Singapore-based Lithan plans to accelerate Myanmar’s development of tech startups

Lithan’s TechUP Accelerator programme aims to incubate digital savvy talents to create their tech startup from scratch

Lithan, a Singapore-based private education institution and digital skills accelerator, has recently revealed its plan to accelerate the development of tech startups in Myanmar through its TechUp Accelerator programme, which is currently accepting applications.

According to Leslie Loh, startup investor and founder of Lithan, in a press interview, Lithan’s mission in Myanmar is to develop future-ready digital talents and innovative enterprises to compete in the new economy.

At the end of the incubation period, there will be a pitching and judging session to select the Top five startups. Each of the Top 5 will receive US$10,000 seed investment and the programme culminates in a trip to Singapore for a fundraising and networking Demo day.

When asked about his take on Myanmar’s current startup ecosystem, Loh said that it is still in its infancy, but is likely to have the greatest growth potential in Asia.

For example, Myanmar was Asia’s least developed telecom market but has since become the world’s 4th fastest growing mobile market. As of June 2015, Myanmar has a mobile penetration rate of 54.6 per cent, up from less than 10 per cent in 2012.

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Myanmar’s startup ecosystem lacks depth today without sufficient startup talent, experienced mentors, tech incubators, angel investors and venture funds. Currently, there are limited number of tech startups and most focus on low hanging fruits such as digital classifieds, according to Loh.

He revealed that Lithan’s TechUP Accelerator programme aims to incubate digital savvy talents to create their tech startup from scratch – even if they still don’t have any startup idea or team. The TechUP Accelerator is a 6-month full-time programme to empower selected participants with multidisciplinary startup skills, an idea, and a co-founder if they need one.

To start, the programme will assess their startup skills and develop a personalised development plan to plug any gaps. Participants will be given unlimited access to the programme’s comprehensive suite of on-demand learning and mentoring support to acquire skills in innovative venture creation, digital marketing, product management, sales, and agile management.

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For those who are yet to have ideas, Loh mentioned that participants can select from the programme’s portfolio of startup ideas that they believe have the greatest potential in Myanmar.

These ideas include sharing-economy businesses, social commerce, social enterprises, fintech and education technology. To support further development of these startup ideas, the participants will have access to specialist mentors, relevant technology, and potential collaboration partners the programme has curated.

Participants will receive a monthly cash stipend to support their full-time commitment in creating a startup plan, forming their team, developing their MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and seeking initial market validation over the six-month incubation period.

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According to Loh, what makes the programme different from traditional startup accelerators is that they focus on picking the best talents and empower them with the rest to include skills, ideas, products, network and funding to create their startups from scratch.

Lithan, in partnership with Red Dot Ventures, a Singaporean seed-stage investment firm, will bring on board a network of investors, startups, mentors, and potential partners from across Southeast Asia to support the programme.


Source: E27

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