Southeast Asia can be a wealth of opportunities for Startups -but it’s no easy market. This week we sat down with Sebastien de Peretti, Founder of Jumpster, a company that helps French Startups expand there.
Hi Sebastien, how did you arrive in Singapore?
We arrived in Asia by choice, my wife and I simply decided to move here. We spent some time looking at different places but Singapore just looked like the best compromise between professional opportunities and quality of life. We didn’t really have any particular connections there but it seemed like the perfect choice.
Back in France I held various general management positions in small MNCs, and I started working in a similar role in Singapore. But I was really trying to find my sweet spot, where I could bring most value. This is how I realized I could help startups expand here in Singapore and in the Region and this is how I decided to found Jumpster.
What is Jumpster?
It’s very simple. We basically work with startups who want to expand in Southeast Asia. There’s two ways we do this:
As a first step we do business development for them.
Ultimately we want to invest with them. We build joint ventures with them to help them accelerate
We differentiate on two things:
We build long-term relationships with our Customers. Many companies here say they help with business development but they basically work on a couple of weeks assignments. We think 3 to 6 month, because that’s what it really takes to do it.
Second, we focus on B2B tech startups in several areas: Internet Of Things, Big data and Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity.
We see good commercial traction since our beginning so it shows we deliver value.
How did you create it?
We are three associates: Sylvain Lejeune, Jean-Luc Bernard and myself. Sylvain is VP Sales of WatchGuard and he has been in Asia for 20 years. He has an extensive network in cybersecurity. Jean-Luc is an entrepreneur in the tech industry for more than 30 years, he has seen the evolution in the past decades and brings a huge knowledge as well.
When I decided to create Jumpster I started by speaking to a lot of people. I deeply believe that an idea can only be good if you share it. Sometimes founders are reluctant to do it to protect their ideas, but it’s just not how I work. So I talked to many people and it helped me structure my thoughts, strengthen the value proposition and more generally I got extremely valuable feedback. Most importantly this is how I met my co-founders.
We share strong values and this is what enabled us to find employees, partners, customers and extended resources. These resources are critical for every startup. They are people who believe in our idea and business and want to help us in the early stages.
Singapore is a great place to start a business. When I moved here I had no idea I was going to do this. By talking to a lot of people i realized I could bring value, and the market here is very fast and fluid. This is how I started.
I believe Singapore will become an important technology hub. It is still very small compared to Europe or the US , but it is reaching the critical mass that’s required to grow.
Why do you focus on a few verticals?
Well first we all come from this background so it is our expertise.
But most importantly these industries are a huge opportunity in the region because they aren’t so much the focus here. There are a lot of B2C startups that focus on retail, on consumer trends, on marketing or advertising technologies. This is an opportunity for us to differentiate and bring our expertise in an underserved market like Financial Services, Mission-critical infrastructure (energy, water and telecoms), transportation and logistics and manufacturing.
We focus on really high-tech B2B startups, between A and B series, who want to expand in Southeast Asia.
What is the next step for Jumpster?
We are still at the beginning. We started beginning of this year and we’re already working with several clients. This is great, and it’s the first phase of our development.
Obviously we’re full speed looking for new customers and this will keep us busy for the coming months.
The next phase for us, probably end of this year or beginning of next, will be co-investment. We’re not in a hurry because we really want to have mutual trust between us and our Customers before we create a Joint Venture. We want to ensure we both believe we’re the best partners, that we agree on the go-to-market and sales strategy and most importantly that we can execute on this strategy.
We have a very collaborative approach, meaning that the more successful startups we have in Southeast Asia the more opportunity we will have. So we are very inclusive and try to help startups even if they don’t work with us in the end. The success of some will bring success for others!