Gebr. Heinemann incubator GHARAGE launches TR accelerator in Asia

By Kristiane Sherry |

New GHARAGE Head of APAC Darren Soh (L) and Managing Director Lennard Niemann

Gebr. Heinemann-backed travel retail brand incubator GHARAGE is today (14 March) opening its first office in Asia Pacific as it seeks to tap into local trends and invest in the region’s founders.

With its new Singapore office, GHARAGE APAC will expand its geographic reach to better enable it to back pre-seed to Series A start-ups in the region.

Darren Soh, previously an investment manager at Singtel Innov8, has been appointed to lead the Singapore arm as Head of GHARAGE APAC. 

The Hamburg-headquartered venture was founded in 2020 to build and invest in travel retail startups. Its mission is to ‘turn travel time into valuable time for global travellers’. 

Its team works across foresight and intelligence, venture building and venture investing, with a focus on consumer goods as well as the GTR channel.

Its portfolio currently includes an on-demand airport delivery platform, a web3 community for whisky collectibles, and a luxury retail experience for airports. 

GHARAGE believes its backing from Gebr. Heinemann and subsequent access to a global retail network makes it an appealing option for start-ups seeking investment. 

“We have witnessed founders in Asia build some of the fastest growing and innovative companies in the travel and retail ecosystem,” said Lennard Niemann, MD of GHARAGE.

“Our launch seeks to unlock opportunities for founders to tap into the travel and retail ecosystem that Gebr. Heinemann has built globally, and to bring Asia’s innovations to global travelers.” 

GHARAGE: Building ‘the future of travel retail’

Soh added: “We’re here to back founders who are looking to build the future of travel and retail.  We believe that this is the time for Asia – companies are emerging not only as local or regional players,  but global powerhouses in their respective fields. 

“We seek to help fuel the APAC region in the retail and travel ecosystem and to deliver external innovation to Gebr. Heinemann.” 

In an email, Soh noted the diverse and differing needs of Asian consumers, as well as the region’s speed of tech and innovation adoption.

“Founders in Asia have also built some of the fastest growing and innovative companies in the travel and retail ecosystem throughout the last few years. Our launch into the Asia Pacific seeks to allow us to tap and invest into the innovation in the region, and to bring it to our customers globally.”

Last year, Gebr. Heinemann said it is ‘very satisfied’ with its year-to-date performance as it targeted 75% of pre-pandemic revenues.

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