© German Accelerator Southeast Asia

German Accelerator Southeast Asia: How the Munich Startups Are Doing

Since March 2018, Tiramizoo and Werthstein have been in Singapore as part of the German Accelerator Southeast Asia program to get to know and ideally conquer the Asian market. High time to ask how things are going for the Munich startups.

The Tiramizoo team was able to gather experience in Manila beforehand and is very pleased with their decision to be located in Singapore. Julian Kellermann, Head of International Business, called it the “ideal location” and backed his statement with the good local infrastructure and the favorable location. He mentioned that the support provided by the German Accelerator Southeast Asia is very helpful.

Asia puts a double burden on the founders

Werthstein co-founder and CEO Bastian Lossen  went into detail:

“Our cooperation with the accelerator has started off really well. The support provided is much more than local support of our business. The local team also helps with personal challenges such as looking for a place to live. The tools provided by the extremely experienced team help with strategic planning, and our lead mentor is not only a super guy, but also has great contacts that are helping us establish our company.”

That sort of help certainly can’t hurt since the founders have to deal with a kind of double burden in Asia: During the first part of the day, the entrepreneurs take care of business in Asia and then transition to “everyday” work in the late afternoon to take care of European business.

Nothing works without preparation

To be able to handle it all, Julian from Tiramizoo mentioned that it’s indispensable to thoroughly conduct desk research ahead of time. He considers competition and market analyses to be part of thorough preparation. In his mind, no one should delude themselves into thinking their business model can be transferred directly to the Asian market. Specific adjustments to meet local requirements have to be planned in.

Bastian added that an entrepreneur needs to have staying power in Asia:

“Asia is fast-paced; Asia is dynamic. Asia builds on relationships. Establishing relationships takes time.”

Tiramizoo and Werthstein draw a positive balance

Considering their relatively short stay in Singapore so far, the Werthstein CEO is very pleased with the progress his company has made locally:

“We’re currently busy operationalizing our launch plan. I’ve found a great local team that is helping me with development. If we can find just a couple more investors to help with development, then we should be live by the end of the year with Wealthstone (note from editor: in the Asian region, ‘Werthstein’ is called ‘Wealthstone’).”

Julian is also pleased with how things are going in Asia, he emphasized however, that a great deal of work and presence is necessary to be noticed on the market. That also includes adapting to local conditions. For example, the dress code is slightly more formal in Singapore than in Germany. Although a suit and tie are not mandatory, you would definitely be considered underdressed in jeans and a t-shirt.

Although Tiramizoo already has Shell on board as an investor, the company is still waiting for the first local reference to get the ball rolling. The Munich company is still optimistic and expects that

“in addition to established business in Manila in the Philippines, chances are very good that we’ll be active in additional countries in Southeast Asia.”