e27 is excited to break the news that Moscow-based international venture capital firm Life.SREDA is launching its brand new fin-tech accelerator InspirAsia in Singapore supported by its second fund of US$100 million (editor’s note: this is a pre-existing fund and not exclusively for use by the accelerator). Applications are open from today.
Life.SREDA’s Managing Partner Vladislav Solodkiy has previously been invited by the Rocket Internet brothers for closed-door sessions to discuss global fin-tech industry trends. Now his eyes are set firmly on Asia, with the VC announcing back in March that it was relocating its HQ to Singapore.
While the just-launched Startupbootcamp FinTech Singapore headed up by Markus Gnirck may seem like an obvious competitor in the region’s fin-tech niche, InspirAsia says it is also targetting later-stage startups around the Series A stage. Solodkiy, who has previously been a mentor with Startupbootcamp in London, believes the two accelerators can co-exists in harmony and actually complement one another in the ecosystem.
Getting down to specifics, InspirAsia will consider startups in the following fields: mobile payments, mPOS and online acquiring, online lending and scoring, P2P lending, mobile banks, e-wallets, P2P transfers, remittances, pre-order services for restaurants and cafes, and mobile cash registers for retailers.
The 90-day accelerator’s first batch of 20-30 startups will kick off in September, with an investment model of between US$50,000 and US$300,000 depending on the stage of the startup in return for five to 15 per cent equity and the possibility of long-term partnerships and projects.
Batches will culminate in a demo day called Investor Day, which is slated to take place during the Money of the Future conference to be held in Singapore for the first time this December. Life.SREDA says that the best teams will pitch at the Finovate and Money2020 conferences in the US and participate in the inspiration tour to Zappos.
Looking to Asia for high-growth fin-tech opportunities
“Asian markets are starting to play in fin-tech with two or three years delay in comparison with Russia, Germany, UK, and with five years delay in comparison with the US market. But not being first is a great advantage. For example, in Russia, our mobile telecom operator became one of the latest in the world [but it now] has the best LTE and communication stations of any mobile operator because it didn’t invest in the previous stages of the evolution of mobile and telco infrastructure,” Solodkiy said in an interview with e27.
“Bill gates [recently] wrote that the next five big things in technology will [include] fin-tech, but it’s not about online services for mature markets… It’s when fin-tech will integrate with unbanked people. We see a lot of unbanked people in Asia and Africa… [in markets like] Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Indonesia. We can give them an opportunity to jump from 19th century to the 21st century; from the past to the future. They can skip the 20th century, banking cards, ATMs and old-school infrastructure. Mature markets have invested a lot in old infrastructure and have to support it,” he added.