The Movers & Shakers of Tomorrow: Meet Sequoia’s New Batch of Superstars Involved In Surge 02

Surge, a rapid scale program launched this year by Sequoia India for early-stage startups in India and Southeast Asia, today announced the 20 innovative, ambitious early-stage startups selected for Surge 02 2019 – and opened applications for Surge 03 2020.

In the nine short months since its launch in March 2019, Surge has grown into a community of more than 80 founders from 37 startups, spread across six countries. The program combines USD $1 million to USD $2 million of capital for each startup with company-building workshops, global immersion trips and support from a community of exceptional mentors and founders. The Surge 02 2019 cohort includes 20 startups who are solving a wide range of problems across a diverse set of industry verticals, including Consumer Internet, EdTech, AgTech, Clean Energy, Social Commerce, Fintech, SaaS, Robotics and DTC brands. Eight are from Southeast Asia.

Surge is an initiative by Sequoia India, which has backed over 250 startups in India and Southeast Asia, including Tokopedia, Gojek, Zilingo, One Championship and Carousell.

Southeast Asia’s booming internet economy hit the US $100 billion mark in 2019 and is poised to surpass the US$300 billion mark by 2025, according to a recent 2019 study by Temasek, Google and Bain. This will provide unprecedented momentum to the region’s ecosystem.
“Southeast Asia is at a tipping point. The rate of mobile Internet adoption and growth of daily active users is now at a massive scale, and that opens up all kinds of possibilities for startup founders with new insights and innovative ideas. There are so many gaps and white spaces in every country in the region – across virtually every sector,” said Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Surge, at Sequoia Capital India. “For mission-driven founders who want to build something new, make a difference and have a big impact on your economy – this is your time.”

Company-building, especially in the early stages, can be extremely challenging. It takes an insane amount of effort to build the first product, hire the first engineer and land the first customer. Many early-stage founders in the region also feel they spend too much time fundraising, at the expense of building their business.

Surge is designed to give founders an unfair advantage from the start, helping founders clear these hurdles with access to the kind of capital, resources, mentors and expert help they need to supercharge their startup.
Key features of the program include:
● Capital: Founders receive a USD $1 million to $2 million Surge round early on in the program, so they can start hiring and building their product right away.

● Community: Founders will be able to learn, grow and share their journeys with fellow founders from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. They also work closely with coaches from Sequoia and respected founders such as Tokopedia’s William Tanuwijaya; Gojek’s Nadiem Makarim, One Championship’s Chatri Sityodtong, Carousell’s Quek Siu Rui, Zilingo’s Ankiti Bose and other entrepreneurs in Sequoia’s portfolio who serve as Surge mentors.

● Company building support: Workshops and seminars follow the journey of company building, from foundational work on leadership, culture, hiring and building a winning organization, to design choices, product and scale, and to marketing & brand positioning. Founders also receive advice and help on hiring. Surge’s 10xE program helps connect founders with seasoned tech talent, right from the start. One Surge 01 2019 startup, Telio from Vietnam, for example, hired 30 engineers with help from Surge’s tech and talent team.

● Cross-border experience: Week-long cross-border immersion trips to the world’s leading innovation hubs in Silicon Valley, China, Southeast Asia and India give founders have the chance to plug into the global start-up ecosystem.

Surge has been designed with an ‘open architecture’ in mind and encourages other investors to come in on the first Surge round. In fact, 80% of Surge 02 2019 startups have co-investors on the Surge round. Founders also have the opportunity to present to a larger set of venture and strategic investors at the end of the program.

Surge is a five-week program that’s spread over a 16-week period and runs twice a year.
Applications for Surge 03 2020, which kicks off in March, are now open.

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