Sequoia Capital India’s Surge announces third cohort of Surge 03 startups

17:05 | 28/04/2020
Surge, a rapid scale-up programme for startups in Southeast Asia and India run by Sequoia India, today announced the 15 early-stage startups selected for Surge 03 2020.
sequoia capital indias surge announces third cohort of surge 03 startups
The Surge 03 2020 cohort

Since its launch in March 2019, Surge has grown into a community of more than 110 founders from 52 startups spread across six countries. The programme combines $1-2 million of capital for each startup, with company-building workshops and support from a community of exceptional mentors and founders from companies like Gojek, ONE Championship, and Tokopedia.

The Surge 03 2020 cohort includes 15 startups from Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and India, who are solving a wide range of problems across a diverse set of industry verticals, including SaaS, dev tools, consumer, F&B, education, and health. The founders are from eight nations, including India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Italy, Canada, Barbados, and Sweden. More than half of the current cohort is from Southeast Asia while one-third of Surge 03 startups have at least one female founder.

Companies from Southeast Asia include Bukukas, Hangry, and CoLearn from Indonesia, Thuocsi from Vietnam, and Pencil, Pentester Academy, Tigerhall, and Tinvio from Singapore.

Surge 03, which started on April 13, is taking place completely online for the first time. Day-long sessions held once a week for 16 weeks, include online company-building workshops, small group discussions, and interactive fireside chats with Surge mentors such as William Tanuwijaya, founder and CEO of Tokopedia, Doug Leone, global managing partner at Sequoia Capital, and many other experienced founders and investors from Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and the US.

“Southeast Asia remains a thriving startup ecosystem with a digital and mobile-first economy. We’ve had the privilege at Surge to work with founders from Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam over our three cohorts, and we’ve seen their drive and passion have a real impact in their communities,” said Rajan Anandan, managing director, Surge and Sequoia Capital India LLP. “Surge 03 is no different. We believe it’s important to support founders during not just the good times, but also the tough ones. And we are proud to be able to partner with this current cohort of ambitious founders who are building their companies in one of the most challenging periods in modern history.”

Close to 25 per cent of all Surge applications to date have come from Southeast Asia. Of these, 16 per cent are from Singapore and Indonesia. There has been an upward trend of applications from Southeast Asian startups in the B2B, consumer tech, and financial services space.

Surge has been designed with an "open architecture" in mind and encourages other investors to come in on the first Surge round, held at the start of each programme. 80 per cent of Surge 03 startups are coming onboard with institutional co-investors, and close to 50 per cent also have angel investors. Collectively, the Surge 03 cohort has raised over $39 million in their Surge rounds.

Surge startups have already raised $250M+ after completing Surge, in subsequent financing rounds.

This includes Telio from Vietnam, Zenyum from Singapore, and Bobobox and Chilibeli from Indonesia. Co-investors through these rounds exceeded 35+ institutional investors from nine different countries across the ASEAN, China, East Asia, Europe, India, and the US.

Surge is designed to give founders an unfair advantage from the start, helping founders clear early-stage hurdles with access to the kind of capital, resources, mentors, and expert help they need to supercharge their startup.

Key features of the Surge programme include:

- Capital: Founders receive a $1-2 million Surge round early on in the programme so they can start hiring and building their product right away.

- Community: Founders will be able to learn, grow, and share their journeys with fellow founders from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. They also work closely with founders and leaders from across the globe – such as Tokopedia’s William Tanuwijaya; One Championship’s Chatri Sityodtong, Carousell’s Quek Siu Rui, Zilingo’s Ankiti Bose, and other entrepreneurs in Sequoia’s portfolio who serve as Surge mentors.

- Company building support: Workshops and seminars follow the journey of company building, from foundational work on leadership, culture, and building a winning organisation to design choices, product and scale, and to marketing and brand positioning. Founders also receive advice and help in hiring. Surge’s engineer programme helps connect founders with seasoned tech talent right from the start.

- Cross-border exposure: Sessions with Surge mentors from Silicon Valley, China, Southeast Asia, and India to give founders the chance to understand the global startup ecosystem. Surge 03 founders will also be invited to join the in-country sessions in the next post COVID-19 Surge cohort.

Applications for Surge 04 2020, which kicks off in September 2020, are now open.

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