Angelique Moss

@angeliquemoss

What Asian accelerators can learn from Silicon Valley on sustainability

Accelerators are vital in the startup industry, as these programs help propel the dreams of entrepreneurs. However, becoming an accelerator provider is not as easy as it sounds. Poor choices could lead to the company closing up shop, considering these providers typically rely on the success of the entrepreneurs they support. In Asia, the sustainability of accelerators is currently at risk, as some top providers begin closing.

Early this July, Telstra-backed muru-D announced that the firm was discontinuing their program in Singapore. According to reports, muru-D will instead focus its work in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney, where Telstra currently operates. Despite closing up shop, muru-D says that it is proud of its Singapore branch and entrepreneurs that have graduated from there will remain as members of the alumni network. In 2016, Singapore-based Joyful Frog Digital Incubator stopped its operations as well.

Both were pioneers in the accelerator and incubator industry in their respective markets. Despite this, they were unable to secure a solid footing in the industry, which is something that companies based in Silicon Valley manage to do.

California-based Plug and Play is confident that it has cracked the sustainability code for the accelerator industry. Plug and Play International Senior Vice-President and Managing Partner for the Asia Pacific, Jupe Tan, explained that the company has two ways to reach sustainability for its presence in California, Singapore, and Indonesia.

First off, he says that Plug and Play has a consortium-based approach when it comes to supporting a program. Through this, multiple corporate partners are able to support startups. It allows Plug and Play to aggregate more problem statements while having more resources to execute at the same time.

Plug and Play also houses both early-stage and late-stage startups. In doing so, it is able to further increase its potential for identifying and acquiring unicorns. According to Tan, the company reaches out to these startups so that it is able to find possible unicorns on its own.

In total, the company’s investment portfolio has over 800 startups situated all over the globe. They have 30 projects being funded in Asia alone. Considering that the company was established only 12 years ago, its portfolio size is already quite impressive.

Keeping up with the startup industry

The accelerator industry can be a very risky venture, as companies really have to pull out all the stops just to identify good startups. Keeping up with the trends and being dynamic business-wise are both crucial in the sustainability of an accelerator. This is a concept that specialized tech accelerator, Digital Asset Monetary Network Inc. (OTCMKTS:DATI) understands all too well.

Digital Asset Monetary Network (“DigitalAMN”), formerly known as Digital Arts Media Network, Inc. (effective name change with FINRA on September 5th, 2018), believes that the new corporate name will best represent the work that the company does today. Aside from offering the effective Public Accelerator-Incubator (PAI) model, DigitalAMN also leverages Regulation CF, Regulation A+, and Crypto Assets.

DigitalAMN’s management intends for the brand to prominently speak to what the company can do so that it can establish better relationships between the startups and potential investors. In essence, the name change is a display of the company’s “unwavering commitment to supporting the rapid growth and capital formation of high-valued, early-stage investment opportunities, which are accessible by all investors.”

CEO Ajene Watson says that the company has “increased the size of its footprint and the scope of its capabilities, through strategic acquisitions and formed alliances with organizations that support the development and core mantra of the company’s business model.”

He adds that they are able to create an ecosystem that benefits both the investors and startups seamlessly — in addition to a group of potential investors the company refers to as, “Everyday People”. The regulatory-accepted methods provided by the PAI model allows highly vetted tech startups to grow at a faster rate, as they have access to a larger pool of investors. Meanwhile, investors will be able to access asset appreciation, revenue share, and early liquidity in as fast as 24 months. Whereas, the standard waiting period for liquidity is usually 10 years.

Investors that have a stake in DATI should take note that although the name has been changed, DigitalAMN’s CUSIP and stock ticker symbol will remain the same. Logos of the company on corporate websites and social media platforms are currently being adjusted.

DATI’s transition to becoming DigitalAMN is yet another display of an accelerator cracking the sustainability code. Other providers should follow suit, as the startup industry is growing even more competitive. To be able to find the next best investment, accelerators should take note on the areas they first need to improve on for themselves.

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