JFDI asia from an observer’s point of view
The author once applied to the JFDI 2012 prograe but due to not being able to define clearly the idea’s problem he had, decided his idea was not profitable.
From outside, it looks like a contest. Teams will join this adventure towards finding product-market fit for the Asian market. They each get enough money to live through a hundred days each in Asia’s Lion City – Singapore.
They bring their own tools, their own personalities and culture towards the mix, interacting with a highly-cultured and globally competitive business landscape.
In exchange, JFDI provides the office space, the constant influx of good quality mentors from the region, and the publicity – culminating in a Demo day on the 100th day.
It’s in a way, an intelligent gamble.
Here are teams with their brilliant ideas for startups and innovating and finding solutions to the problems they face.
On the other side, you’ve got the investors – the people who are expecting a huge return on the money they have invested.
Once through the 100 days are over, the investors will be able to select the ones they want to keep investing in, and finally reap the rewards when their selected startup booms.
Sounds like a good deal to me. If I were an investor.
On the teams’ side of things, despite doing all the hard work, they will be able to reap the profits for themselves, since only a portion of their profits goes to the original investors, plus the money that was invested will have to be returned over the years, to the investors.
I am not sure if it works much like a loan, where you pay the investors back, or if all the money is itemized into individual expenses and only a portion of which will have to be given back to the original investors. But anyways, that’s the thing, you would still have to return investor’s money or at least show them where the money is going.
This is a huge responsibility in actuality.
It’s a practice in self-discipline. Maybe as kids we used to have everything given to us by our parents, but in this kind of game, you have to maximise the resources that are given to you as well as keeping in mind that the money may have to keep growing, or else – go bankrupt and your startup will die.
For venture capitalists, on their mind is getting their money’s worth.
For the most part, the advice, the mentors, and the encouragement helps teams to become better at the job of selling their product and team, to investors will give them a huge boost in the growing pains of a newly born startup.
Now the thing is that the job of an accelerator program, it’s to motivate those teams to achieve their KPI’s – those metrics which determine if they are going to make it and be able to show a demo by the end of the program.
So the kind of people they would most likely look for are those who are disciplined, exude extraordinary will power in getting stuff done.
And indeed, they are. The teams that were selected were mostly already building their idea before JFDI. Some of them were fresh off a Startup weekend, and are experienced in diverse fields.
Anyway, from an outsider, it seems like all glamor , although the author knows it’s not all about the glamor or the fame. It’s mostly all about the hard work and tenacity that keeps the startup business alive and kicking.
In short, although it sounds all a fair deal, it is also a lot of hard work. In a way, I am happy to be where I am at my stage in my life. Startup accelerators are for me maybe when I was just fresh off college or something. Thing is you can definitely pursue your dreams outside of accelrator programs like JFDI. It takes some motivation but you can form your own team through being social and networking with people through the many startup business events all over the world.
Overall, following through the vlog’s on jfdi.asia website was much like watching an episode of Survivor. We got up close with the mentors and how the teams were going along. It was a huge relief when Hobby Mash (which later turned into Family Ko) and Qryo were able to present on Demo Day. And now that the program has ended, at least for this year, I do hope that all of the participants would continue on living the dream.