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JFDI.Asia’s CEO Hugh Mason sheds more light on what to expect at JFDI-Innov8 2012 Bootcamp and what the team is going through.

“Two years ago, Meng Wong and I started pushing a big heavy ball up a hill”, writes JFDI.Asia CEO Hugh Mason. “We set out to raise the funding and support we needed to set up JFDI.Asia, the first TechStars network program in South East Asia. Now, as 2012 begins, that ball is poised right at the top of the hill and it’s about to start rolling down …

In the next few days, we will publish details of the teams who are joining us for our 100 day startup-to-investment bootcamp which starts on 26 January. The teams come from around the world. 20 percent are from Singapore and the rest come from countries as diverse as Japan and the Netherlands, Thailand, Philippines, India and Indonesia.

(Updates: Since this post was written, JFDI.Asia has published a list of the Bootcamp startups. Read about them here.)

On running Bootcamp

This is the first time our small team has run the program, so we are a startup too. The response to our offer has been overwhelmingly positive so it now feels like a lot is riding on what happens next. Tech celebrities like investor Dave McClure and a host of successful entrepreneurs including Derek Sivers, Steven Goh and Boris Nordenström have dropped by to lend their support, invested in us or will be acting as mentors. SingTel Innov8 is our key partner, providing space for us to work and access to their 416 million customers.

Of course the focus for the next 100 days will be on the startup teams who are joining us. They will race against the clock to get their businesses investment-ready to show at our investor demo day in mid-May. Some TechStars programs have secured funding for 70 percent of their startups. We don’t yet know if we can match that success but however you look at it, the bar we’re trying to jump is high.

What to expect

Whether we make it or fail on the way, we have committed to share what happens openly so everyone can learn from what we get wrong as well as what comes out right. Starting in the first week of February, we will run one or two public events each week and anyone is welcome to come along and meet our mentors, investors and startup teams. They want to hear about your ideas and experience as well as sharing theirs.

Indeed the recruitment process for the bootcamp has already brought some fascinating insights into the development community and the range of business opportunities around the Asia-Pacific region. Working with local partners, we ran Startup Weekend events in Singapore, Jakarta, Manila, Melbourne, Delhi and Bangkok. Over 100,000 visitors followed us on the web, livestream and Twitter and we had over 10,000 views of the over 200 videos we posted on our YouTube Channel. Along the way we met over 1,200 developers and supported over 200 teams to create prototype businesses. We plan to share all the feedback they gave us in a free report that we will publish online shortly. We hope it will help anyone trying to create digital businesses in Asia to get a sense of who’s doing what around the region.

2012 will be a strange year for Meng and me in some ways because once demo day in May comes, we need to decide what to do with all the energy, enthusiasm and connections that JFDI.Asia has built. We could not have got this far without the support of many people in Singapore’s startup scene. Thanks to all of you: please come by to see the ball you helped to start rolling and if you have ideas about where we can take this next, do let us know. In return we promise to share what happens and publish details of our events openly. You can follow us @jfdiasia.

About Hugh Mason

Hugh Mason is a successful entrepreneur, mentor and investor. Born in the UK and now living in Singapore, he connects people, communities and cash to make ideas real. Hugh is CEO at JFDI.Asia and Adjunct Professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts Asia.