The GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund, which supports startups in Asia-Pacific and Africa with equity-free grant funding and technical assistance, is looking to select another 15 companies for its third round. Applications for the round are set to open on March 12. Each of the selected startups receives between £100,000 ($139,000) and £250,000 ($347,500) in funding. The GSMA fund also provides participating startups the opportunity to partner with mobile operators in their markets to help scale their products and services into sustainable businesses with positive socio-economic impact, according to its website. GSMA focuses on providing equity free funding. “We do not want to disrupt the market of the investors (by taking an equity),” said Kaung Sitt, market engagement manager of GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund, during the outreach event. The fund is supported by the UK Department for International Development, the Australian Government, the GSMA and its members. The fund expects to see a large turnout from Asia, especially countries such as Myanmar, for its third round, Sitt said. In the second round of GSMA’s Innovation Fund that was launched in June 2017, about 13 per cent of total Asia-Pacific applications were from Myanmar. In terms of the top 100 startups applicants from Africa and Asia-Pacific, 5 per cent were from Myanmar. GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund had selected nine startups for its first round in 2016. These included Indonesia’s Ruangguru that develops a freemium learning management system to help students prepare for exams and teachers crowdsource educational content. Another selected Asian startup was Nepal’s eSewa that aims to provide the unbanked in the country with business opportunities through mobile phones. Round two will probably see around 15 startups selected across the Asia-Pacific and Africa. Sitt said GSMA is looking for startups that focus on areas such as IoT, Big Data and mobile wallet for its third round. The programme requires applicant startups to get a commitment from a matching funding source, an equity investor to provide financial support. The selection process until the financing is approved could take about six months.
Read more at: https://www.dealstreetasia.com/stories/gsma-innovation-fund-startup-applications-92480/