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.
And what better benchmark is there than Y Combinator, the mother of all startup accelerators? So we put together data supplied by JFDI with information from Seed-DB, the best online resource on startup accelerators. Here’s what we got:
Some key observations we can derive from the data:
- This is no apple-to-apple comparison: Y Com’s first batch was in 2005. JFDI’s was in 2012. Y Com is located in California, JFDI is in Singapore. So, while exits should be the key metric to measure the performance of accelerators, it is still too early to judge JFDI based on that. Also, the investment and acquisitions landscape in the United States as a whole is a lot more favorable in the past and certainly today than Singapore. Expectations for JFDI will need to be tempered.
- JFDI’s funding performance is comparable to Y Com: While JFDI doesn’t have a startup like Loopt, which raised a mega USD 32M round (but floundered thereafter), it has nonetheless performed commendably, with seven of its startups getting funding soon after the bootcamp. A lot of it has to do with the Singapore government’s Technology Incubation Scheme, which funded at least 4 of the startups (Tradegecko, Flocations, Shopspot, and TribeHired) through its appointed incubators.
- JFDI needs to find ways to reduce its deadpool rate: 4 out of its 11 startups in the first batch died soon after the bootcamp was over. That needs to be improved either through a better selection process and a better mentorship process which can help startups more quickly identify product-market fit (more of the first I think). This is especially critical because unlike in the US, there aren’t as many acquirers who are willing to buy startups for their talent or assets, even at a reduced price.
As I’ve written before, the long-term success of accelerators in Asia will rely on their ability to generate sufficient returns from its exits. Much will also depend on whether more venture capitalists would be enticed to place bets on early stage startups outside of China and India.
Then there are less visible things, such as how JFDI is contributing to developing an innovative culture, but these are much harder to quantify.
Anyway, with JFDI’s second batch already underway and the third intake scheduled to start this year, we’ll certainly revisit this analysis again.
From what I’ve seen, the second class as a whole appears to be much further along in traction as compared to the first. That is reason for optimism.
JFDI’s CEO Hugh Mason has given us a breakdown (in SGD) of how each of their portfolio companies have performed:
Kark Mobile Education – B2C tablet game platform using collectible QR cards to make 4–12 year old children masters of a simulated world.
$15k investment by JFDI.2012 Pte Ltd closed. ACTIVE – $50k from Ideosource closed. Intends to raise further funding after full product launch.
FamilyKo – B2C multi-platform app that allows families separated by business to bond and grow together.
$15k investment by JFDI.2012 Pte Ltd closed. ACTIVE – trading and investment partnership agreed with an undisclosed major corporation
Fetch Fans – B2B web service that gives brand franchises with local businesses control and analytics as they use social media to maximise impact for all their franchisees.
$15k investment by JFDI.2012 Pte Ltd closed. ACTIVE – $720k investment by Angel syndicate led by Lawrence Seah and Yeo Choon closed.
Flocations – B2C web travel service that visualizes nearby destinations on an interactive map, so leisure travellers can browse by budget and book their next getaway in minutes, not hours.
$15k investment by JFDI.2012 Pte Ltd closed. ACTIVE – $700k investment led by TNF Ventures and supported by SingTel Innov8 / Ben Ball closed.
Remember – B2C mobile app is the family Time Capsule in your pocket that makes it simple to capture and relive memories on your smartphone.
$15k investment by JFDI.2012 Pte Ltd closed. DEADPOOL – Founders closed business due to insufficient market traction.
ShopSpot – B2C mobile app that makes buying and selling items as easy as sending a tweet.
$15k investment by JFDI.2012 Pte Ltd closed. ACTIVE – $50k investment by Thai Angel syndicate closed. $779k investment led by Jungle Ventures and supported by SingTel
Stubb – B2B document sharing service for the masses that connects your printer to the cloud. Anything you can print, you can publish online.
$15k investment by JFDI.2012 Pte Ltd closed. DEADPOOL – Following inconclusive discussions with investors the business ceased trading.
Tradegecko – B2B web-based service providing supply chain management for independent brands and their retailers.
$15k investment by JFDI.2012 Pte Ltd closed. ACTIVE – $811k round led by Wavemaker Labs, supported by business angels, closed.
Trafflers – B2C web service that makes it fun to discover and plan vacations with friends, thereby increasing the frequency and size of group travel bookings online.
$15k investment by JFDI.2012 Pte Ltd closed. DEADPOOL – Following inconclusive discussions with investors the business has refocused on activity in Europe.
TribeHired – Social recruitment platform for fast-growing start-ups that puts friends to work.
$15k investment by JFDI.2012 Pte Ltd closed. ACTIVE – $696k round led by TNF Ventures and supported by angels Ben Chew and Ben Ball closed.
Wildby – B2C fun talking encyclopedia on your iPhone that 5 to 12 year olds can enjoy without needing any literacy skills.
$15k investment by JFDI.2012 Pte Ltd closed. DEADPOOL – Founders pursuing other ideas.