JFDI revamps accelerator programme: Double the investment, partly online
By Digital News Asia May 20, 2015
- Experiment to deliver Asia’s first ‘accelerator on the cloud’
- Startups no longer have to commit to full-time presence in Singapore
For one, teams accepted into the programme will receive an immediate S$50,000 (US$37,000) commitment for a fixed 8.88% equity stake, double the investment that JFDI.Asia previously offered, with the promise of an additional S$70,000 (US$53,000) follow-on participation at the seed round for the most successful startups.
The programme will also partly be delivered online, giving startups the option to stay close to their customers and to extend their runway by basing themselves where expenses are lower than JFDI.Asia’s base in Singapore.
In addition to the cash investment, every team will be offered a package including one-on-one mentoring valued at S$150,000 (US$113,000), plus technical and other vendor perks worth S$1.2 million (US$908,000), JFDI.Asia said.
They will also enjoy the opportunity to pitch to over 100 active early-stage investors at a demo day. Unlike many other high-profile accelerators, JFDI.Asia charges no fees to participating startups.
“Thanks to investors who have recently joined to support our work, the increased funding we can now offer startups will give them more runway to build traction and puts JFDI’s offer on par with other elite accelerators around the world,” said cofounder and chief executive officer Hugh Mason (pic).
“In fact, for many working out of low cost, high-opportunity countries like India and Vietnam, our total S$120,000 (US$90,000) offer, plus an unbeatable package of vendor ‘perks,’ will take them a long way towards a seed round,” he said at the Wall Street Journal Tech café event in Singapore on May 19.
JFDI.Asia said that historically, following demo day, more than 60% of its startups have received seed stage funding offers averaging SG$600,000 (US$450,000) per team – sufficient for an 18-month development runway in Singapore, or much longer elsewhere in the region.
In parallel with the increased funding announced today, startups going through JFDI Accelerate will gain a new option to spend part of their time away from Singapore while still participating.
Previously, a condition of participation was that teams had to commit to a full-time presence at JFDI.Asia’s innovation campus in Singapore.
“Singapore is an aspirational place for international entrepreneurs to live, incorporate and raise funding, so it’s no surprise that 90% of our teams come from overseas to join us,” said cofounder and chairman Wong Meng Weng (pic).
“But costs are much lower elsewhere in the region, and the market for our startups is also often back home.
“So this time around, we are experimenting with transformational technologies like Slack to virtualise our offering, giving teams the option to accelerate with us wherever they choose to be based, for part of the programme,” he added.
If the experiment to deliver Asia’s first ‘accelerator on the cloud’ succeeds, JFDI.Asia said it may move entirely to an online model in future, or offer a blended offline/ online experience from diverse regional centres that gives entrepreneurs the best of both worlds.
For investors it will bring the chance to see the strongest possible field of curated talent while mentors will get back as much as they give as they gain insight into the widest range of territories, technologies, and business models, the company said.
“Instead of trying to create a ‘Silicon Valley of Asia’ in any one country, JFDI’s vision is to work with multiple partners to foster a pan-Asia entrepreneurial ecosystem that makes the most of the region's diversity and encourages businesses to go global from Day One,” said Mason.
JFDI.Asia said it prefers balanced teams to lone business founders. It invests in digital startups across all sectors, with a preference for companies addressing the problems and aspirations of the rising urban middle class in Asia, whether at home or at work.
Startups, potential mentors and investors can reach out to JFDI.Asia for more information at: [email protected] or apply to its programmes immediately online.
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