AirAsia and Libra Capital Group co-founders float an accelerator and incubator for SE Asia startups


The co-founders of AirAsia, a budget no-frills airline and Libra Capital Group have come together to launch Tune Labs, an accelerator and incubator for technology companies from SE Asia. Tan Sri Tony Fernandes is the co-founder and Group CEO of AirAsia and has since co-founded the Tune Group of companies, including Tune Hotels and AirAsia X. Kamarudin Meranun co-founded Tune Group and is currently the Non-independent Executive Chairman of AirAsia Berhad and also the Group Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia X Berhad. Along with them is Lim Kian Onn, the man who founded Libra Capital Group in 1994 and co-founded the ECM Libra Group in 2002. He is also currently the non-executive Chairman of Plato Capital, a company listed in Singapore, a director of AirAsia X Berhad and Kennedy, Burkill & Company Berhad and a trustee of ECM Libra Foundation.

The trio have come together for Tune Labs in which Tony and Kamarudin own 35% each while Lim owns the remaining 30%. The idea is to conduct two parallel programs of 12 weeks which will be conducted thrice a year. Here's what is on offer for startups during the 12 week incubator program:

  • Platform to develop and validate your ideas
  • In-house development team to accelerate development of product
  • Opportunity to graduate into the accelerator program and leverage AirAsia/Tune Group massive customer base

And there is the accelerator program which does not have a fixed time frame. 12 week startup boot camp and is mainly for companies with an MVP. The acceleration period will help them:

  • To go out and raise funds based on the achieved KPIs to drive business forward with new money
  • Opportunity to validate your product across AirAsia/Tune Group massive customer base
  • In-house development team to accelerate development of product

“We can’t expect monetisation to appear very quickly. So in the initial stage, it will be more capital going in. I am sure that if we are successful, other people will put capital into this anyway,” said Tony. One of the options is to have AirAsia or the Tune Group invest in Tune Labs. AirAsia is a subsidiary of Tune Group, which Fernandes and Kamarudin have also founded. “(Along the way) we may ask Tune (Group) or AirAsia to contribute, but that’s up to their respective boards,” he added. For both the accelerator and incubator, Tune Labs is preferably looking for companies in travel, e-commerce, mobile and fintech.

More and more corporates are now entering the startup space and looking for companies that can fit in with the bigger picture. For instance, Target has been very active in India with two batches that have already graduated, Reliance powered GenNext Innovations Hub had 11 companies, Pitney Bowes is looking at Data Analytics companies and more. Tune Labs has a focus on companies from SE Asia but with many Indian companies setting up base in Singapore, the announcement is noteworthy. Tune Labs is accepting applications till May 20, check out their website.


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