Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Fenox VC announced today it has partnered with Japanese IT service provider Infocom Corporation to launch GnB Accelerator, a multinational ‘Silicon Valley-style’ accelerator in Jakarta.
The programme aims to create ‘the best startup ecosystem’ by combining startup experience from Silicon Valley, corporation experience from Japan, and local expertise in Southeast Asia.
“GnB Accelerator will be a game changer in Southeast Asia. We’ll have a joint local team on the ground from Silicon Valley and Japan, working alongside local employees,” said Anis Uzzaman, General Partner and CEO of Fenox VC.
“We believe in Indonesia. It is the right place and time to support ASEAN startups and help cultivate the region’s next unicorn,” he added.
GnB offers local and global level mentorship, global connection and partners, office space, and follow-up funding “until a startup can get to its exit via IPO or acquisition,” according to Uzzaman.
The accelerator will open its first batch in April 2016 and will invest US$50,000 into each startup. There will be two batches each year (opening in April and October). They are looking for six startups to begin the program, although the number might change based on the quality of applications.
The accelerator is focussed mainly on early-stage Indonesian startups but it is also open to companies from other Southeast Asian countries.
GnB leadership appointed Japanese serial entrepreneur Kentaro Hashimoto as Head of Programme. The rest of the mentors includes notable people like East Ventures co-founder Willson Cuaca, Bridestory CEO and Founder Kevin Mintaraga, HijUp CEO Diajeng Lestari and Talenta CEO and Founder Joshua Kevin.
The programme will also regularly fly out teams Fenox VC analysts from from Silicon Valley to mentor.
When asked about why GnB chose to target Indonesia, Uzzaman explained some of the factors that make the country attractive.
“Population, internet penetration rate, and obviously GDP … So if you bring in what is lacking, we can grow the-best-of-the-best [and find a] startup that can grow into the next Facebook,” he said.
He stated that while the programme has received a warm support from Minister of Communications and Informatics Rudiantara and President Joko Widodo, it is not part of the government’s planned e-commerce roadmap, though GnB is open to any kind of collaboration with the government.
Uzzaman also said that the programme is not looking at any particular business sector.
“We want to measure how fast you are going to give up. Startup is all about flexibility … In many cases, within two to three years a [startup’s] business model changes,” he said.
In the near future, the programme will also hold a Demo Day event in June and December. It is planned to be held in Jakarta although there is also a possibility that it will be held in Silicon Valley or Tokyo.
The name GnB (green and blue) is inspired by melding the logos and color scheme of Fenox and Infocom.