JFDI.Asia secures US$2.1mil to accelerate tech startups in SEA
By Digital News Asia March 18, 2014
- Aims to raise US$4.7mil to scale up Singapore ops and better serve SEA entrepreneurs
- First beneficiaries of this investment will be new startups starting with JFDI this month
JOYFUL Frog Digital Incubator (JFDI.Asia Pte Ltd) said it has secured firm capital commitments totalling S$2.7 million (US$2.1 million) from an international consortium of investors anchored by Singapore’s Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL).
The investment round is also supported by two funds, SpinUp Partners Ltd (Russia) and Fenox Venture Capital (Silicon Valley), with private investors from the Philippines, Vijay Saraff (Thailand), Paul Burmester (Unied Kingdom) and Thomas Gorissen (Germany), JFDI.Asia said in a statement.
JFDI.Asia said the investment represents the first milestone toward its ambition to raise S$6 million (US$4.7 million) to scale up its operations in Singapore and better serve entrepreneurs across South-East Asia.
Across the three previous runs of its bootcamp – one in 2012 and two in 2013 – 60% of graduates went on to raise follow-on funding, it said.
“For the first time in history, innovation is becoming systematised and we now know how to teach entrepreneurship,” said JFDI.Asia chairman Wong Meng Weng (pic).
“With huge support from the local community, JFDI was first to bring a new approach to nurturing startup companies to Asia. Now that we have proved that it works, it’s time to scale up and that’s exactly what this funding allows,” he added.
The international roster of investors in today’s announcement reflects Singapore’s growing reputation as a conducive ecosystem for startups, from infrastructure for innovation to startup financing, JFDI.Asia said in its statement.
IIPL’s significant role in the fund strengthened investor confidence to join the consortium, contributing to Singapore as a great place for creating and building, the company added.
IIPL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) which says it manages more than S$200 million.
“IIPL is helping to build a strong pipeline of Singapore-based, high-growth and innovation-driven tech startups that can bring about a disruptive change to our entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said IIPL head Dr Alex Lin.
“The accelerator model is a key part of our strategy towards achieving this. We are happy that our entry into this partnership as an anchor investor has catalysed JFDI’s fund raising round and kick-started the accelerator programmes to benefit innovation driven tech startups in Singapore,” he added.
The private investors participating in the round bring more to the table than money, JFDI.Asia said. Many are already involved as active mentors to startup companies, or bring connections and insights that have strong strategic benefits for JFDI.Asia.
“In Russia, we have talented startup teams and capital seeking access to world markets. Singapore is the gateway to Asia for us and we look forward to working closely with JFDI.Asia into the future,” said SpinUp Partners Ltd director and chairman Sergey Gorokhov.
The first beneficiaries of the investment announced today will be the new batch of startups starting with JFDI this month. Including two further runs of the programme later in the year, 2014 should see JFDI add 30-40 startups to its portfolio of alumni, with ambitions to expand that by a further 40-60 startups in 2015.
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