As part of its seventh cohort, Accelerating Asia backs Bangladeshi startup Hishabee

November 22, 2022

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Accelerating Asia, an international VC accelerator focused on pre-Series A startups has invested in 10 new companies from across the Asia Pacific as part of its 7th cohort.

Since 2019, Accelerating Asia has invested in 100+ founders from 60 startups, making it one of the most active investors in pre-Series A startups in Southeast and South Asia.

The portfolio has raised over US$55 million to date, with 100 percent of its portfolio companies successfully raising outside capital from 2020 to the present.

Accelerating Asia’s US$20 million Fund II, launched at the end of 2021 invests in pre-Series A startups in Southeast Asia and South Asia.

International early-stage VC fund, Accelerating Asia has announced its latest round of investments today including ten new companies joining Cohort 7 of the flagship program, which includes Hishabee, which becomes the organization’s eighteenth investment into a Bangladesh startup, per a press release sent to FS.

Accelerating Asia was one of the first early-stage international VCs to invest in Bangladesh, funding the likes of Amarlab, Dana, DoctorKoi.com, HandyMama, hellotask, iFarmer, loop, markopolo.ai, MedEasy, Nitex, PriyoShop, Romoni, Swap, Shuttle, Sohopathi, SupplyLine, and Zantrik. Hishabee adds to this long tradition of successful Bangladeshi startups. Founded by Rakin Mohammad Savi, Zahin Mohammad Juvi, and Ratul Bin Tazul, Hishabee is a full-stack business solution that already counts over 100,000 Bangladeshi small businesses as users. Hishabee helps these MSMEs improve operational efficiency, double revenue by selling online, gain access to finance, and more.

According to Craig Bristol Dixon, co-founder and General Partner at Accelerating Asia, Hishabee is another great addition to the organization’s portfolio of Bangladeshi startups. “Since our first investment into Bangladesh a few years ago, we’ve seen the startup and tech ecosystem grow exponentially. Hishabee is a perfect startup for this moment, as it’s effectively an innovation enabler: It’ll allow other Bangladesh small businesses to not only tap into the digital economy, but successfully leverage it for growth,” said Dixon, adding that he would like to see even more high growth Bangladeshi startups apply to future cohorts.

Including Hishabee, the new investments take Accelerating Asia’s portfolio to 60 startups who have raised a total of over US$50 million, with Cohort 7 having raised US$5.2 million prior to joining the accelerator program. The new investments in Cohort 7 also have market traction and grow revenue with an average Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of over US$46,000 per month and an average monthly revenue of over US$13,000.

Cohort 7 startups cover a wide spectrum of verticals, including hospitality, enterprise software, telecommunications, entertainment, logistics, retail technology, healthtech, and ecommerce. The cohort has a market presence in 9 countries across East Asia (Korea), Southeast Asia, (the Philippines, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand), and South Asia (Pakistan and Bangladesh).

Like Hishabee, which targets Sustainable Development Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure), 100% of its fellow companies also address at least one SDG. The ten new startups also include 60% female co-founded startups, Easy Rice, Shoplinks, Kooky, BizB, Healthpro.id, and SafeTruck all have at least one female co-founder. This is significantly higher than the average portfolio given just 17.2% of private capital in Southeast Asia was deployed to female-founded startups.

According to Amra Naidoo, General Partner at Accelerating Asia, this cohort has some of the most mature startups to date. “What we’ve seen in Cohort 7 is a kind of success inflation: The ten startups we invested in have even more significant milestones in revenue, user acquisition, and other metrics than you would typically associate with early stage startups. We believe this is a positive sign for not only Accelerating Asia, but the ecosystem in Asia Pacific as a whole: Our startups are finding product-market fit faster than ever before, allowing them to focus on scaling toward market leadership,” said Naidoo.

Naidoo stated that the impressive success of Cohort 7 is attributable in part to the application process for startups. Since the launch of Cohort 1 in 2019, Accelerating Asia has seen startup applications grow rapidly with each cycle, culminating in over 600 for this latest batch, a growth of 232% in applications from the inaugural batch to the current one.

