Docu-reality series, Start-UP is back for a second season on Channel NewsAsia, with a new line-up of entrepreneurs battling it out for more than SGD2 million ($1.6 million) in seed funding, the regional broadcaster said.
The new season, which premiered on February 2, features a crowdfunding element for finalists to raise money for their start-ups. The channel said from the series viewers will gain insights into the start-up ecosystem, and learn more about the competitive and relentless chase for seed funding.
The seven-part series tracks the journey of eight start-ups as the contestants undergo several challenges to hone their pitching skills and tighten their business plans, culminating in a pitch for seed funding to top venture capitalists. Throughout the show, finalists are mentored by leading companies in their respective fields, to gain greater insights into how successful companies are run.
To showcase the various avenues of funding available, the contestants participate in a challenge to source for investments, guided by crowdfunding platform, Crowdonomic. The challenge will see the finalists raise funds from the public and to reward their supporters in various ways, for example, by granting early access to the next release of a new product. The process and marketing efforts devoted to their crowdfunding campaigns will be closely examined by the judges.
CEO of Crowdonomic, Leo Shimada, said, “We’re thrilled to be partnering Start-UP to bring this form of capitalisation to life through Southeast Asia’s first crowdfunding and television collaboration. Crowdonomic aims to make crowdfunding more mainstream by providing the public with more insights into the intricacies and mechanism. This is now rapidly becoming a vital source of funding for the region's brightest start-ups.”
The initial 20 contestants were selected following a public call-for-entry in August, and an entrepreneurship boot camp held in Myanmar. The first episode of the series captured this selection process, and saw the contestants whittled down to eight finalists.
The progress made by the contestants will be keenly watched by returning judges, Leslie Loh of Red Dot Ventures, and Eddie Chau of TNF Ventures. This season, they will be joined by new judge, Mark Strecker, noted Silicon Valley entrepreneur and CEO of [a•mo•bee]. The judges will decide which start-ups, up to a maximum of four, will be offered the total prize money.
“I am thrilled to be back for the second season of Start-UP, with its new line-up of diverse and international contestants. As a venture capitalist, I am always on the lookout for new businesses to mentor and fund, and the contestants look set to prove themselves as the next big start-up,” says Leslie Loh.