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News From Singapore’s Accelerators

TECHCRUNCHJFDI Asia, the Singapore-based accelerator program, is doubling down its investment in early-stage startups and experimenting with allowing participants of its 100-day program to spend time away from its physical base. The organization, which was founded in 2012 by former BBC producer Hugh Mason and entrepreneur Meng Weng Wong, said it will now provide an immediate SG$50,000 (US$37,000) investment for startups accepted into its twice-annual program. That covers an 8.88% share in each company, and is double its previous investment. JFDI Asia is also pledging to offer a further SG$70,000 (US$53,000) towards a follow-on seed round for “the most successful startups.”

Mason told TechCrunch that the increased funding comes in response to the development of Asia’s startup ecosystem over the past few years, and also for practical purposes.

“Valuations are going up, and we’re seeing more mature businesses,” he added, explaining that JFDI Asia is retaining the same amount of equity for its initial investment. “As for the follow-on money, we would like to be able to participate in seed rounds where teams are very successful.

“It typically takes our graduate companies three to five months to close a round once they leave our program. That initial SG$25k would get them through the program [and cover the cost living in Singapore], but then we found a lot were struggling to bridge the financial gap before they closed a round — giving them more security is important,” he further explained.

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