“When we started operations a few years ago, the idea of Accelerating Asia was still very much a forward-looking vision for Asia Pacific. Now I’m happy to see that it’s well on its way: More and more startups are scaling up quicker, thanks largely to the support system they can turn to, which includes everything from events and conferences to angel investors and syndicates,” said Naidoo.

Dixon detailed how Cohort 7 continues the strengths of previous batches. “Cohort 7 builds on our previous cohorts. We’ve got great founders, innovative products, and impressive financial traction. Teams like these are likely to succeed and deliver good investment returns for us and the other investors who back them. If you want to work with this caliber of founders, do consider partnering with Accelerating Asia – we are excited to work with stakeholders across the ecosystem,” said Dixon.

Since the current investment climate is a hot topic, Dixon also wanted to emphasize that Accelerating Asia always invests in businesses that can make money today and our investment lens is focused on intelligent financial plans and founders who can monetize gaps in the market in the shorter term.

“When it comes to investments, we follow a simple strategy at Accelerating Asia. One, we back organizations that can monetise in any economic climate, and two, founders who can navigate through any market conditions. The most innovative organizations, after all, will succeed in any era,” said Dixon.

Accelerating Asia launched Fund II in 2021, Cohort 7 is the third batch of investments for Fund II which will deploy capital across Southeast and South Asia pre-Series A startups. If you’re an accredited investor who is looking to build the best pre-Series A startups in the region, reach out to the Accelerating Asia team for more information about investing alongside us.

The complete list of cohort 7 startups:

Cocotel (Philippines, SDG 8) is a one-stop solution for hotel reservation needs. The proptech company helps independent hotels and resorts with technology, property management, and digital marketing.

Hishabee (Bangladesh, SDG 8 and 9) is a full-stack business solution that helps over 100,000 Bangladeshi small businesses save time and increase their revenue by selling online, and everything else they need to run efficiently.

K-link (Myanmar, Thailand, SDG 8 & 9) is an Omnichannel Cloud Contact Center Platform provider that supplies hundreds of global brands with high-end telecommunication services without any expensive hardware and complex telecom infrastructure. This enables savings of more than 200% when compared to traditional call center solutions.

Kooky.io (Korea, SDG 9) is an entertainment platform where superfans meet K-pop artists by turning their passion into active support that helps to grow their favorite artists.

Safe Truck (Malaysia, SDG 11) is an internet of things (IoT) fleet management system that tracks and collects telematics data, analyzes it with an AI-powered application, and helps transporters get lower rates in end-to-end fleet procurement.

Shoplinks (Singapore, SDG 8 and 9) helps the largest supermarkets in South-East Asia monetize their transaction and loyalty data by delivering personalized promotions to shoppers through chat or apps for consumer brands, tripling their ROI.

Easy Rice Digital Technology (Thailand, SDG 8 and 9) is an agritech company that digitizes and enhances quality assessment (QA) of staple food to make staple food delivery from farm to fork quicker, cheaper, and healthier.

HealthPro (Indonesia, SDG 3 and 8) is a healthtech platform to help healthcare facilities get their top quality on-demand healthcare workers effortlessly.

BizB (Pakistan, SDG 12) is a re-commerce marketplace for the buying and selling of preloved apparel and accessories, helping women earn money, save money and contribute to making fashion sustainable again!

Ulisse (Singapore, SDG 3, 9, and 11) is an IoT hardware and software platform that helps business decision-makers save costs with commercial places that perform better with data.

Accelerating Asia is an accelerator VC that runs programs for early-stage startups and investors. Licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Accelerating Asia’s early-stage VC fund focuses on pre-Series A startups with untapped potential that are 6-18 months away from institutional funding. Accelerating Asia invests up to US$250,000 in pre-Series A startups, and the current portfolio covers over ten countries in Southeast and South Asia.

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