Image credit: Alpha Startups

Image credit: Alpha Startups

Alpha Startups today announced it is expanding into Singapore. The Malaysia-based pre-accelerator programme is run by 1337 Ventures.

A preview will be available on February 12, followed by the full programme that will run for five days between 16-20 March. A maximum of 30 startups will be selected to join.

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“We created the programme because there was a huge need for it here in Malaysia, and as we’ve travelled around the other regions, we saw there’s a need everywhere. A lot of these new entrepreneurs really don’t know what the next steps are once they have an idea,” Bikesh Lakhmichand, CEO, 1337 Ventures told e27.

“We wanted to accelerate that process of getting your foot in the gate and kickstarting something as soon as possible… to make it easier for them to get into other accelerators or [raise] funding,” he added.

While there is no lack of passion in the region, many young entrepreneurs still struggle to realise their dreams because there are so many ‘hoops for them to jump through’, shared Lakhmichand.

The Alpha Startups programme condenses advice that 1337 Ventures gives in its three-month accelerator into just five days. Startups must prove that there is a market for their product, the market size, initial feature sets, relevant metrics, channels to market, etc.

Many startups do not pursue their idea after the pre-accelerator. Often it exposes holes in their models, leaving only the best to continue. They will then have a chance to join the three-month accelerator in Malaysia.

“While not everyone will go on to raise angel funds, the success in not running your startup is also [important] because they are just not ready for it… It’s a way to find out which founders have the chops,” Lakhmichand said.

Six teams from 1337 Accelerator’s latest batch of eight have come through Alpha Startups. Each received MYR50,000 (US$14,000).

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There will be no changes to the Singapore branch of the programme, but a FinTech edition could eventually be launched.

“We notice Singapore has seriously more tech. Malaysia is very much service-oriented with a tech component… without the whole offline-to-online component,” he said.

Indonesia and the Philippines will be next on Alpha Startups’ expansion plans. A rollout to major ASEAN cities is planned for the next 18 months.

This expansion will also help startups in each market scale more efficiently across the region thanks to 1337’s growing network.

“We’re finally seeing a lot of private players coming into the scene [in Malaysia], so that’s fantastic. There’s a lot of serious money coming from private equity and banks trying to get into the game in terms of creating innovation centres,” said the CEO.

“They do realise that they can’t do this alone and they want to leverage off startups out there, so we’re quite amazed in term of how much the private sector is stepping up. It’s becoming less-government driven,” he added.

Full event details are available below:

Alpha Startup Singapore Preview
Date: February 12, 2015
Time: 6PM to 9PM
Venue: 3rd Floor, Block 79, Ayer Rajah Crescent, 139955, Singapore

Alpha Startup Singapore
Date: March 16-20, 2015
Time: 9AM to 5.30PM
Venue: 3rd Floor, Block 79, Ayer Rajah Crescent, 139955, Singapore

Also Read: Singaporean accelerators and incubators you should know

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