© German Accelerator Southeast Asia

German Accelerator Southeast Asia: How the Munich Startups Have Started Off

The support program German Accelerator Southeast Asia (SEA) in Singapore started this month. Two of the participating startups are Werthstein and Tiramizoo. We spoke with the teams at the beginning of their Asian adventure and asked about how they prepared, their goals and their expectations.

There are a few years between the founding of the two companies from the Bavarian capital city. While Tiramizoo has been around since 2010, Werthstein was founded only in 2016. Co-founder and CEO Bastian Lossen explained his startup’s activities as a digital asset manager that combines robo technology with assessments made by international capital market experts and portfolio managers. Such a service was only available to very wealthy investors until now, commented Lossen.

Tiramizoo already has some experience in Asia

The startup Tiramizoo has worked on last mile optimization, same day delivery and shop replenishment for more than eight years now. Julian Kellermann, Head of International Business, let us know that the company has international experience to offer and is not only active in Germany, but also in Austria, Sweden, France, the Netherlands and Southeast Asia. With Shell as an investor and customer, they are already located in Manila. That was where they also got to known German Accelerator SEA-CEO Claus J. Karthe, which is what motivated them to take part in the program. Additional Asian countries had been on the company’s wish list for quite some time, said Kellermann. It was the focus on business at the German Accelerator SEA that convinced the team to participate. The Tiramizoo team is hoping to develop a go-to market strategy and to gain relevant leads.

“Exceptional access to technological resources”

Werthstein’s Asian plans are still at a very early stage of development Bastian Lossen commented:

“We’ve been working on our Asian strategy for some time now. Cooperation with the German Accelerator Southeast Asia is a great opportunity to speed up our plans for expansion in Asia.”

In technical terms, he said, Werthstein is ready to enter new markets. The platform runs smoothly and looks to be highly scalable, commented the founder. It was through Munich Startup that he and his partners heard about the opportunity to go to Singapore with the German Accelerator SEA. After applying and initial personal interviews with the company scouts and Claus J. Karthe, Werthstein triumphed with their final selection pitch for the accelerator’s steering committee and was able to make concrete plans for Asia:

“I had been in Singapore several times in recent months to really get to know the market and prepare for our market entry. (…) With the German Accelerator Southeast Asia, we now have exceptional access to the technological resources and network of innovation partners and potential investors that are offered by the accelerator. That will really help our market launch in this intriguing region of growth,”

said Bastian Lossen.

Gaining customer trust

He commented that preparation also includes finding out how much Werthstein will need to adapt its service to suit the Asian market and how much can be retained. Whether to approach market entry on their own or with help from a partner is also an important decision they need to make. Another crucial factor is gaining customer trust. At the moment, it’s the local banks and asset managers that have a certain advantage when it comes to trust. Yet Bastian Lossen is optimistic:

“We think we have a good chance of attracting technically-oriented Asian customers and getting them on board as Werthstein clients. We also need to gain a better understanding of local regulations and adapt accordingly.”

Julian Kellerman sees a challenge for Tiramizoo in the balancing act between their core business in Europe and new activities in Asia. As an unknown company at their new location, they have to invest a great deal of energy to gain the trust of Asian companies. They are to be assisted by a “Lead Mentor” provided by the German Accelerator SEA who will support them with their local expertise.

We’ll be following the two companies as they take their first steps in Singapore and report back on their experience in the Asian market.