We were at Singapore’s most ‘joyful’ incubator, JFDI (Joyful Frog Digital Incubator) DEMO day on the 3rd of June where several startups (with teams from all over the world including India), made their pitches.
Here is an account on JFDI, their DEMO Day, the Indian teams and how you can get there.
JFDI is housed on the 5th floor of the famous Block 71 of Singapore. For the uninitiated, BLK 71, a rescued building in an aging industrial area, is the hub of startups in Singapore and home to more than 80 companies which include venture funds, incubators and startups.
Walking into JFDI’s office quickly reminds you of why the place is called what it is – friendly, welcoming team, a charming little cafe/bar in the office, that feeling of being able to wander around like you know the space. Co-founders Meng Weng Wong and Hugh Mason both entrepreneurs and mentors started JFDI in 2010 to ‘innovate in Asia, for Asia’
What’s this DEMO day all about?
JFDI’s 100 day accelerator program in South East Asia, aims to take entrepreneurs from idea to investment in that time. Selected startups get S$25k cash investment, technical facilities, office accommodation, mentoring and an introduction to several early-stage investors, who are invited for the pitches on Demo Day.
The bi-annual program, in its second year currently, saw 7 participants in this batch, each of whom made a 6-7 minute pitch.
“60% of the pitches got funded in the last batch, with over S$3.1 million invested in it”, said Hugh, at the beginning of the event. You can hear Hugh talk about the accelerator program here.
Nice, and who all participated?
Among the 7 teams this year, were OurHealthMate (India), Collabspot (France/Philippines), Userscout (Vietnam/Singapore), Duable (Taiwan-US), Klinify (Singapore/India), ScrollBack (India), and Krake (Singapore/New Zealand).
What was common among them was, a product/service specifically marketable in Asia. For eg. OurHealthMate, a web portal which allows Indian expats to find, book and pay for doctors in India on behalf of their loved ones. “Indians are one of the richest community outside India and over USD10 billion is transferred to India by 22 million NRI’s every year, for health care. Its a huge industry we are tapping into”, said co-founder, Abhinav Krishna.
Another participant, Duable, has build a product to help people learn chinese by turning every web page into a vocabulary lesson!
So, how did the Indian companies get there?
Well, JFDI only requires the selected companies to be headquartered in Singapore. So the teams can be from all over the place, and all they need to do, is incorporate a company in Singapore. You can read more on that here. Speaking of Indian startups at the accelerator program, Hugh told us after the event, “There is a huge talent pool in India and from last year, we saw a huge increase in the applications that come in from India”.
Speaking of their participation and experience of the whole process from the acceleration program to the DEMO Day, Gaurav Srivastava from Scrollback told us, “we’ve been in Singapore since February and its been a fantastic experience, the mentorship and the guidance and this exposure has been invaluable”, adding that processes are smoother in Singapore and the government support available to startups here makes its a feasible place to incorporate a company.
More on the terms of participation can be found here.
After the pitch (which is uninterrupted by questions from audience), the participating startups had set up ‘booths’, where investors and media had a chance to meet with them for any follow up questions. Among the investors, were Jungle Ventures and JAFCO Investment, getting to know the pitching startups better.
We also managed to catch up with the co-founder of flocations, a startup which pitched in the first batch of the program. Venkatraman Dhamodaran said, “JFDI does not get involved in day to day activities after the pitch, but the 100 days of mentorship is fantastic and even beyond that, the brand name helps to pitch to other potential investors”.
How does one apply for this program?
By clicking here. The next program begins in August 2013.