Asia is getting another startup reality TV show after Angel’s Gate, only this time round it will be more of a documentary-style TV series for startups in the region. After all, the program is being launched by Channel NewsAsia.

The reality TV program called Start-UP will see eight finalists pitch for seed funding from private venture capitalists worth a total of S$2 million ($1.6 million).

Start-UP is a new reality TV show for Asian startups, with a jackpot of $1.6m in seed funding

Singapore-based venture capitalists Leslie Loh of Red Dot Ventures and Eddie Chau of TNF Ventures will be the ones in charge of steering the people behind these startups through the process of seeking private capital, maneuvering pitfalls and basically managing to keep afloat in the deal-making world.

Channel NewsAsia’s TV show will likely be far from the flashy American reality TV series ‘Start-ups: Silicon Valley’ on Bravo that debuted in November last year, but wasn’t renewed for a second season. It will also be taking a different approach from Angel’s Gate, which is now open for Season 2 – that applies an all-or-nothing crowdfunding system for entrepreneurs to raise funds for their projects. 

Instead, Start-UP will be more of “factual entertainment”. It will be broadcast on the news channel in four episodes, while the finalists’ ideas will get tested and incubated over eight weeks. Start-UP is now calling for entries, with a closing date of October 31, and those shortlisted will get notified in December. The show will start being broadcast in March 2014.

Web content will also be produced and featured on the Start-UP website, launched today, which will apparently be a long-term project for the start-up community and investors to interact with one another.

MediaCorp, the parent company of Channel NewsAsia, has shown immense interest in the regional tech scene recently. In June this year, it launched a strategic investment vehicle targeted at startups particularly in the digital media space. The investment vehicle, called The Mediapreneur, is made up of an investment fund that helps startups in seed or series A capital — a separate entity from the TV series’ private capital funding.

However, it is still clear that by engaging with the start-up community in the region, MediaCorp is making an obvious strategic shift toward the digital space, as traditional television is being threatened by a rapid uptake of tablet and mobile video viewing according to a recent report from online video firm Ooyala.


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