The Internet of Things or IoT is one of the many buzzwords thrown around in the world of tech. However, to ignore this particular buzzword would be a grave mistake. This is because the Internet of Things is projected to be a massive market worth $14.4 Trillion in the coming decade. With so much money up for grabs, it’s no surprise we in Sri Lanka have our fair share of IoT startups. To help these local startups reach the next level and truly capitalise on this massive market, Infocomm Investments, a partner of SLASSCOM, has a startup accelerator called AIRMaker that focuses on IoT startups across the world and connecting them with Singapore and China.
What is AIRMaker?
AIRMaker is a Singaporean based Startup accelerator programme that wants to help startups launch and grow in Asia and beyond. To be precise, it wants to help startups building IoT solutions in the areas of Digital Health and Smart Cities. AIRMaker helps these startups by leveraging the network of its partners.
In doing so, it offers support for startups in terms of product development and production exposure, market access and connections to an extended ecosystem. Additionally, startups accepted into the programme also get an investment of S$ 35,000. In exchange, AIRMaker will be taking a 7% equity stake in the startups.
How it works
AIRMaker like all other programmes begins with a call for applications. After applications close, the AIRmaker team runs the accelerator selection process with the support of advisors. They will select the top 30 startups who will then be given an opportunity to pitch to a selection committee. Finally, the selection committee picks the best 18 startups to participate in the accelerator programme.
For any startup accepted into the AIRMaker programme, there’re three stages they need to go through. For the founders, this means a bit of travelling. This is because the entire programme will see them travelling between Singapore and Shenzhen, China as they progress through the programme. With that being said, the three stages of AIRMaker are:
Stage One: Discover
This stage will happen in Singapore and is all about setting the foundation for a successful startup. The goal here is to develop a proper business plan and go-to-market strategy. Additionally, startups will also get insights into the desirability, feasibility and viability of their product. To help startups in this crucial stage, AIRMaker will be giving the startups hands-on mentorship from industry leaders.
Stage Two: Build
This stage will happen in Shenzhen, China and is all about manufacturing the devices. By manufacturing, we don’t mean building prototypes. Nope, at this stage the startups accepted into the AIRMaker programme will need to speak with different manufacturing firms. The goal here is to build a supply chain by finding the right mix of price, quality and relationship amongst different manufacturers.
Stage Three: Scale
The third and final stage happening in Singapore is all about growth. At this stage, AIRMaker gives the startups access to early-stage and growth-stage investors in Singapore and China. The programme also leverages partnerships to secure clients and pilot projects or proof-of-concepts. By the end of this stage, the startups will also be a part of the vibrant startup ecosystems of both Singapore and Shenzhen.
The requirements for startups
This year AIRMaker will be accepting only 18 startups as part of the first 2017 batch. What are the requirements they need to meet? The answer to that question would as follows:
- Have a small team, which is ideally 2-5 people including the founders
- Has found initial funding for the early-stages
- Initial designs and prototypes should be built and be at a stage ready to pivot
- Should be in the pre-revenue stage
Additionally, all participants are expected to be in Singapore and Shenzhen for the duration of the program. AIRMaker has stated that they will be arranging accommodation in Shenzhen. However, participants will have to sort out their own arrangements when in Singapore. Furthermore, AIRMaker has also stated that should a startup be selected then it would assist in the application process for obtaining the visas for the team.
How can my IoT startup apply?
You know how AIRMaker works. You know the requirements of AIRMaker. You have an IoT startup with a vision to take it global. If you believe that AIRMaker will help you achieve that vision then all you have to do is fill this form to apply. But you’ll have to be quick! The selected Sri Lankan IoT startups will be sent to participate in the programme on the 5th of September.
We wish all the participants the best of luck. May the odds be in your favour!