Agora announced the debut of the Agora Startup Program to empower global entrepreneurs and startup founders with exclusive backend support for real-time engagement (RTE) and direct access to benefits like top accelerators, incubators and venture capital firms. Tethered by partnerships with the Global Accelerator Network (GAN), Blume Ventures, Techstars Toronto Accelerator and more, the program will help startup founders get the critical resources and connections they need to accelerate growth and bring the next-generation of RTE applications and platforms to market.
To drive success of the new program, Agora has also hired three key team members with extensive knowledge and experience in the startup space:
- Tony Blank, who will spearhead initiatives as director of startup programs, joins the team after running similar startup programs for Twilio and Sendgrid where he helped over 5,000 startups find their place in the market and grow their customer base.
- Todd Embley, joining the team as a senior startup advocate, most recently served as the director of the Founder Institute in Western Canada — the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator.
- Blaise Thomas, coming on board as a startup advocate, brings unique on-the-ground experience to the table as a former founder himself. He dreamed up Splashmob, a platform that allows end-users to create live mobile sites in story format across connected devices, which was part of the 2020 Techstars Music Class.
“I couldn’t be more excited to supercharge Agora’s startup ecosystem and provide critical resources to entrepreneurs around the world,” said Tony Blank, Director of Startup Programs at Agora. “I look forward to finding the most innovative and exciting startups and provide the full spectrum of services founders need to break into competitive markets and create companies that will define the future of real-time engagement. Because innovation doesn’t exist within borders, we implore founders worldwide to apply, get in touch and join our community.”
Some of the exclusive benefits of the Agora Startup Program include:
- Free kickstarter packages: Agora will provide cohorts up to 1 million free minutes of use for Agora’s proprietary Software-Defined Real-Time Network (SD-RTN™), which delivers extremely low latency and high availability voice, video and live streaming. The program also includes free access to Agora Analytics to help developers analyze call usage and quality.
- Discounted HIPAA support: It’s crucial for healthcare startups to build on secure and compliant infrastructure. Relevant startups in the program will get discounted HIPAA Business Associate Agreements (BAA).
- Constant backend guidance: It takes a village to build an app or platform and Agora’s deep bench of expert developers and RTE evangelists will be on call to support founders the whole way through.
- Virtual show-and-tells with VCs and founders: On a monthly basis, Agora will host virtual show-and-tells for founders to present their app or platform to other founders for feedback and collaboration, as well as virtual show-and-tells with prominent VCs, incubators and accelerators to maximize exposure for funding opportunities.
“GAN’s community of accelerators, studios and investors has supported over 13,000 startups in the last decade, and every single one of these startups has needed to conserve cash and build an amazing customer experience,” said Patrick Riley, CEO of Global Accelerator Network. “We’re thrilled to have partnered with Agora, because they’re doing both of these things really, really well while putting founders’ needs first.”
“Blume Ventures is extremely excited to be a partner of the Agora Startup Program,” said Jitesh Luthra, who spearheads market development for Blume Ventures. “The Agora team have been incredible partners to us and our portfolio of companies. Real-time engagement continues to evolve and we are confident that Agora will continue to support the next generation of entrepreneurs looking to solve tough problems.”
The Agora Startup Program welcomes an impressive inaugural group of startups including: Mixpose, a platform that offers daily free yoga classes online with AI pose estimation; Remotion, a video workspace that helps remote teams move faster and feel connected; and AirMeet, an all-in-one, secure, simple and scalable virtual events hosting platform.
“Techstars Toronto is incredibly excited to welcome Mixpose — an Agora Startup Program cohort and Silicon Valley-based startup — into the 2021 class and the Techstars family,” said Sunil Sharma, managing director for Techstars Toronto. “Mixpose is one of the most enjoyable and healthy ways to leverage AI that we have ever seen. The idea to have at-home or in-studio interactive yoga and dance with pose and transition analysis will change the way yoga and dance classes are experienced remotely. Having this collaboration with the Agora Startup Program right from the start is an incredible win and we cannot wait to see how this develops over the next several months.”