Southeast Asia 2023
Fueling Innovation and Entrepreneurship to Make a Positive Impact on Southeast Asia's Startup Ecosystem
Discover the Top 5 startups pitching in the finals!
Explore the most innovative startups driving positive change in Asia. Watch their videos and learn more about these outstanding finalists
2023 Impact Challenge Winner

The EQT Impact Challenge Southeast Asia 2023 Winner is Qarbotech, a Malaysia-based company that develops a biocompatible solution that increases the photosynthesis rate of leafy plants, which help to shorten crop cycle and increase plant growth.

EQT Impact Challenge is a startup competition that aims to stimulate innovation and the growth of impact entrepreneurship across Asia. EQT Impact Challenge offers a platform for early-stage companies and entrepreneurs to present their business ideas and compete for an investment from EQT Foundation and access to EQT’s global operational expertise. The inaugural Southeast Asia 2023 edition, co-organized by The Edge and e27, kicks off a series of impact-focused competitions in Asia.

Who is EQT

EQT is a purpose-driven global investment organization with a Nordic heritage and a global mindset. EQT specializes in active ownership strategies across various geographies, sectors, and investment phases, from early-stage start-up to large-scale buyouts. EQT manages more than EUR 125 billion in assets EQT operates in over 20 countries across Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America, with more than 1,800 employees.

The firm’s philanthropic arm, EQT Foundation, is an impact-first investor and incubator, aiming to support disruptive innovations and contribute to building an inclusive and regenerative future.

Organized by
In Partnership with
In Association with
Key Benefits
With EQT Impact Challenge, EQT is leveraging its passion for developing companies by creating a platform to support and help amplify innovative business ideas.
Access to Impactful

Startups participating in the EQT Impact Challenge gain the opportunity to secure significant investment from EQT Foundation. The winner of the Southeast Asia competition receives a EUR 100,000 investment, providing a boost to their early-stage growth.

Strategic Business

Beyond funding, winning startups also benefit from 300 consultancy hours provided by EY, assisting them with strategy development and business expansion. This invaluable support helps them fine-tune their growth plans and navigate the complexities of scaling their impact-focused ventures.

Operational Expertise &

EQT Impact Challenge offers startups access to EQT's global operational expertise and extensive network. This access enables them to tap into specialized knowledge, establish valuable connections, and leverage EQT's resources to foster their growth and accelerate their journey toward.

Key Dates
The application period starts on the 12th of September 2023 and will close on the 15th of October 2023
Investment Criteria
The competition’s objective is to bridge funding gaps and expedite the translation of impactful ideas into tangible market outcomes.
Thematic Alignment:
Planet & Humanity

Startups aligning their breakthrough impact solutions with these critical themes have the opportunity to address pressing global challenges. By focusing on Planet (Climate & Nature) and Humanity (Health & Equity), they can contribute to positive societal and environmental impact, aligning their mission with the broader goals of creating a better world.

Ideally Seed but Pre-Series
A will be considered

The competition is open to both early-stage startups and those on the cusp of scaling up. This flexibility in funding stages ensures that a wide range of innovative ideas can participate, from budding entrepreneurs with groundbreaking concepts to more established ventures seeking to expand their impact. This inclusivity increases the diversity of ideas and participants, fostering innovation.

Maximum of USD 10
million raised

This requirement ensures that participating startups are within a certain range of funding, which helps level the playing field and creates fair competition. It ensures that startups, regardless of their financial backing, can showcase their potential to make a positive impact.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) Section
Application Requirements
I am a solopreneur - is it okay to apply?
Yes it is possible to apply if you are a solopreneur. The main criteria for applying is that your startup has a breakthrough idea within the thematic areas of Planet & Humanity (in any sectors).
Is it possible for in-house ventures to apply?
Yes, it is possible for in-house ventures to apply. Please note if chosen to proceed, that your startup will not be judged by the venture house it belongs to.
I haven’t gotten any investments from VC’s, but I have gotten multiple grants and cash awards from government and organizations. Am I still eligible to apply?
Yes, you are still eligible to apply.
I am scheduled to receive funding from another VC in the coming months - is it okay for me to apply?
Yes, you can still apply.
Where can I reach out if I have more questions related to EQT Impact Challenge?
Please feel free to reach out to [email protected]

Schedules & Logistics
When is the exact deadline for the application?
The final application deadline is on Sunday 22 October.
If I make it to the top ten, I see that applicants are requested to record and submit an elevator pitch. When is this expected to take place?
Applicants will record and submit their elevator pitch during the week of 23 October.
How can I know that my application has been correctly registered?
You will receive an email confirmation.

Competition Rules
Can I submit additional resources (links, pdf files, pictures, videos, etc) to provide more information on my startup?
Yes, you can submit additional material if you believe that it is of assistance to your application.
How are you planning to control potential unfair advantage of the participants who have acquired funding / previously bonded with the judges of the competition?
If a participant has previously received funding or bonded with a judge at the competition, they will not be awarded points by that particular judge. The remaining judges will vote and the average will be calculated against other competitors to allow for fairness in the judging process.
Does the founder/CEO have to be the one to pitch & participate at all times?
No, the founder/CEO does not have to be the one to pitch and participate at all times during the pitch competition.
Do I have to pitch in English?
Yes, the entire process will be conducted in English.

Winner Benefits
Are there any other benefits to the winner / top 5 startups?
The winner will receive a direct investment by EQT Foundation valued at EUR 100,000. Beyond funding, the winning startup will also get access from 300 consultancy hours provided by EY in Singapore.
Will EQT Foundation take an ownership stake in the winner after having injected equity in the business? How will the valuation be set?
EQT Foundation will tap into your existing fundraising round and be the “taker” and support you in your discussions with your lead investor.