Expara VirTech Global Accelerator demo day, held virtually, saw over 100 people in attendance from across the world
When Jumpstart spoke with Douglas Abrams, Founder and CEO of Singapore-based venture capital firm Expara Ventures, about Expara’s new crisis-focused virtual accelerator in a March interview, Abrams expressed a desire to have a global audience for the program’s demo day.
The Expara VirTech Global Accelerator is a three-month, fully online program that emerged out of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on tech solutions for current and future world crises.
“Our mission is creating a better and safer post pandemic world,” Head of Expara VirTech Global Accelerator, Paulina Bialek said about the program. The first run of the program kick started in June and culminated in a demo day that took place completely online, much like the program itself, on September 23, 2020.
And true to Abrams vision, the 100+ member audience at the virtual demo day represented audience members all the way from the U.S., Poland, the U.A.E, India, Hong Kong, and Australia, to name a few.
A truly global accelerator
The program’s 15 pitching startups, 32 mentors, 120 investors and program partners and 26 demo day judges represented a global startup community coming together, taking a deep look into solutions that could potentially help the world address global crises.
These solutions span mental health, healthtech and medtech, smart building, risk management, and more. Further, these solutions are focused towards detection, information, prevention and protection, or mitigation capabilities for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as any impending future crises needing critical action.
From the Asia Pacific region, participating startups included Gheorg from Australia, XCLR8 Technologies, Betterlife, MiNeed Technology and Brain Pool Tech from Southeast Asia, Adappt Intelligence and XpertFlow Technologies from South Asia.
These were joined by Scudo and WeavAir from the Americas, and Facense, Car Scanner, SENSE Software, Insignes Labs, Djinn Sensor, and Omnious Nanobiosciences from the EMEA region.
“The concept of this program was to enable us to do something to fight back against the darkness that was encroaching on our lives through this pandemic,” Abrams said in his keynote, “and I feel the companies in the program… have all tried to harness the power of innovation and entrepreneurship, to make the world a better place now and in the future.”
Pitching at Expara’s demo day
Participating startups in the Expara VirTech Global Accelerator, which is Expara’s first ever virtual program, gained access to workshops, weekly seminars, mentoring sessions and funding opportunities during the three months.
They presented a five-minute pitch to judges at the demo day, followed by five minutes of Q&A, which was voted upon by the judges online through a Google form.
The judges represented a diverse range of investors and founders across the world, including Jumpstart Executive Chairperson James Kwan. Judges voted each startup based on their problem statement and solution, market attractiveness, competitive advantage, team strength, and their funding ask.
Of the 15 startups that pitched, the top three were announced towards the end of the program, having tallied the judges’ votes.
Swedish diagnostic platform Omnious Nanobiosciences came in first, followed by Canada-based smart air solutions company WeavAir, and Australian children’s mental health startup Gheorg.
“This is just the end of the beginning, and hopefully we’re going to see big things from all the companies in our program,” Abrams noted in his closing address about the participating companies, adding that Expara was open to co-investing opportunities for the program’s first cohort.
Indeed, it is only the end of the beginning not just for participating startups in the Expara VirTech Global Accelerator, but for the accelerator program itself.
On the back of the success of its first run, Expara is looking to continue the acceleration program. It will be releasing more information about the second instalment of the program soon, in line with its mission to be prepared for the critical changes that world is going through, and will continue to undergo.
Header image courtesy of Expara