International start-ups 'demo' ideas to raise funds

A group of start-ups that just emerged from a 100-day "boot camp" took to the stage last Friday to demonstrate their business ideas to about 130 investors and, hopefully, raise some funding.

The 12 firms that took part in "Demo Day" had earned the chance to pitch their business plans by getting through the programme run by local business accelerator Joyful Frog Digital Incubator (JFDI).

JFDI chief executive Hugh Mason said the investors present at the event manage about $1 billion worth of funds in all, much of it available for early-stage businesses.

"Our guess is that if a start-up can show business traction and a credible team, it probably will get funded," he added.

The 12 "graduates" are the third batch to complete JFDI's programme and the first since Infocomm Investments (IIPL) invested in the accelerator early this year.

IIPL is the venture capital arm of the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA).

The start-ups are from Singapore, Lithuania, India, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, and included local operation Glints, a LinkedIn for young people, India's Quickly, which has an automated productivity tool, and Thailand's Stylhunt, which aims to pinpoint trustworthy online shops.

MediaLink, a digital platform that connects small businesses, journalists and sources, is another start-up from India, while Indonesian firm Wikasa offers instant slidecast creation for publication and sharing.

The investors there were impressed to see so many ideas from young entrepreneurs.

Local venture capitalist William Klippgen singled out Grapfyt, an online property rental market, and AppKnox, which is a security mobile app, as two start-ups that "show a deep understanding of interesting market niches that are easily scalable".

Mr Hian Goh, the co-founder of local venture capital firm Silicon Island, told The Straits Times: "The start-ups were solving real-world problems that exist both regionally and globally.

"It gives investors and the community confidence that real innovation and execution are happening in Singapore."

Other local investors present included venture capital firms such as Jungle Ventures, Innosight Ventures, Monk's Hill Ventures and Unicorn Venture Capital.

Megawisra Group from Malaysia and Japanese venture capital firms Rebright Partners and Incubate Fund were among the foreign firms that showed up.

JFDI's Mr Mason said: "Temasek Holdings also attended because it is interested to stay in touch with the innovative companies that are now starting out on the staircase that eventually leads to its level of investment when the start-ups get bigger."

This article was first published on July 10, 2014.
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