As the Asia Pacific region is growing into a global center for innovation, there’s an increasing challenge of how to offer the best resources for new startup communities. Oko Davaasuren, Techstars Regional Director in APAC, and Anurag Maloo, Techstars Regional Manager in APAC, answer questions on how Techstars is working to help inspire entrepreneurs in the region.
What is your vision for Techstars and building communities in Asia Pacific?
For some of you who don’t have a larger view of Techstars, this question comes up a lot as I’m traveling to different countries.
Techstars has three distinct parts to it. The first part is our startup programs, which includes Startup Weekend, Startup Week, and Startup Digest. These give access, education, and exposure to the communities or ecosystems.
The second part is what Techstars is mainly known for, which is our mentorship-driven accelerator programs. We’re running about 29 of these accelerators all around the world.
The third part of the business is the venture arm, which invests in startups that mainly go through our accelerator program and maybe some outside. Those are the three main pillars of Techstars as an organization.
We are running startup programs in about 28 countries out of 50 plus in Asia Pacific. We are running about 500 programs, including the bootcamps and other editions of our startup programs. We’re seeing about 10-20 percent growth year-by-year.
With that said, although we run thousands of Startup Weekends around the world, there are a lot of people we haven’t reached. You hear people who have been touched by these programs and know the impact of these programs in their communities. These people know how awesome it is.
The mission here is, “how can we share this awesome experience with as many people as possible?” We literally get to change people’s lives.
In the simplest terms, we want to enable and empower individuals in communities all around the world.
We want to continue doing that, because there’s so much still to go, especially in Asia. Economic growth is here and it’s the frontier of everything. This is where people need access, power, and exposure more than anywhere else.
Besides that, we’re not just talking about the individual impact programs, but as a collective of accelerators and the investing arm, we’re trying to help ecosystems in Asia Pacific to grow so that the true values of Techstars are materialized.
Entrepreneurs should be everywhere. You should be able to build your startup wherever you are from or where ever you are. But in order for that to happen, your ecosystem needs to grow and have all the right elements to be able to provide the environment for people to do that.
With the collective, our goal is to basically make Asia Pacific better than Silicon Valley or become an iteration of Silicon Valley by finding the strength of ecosystems to help it grow.
We have a lot of work to do.