Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL), the investment arm of Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), has announced a strategic partnership with leading startup accelerator, Joyful Frog Digital Incubator (JFDI), to run accelerator programmes for innovation-driven tech product startups based in Singapore. The programme seeks to build 500 promising technology startups in Singapore over a five-year period. The first Accelerator programme is targeted to start from March 20, 2014.
The programme will address some of the findings from the Startup Genome Report 2012, where local startups cited insufficient quality mentorship and business traction as the main reasons for their fund raising difficulties, while early-stage venture funds gave feedback pointing to a dearth of quality startups in Singapore that can be funded.
Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman of IDA and Chairman of IIPL said, “IDA and its subsidiary IIPL are helping to build Singapore-based tech product companies that can serve the world. We are committed to ensure Singapore is a great place to create and build high growth tech product startups.”
The Accelerator programme will take in cohorts of promising startups through a competitive selection process. The accelerator will invest typically S$25,000 to S$50,000 in exchange for a small equity stake in each startup that has been accepted and put them through a training programme. The training programme would include lessons in areas such as Lean Startup methodology, Agile
development and investor pitching. But the real value-add is intensive mentoring from people who have ‘been there, done that’ before.
Talking about the partnership with JFDI, Dr Alex Lin, Head of IIPL said, “We see great value in the accelerator model in stimulating the growth of homegrown innovation driven tech product startups, and elevating their chances of success amid global competition. This is more so, with an experienced partner like JFDI running the programme, bringing along its established methodologies, techniques and a well-connected community. The partnership also marks a significant expansion in IIPL’s role in boosting Singapore’s startup ecosystem — beyond providing growth capital to taking a more hands-on role in helping promising tech product startups at the seed and early stages.”
Wong Meng Weng, Co-founder and Chairman of JFDI added, “There’s an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child and that’s true for startups too. Part of Silicon Valley’s ‘secret sauce’ is the way it inspires yesterday’s company founders to become tomorrow’s company funders: it’s very common to see young entrepreneurs make the transition from inventor to investor on a remarkably short timescale. When that happens they pass on much more than financial wealth. They also pass on a wealth of hard-won experience and that’s exactly what’s starting to happen at JFDI too.”
At the end of the programme, the majority of startups which have undergone the Accelerator programme should be of sufficient quality to receive Series A funding; win contracts locally or receive Accreditation status from IDA. Some of these startups may also receive further investment from IIPL. At least 90 per cent of each cohort from the Accelerator programme is expected to set up significant operations in Singapore.
Besides partnership with JFDI, IIPL is also currently exploring partnerships with successful overseas accelerators to run programmes in Singapore, targeting startups at various stages of maturity. The partnerships will bring in influential “brand name” accelerators along with their experience, high quality mentor network and overseas market access expertise.
IIPL will also engage accelerator partners from other industry sectors, for example, logistics, healthcare or finance, that are of strategic interest to Singapore. These vertical accelerators will complement the general, technology-focused accelerator programmes and help groom startups that are able to inject innovation in the respective sectors.