Meet Nicholas: Starting up with JFDI.Asia, Asia’s top business accelerator

JFDI.Asia, a regional business accelerator in Asia that’s headquartered in Singapore, organises a whole host of events for the startup and tech community.

Since Peatix launched in Singapore last August, JFDI.Asia has been an active supporter and user of Peatix for their community events. Yet, such camaraderie didn’t spring up overnight but goes back a long way…

Meet Nicholas Gerard, Peatix‘s business development guru! His eager inclination towards entrepreneurship, that dates back to almost a decade ago now, was the spark that brought about a wonderful partnership between Peatix and JFDI.Asia.

Nicholas with JFDI.Asia's mascot, Smoochy

Nicholas with Smoochy (JFDI.Asia’s mascot)



Nicholas with Peatix's mascot, Pea-chan

And now with Peatix’s mascot, Pea-chan!



We dig in to a first-hand account of his startup journey.

Nicholas’ beginnings in the tech world: From interest to intern
“Between 2005 and 2009, I pursued a career in direct selling and was involved in various internet marketing businesses and as most people in sales can concur, it was only natural that for those who enjoyed their career in sales, they would find themselves thinking about setting up their own businesses (after all, sales is the lifeblood of businesses). In 2010, I decided to put my sales and business endeavours on hold, and pursue my degree in Management from the University of London.

During my first one and a half years in university, I started to notice a buzz in the local entrepreneurship scene in Singapore with regard to technology startups and internet companies. Exploring further, I recognised that an ecosystem was starting to develop with support initiatives from the local government, and industry players; and I felt the urge to explore what it might be like to enter into this ‘startup ecosystem’ in it’s teething years. It was sometime in October of 2011 that I came across, and signed up the first Startup Weekend in Singapore where one of the main facilitators was Hugh Mason, CEO of JFDI.Asia.

Unfortunately, due to family commitments I had to pull out of the 3 day workshop and sent Hugh an email apologising profusely for any inconvenience caused. A couple of months later in 2012, I was having summer holidays and I was looking for internship opportunities, and decided to casually send Hugh an email, to which he graciously welcome me to join ‘The Frog’ where I got a chance to work with and learn directly from Hugh, his Co-Founder – Wong Meng Weng (who is, in my opinion, the sharpest dressed person in the South-east Asia’s startup ecosystem) and JFDI.Asia Partner, Ong Chiah Li.”


Team discussion with Hugh, Meng and Chiah Li at Maison Ikkoku

Team discussion with Hugh, Meng and Chiah Li at Maison Ikkoku




Taking it further, diving right in: From intern to business development guru at Peatix
“The JFDI.Asia open house, through the way it was structured, became the place to be every friday evening between 5PM – 7PM within the startup community and it gave me a chance to network, connect and learn from many well respected people with strong porfolios. These include but are not limited to, product specialists, startup founders of up and coming startups, founders of companies which have either been successfully acquired or went through an Initial Public Offering (IPO), senior executives of some of the largest technology companies in the world, business angels and venture capitalists. Through my conversations with these amazing people, I was able to learn golden nuggets of advice and insight which accelerated my learning of startup and business methodologies, strategy and even some technical knowledge (as I come from a non-tech background).

Through building my network, accelerated learning and with the credibility of the JFDI.Asia brand, I experienced an increase in the number of career opportunities being offered to me. During the JFDI.Asia 2013A Demo Day, I met Peatix’s Co-Founder and Head of Asia, Emi Takemura who was part of the Geeks on a Plane contingent that attended the event. We soon connected on LinkedIn, after which she invited me to explore an opportunity with Peatix; and the rest is, as they say, history!”


JFDI Asia Demo Day

At JFDI.Asia 2013A Demo Day, all set and ready to go!



Connecting the dots: We’re here to help!
“With it’s values aligned towards fostering and supporting the asian startup ecosystem, and my time at ‘The Frog’ it was only natural for me to approach JFDI.Asia to consider supporting and using Peatix as an event registration platform for their events. Peatix is a startup with asian roots after all. Out of the many JFDI.Asia events on Peatix, two of the most exciting events for me were “Selling into a Corporate World” by mentor, Graham Lind and the Meet-up with Dr. Werner Vogels, VP & CTO at Amazon.com. Of course, during instances where customer support is of the essence, I feel even more inclined to ensure that any matter that requires my attention is resolved in a timely manner, as the pressure is there to deliver; especially to those who put their faith and trust in me.”

JFDI Asia Selling into a corporate world

Selling into a Corporate World



JFDI Asia Meetup with Dr Werner Vogels, VP & CTO of Amazon.com

Meet-up with Dr. Werner Vogels, VP & CTO at Amazon.com



Boils down to building passionate communities
“I am excited to have JFDI.Asia at Peatix Singapore’s upcoming Backstage Pass as it is really satisfying to have Peatix organisers coming back to share with the community. The act of giving back to the community is something that I learnt, and was instilled in me at JFDI.Asia. It is also a value that we at Peatix share, and is very much a part of our growth efforts here in Asia. I am immensely grateful to not only Hugh, but Fannie Kue, JFDI.Asia’s General Manager (and Backstage Pass Speaker) for providing Peatix the opportunity to work with them. Having JFDI.Asia as a client is special to me, not just because their brand acts as a signal of quality and trust in the Peatix platform, but also because it feels like I am working with family and I am able to give back and be of service to the company and mentors that taught me most of what I know about startups, business, innovation and life.”

Peatix Singapore Team Photo

At the end of the day, the Peatix team comprises of people who are passionate about many fields reflected in our enthusiasm for organising or attending events across genres. This hands-on nature gives us a genuine understanding of what it is to be an event organiser so as to create solutions that can help organisers manage events better!

Meet the team at Backstage Pass, a community event for organisers, this Friday, hosted in conjunction with Walkabout Singapore (a citywide open-house event for technology companies). On the theme “Using events to build your community”, you’ll be able to hear from three women in the tech scene – JFDI.Asia, Twitter & Google!

Community, Global, Singapore. permalink.
Claire Ding

Claire Ding is the Community Manager at ticketing platform Peatix in Singapore. She runs a community event for organisers, Backstage Pass , where organisers connect with others and learn tips on event management. Quite the thrill-seeker, Claire’s gone skydiving, bungee jumping, and enjoys anything that puts her on edge (quite literally), it’s no wonder she’s in the business of events with never a dull moment!