By KENNETH KWOK and RELENA SEI Jumpstarting Asia’s next-generation leadership in impact and sustainability Representing the beginning of the ‘Decade of Action’ and marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN), 2020 is a significant year on many counts. However, due to [...]
Expara VirTech Global Accelerator aims to promote helpful solutions for worldwide calamities
Powering startups on the offensive against future global crises, Singapore-headquartered venture capital firm Expara Ventures launched the first cohort of its fully online accelerator Expara VirTech Global Accelerator via Zoom on Tuesday, May 16.
“We decided to launch an acceleration program focusing on the post-pandemic world because [we strongly feel that] that this pandemic will have major impact well beyond the end of the rising infection rates,” Expara Founder and CEO Douglas Abrams said in his address.
Expara VirTech Global Accelerator will feature 16 companies from across the world, who will receive three months of mentorship, training via weekly live seminars and other modules, and networking support, in addition to up to $50,000 for convertible equity via a SAFE note.
The program will culminate in an online Demo Day in its 14th week, where participating startups will have additional opportunities to receive further funding offers from investors.
The Accelerator is aimed at companies that can help address the complex problems arising from the Covid-19 pandemic or future pandemics, via detection, information, prevention and protection, or mitigation capabilities.
For instance, Co-founder and CDO of Pakistan-based artificial intelligence prognostics company Xpertflow Shan ul Haq said, “Our solution strictly focuses on the medical side of things, so it made sense to apply for a program that focuses on the Covid-19 situation.”
Announced late March this year, the online launch event tallied over 80 attendees, featured ‘break-out’ networking circles and one-minute pitches from the program’s participating startups.
Expara also announced during the launch that the National University of Singapore, where Abrams is an Adjunct Associate Professor, will be conducting a study in entrepreneurial strategy with participants of the program. The research will aim to understand how startups progress in virtual accelerators.
Expara, which invests mainly in early-stage companies, provides incubation and acceleration programs in addition to its venture capital investing activities that have been in operation since the early 2000s.
“Hopefully, our companies in the VirTech Accelerator are going to play some role in reducing the probability that we’re going to have [another critical impact crisis similar to Covid-19] sometime in the not so distant future,” Abrams said in his address.
The program has over 100 supporting partners and the list is growing, Head of Expara VirTech Global Accelerator Paulina Bialek pointed out. The accelerator attracted over 300 applications, and the final 16 introduced their companies in minute-long pitches during the event.
In a previous interview with Jumpstart, Abrams pointed out that global catastrophes are very likely to take place in the future, and the world needs to be prepared for those so as to not be caught off-guard, as it was with Covid-19.
“My concept for the startups in the program is that there are somethings we know are definitely going to happen, or are already happening,” Abrams said at the launch. “We cannot know when the next virus is coming or how bad it is going to be, but we can know that the world is going to change and has already started to change in some important ways.”
Header image courtesy of Expara