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To fund 50 SEA early-stage startups, US $10 M secured by YC style Accelerator Iterative

Iterative, a Southeast Asia-focused Y Combinator-style accelerator, has closed its US $10 million Iterative Fund I to invest in early-stage entrepreneurs in the region.

Fund Village Global, Cendana, and Facebook led the charge, with contributions from experienced Silicon Valley insiders such as Andrew Chen (a16z partner), Qasar Younis (co-founder of Applied Intuition and former COO of Y Combinator), Chi-Hua Chien (managing partner of Goodwater Capital), Tushar Garg (CEO of Flyhomes), Moses Lo (co-founder of Xendit), Kum Hong Siew (COO of Airbnb China),

The Singapore-based accelerator is planning to fund Fund II next year, according to the official release. Iterative intends to finance and accelerate 50 seed-stage startups in Southeast Asia using Fund I cash, with the goal of making entrepreneurship more accessible to more people.

According to the business, Fund I have invested US $3.6 million in 26 firms across three batches, resulting in a 6.5x return after 18 months. To support the expansion, the accelerator plans to introduce a variety of new programmes and projects, double the number of investments made yearly, and quadruple the size of its personnel.

Brian Ma, co-founder and former CEO of San Francisco-based proptech unicorn Divvy Homes, and Hsu Ken Ooi, ex-CPO of Workmate, which recently acquired a US $10 million loans to grow in Thailand and Indonesia, formed Iterative in 2018.

The Singapore-based business accelerator invests US $150,000 in a batch of entrepreneurs twice a year, similar to Y Combinator. Iterative invests the entire sum upfront and then works with the entrepreneurs for three months on the development of their idea.

A fundraising boot camp, as well as 1:1 office hours with general partners, group office hours, speaker series, and a fundraising boot camp, are all part of the accelerator programme. Iterative also taps into its alumni network, where entrepreneurs from various batches and stages help each other.

Iterative also introduces the firm to a limited group of investors for potential follow-on funding.

Since its inception in June 2020, Fund I have graduated 16 entrepreneurs, which have received a total of US $45 million from investors including Monk’s Hill, Wavemaker Partners, Insight Partners, Addition, and others. Five Iterative portfolio firms have announced additional investment in September alone. Spenmo, a Singapore-based financial business; CoderSchool, a Vietnam-based online coding school startup; Go Zayaan, a Bangladesh-based online travel agency (OTA); 1Export, a Philippines-based tech-enabled exporting company; and Friz, a Singapore-based fintech startup.

Iterative founders said that they are “ready for prime time” since they feel Southeast Asia is “the next great opportunity,” because of a mix of personal relationships to the area.

Southeast Asia’s population of 676 million people has 440 million internet users, according to Google and Temasek research. In the year 2021 alone, 40 million individuals will have gained access to the internet, pushing SEA’s internet penetration to 75%. Furthermore, Google predicted that the area is entering a “Digital Decade” and would reach a gross merchandise value (GMV) of $1 trillion by 2030.




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