JFDI.Asia presents first batch of 2014 startups to global investors
By Digital News Asia July 9, 2014
- Part of strategic partnership with IIPL to enable high-growth tech product startups
- Teams included B2B, B2C, education, cyber-security, enterprise mobility startups
[Story amended to clarify fund management amounts]
JOYFUL Frog Digital Incubator Asia (JFDI.Asia) recently presented its first-in-2014 cohort of 12 teams under its JFDI Accelerate Programme to 150 local and global investors active in Singapore.
These investors collectively manage over S$1 billion in early stage startup funding, JFDI.Asia said in a statement.
This is the first Demo Day to be held as part of a strategic partnership between Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL), the investment arm of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), and JFDI.Asia to run accelerator programmes for high-growth, innovation-driven tech product startups based in Singapore.
The 33 entrepreneurs across 12 teams taking the stage ran the gamut from business-to-business (B2B) to consumer; education to e-commerce, and cyber-security to enterprise mobility, JFDI.Asia said.
The teams comprised the accelerator’s largest-ever contingent of Singaporean entrepreneurs, with founders from all over Asia including Indonesia, India, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand. One team came from as far as Lithuania:
Arena (Singapore): Metrics to help young star professionals stand out for promotion.
Appknox (India): Mobile app vulnerability detection and security certification.
Celuv (South Korea): Flipboard for Fashion Shopping, gamified discovery and lead generation on mobile.
Codetoki (Philippines): Developing tomorrow’s developers.
Glints (Singapore): LinkedIn for Youths.
Grafyt (Singapore): Uber for real estate rentals.
KallFly (Philippines): On-Demand Virtual Contact Center Marketplace.
MediaLink (Singapore): A Public Relations marketplace connecting businesses, journalists, and sources.
Quickly (India): Automated productivity tool, triggered by inbound email, integrating applications on the cloud.
StoryRoll (Lithuania): Bringing micro-video to e-commerce.
Stylhunt (Thailand): Search for online shops you can trust.
Wikasa (Indonesia): Instant slidecast creation, publication, and sharing.
Steve Leonard, executive deputy chairman of IDA and chairman of IIPL, said there is a strong investor community with good connections around the world now flourishing in Singapore.
“It’s great to see an international crop of tech product startups presenting to an international crowd of investors at the JFDI Demo Day, matched by a strong accelerator community helping to craft the right quality of tech product startups.
“With all these raw ingredients in place, Singapore is a real hub for South-East Asia tech companies to build and grow,” he added.
The teams ranged from fresh entrepreneurs to veterans of several previous startups. They all joined the 100-day JFDI Accelerate programme on March 20 with a raw business idea that they hoped to scale globally.
The programme has put them through an intensive lean innovation process, with access to funding, mentors and connections that they need to succeed, JFDI.Asia said.
JFDI.Asia cofounder and chairman Wong Meng Weng (pic) said the total number of teams that the organisation has accelerated to date stands at 38.
“Historically, more than 60% have succeeded in raising an average of S$650,000 per team and they have created up to 30 high-value jobs each. A lot of that success is down to the way the community here in Singapore has come together to co-create innovation systematically.
“No longer do we see the smartest investors waiting for deal-flows to drop fully-formed into their laps. Increasingly, they’re rolling up their sleeves, getting involved and, in several cases, have actually physically moved in with us to help us shape startups that the market wants,” he added.
[S$1 = US$0.80]
Glints, a Singaporean team comprising three 21-year-old pre-college founders – the youngest startup that JFDI.Asia has ever accelerated – is building a ‘LinkedIn’ for youth which seeks to solve structural unemployment issues in the market.
“The key takeaway from our participation in the programme is more than just capital, but what’s most valuable is the intensive mentoring by people who have deep and varied experiences in building successful tech companies, and the great community connections that will follow us through our startup building career,” said cofounder Oswald Yeo.
StoryRoll, founded by four entrepreneurs from Lithuania with an aim to bring micro-video to e-commerce, chose to build their startup business in Singapore for access to the huge and growing South-East Asia market.
“After spending 100 days in the programme, we feel like we have obtained a Master’s degree in entrepreneurship. The strong mentoring, supportive environment, multicultural friendships with other international startup teams, and connections to influential people, have inspired us to work harder and believe that we can successfully achieve our goals,” said founder and chief executive officer Linas Sivis.
JFDI.Asia said it invested S$25,000 in each of the 12 startup teams and provided over S$100,000 worth of intangibles -- technical facilities, office accommodation, intensive mentoring -- and connections to more than 100 active early-stage investors.
A total of S$2.7 million in funding was secured by JFDI.Asia in March to accelerate the growth of Singapore-based high growth tech product startups, with IIPL being the anchor investor to catalyse JFDI.Asia’s fund-raising round and kick-start the running of its accelerator programmes.
"As a mover of the tech startup ecosystem in Singapore, we recognise there is a gap to be bridged, arising from the mismatch between investors’ expectations and the quality of tech startups in the market," said Dr Alex Lin, head of IIPL.
"That’s how we see the value of the accelerator model in growing tech startups at different stages of maturity and transforming them to focus on big ideas with the ability to have a global impact,” he added.
Besides the partnership with JFDI.Asia, IIPL is also exploring collaborations with corporations, universities and overseas professional accelerators to set up a steady pipeline of accelerator programmes in Singapore, with the aim of building 500 Singapore-based high-growth tech product startups in the next five years.