iJAM is being undermined by bureaucracy. In case you’re wondering, that’s Karl Marx and Franz Kafka in the picture. Image: Harold Groven
An intense debate has raged over the weekend about i.JAM, a government grant scheme for seed stage startups, among Singapore’s entrepreneurs, developers, and investors.
While much has been written about the topic by Jeffrey Paine of Golden Gate Ventures and Willis Wee of TechinAsia, it seems that venture capitalist Murli Ravi’s blog post was the flashpoint that brought the debate to a boil.
Plenty of focus has been placed on the i.JAM grant’s supposed salary cap, which states that “a founder shall be paid up to SGD 1,000, regardless of whether he/she is concurrently hired as company employee for purpose of the Project.”
Jon Yongfook, founder of PitchPigeon, was particularly miffed when he heard about the rule. He tweeted:
While many others echoed his sentiment, the reactions towards the salary rule was far more nuanced. Some believe that even if the SGD 1,000 limit is a hard cap, it shouldn’t deter entrepreneurs from applying for the grant. I spoke to a couple of iJAM incubatees on the condition of anonymity in exchange for their frank opinion. All names are changed to protect their identities.
“I have bootstrapped and I can maintain a relationship, pay bills and get by on $1,000. In fact I feel that is the one good thing about iJAM, it forces founders to go to market faster,” said Carl.
Another iJam incubatee, Kevin, went as far as saying that if the salary cap is stopping an entrepreneur from applying for the grant, then perhaps he or she shouldn’t really be starting a company. Read more
By Murli Ravi, head, South Asia, JAFCO Investments (Venture Capital). This article was first published on his blog. Check out his tweets @murli184.
Singapore has a bunch of government schemes put in place to support R&D, technology commercialization, seed funding for startups and so on. One of these is the i.JAM grant scheme. (You’ll agree it’s a cool name because it starts with a lower-case i. And there’s a dot in the name. Yes, the JAM is all-capital but no, we won’t explain what the abbreviation stands for. If it’s an abbreviation. But I digress.)
This is a pretty decent scheme if you’re a budding tech entrepreneur. You can go and read all about it on the program website or here.
However, before you decide to take the plunge and become an i.JAMMER (er, corright spelling anot?), watch out for this: if you’re approved for this scheme, you’re allowed a maximum salary of SGD 1,000 (USD 800) per month. No, I didn’t miss typing a zero. Whaddaya mean you need money for rent? Read more
Michael Yap, deputy CEO of the goverment’s Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA), and executive director of the Interactive Digital Media Programme Office (IDMPO), has left the organization to pursue his personal interests.
The IDMPO is an inter-agency outfit that runs iJAM, a microfunding and mentorship scheme for startups.
Mr Yap will be replaced by Yeo Chun Cheng, the current assistant chief executive of industry at MDA. Before joining the organization, Mr Yeo had a 20-year IT industry stint. He had worked in Silicon Valley, heading several engineering departments at different startups.
At the same time, Lim Chin Siang has been appointed director of IDMPO and will assist Mr Yeo in the running of the Office and its programs. He will have approving authority for current projects under i.JAM incubators.
Referral marketing startup Anafore has just secured their first round of seed financing from BAF Spectrum, engineering co-founder of Skype Toivo Annus, and SPRING SEEDS Capital – a wholly owned subsidiary of SPRING Singapore that co-invests in local start-ups. Read more
For the first time, the IEEE Virtual Reality conference will be held in Singapore. In conjunction with the conference, the Interactive Digital Media Programme Office (IDMPO) will hold an iJAMMING session. In addition to meeting with researchers and industry players in the VR field, you can find out more about the various call for proposals for entering into China and those under the FutureMedia initiative. Read more
The Interactive Digital Media Programme Office (IDMPO) will be holding this next iJamming session in conjuction with the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF)’s Meet the Members session. Read more
This i.JAMMING session will give you a preview on what to expect for some of the progammes which the Interactive Digital Media Programme Office (IDMPO) is embarking on in 2010. Come join in to catch the details for Calls for Proposals, product demonstrations by featured companies and of course, the networking sessions. Also, get the latest updates on incubation schemes available during the sharing session. Read more
Hear from companies at different stages of the startup phase and learn how you may work with Garena, Nokia and PEM in their industry calls at this next iJAM networking session on the 25th of Jan. Read more
Recently, I read that Angels Den from Europe has landed in Singapore. In their proposal, they are charging startups S$1499 upfront to pitch, and takes a 5% success fee. It also prompted response from local blogger DK that entrepreneurs should not pay investors to pitch. My stance is that entrepreneurs and start-ups should not pay investors to pitch and here are my opinions on this issue. Read more
The iJAM Networking session will be happening on 2 Sep 2009, from 6 pm to 8 pm in both National University of S’pore Shaw Foundation Alumni House Auditorium, Storey 2/ IDM Institute @ 21 Heng Mui Keng Terrace. Read more