup alumni (Green is the new Black, Vfluencer, and Pakpobox) shared their recent updates, while the eight new startups we've invested in for Cohort #4 introduced themselves.
Here are the eight startups our latest batch.
Betatron wins 2nd place in 'The Asian Startup Ecosystem Awards 2019' & meet our new Entrepreneur in Residence
The Asian Startup Ecosystem Awards 2019
Betatron was recently nominated in the category for 'Outstanding Contribution to the Asian Startup Ecosystem 2019' powered by Pitchdeck.Asia.
The competition was tough, with it being made up of 50 of Asia's biggest startup accelerators, investors, and eco-system builders.
Given the competitive line-up we're delighted to win the 2nd place overall and 1st place for Greater China.
With over 16,000 votes being cast across all categories, we were able to gain a remarkable 18% of the total votes in our section.
It's a fantastic validation of our team's hard work and a reflection of our growing network in Asia-Pacific.
Thank you to everyone in our community who voted for us!
Cohort 4 Applications
Applications officially closed last month on 14th December, and since, we've still continued to receive a number of new applications after the deadline.
We're now in the process of reviewing all the applications and inviting startups to our official round 1 pitches.
Last week, we interviewed 36 startups, with the format of a 5-minute pitch followed by 10 minutes of Q&A.
This week, we have another 36 startups pitching, so as you can imagine, it's going to be a very busy January for the Betatron team.
We've had numerous startups reach out and ask if they can apply after the deadline if they started their application but didn't complete it. The answer is yes. Please login to your Betatron application account and submit your completed details ASAP.
If any of you had any issues with the application, please reach out and we'll see if we can still accept your late submission.
TripGuru continues to scale after graduating from our second cohort earlier this year.
Their platform provides a one-stop terminus to gather information, craft an itinerary, browse for deals, book a trip, and connect with other like-minded travellers.
"Betatron has been instrumental for us as founders to understand the objectives, metrics, and success factors that our business needed at an early-stage to get funded"
– Sebastian Renzacci, CEO & Co-founder of TripGuru