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Announcing SOSV’s Orbit Startups program for startups in emerging and frontier markets
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Ned Desmond
Ned Desmond

Today SOSV is announcing the launch of Orbit Startups,  which is a new program encapsulating the former SOSV programs dedicated to startups in emerging and frontier markets. Orbit encompasses SOSV’s established MOX and Chinaccelerator programs, and reflects those program’s shift in recent years to the geographies of Southeast and South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. 

“Many of our recent successes,” said William Bao Bean, SOSV general partner and managing director of Orbit, “have resulted from applying the aggressive growth strategies we learned in more mature  markets, notably China, to emerging markets elsewhere around the world. Orbit Startups expresses this new, exciting phase of growth for SOSV.”

At the same time, SOSV announced the promotion of Chinaccelerator program director Oscar Ramos to SOSV general partner and managing director of Orbit.  A native of Spain, Ramos is a telecommunications engineer by training and has worked in China for 14 years as both an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. (Check out this interview with Oscar.)

“I am very excited by this huge vote of confidence from the SOSV leadership,”  said Ramos, “and delighted to work even harder on emerging and frontier market strategy. We learned so much about rapid growth strategies over the past decade and now we’ve seen how well they work in emerging and frontier markets.” 

In 2021, the Orbit team invested in more than 40 new startups operating in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas and helped portfolio companies raise US$286 million in follow-on funding.  In the past year, a string of Orbit Startup portfolio companies have closed major series A rounds, including $25 million at Phable (remote healthcare in India), $46 million at VideoVerse (AI-based real-time video editing), $40 million at Marketforce (ecommerce in Africa), and $37 million at Dastgyr (ecommerce in Pakistan).  

“We are eager to help disruptive startups in emerging and frontier markets where there are more inefficiencies, fewer legacy industries, and the most opportunities for aggressive growth.” said Bean, “Orbit selects tech players that can impact millions of lives at once—startups that are solving monumental problems in healthcare, education, finance, and logistics; and startups that are future-proofing the local economy through digitalization.”

Orbit Startups’ development program is open for applications.  The program welcomes early stage (up to series A) applicants to work virtually or in-person with Orbit’s growth experts and to participate in an investor-focused demo day. SOSV provides $150,000 in capital and introductions to raise follow-on rounds.  Founders also receive lifelong access to the Orbit program modules. Orbit conducts four cohorts each year with approximately 10 companies in each.

“SOSV started our startup development programs in China 12 years ago by launching Chinaccelerator,” said Sean O’Sullivan, founding general partner at SOSV, “and that was China’s first accelerator. It’s gratifying that in 2022, we’re continuing to expand on all we’ve learned.  In areas like healthcare and commerce, the rise of disruptive startups will make life better for billions of people.”

Orbit will maintain the Chinaccelerator office in Shanghai and the MOX office Taipei, where founders can work in-person with Orbit’s team. The team has a deep, first-hand understanding of the technologies and business models that have cascaded from China to and from the rest of the world – including super-apps and social commerce⁠.  The Chinaccelerator Shanghai office will also continue the robust legacy program to connect program’s founders with multinational corporations, such as AB InBev, Siemens, Visa and Pfizer, among many others. The Taipei MOX office will continue as  the center for the development of Orbit’s free mobile promotion network, which helps SOSV founders scale audiences quickly in emerging and frontier markets.

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