Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
There’s a lot going on at the TNW Conference today, with startups battling it out in the Startup Rally, but over in Asia some significant news has broken about another startup contest: the JFDI-Innov8 Bootcamp 2012.
We wrote about the initiative last year, and now the 100-day accelerator program, which is staging its closing Demo Day next week, is celebrating a landmark after Kark became the first participant to gain funding.
Jakarta-based investment firm Ideosource is putting an undisclosed sum into the tablet-based edutainment platform to fund the development of its product, tentatively named Kark. The platform stimulates simulation and interactivity in children aged 4-12 using a collectible cards system.
“We are delighted to have this support, which gives us the ability to continue building our product after the bootcamp and reinforces what we have believed all along — that games have a great future in the educational industry,” said Bullitt Sesariza, founder and CTO of Kark. “We will be unveiling our exciting new product aimed at the family education market shortly.”
The deal has been heralded by JFDI Asia CEO Hugh Mason, who spoke to The Next Web following the announcement. “We’re excited that this is the first of our startups to secure funding during the bootcamp. We expect several others to break news of early investment shortly,” Mason said.
“It was extraordinary to watch a group of five and six-year olds playing with the prototype a couple of weeks ago,” he continued. “We expected them to enjoy it but probably to move on after ten or fifteen minutes. In fact they played with just one level of the experience for over an hour.”
Mason says that the is likely to be the first of many funding announcements, which shows the significance of the program and how it has helped some of Asia’s talent create “startups with real value.”
Kark and the 14 other startups from the JFDI-Innov8 Bootcamp 2012 will take part in Demo Day as the inaugural program closes next Friday, May 4. The program’s blog, which is counting down to the close, can be found here.
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