The Global VC

Announcing Distro Dojo Malaysia 2016

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Growth marketing is about to blow up Southeast Asia — again.

IMG_4046 (1)500 Distro’s 10 week Distro Dojo growth program for post-seed companies is now accepting applications for the Spring 2016 cohort in Kuala Lumpur, from March 1 through May 15.

Startup life in Southeast Asia isn’t all just coconuts and laksa.

Technology adoption is exploding in Southeast Asia — at a rate that eclipses the (seemingly rapid) changes mature Western markets are logging.

Customer needs — and the channels to reach them — adapt fast, which makes rapid and innovative growth marketing experimentation extra critical for Southeast Asia’s startups.

Our fall cohort brought in 7 companies from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia to work hard on growth optimization and scale, under the guidance of the 500 Distro team and local mentors, including pros from Facebook, Google and

Real growth is a process that can’t — and shouldn’t — be confined to a 10-week bootcamp.

But, intensive sprints, with access to master practitioners, DO set companies up with the virtuous cycle of growth experimentation and optimization that they’ll need as they grow (even) more.

Below a few wins from our inaugural Distro Dojo in Southeast Asia, in partnership with MaGIC who generously provide space and facilities at their Cyberjaya campus, and help support operations.


At the end of this post, you’ll find more details on how to apply. 

GrabTaxi is Southeast Asia’s fastest growing taxi and private car booking app, and is the region’s unicorn with their $250M Series D round.

Though already a high-growth, later-stage company, GrabTaxi used their time in the Distro Dojo to improve paid-acquisition and optimizing unit economics, and ended the program with 36% MoM new user growth in Malaysia alone.


Bukalapak is an Indonesia-based online consumer-to-consumer marketplace with over $80M in transactions during 2014, mainly in fashion, gadgets and hobbies

35% of Indonesia (with it total population of 250 million people) does its purchasing via smartphones. Bukalapak has created a multi-platform, multi-vertical e-commerce experience specifically designed to win in this market.

As part of the Dojo, Bukalapak received hands-on product and new user acquisition help and logged a 33% increase in on-site conversions, 66% increase in new app installs while simultaneously reducing CPA by 58%.


Kitabisa is a fundraising platform for social causes, and is Indonesia’s first platform connecting causes with transacting donors online.

The company grew their campaigner user base grew by 10X by the end of the program.


KFit is a mobile app that provides access to fitness studios in 6 cities across Asia Pacific: Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney, with plans of expanding to 20 cities in the next 18 months.

During the Dojo, KFit focused on their customer acquisition and reduced their cost-per-install by 70%.


Monkimun is a language learning platform for kids, with good traction at over 1M users.

Monkimum worked on increasing engagement and retention of their user base and ended the program with a 68.5% increase in retention and 100% increase in in-app engagement metrics as a results of a relentless pace of product and UX optimizations, other later-funnel growth optimizations, and off-app support through email.

Next academy

Next Academy is a coding school focused on freelancers and entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia.

By focusing on operationalizing their customer acquisition, including experiments with offline growth techniques, Next Academy were able to 2X revenue in 10 weeks.


Shoppr is a personalized fashion discovery and purchase app with strong tie-ins to regional fashion bloggers and influencers, and one-click from browse to purchase.

The company focused on  retention and engagement techniques during the Distro Dojo, and were able to grow their weekly active users by 50% week-over-week consistently while also growing in-app engagement at a steady rate of 15%.

Here more about the Dojo experience.


If you’re a post-seed, pre-A startup with proven product-market fit, ability and desire to strongly prioritize growth during the full 10 week program, and are focused on the ASEAN region, apply here:


Kuala Lumpur Skyline photo: CFI

500 Global Team

500 Global Team