Southeast Asia Class 2020-1 Brings Many Firsts

Seven German startups are kicking off the start of a new decade with plans to accelerate their expansion into a whole new region – Southeast Asia.

Since taking in our first class in 2018, the seventh Southeast Asia class is the largest yet. This signals the increasing interest in the world’s fastest-growing internet region. Class 2020-1 also brings three new tech areas into our Southeast Asia program – MedTech (apoQlar), cybersecurity (Build38), and HR Tech (Certif-ID). Completing the class are four FinTech startups (Exaloan, Expatrio, Iconic Holding, and Moonfare).

Logo soup of companies that are participating in the German Accelerator Southeast Asia Class 2020-1

Class 2020-1 startup profiles

  • apoQlar (MedTech, from Hamburg) is a leader of Holomedicine, a new medical standard. They specialize in imaging techniques (mixed and augmented reality) and data evaluation, with quality assurance by artificial intelligence and continuous machine learning. Applications of their main product, Virtual Surgery Intelligence Holomedicine, include: surgical planning and preparation, telesurgery, documentation, rounds, patient education and training of assistant doctors. 
  • Build38 (Cybersecurity, from Munich) is a global provider of mobile application protection solutions. Its Trusted Application Kit (T.A.K) represents a new generation of in-app and app-hardening technologies that protects apps from known and unknown attacks and opens the market to new digital business models. 
  • Certif-ID (HR Tech, from Cologne) is a global, blockchain-powered networking platform and a dedicated skills community. It brings together educational and technical training institutions, experts and recruiters on a single platform. They allow institutions to issue verifiable digital certificates and set new standards of trust, transparency and efficiency.
  • Exaloan (FinTech, from Frankfurt) provides technology to institutional investors in digital loans. They enable their clients to deploy capital globally in individual loans across digital lending platforms with full automation. 
  • Expatrio (FinTech, from Berlin) is a holistic platform that makes relocation to Germany easy by helping international skilled workers and students to get the precise information they need and the products that are required during the visa process, such as a Blocked Account and Health Insurance. 
  • Iconic Holding (FinTech, from Frankfurt) envisions a tokenized economy where blockchain and cryptographic technology enable inclusive, transparent and secure financial markets. They are the bridge enabling enterprise-grade crypto asset investment opportunities as the tokenization of financial and real-world assets enhance financial institutional markets. 
  • Moonfare (FinTech, from Berlin) is a technology platform that enables individuals and their advisors to invest in top-tier private equity funds. Historically, access to private equity funds was exclusive to institutional investors or individuals with the ability to commit at least €10m per fund; now with Moonfare, investments can be made with €100,000. 

We spoke to a few of our participants to understand what makes Southeast Asia an attractive region to scale into.

A strong FinTech hub

Moonfare’s Managing Director and Head of Asia Pacific, Mathieu Forcioli noticed an undeniable willingness for High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) to invest in private equity in order to achieve better returns for their investments. “Southeast Asia has one of the fastest-growing high net worth populations, with a strong affinity to use technology,” he said.

There is a good reason for German FinTech startups to look to ASEAN, which has seen a 30 times increase in FinTech funding since 2014, reaching US$1.14 billion as of end-September 2019 [1]. Among the ASEAN countries, Singapore (the home-base of our Southeast Asia program) has consistently attracted the most funding and has the most mature FinTech scene with over 600 startups based in the island-nation [2].

Singapore an ideal springboard into the region

Map of Singapore and surrounding countries: Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia

Singapore also provides a safe and friendly entry-point to Asia. Its supportive, efficient, and transparent government has been a catalyst to the country’s vibrant startup ecosystem, which also has a strong pool of diverse and international talent.

Luca Frignani, Class 2020-1 participant who is CEO and co-founder of Exaloan, believes “German Accelerator is the perfect launchpad to propel us into one of the most vibrant and dynamic economic regions in the world. Its deep network provides an ideal bridge to establish a strong foothold in ASEAN.”

Although commonly mistaken to be similar to the European markets, Southeast Asia is a highly diverse region with significant barriers to entry. With over 650 million people across the region, Southeast Asia is critical to the global labor market.

Tim Miller, co-founder and Managing Director of Certif-ID, sees this as a great potential for his company. “Certif-ID is designed to support the global mobility of people. With a growing, young, and educated population there is a real need to enable people to gain the right skills and in doing so, gain access to the right jobs.”

Tim Meyer, co-founder of Expatrio, also sees the potential of the region. “As with every region, Southeast Asia has assorted characteristics. Following the increasing trend of migration to Germany from Southeast Asia, we have developed more detailed products and services, such as customer service availability in local languages. With a regional strategy and the on-site presence in Singapore through the German Accelerator program, we will further develop our personal network and by this be closer to our partners and ultimately to our customers,” he said.

Having a customized, local go-to-market strategy and investing resources in the region is something we advocate strongly to our startups. Our program primarily focuses on market expansion into six key ASEAN countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Think your company has what it takes to join the ranks of the German startups that have already ventured into the region? Submit your application to be a part of Class 2020-2 by March 22.

[1] FinTech in Asean: From Start-up to Scale-up, third edition, United Overseas Bank, PwC and the Singapore FinTech Association
[2] Monetary Authority of Singapore website. URL: https://www.mas.gov.sg/development/fintech
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