Sequoia reveals first cohort for its Surge accelerator program in India and Southeast Asia

Back in January, Sequoia India announced plans for its first early-stage startup accelerator program in India and Southeast Asia, and today the firm revealed the first cohort of 17 startups.
To recap, the program which is called Surge gives each startup a $1.5 million check and participation in a four-month program thats split across India and Singapore, as well as the wider Sequoia global presence in China and San Francisco.
The program kicked off last month, but the startups were only unveiled for the first time today here they are:

Azani Sports: a full stack sports clothing startup based in India that sells online and through selected high street retails

Bobobox: a capsule hotel company based in Indonesia

Bulbul: a live-streaming service with a focus on e-commerce across India

DancingMind: a Singapore startup that uses VR to enable remote for stroke victims and patients of debilitating diseases like Parkinsons

Doubtnut: an India-based education startup that uses photos, videos and AI

Flynote: a travel booking service with a focus on personalized trips

Hippo Video: a platform developing, editing and analyzing marketing and sales videos

InterviewBit Academy: a computer science training and development platform in India thats not unlike recent Y Combinator graduate Skill-Lync

Khatabook: an accounting service for SMEs in India that already claims 120,000 weekly users

Qoala: a micro-insurance startup based in Indonesia, which competes with rivals like PasarPolis which is backed by three of Indonesias unicorns

ShopUp: a social commerce startup that helps sellers in Bangladesh do business through Facebook thats a similar concept to established Indian startups Meesho (another YC alum) and LimeRoad which enable sellers on WhatsApp

Skillmatics: a startup headquartered in India that develops learning games for pre-school and primary school kids aged under 10

Telio: a b2b commerce platform that aims to digitize the process of brands and wholesalers selling to retailers

Uiza: a Singapore-Vietnam startup that lets publishers and companies develop their own video infrastructure independent of platforms like YouTube

Vybes: an e-commerce platform for social media influencers thats based out of Singapore

Zenyum: a startup that provides invisible braces for consumers in Southeast Asia at a lower cost than traditional alternatives

Theres one additional startup which is being kept under the radar for now, Sequoia said.
Sequoia India managing director Shailendra Singh previously told TechCrunch that Surge would support a curated selections of fellow VCs who could invest alongside in the cohort alongside the firm, and Sequoia said that the 17 startups have attracted a total of $36 million in investment. A spokesperson also pointed out that five of the selection have at least one female co-founders, which is almost certainly above average for the region although it is tricky to get reliable data covering India and (in particular) Southeast Asia.
Surge is an interesting effort for Sequoia, which has traditionally played in post-seed and growth stages of the investment cycle. Sequoia closed its most recent fund for India and Southeast Asia at $695 million last year, and it also has access to a globally active growth fund that is targeted at $8 billion. Reports have suggested that Surge will get its own sparkling new $200 million fund, which would make a lot of sense given the potential conflict and confusion of investing via its main fund. But the firm is declining to comment on that possibility for now.
One major addition to the program that has been confirmed, however, is Rajan Anandan, the executive who previously ran Googles business in India and Southeast Asia and is a well-known angel investor. His arrival was announced earlier this month and he will lead the Surge initiative.
His recruitment is a major win for Sequoia, which is betting that Surges early stage push will reap it richer dividends in India and Southeast Asia. That part remains to be seen, but certainly, there is a dearth of early-stage programs in both regions compared to other parts of the world.

Sequoia goes after early-stage with an accelerator program in India and Southeast Asia
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