Singapore-based Joyful Frog Digital Incubator (JFDI.Asia) is setting its sights on accelerating tech startups in Southeast Asia. It today announced securing an investment of S$2.7 million (US$2.1 million) from investors across the globe.
The round was led by Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL), Russia’s SpinUp Partners, US-based Fenox Venture Capital, Thailand’s Vijay Saraff, UK’s Paul Burmester, Germany’s Thomas Gorissen, and other private investors from the Philippines. The funds will be used for both, investing in startups that complete the programme, and managing operational costs.
The 100-day incubator selects startups to attend its programme, and subsequently invests in each startup. In 2012, it had invested S$15,000 (US$11853) in cash and S$150,000 (US$118530) in intangibles per team in 11 startups. In 2013, it then invested S$25,000(US$19755) in cash and S$150,000 (US$118530) in intangibles per team in 15 startups. In total, it has invested S$540,000 (US$426,877) in cash in a total of 26 teams. Startups that receive funds from JFDI will also be valued with this rather transparent chart.
In terms of sourcing out external funding besides from JFDI, over 60 percent of the 26 teams who completed the programme have gone on to raise an average of S$650,000 per team (US$513,000).
“For the first time in history, innovation is becoming systematised and we now know how to teach entrepreneurship,” said Wong Meng Weng, Chairman, JFDI.Asia. He added, “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.”
In an interview with e27, Hugh Mason, Co-founder and CEO, JFDI.Asia, added that entrepreneurship used to be mysterious. Now, people can be taught and trained to become competent founders. He raised the example of a marathon runner. When the first Olympics was held, most people could not understand how they too can become marathon runners. Today, people understand how they can become competent runners. The same goes for entrepreneurs, who might not be sure of how they can fulfill their dream of starting a business.
Mason said that the incubator is looking to raise S$6 million (US$4.7 million) by the end of the year. He added that as long as there are people who are willing to support them, JFDI will be able to raise up new startups and keep investing in new blood.
According to an official statement, JFDI is aiming to add an additional 30 to 40 startups to its portfolio of alumni in 2014, and an additional 40 to 60 startups in 2015. Its fourth batch of startups will start this month. Previous alumni include Vault Dragon, Collabspot, Klinify, Shopspot, and Flocations.
For the record, JFDI had joined US-based TechStars’s Global Accelerator Network in 2011 as a member. This allowed the incubator to compare costs and results with 50 counterparts around the world.