By Hugh Mason co-founder and CEO of JFDI.Asia, a Singapore-based startup accelerator. JFDI is a member of the Global Accelerator Network.
Over the last ten years I have worked with something like 35 different government agencies in the UK, Netherlands, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. All are trying to support early stage business through economic intervention of some kind.
I am struck by the fact that arguably the most successful country at entrepreneurship in the world — the United States — offers very little public support to entrepreneurs. It just clears the way for them to get on and do the job themselves.
Brad Feld and David Cohen, who founded startup accelerator TechStars, have an interesting take on this. They point out that many stakeholders are interested in entrepreneurship at certain points in the economic cycle but that their support is fickle. A cynic might say that:
- for governments, when things are down and there’s yoof unemployment (eg in Europe), then encouraging entrepreneurship feels like something futuristic, dynamic and a way to funnel young peoples’ energy away from rioting. Schemes and programs and initiatives sound like a government is taking action. Incubation centers are something that politicians can be photographed outside of, handing over the keys. But how any of it actually adds up to a sustainable recipe, when the raw ingredients are unruly entrepreneurs, untried businesses and fickle investors, is very hard to articulate. Read more
Following JFDI.Asia alum TribeHired’s USD 560,000 funding round, the Singapore-based startup accelerator released some facts about the state of its first batch of companies. While JFDI’s efforts at transparency is commendable and should be emulated across the region, the numbers don’t mean as much without a benchmark for comparison. Read more
TribeHired, a social recruitment website started by a team from Malaysia, announced that it has closed SGD 696K (USD 560K) in early stage funding led by TNF Ventures through the Singapore government’s Technology Incubation Scheme. Angel investors Ben Ball and Ben Chew also contributed.
A graduate of startup accelerator JFDI.Asia‘s inaugural bootcamp, TribeHired is currently in beta with several thousand job seekers in Malaysia. It is also being used by companies such as Zalora, Lazada, fellow JFDI.Asia grad Flocations, and Brandtology. Read more
Block 71 has become Singapore’s Cowork Central. The old industrial building, which is experiencing new life as a tech startup hub, is also playing host to a bunch of coworking spaces that cater to the entrepreneurial crowd.
The latest to join this family is an ‘innovation campus’ called Joyful Frog, a new coworking space just launched by startup accelerator JFDI.Asia — which is currently in the midst of its 100-day startup bootcamp.
While JFDI.Asia did not define the venue, which is slightly larger than a tennis court, as a coworking space per se, it does share many characteristics of one, namely, memberships and a limited number of residences, meeting rooms and ‘lily pads’ for discussions plus a cafe for casual interaction, and entrepreneurial-related events on-site. Read more
JFDI.Asia, Singapore’s most prominent startup accelerator, has announced the eight startups that will join its first bootcamp, which will start on 21 February. The teams will receive a SGD 25K (USD 20K) investment right away.
Below are the eight teams: Read more
JFDI.Asia held its first bootcamp in Asia. The question remains whether it and Asia's other startup accelerators can keep the momentum going.
Asia has become a much friendlier place to do a startup. That’s because throughout the region, more startup accelerators have been launched to provide aspiring entrepreneurs some handholding as they search for the next big idea.
In 2012 alone, at least 4 startup accelerators have begun their inaugural bootcamps. Singapore’s JFDI.Asia held a successful one from January to May, while South Korea’s SparkLabs unveiled their first batch of startups in August. Philippines’ Launchgarage and Hong Kong’s AcceleratorHK too have started their programs.
A startup accelerator, essentially, is a type of seed startup funding (see: stages of a startup) vehicle that offers a structured mentorship program and support services over a fixed duration of time — often from 3 months to a year. Investees typically have to go through a rigorous selection process. Read more
Update: Applications for JFDI.Asia Bootcamp, held from 14 February to May 2013, are now open. Deadline is 14 December.
The frog is croaking again. After months of relative peace, where they were quietly laying the groundwork, JFDI.Asia is ramping up for a second helping of their signature accelerator program in Singapore — the JFDI.Asia Bootcamp.
Major changes are afoot. First up, teams that are selected for the program will be getting more seed money — SGD25k (USD20.5k) instead of SGD15k (SGD12.3k) to be exact — to test out their ideas and develop prototypes.
Second, Golden Gate Ventures (GGV) will feature more prominently in this round, after they announced today a new “alliance” that will see the firm’s three partners, Vinnie Lauria, Paul Bragiel, and Jeffrey Paine, join the accelerator as mentors. Only Vinnie was a mentor for the first run. Read more
Updated: 6 Feb 2013
JFDI.Asia aims to build an innovation ecosystem that sustains itself, in Asia, for Asia. Together with the rest of the startup community, it strives to turn local founders into investors within 5 to 10 years. Its signature event is the JFDI.Asia Bootcamp. It operates a Minimum Viable Cafe, which offers a private pantry on a pre-paid basis to its extended network of partners, alumni, high-tech entrepreneurs in Block71 and their guests. The company, registered in Singapore in January 2010, is a member of the Global Accelerator Network. Read more
Singapore-based startup accelerator JFDI will be accepting applicants into the second iteration of its program soon, it said in a blog post today.
It concluded its inaugural 100-day JFDI-Innov8 Startup Bootcamp in May this year, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia.
For the upcoming round, the application process will be more transparent. Startups which apply for the upcoming bootcamp will get to understand how exactly they are evaluated. The applications will open “this coming year”. Read more
Fashion labels, like tech startups, have a valley of death. Once sales picks up, designers will have the unpleasant task of managing an ever burgeoning inventory and customer database. It saps their creativity, takes time away from what they do best, and could ultimately destroy the business.
To help designer-entrepreneurs like these, a trio of Kiwis has today launched TradeGecko, a cloud-based customer, sales and inventory management tool that aims to fill the gap between spreadsheets and enterprise tools like SAP, Netsuite, and SalesForce. Read more