CASE STUDY

singapore tourism accelerator

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about Singapore Tourism Accelerator

The Singapore Tourism Accelerator is an equity-free 6-month programme for promising technology companies that power the travel and tourism industry. The Accelerator is organised by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and is managed by its appointed Corporate Innovation partner, Found8.

The cohort companies undergo a three-month accelerator program where they participate in capacity- building workshops providing insights to the Singapore ecosystem and market as well as the tourism and hospitality industry. The program is tailored to support the startups in identifying and securing a pilot partner and project to testbed their solution with. This is followed by three months of pilot implementation and execution with one of the close to 30 industry partners participating in the programme – including Singapore Airlines, Changi Airport, Marina Bay Sands, and other prominent tourism brands.

The Accelerator provides founders with an opportunity to learn critical market entry skills, pilot design and implementation skills, and fundraising strategies. The programme also offers 1:1 mentoring, expert feedback, and access to industry events. The accelerator culminates in a Demo Day attended by investors and members of the tourism industry. 

The Accelerator is currently running its second cohort of 10 companies and Kindrik Partners has worked with the program as an advisor for both. Particularly in the case of startups who have come from outside the region, that can include incorporation in Singapore with a view to getting investment.

pivoting to remote-first with COVID-19

With the second cohort set to begin just as the COVID-19 situation was escalating in Singapore, the decision was made to pivot from an onsite programme to a digital-first programme.

 “The global health crisis put a lot of different challenges on top of everyone’s normal workload. Now that we’re split across seven different time-zones, it’s a big ask in terms of flexibility and adaptability for the people who run the workshops. We are all now masters of Zoom,” says Katrin Miller, program manager.

kindrik partners support

presentations and office hours

In line with the move to remote-first, Sarah Yen, senior solicitor at Kindrik Partners, presented to the second cohort via webinar, covering basic corporate and commercial topics such as seed rounds and other common legal issues for growth stage companies.

The startups were also able to book one-on-one Zoom legal consultations to address any queries not covered in the presentations.

“It was beneficial to the startups to know they had access to a lawyer to address more specific questions once they were further through the process”, says Katrin.

 “Throughout the programme, Sarah has been stellar to deal with. She has always made herself available to our startups and the advice she gives to help the founders is always well structured and clear.”

online templates

Founder in each cohort also have access to over 30 free legal templates and guides for startups that have been tailored to building tech companies in Southeast Asia.

“Anytime one of the startups needed a template, I always consulted the Kindrik Partners database first to see if there was something they could start working from,” says Katrin.

The templates cover common corporate and commercial agreements and resolutions used by growth startups. These include founder agreements, NDAs, and sample term sheets.

support tailored for the programme

Given the industry connections that the Accelerator offers to industry heavyweights like Singapore Airlines, Changi Airport, and Marina Bay Sands, Kindrik Partners also provides targeted assistance on pilot agreements.

“Running a pilot programme is a great way to fine-tune a solution and to approach enterprise customers”, says Sarah. “However, since there’s no real uniformity to pilot agreements, founders need to be aware of some key provisions that will shape their experience with the organisation they’re dealing with.”

Katrin agrees, adding “Some corporate partners have existing documentation around pilot programmes – but for many, it’s up to the startup to set up a legal document that seals the partnership. Kindrik Partners provided real value in educating the startups and help them understand the legalese – whether it be a letter of intent, an MOU, or formal partnership agreement.”

after demo day

fixed fees on seed funding rounds

Following demo day, Kindrik Partners is available to the cohort companies to assist them with their first institutional funding rounds. To bring more transparency to the market around legal costs, Kindrik Partners offers fixed fees for institutional seed funding rounds and some associated projects, such as ESOPs.

“We want to help founders understand the terms on which they are raising their first formal funding, to help them close the deal as efficiently as possible, and of course to ensure they are getting market terms.  Providing fixed fees removes one of the biggest obstacles to start-ups engaging counsel during the funding process, i.e. concerns around creeping costs and their lawyers running the clock on each call or email query”, partner Chris Wilson says.

final words

The mentorship and guidance given to the startups has been highly valued by founders in the accelerator programme.

“It’s been a hard time to run a tourism accelerator during the coronavirus pandemic – it’s no surprise that we are the hardest hit. But we’ve noticed that many of our industry partners have stepped up and focused on innovation to give them a competitive edge when the industry recovers.”

“Having Kindrik Partners on hand to assist has been truly valuable throughout the course of the programme as our founders navigate the new normal.”

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