No East Ventures Alpha accelerator in Jakarta this year as ‘funding ecosystem not ready’
February 13, 2013 by Terence LEE
After running for two consecutive years, the East Ventures Alpha accelerator program won’t be returning to Jakarta this year, said Willson Cuaca, co-founder managing partner of East Ventures, an early stage fund based in Singapore, Jakarta, and Tokyo.
Meanwhile, its Japan Accelerator has held its screening process last year and has been mentoring startups. Unlike the Indonesian version, it does not have a formal 100-day boot camp, which means it functions more like a traditional seed stage fund and incubator.
Willson does not rule out the possibility that Alpha will return to Indonesia, although it would have to depend on the ecosystem’s readines. For now, East Ventures will focus on its early stage funding activities.
The reasons he gave for not running the program are the lack of sufficient quality entrepreneurs to bring incubatees to the next level. He shared that out of six incubatees in its 100-day program last year, only two are still running their startup full time at this point.
There’s also the need optimize itself to meet the pressing needs of startups in Indonesia. ”It’s more efficient to focus on early stage startups than running the accelerator program this year,” Willson told SGE via email.
Like most other places in Asia, Indonesia faces a funding gap between the early stage round and Series A. Yet the number of venture capitalists that are looking at Indonesia right now outnumbers the seed investors that are interested in the country.
It’s a matter of deal flow: The pool of quality entrepreneurs is already spread thin among existing seed investors in Indonesia. There are already quite a number of seed stage programs available, such as Founder Institute, Merah Putih, Project Eden, Telkomsel Bootcamp, and more.
Further down the pipeline, the country has enough startups that are more mature and are showing enough traction and promise to justify venture capital funding.
Although Willson has decided to suspend East Ventures Alpha, his early stage fund has shown good progress. An infographic released on the investment firm’s third anniversary revealed that out of 26 investments, 2 startups have been acquired while another 10 received follow-on funding.
The situation at East Ventures suggests that Indonesia’s startup ecosystem has gotten a little overheated at the seed stage, and that lead to a course correction in the market.
Indonesia’s low demand (or oversupply, depending on your perspective) in seed stage funding does not necessarily indicate that venture capital deal flow will dry up in the future.
Nonetheless, for the country’s ecosystem to develop further, having an larger batch of promising upstart entrepreneurs wouldn’t hurt either.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE