As more consumer hardware startups crop up on crowdfunding platforms, an accelerator program HaxAsia has launched in Singapore to give a helping hand to those focusing on Asian markets. Behind the accelerator is a group of investment firms — Ruvento Ventures, IncuVest, DI-Group and SpinUp Partners.
Slava Solonitsyn, the managing partner of HaxAsia, says:
We’ve seen the explosion of successful crowdfunding launches recently, which brought to the world great products such as the Oculus Rift and Pebble Watch…
However, most of the hardware teams launching crowdfunding campaigns often fail to communicate their product ideas well, lack the distribution network and underestimate the manufacturing risks and costs. All these undermine the success of hardware startups and leads to overall disappointment when it comes to crowdfunding hardware products.
There is no fixed application deadline for the six-month accelerator program, but a startup needs to at least have a functional prototype to demonstrate or be clearly able to create one within two months. HaxAsia also focuses primarily on Asian startups, but Solonitsyn tells TNW that they welcome non-Asian startups looking to focus on Asian markets.
Teams will spend about six weeks developing prototypes out of the Singapore government-linked IDA Labs coworking space under close mentorship of HaxAsia. Subsequently, they will lay the ground for a crowdfunding campaign, including videos and test use-cases.
Once that’s all done, the successful startups will move on to Silicon Valley for a partner program hosted by BootstrapLabs to run their crowdfunding campaign, and pitch to media and investors. Finally, if they hit their crowdfunding goal (which should be at least $500,000), they get to move on to China and work with a partner contract manufacturer to deliver the first batch of devices.
After that, HaxAsia can provide startups with up to $500,000 of investment to scale their businesses if they decide to be based out of Singapore.
Alternatively, given the tie-up with BootstrapLabs, startups going through HaxAsia’s program could possibly be chosen to join BootstrapLabs’ 12-month accelerator program. Benjamin Levy, a partner at BootstrapLabs, tells us:
The idea here is that we assist the accelerator (here HaxAsia) in the final cohort selection by injecting our Silicon Valley viewpoint, and we will cherry pick a few startups from each cohort and become additional advisers to the founders over the course of the HaxAsia program — giving them access to our network in Silicon Valley early on and preparing the ground for a possible invitation to join BootstrapLabs’ accelerator program in Silicon Valley after successfully running their Indiegogo campaign.
Startups can hold their crowdfunding campaign on any platform, but HaxAsia recommends Indiegogo because “it is more open for international startups,” according to Solonitsyn.
As Solonitsyn notes, Asia is a prime area for hardware and Internet of Things businesses due to the high growth of consumer markets, in particular China, and emerging countries such as Indonesia. This explains the new push to help promising startups bring their products to market, given that it’s the “perfect time for venture capital investments,” Solonitsyn says.
Asia is already host to one of the world’s top hardware-focused accelerator programs – Shenzhen, China-based Haxlr8r, which we visited in 2012. Earlier this month, Korea-based accelerator program and investment company SparkLabs announced plans for a hardware-focused accelerator program, which will open its doors in Seoul in Winter 2014.
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