JFDI.Asia moves ‘downstream,’ welcomes more mature startups

  • Releases details of 12 Singapore-incorporated startups in Accelerate
  • Investors getting more demanding about the maturity they want to see

JOYFUL Frog Digital Incubator (JFDI.Asia) said that the latest batch of startups in its fifth 100-day accelerator programme includes companies that were on average at a significantly later stage of maturity.
The move marks a shift towards later-stage startup support, JFDI.Asia said in a statement releasing details of the 12 startups in the programme.
The companies are all incorporated in Singapore, but some originated from countries as diverse as Poland and India, it said.
Each will receive a S$25,000 (US$9,650) cash investment, workspace and the option to choose from a package of free technical and services valued at S$1.8 million (US$1.4 million), JFDI.Asia said. They will also get mentoring to prepare them for a demo day with active early-stage investors in January 2015.
JFDI.Asia moves ‘downstream,’ welcomes more mature startupsHistorically, the programme has seen over 60% of startups raise seed funding averaging S$700,000 (US$545,000), JFDI.Asia claimed.
Its cofounder and chief executive officer Hugh Mason (pic) said that when JFDI.Asia started in 2009, the startup ecosystem in Singapore and the region was relatively nascent.
“There was a lot of community building and basic education to be done. Today, that valuable work continues, but it’s now being done by many other dedicated individuals and organisations across the region.
“So JFDI.Asia is free to move on and that’s why we are shifting now to help more established businesses,” he said.
Compared with the previous application process to JFDI.Asia, the selection process for the current programme offered more entry points to accommodate a wider range of startups.
From 250 teams that applied online for the Accelerate programme, 50 teams were chosen to go through 21 days of rigorous online mentoring and ‘customer discovery’ in JFDI’s Discover programme.
The final 12 startups were then selected based on business maturity, their commitment to applying a disciplined, evidence-based approach to entrepreneurship, and the depth of their customer interactions.
JFDI.Asia moves ‘downstream,’ welcomes more mature startups“This cohort came into the Accelerate programme very well prepared: We helped speed their learning through our Discover programme, then supported them remotely to validate their businesses before they came to Singapore,” said JFDI.Asia chairman Wong Meng Weng (pic).
“That’s important because, while there is plenty of early-stage capital available in Singapore, investors at every stage are getting more demanding about the maturity they want to see before they write a cheque. Our job is to prepare startups to be ready,” he added.
That preparation work is helped by the fact that two business angels, Michael Blakey and William Klippgen, and two Series A funds, Monks Hill Ventures and Northstar Silicon Island, are all resident at JFDI.Asia, the company said.
Together they have more than S$165 million (US$128 million) under management. JFDI.Asia said its startups work alongside these investors, making the feedback loop very direct.
“We observe a significant rise in the quality of tech startups with viable business models and stronger ability to attract VC (venture capital) funding,” said Dr Alex Lin, who heads Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd, JFDI.Asia’s anchor investor.
“There is also growing energy and interest in the ecosystem to help promising tech startups at the seed and early stages grow through acceleration.
“Singapore is building itself into the world’s first Smart Nation, and this environment will provide lots of exciting innovation opportunities for local tech startups anchored here to build ideas that are able to solve real worldwide challenges,” he added.
The working titles and current focus of the JFDI Accelerate startups are as follows:

  • Oroscas: Enabling the under-banked in the Philippines to save, send, and spend money
  • Pricify: Fashion e-commerce product discovery for India
  • Rush Bike: A motorcycle delivery logistics marketplace in Bangkok
  • Shareboard: Smart mobile file sharing for emerging economies
  • RyMM Education: Developing productive partnership between parents and teachers in a private campus social network
  • Digify: SnapChat for serious content
  • Gecko Life: The social network that puts families first
  • QLC: Career and lifestyle portal for the restless millennial
  • Telefun: Massively multiplayer television
  • DatastreamX: A marketplace for real-time data from M2M, IoT and big data applications
  • CastingDB: A talent casting platform that reinvents the audition.

Applications are now open for the next JFDI Accelerate programme which will start in February, 2015.
Related Stories:
JFDI.Asia secures US$2.1mil to accelerate tech startups in SEA
Golden Gate Ventures, JFDI.Asia offer fast-track seed funding
JFDI.Asia opens up accelerator programme

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