JFDI Accelerator Raises $2.1M To Help Singapore Become Southeast Asia’s Startup Hub

Singapore’s Joyful Frog Digital Incubator has raised $2.1 million from investors led by Infocomm Investments to pursue the city state’s ambitions of becoming the startup hub for all of South East Asia.

Russia’s SpinUp Partners and the Silicon Valley-based Fenox are among other investors participating in the latest round. The idea behind getting more overseas investors is to gain from their expertise and collaborate.

“In Russia, we have talented startup teams and capital seeking access to world markets. Singapore is the gateway to Asia for us and we look forward to working closely with JFDI.Asia into the future,” Sergey Gorokhov, Director and Chairman of the Board at SpinUp Partners said in a statement.

The funding will be used to incubate more startup ideas in the region, and is part of the accelerator’s aim to raise around $4.7 million in total capital. The new funding will also be used to support the upcoming batch of startups later this month.

“Including two further runs of the program later in the year, 2014 should see JFDI add an additional 30-40 startups to its portfolio of alumni, with ambitions to expand that by a further 40-60 startups in 2015,” JFDI said.

Singapore has been pushing aggressively to become the Silicon Valley for South East Asia. In 2013, the country’s technology sector attracted venture capital worth $1.71 billion from around $27.9 million in 2011, according to Asia Venture Capital Journal Research. 

Since 2012, more than 60% of the 27 teams completing the JFDI programme have succeeded in raising an average S$650k ($513,000) per team, the accelerator said in a statement.

Over past two years, Singapore has attracted many startup teams from neighboring India, New Zealand and Australia, who have relocated to build their products, raise seed capital in the country. Digital health startup Klinify and inventory management startup TradeGecko are among examples of entrepreneurs who have shifted to the city state.

While still waiting for bigger exits, Singapore’s startup ecosystem has made some progress in past year. The $200 million acquisition of Viki, a video streaming platform, by Rakuten in September 2013 was a sign that startups in Singapore were beginning to attract global acquirers.

“IIPL is helping to build a strong pipeline of Singapore-based, high growth and innovation driven tech startups that can bring about a disruptive change to our entrepreneurial ecosystem. The accelerator model is a key part of our strategy towards achieving this,” Infocomm Investments’ Alex Lin said in a statement. These investments are part of Singapore’s strategy to build 500 technology product startups in next five years.