Ten Southeast Asian startups pitched their housing solutions following seven months of support and mentorship by leaders in the technology and impact investment sectors
A Global Summit celebrated the conclusion of Habitat for Humanity’s ShelterTech accelerator in Southeast Asia, where the ten startups presented their work and progress to date, followed reflection by investors and ecosystem partners on why innovation in affordable housing market is critical. First launched in 2017 with accelerator programs in Mexico, India and Kenya, ShelterTech has grown into a global platform to connect innovating ideas, products and services in affordable housing, with special focus on solutions that work in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. ShelterTech aims to make housing a top impact investment category.
“ShelterTech works across sectors, industries and geographies to bring together the most impactful and cutting-edge innovations improving housing conditions for low-income families across the globe. We chose the ten startups in the Southeast Asia cohort because we believe they will make significant contributions to addressing the global housing deficit,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity, at the opening of the Summit. Launched in Southeast Asia in July 2020, the accelerator attracted more than 100 ventures, vying for a chance to be part of the world’s leading platform for affordable housing innovation.
Startups from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Singapore were selected for the program in late-2020. In addition to an initial catalytic grant of US$10,000, the ventures completed a seven-month acceleration process, which included learning laboratories, masterclasses on housing and business topics, dialogues with regional investors and one-on-one mentorship with seasoned experts from global corporations including Hilti, Dow and Autodesk.
During the pitches, startups recounted their growth journey since joining ShelterTech and their plans to bring affordable housing products and services to millions of low-income families in the region. CUBO Modular, which is based in the Philippines and manufactures modular homes out of bamboo, has sold out all units of their award-winning homes for the remainder of the year. Sampangan’s proprietary “magic box” turns waste into activated carbon, which is used to create building materials. The Indonesian startup recently secured new contracts with governments and the largest startup in Indonesia to create more long-lasting products out of waste materials.
Following the Global Summit, ShelterTech will continue to provide recognition and growth opportunities to startups, while developing its close-knit ecosystem of ventures and partners. The platform will also partner with other national and regional accelerators, in fields such as PropTech and smart cities, to integrate an affordable housing track to their programs.
A corresponding accelerator and Summit also took place in the Andean region of South America. In total, ShelterTech has supported over 60 startups and scaleups worldwide to date. In Southeast Asia, the accelerator was run in partnership with Villgro Philippines and Global Urban Village.
ShelterTech is a global innovation platform advancing entrepreneurial housing solutions that radically improve the lives of low-income families. Supported by Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and its partners, ShelterTech puts entrepreneurs at the center of a highly connected ecosystem of mentors, investors, peers, alumni and technical experts who share a passion for revolutionary ideas in affordable housing. For more information and opportunities, visit shelter-tech.org.
About Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter
The Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, a unit of Habitat for Humanity International, works with housing market actors to expand innovative and client-responsive services, products and financing so that households can improve their shelter more effectively and efficiently. The goal of the Terwilliger Center is to make housing markets work more effectively for people in need of decent, affordable shelter, thereby improving the quality of life for low-income households. To learn more, visit habitat.org/tcis
About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on an interracial community farm in the U.S.A. and has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 70 countries. In the Asia-Pacific region since 1983, Habitat for Humanity has supported millions of people to build or improve a place they can call home. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit habitat.org/asiapacific.
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