Call of the accelerators
Habitat's Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter invites startups in Southeast Asia and South America's Andean region to meet global housing challenges.
MANILA (Sep. 4, 2020) — Habitat for Humanity today announced that its Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter is taking applications for ShelterTech accelerators in Southeast Asia and in the Andean region of South America. As the world’s leading platform for affordable housing innovation, ShelterTech brings together entrepreneurial minds to answer today’s most pressing global shelter challenges.
ShelterTech gives participating startups and scaleups access to key industry players, from corporate executives and investors to academics, government officials and innovators. They provide mentorship, connections and funding, backed by Habitat for Humanity’s decades of experience as a leading affordable housing organization. By scaling solutions developed by startups, Habitat is working to assure more of the 1.6 billion people who lack adequate shelter globally have access to improved housing products and services.
ShelterTech launched accelerators in Mexico in 2017, then Kenya and India in 2018, accelerating more than 40 startups whose innovations ranged from construction management mobile applications to paving blocks made from plastic waste to solar energy solutions for rural areas. Since then, accelerator alumni have gone on to secure funding from investors worldwide.
This year, in recognition of the important role housing plays in promoting better health outcomes, the accelerators will prioritize innovations that address COVID-19’s evolving challenges. To further help startups reach their milestones and encourage out-of-the box thinking, each ShelterTech accelerator cohort participant will receive US$10,000 in catalytic funding.
“ShelterTech is about closing the gap between the best innovations in affordable housing and families seeking a safe and livable place to call home,” said Patrick Kelley, vice president of the Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter. “By providing a tailored experience to startups, we facilitate the ideal market fit for scale and sustainability of their innovations. Ultimately, by opening new markets for them, we can also provide low-income families with affordable products and services, making their homes resilient and safer, especially in the context of COVID-19.”
Selected ventures in both regions will go through a virtual acceleration program, testing and validating their business models with the support of industry experts and mentors. Then the startups will have opportunities to connect with global partners, investors and ShelterTech alumni. The accelerator is being co-designed by Village Capital in the Andean region and Villgro Philippines and Global Urban Village in Southeast Asia.
“Southeast Asia has a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, and many startups are born from founders’ aspirations to develop solutions that can transform their communities and cities,” said Priya Thachadi, co-founder & CEO of Villgro Philippines. “Housing is often an overlooked, under-valued sector in the impact investment space, and we are excited to partner with Habitat to fill the gap between new and great ideas and the enormous market potential that exists in the region,” she concluded.
Daniel Cossío, regional manager for Village Capital Latin America added “In the Andean region, 11.2 million families are heavily impacted by the housing deficit, due to high land prices, informal markets and limited access to financing options. We are thrilled to support Habitat for Humanity in identifying and supporting ventures with breakthrough solutions and help them grow into successful forces within the affordable housing space.”
In each region, the accelerator seeks for-profit companies with a minimum viable product, a meaningful customer or business validation and products and services that can improve housing livability and affordability. Companies with housing-related solutions in sectors such as materials, labor, finance, land, markets, energy and water and sanitation, especially those whose products and services can address COVID-19 challenges, are encouraged to apply.
ShelterTech is supported by a network of key partners, including Autodesk Foundation, Dow, the Hilti Foundation and the Keith V. Kiernan Foundation. Applications are open until September 30, 2020. Interested companies can apply at habitat.org/sheltertech/participate.