KK Fund and IGPI Singapore Launch SEA Point: Accelerator for Corporate-Startup Collaboration

Early next year, the partnership will launch SEA Point, an accelerator program to help corporates collaborate with startups and SMEs across Southeast Asia.

Singapore-based venture capital (VC) firm KK Fund has entered into a partnership with Industrial Growth Platform Pte. Ltd. (IGPI Singapore), a branch of Japan-based management consultancy firm IGPI, the former announced in a press release today.

KK Fund focuses on seed-stage Internet and mobility-related startups in Southeast Asia (SEA), Hong Kong, and Taiwan, across a wide range of industries such as fintech, logistics, and healthcare. IGPI Singapore, on the other hand, focuses on the corporate transformation of large companies, and also offers other consulting services.

In the press statement, the companies noted that the partnership will help both parties facilitate the creation of new business by large corporations across SEA, the press statement noted.

Amid changing customer behavior and a challenging business environment globally, innovation has become the key to corporate longevity. To that end, large companies are increasingly collaborating with startups as a way to integrate innovation into their business practices.

“Most large corporations face difficulties when they attempt to create an internal innovation strategy amid the rapid growth of the digital economy,” KK Fund Founder and General Partner Koichi Saito told Jumpstart.

“These issues stem from organization structure, culture, lack of new concepts, ideas and talent. On the other hand, technology startups possess the agility and talent to spearhead digital innovation,” he added.

Moreover, customer preferences, living standards, and cultural influences and preferences across SEA are largely different from those in the U.S. or Europe. In order to effectively address these divergences, companies are, therefore, steadily looking at launching joint ventures and entering into partnerships with local businesses, including startups.

“Partnerships with startups offer large corporations the opportunity to tap [into] their resources and ideas, thereby shortening cycles of innovation. This helps them revitalize existing business models and invent new ones,” Saito noted.

IGPI Singapore CEO Koki Sakata said, “We are increasingly seeing enterprises becoming active partners in and even establishing small companies of their own to service new markets – particularly in Southeast Asia, which is a very competitive market.”

“Some may create their own branches, while others may look for local partners to set up a joint venture. Their approach to creating new businesses must be different from typical small, agile startup teams, which is why we are pleased to collaborate with KK Fund in supporting these large corporations and create a more diversified ecosystem,” he added.

The partnership between KK Fund and IGPI Singapore aims to facilitate these collaborations, and help companies effectively expand across the region. After all, supported by a young population, and increasing Internet penetration, SEA has become one of the fastest growing regions in the world.

To achieve this vision of corporate facilitation, the two companies announced a 3- to 6-month intensive acceleration program called SEA Point, which will be launched early next year, the statement noted. The cross-industrial program will focus on helping companies create new businesses in collaboration with SEA startups and conglomerates, in line with their partnership objective, it added.

“There are many accelerator programs for startups in Southeast Asia, but there are none for bigger companies who want to invest in new businesses or create their own startups for vertical integration purposes, especially in new markets,” Saito said in the statement.

“With SEA Point, we are able to reinvent the idea of the startup ecosystem from being top-down to being more collaborative on multiple levels,” he added.

SEA’s Internet economy is expected to reach US$300 billion by 2025, while the online industry is forecasted to grow by 200% from $100 billion in 2019, according to a Reuters report. Besides, the region has over 70 million micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and is home to 30% of the world’s top startup ecosystems.

Therefore, it comes as so surprise that large corporations are seeking to expand into the region by tapping into these local talents and businesses.

Header image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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