Building your startup in Asia: the best accelerators

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Startup accelerator types

In Part 1 and Part 2 of our marathon of articles about startup accelerators, we’ve talked about what they are, how they operate, and what you should know before the collaboration. Now, we will tell you about its different types, so you could decide: what’s better for your specific project?

Vertical vs Horizontal. Some accelerators target a broad audience of different industries. They choose to develop products that would find their implementation in over one market. For example, Slack targets everyone who aims to communicate freely, not only corporate teams. This is an example of a horizontal startup. Others work in a specific industry and target the projects that would only fit the needs of a narrow market. For example, later on, we’ll talk about Zeroth.AI. This is an accelerator, whose specification is artificial intelligence and machine learning only. This niche approach to work is a prerequisite of a vertical startup accelerator.

Startup accelerators also differ in terms of:

1) Their backing. Accelerators can get funds from governments, universities, corporate companies, or specific individuals. Governments often offer the implementation of the startup in the state’s affairs after the launch. Universities usually support their students and alumni only.

2) Their goals, as there are often startups who work with sustainable projects — those who will solve a set of global problems. For others, it is not fundamental, and they support ventures who will get popularity in society without the implementation in the world-aid.

3) Their flexibility, as for some you will need to move to the city of its residence for the entire duration of the study. Others offer you a remote solution.

4) Their startup’s scale, as some work only with MVPs, and others choose pre-seed and seed ventures.

Asian Startup Accelerators


Based in China, this is the leading startup accelerator in this country. However, they target not only local business ventures but also those from all around the world: “From the world into China and from China to the world”. It is a part of a substantial venture fund called SOSV, which owns four other startup accelerators for hardware and mobile development. As for Chinaccelerator, its 300 mentors from China and other parts of the world produced 150+ startups. Their investment package makes up 150 thousand dollars. This company supports follow-on funding for its ex-students after the launch of the product. They state that 80& of alumni receive first funds after the demo day. Chinaccelerator’s key spotlight is on Cloud Computing, eCommerce, SaaS, Mobile, and Web-Based apps.

To take part in its Acceleration Program you need to be prepared for the in-house work. For that, the company gives you an office. Chinaccelerator uses the Lean Startup method that helps to launch the project faster. It implements the iterative processes of development when the companies make several rounds to go from MVP to production that is more complex with bigger productivity effectiveness. It is easier to make small amendments during each iteration that solve the enormous issue right before the deadline for the setup. That’s why they have a phase called EXPERIMENTATION. What’s convenient is that their programs are available 4 times a year. The last 3 (+3) months.


Just like Chinaccelerator, it is a project o the SOSV group, only it produces venture capital for hardware startups. The program lasts from 180 to 360 days, depending on the need of each specific startup. The investment package makes up 250 thousand dollars. What’s great in terms of flexibility is that they have 9 start days per year, so you can choose a date suitable for you. It’s beneficial if you need to move for the period of studying.

During the first stage, you work with the basic aspect of your business. Here you receive consultations from the best engineers and manufacturers about how to develop the product, hot to pitch it, and get funds. In the second stage, you learn about how to secure your first revenue. Here, you need to understand what to spend money on and how to earn them when there’s no backup from behind. HAX introduces you to the investors and press — those who will help you enter the tech world during Demo Day. What’s interesting – the first stage occurs in China, and if it’s successful — prepare to move to San Francisco. This is the place when you’ll look for investors on HAX-arranged evenings with the funders. HAX has four types of hardware startup acceleration: HAX Consumer (to improve people’s lifestyle), HAX Enterprise (to drive enterprise innovations), HAX Industrial (for improved manufacturing), and HAX Health (healing with technologies).


Founded in Singapore, this global startup accelerator invests in “groundbreaking tech companies”. They highlight that they believe in exceptional people with an original idea, regardless of their background and nationality. The company has a set of values which enables to target a global market of startups. The antler works with you, even if there’s a need to do everything from the scratch with an idea only. For the first stage of development, you will need to be at the Antler location. Fortunately, they have headquarters in Europe (Amsterdam, London, Oslo, and Stockholm), Asia (Singapore and Sydney), Africa (Nairobi), and North America (the USA).

The first stage is dedicated to validating and developing ideas in all the details and building a team. If you lack a technical partner, cofounder, developer, or designer — they will refer you to the people who can fill in the vacancy. The second face is about constructing your Minimum Viable Product, deciding on its scale, and getting ready to pitch the project successfully. Traditionally, everything ends with funding. However, you can relocate to any destination where it’s reasonable to launch your startup. During the whole mentoring process, Antler especially pays attention to growing your mentors, allowing you to meet with the best experts from the entire world. Among their successfully launched startups are Kotoko, Clear, Allihoop, Savvy, Fusedbone, and Reebelo.


“Change how we move, what we eat, how we feel, and where we live for the better”, is the aim of Brinc — the company based in Hong Kong. They target game-changers who will be able to solve the most global issues affecting the world. The autonomy in mobility and green transportation, food security and consumerism, personal data protection, and connectivity — all these issues are topical for Brinc. They help startups to increase their incomes and target such fields as Hardware and IoT, Manufacturing, Food Technology, and Clean Energy.

Brinc has many programs available at different locations. For example, dating the time of me writing this article, they had IoT accelerators in Hong Kong (Bay Area), Bahrain (MENA), Poland (ScaleUp), and India. What’s interesting is that they have an Accelerator-to-Accelerator program, helping other venture-developing companies to enter the market, hence help more startups to help the world. Among the startups, they’ve supported are Agrolabs, Avrioenergy, BuzzCloud, EnerDrones, Altizen, and Auxilia. Since Brinc’s launch, they’ve made 110 investments.


Zeroth.AI has a narrower specialization when comparing it to the previous companies. This company targets Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning startups. That usually means that they have a full grasp of this type of technology and market. Zeroth.AI works with startups at the seed and pre-seed stages, dedicating to each project 3+ months of their time. Traditionally, they gather together entrepreneurs, partners, and founders to share their experience with the “newly-born” founders. Since 2016, they’ve launched 60 companies from 18 different countries. Thus, they are not restricted by area and consider different startups. Of course, on the condition, its founders are ready to relocate for 2 weeks at least to Hong Kong, Tokyo, or Bengaluru.

Zeroth.AI believes in artificial intelligence to be the key factor in changing the way we live in the future. The company believes that it is the founders they support will make a major contribution to it. Accelerator’s team consists of the ex-founders whose startups operate successfully now. They have a strong network of co-investors: SoftBank, Techstars, Insignia, Ventures Partners, and MassChallenge. The process of acceleration begins with a kick-off during the first two weeks, consisting of 1:1 strategy meetings and network events. During the next 10 weeks, you enter the remote phase where you can get back home and work from there, being consulted via the internet. Then, it’s time for Demo Day Prep and, finally, the Demo Day itself. Zeroth.AI offers advanced assistance after the launch of the project. They have accelerated such startups as BestShot, Deeptrace, Docpack, Cotobox, and Veramark.

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