The Splice Beta Fund. Supported by the Facebook Journalism Project
Do you have an idea for a news product?
Let's test it.
Welcome to The Splice Beta Fund, a prototyping grant that helps news and media entrepreneurs in Asia to quickly ideate, launch, test, and iterate products and services for audiences and customers.
Applications are now closed. We’ll announce the list of grantees soon. ♥︎
This photo is a stock pic by BBH Singapore on Unsplash. But if you make it to the final Splice Beta Fund invitee list, we're planning to replace it with a picture of you. Get those headshots ready.
Here's how we want to help with
the Splice Media Fund
We'll teach design-thinking frameworks and building a user-centric culture within the organization.
We will build a community around these individual startups so they are able to learn from each other.
We'll provide coaches to guide you through the process of developing and testing your news prototypes.
We'll organise bespoke workshops around business models and operational needs across the region.
We'll provide micro-grants to help you create news product prototypes to test with audiences for product-market fit.
THE NETWORK EFFECT
We will publish these lessons for the benefit of the wider media startup community around the world.
Interested in what we're doing with the Splice Beta Fund?
Sign up for updates.
We'll send very occasional email. (Think once every month, maybe less.) We will never sell your data.
Frequently asked questions
Who is Splice?
Hello, that's us! We're Alan Soon and Rishad Patel, and we're the co-founders of Splice, a little media startup based in Singapore that works around the world. Our mission is to drive radical change by supporting bold, forward-looking media startups in Asia. So we report on, teach, transform, and fund newsrooms in Asia. There's more on our website, in case you're interested.
What is the Facebook Journalism Project?
Hi, I'm Alex Fenby, with the Facebook Journalism Project. We work together with publishers around the world through trainings, programs, and partnerships, we can help strengthen communities by connecting people with meaningful journalism. There's more about us here.
Why does the Splice Beta Fund exist? What are you hoping to achieve with this?
In the past five years of Splice, we've worked with, advised, coached, and celebrated the work of media startups across Asia. Often, their challenges come down to these three areas:
1. Understanding the basics of running a company
2. Figuring out what people want, and creating a relevant, useful product to meet that need
3. Creating a viable business model around serving that customer
The Splice Media Fund is our way of helping you build news products that are useful and relevant to real audiences. Together with the Facebook Journalism Project, we want to help you build something that is valuable enough to pay for.
But how is the Splice Beta Fund different from all the other incubators and accelerators out there?
The big difference is that the Splice Beta Fund is to help you create testable news prototypes based on an audience need. This isn't core funding, or for funding for you to hire more people — or even to build out a product you like. It's about the user 😊
Unlike accelerators or incubators, we're not here to take an equity in your business; this isn't a financial investment for us. We're really trying to help you develop your ideas further.
What is Splice Beta?
Splice Beta is our little festival to celebrate the work of media startups in Asia. We've discovered that it's much more than a festival — it's a community. The next one is September 22 to 24 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. There are more details here, as well as a pink tuktuk.
Who is the Splice Beta Fund for? Who can apply?
We have a broad view in defining a media startup. We're keen to work with an Asia-based team that uses content to capture attention for the purpose of informing, educating, or entertaining an audience.
Who is the Splice Beta Fund not for? Who shouldn't apply?
• New startup teams under 2 years of operation
• Individuals working alone
• Teams without a registered business entity
• Startups looking to fund their current operations — this is a support program for prototyping new ideas
• Teams who don't share. We want this to be a transparent process of learning and testing; we want to make this program and your knowledge public for the wider media community
Do I need to have experience or can I start from zero?
The ideal partner should be in their 2nd or 3rd year of operations. We want a team that's already comfortable with working together, with a shared mission and a common understanding of the opportunities and challenges ahead of you. Self-reflection and intellectual honesty are key if we are to help you address the roadblocks in their way.
You should be actively testing a business model. This is, after all, a prototyping fund. Failure is an option.
Do I need to be a registered business?
Yes. You're our partner, and you need to be a registered business entity for two reasons: We want to work with people who understand the basics of running a business, and second, on a more practical level, be able to receive the funds into a corporate entity (we won't fund personal bank accounts).
What is a 'prototype'?
A prototype is a very early, rough sample or model of a product or service built to test a concept. Take a look at our little video here.
What exactly do you mean by 'audience' or 'customer' or 'user'?
Any person who watches, reads, listens to, plays, consumes, buys, or uses your product or service. We will be using these terms interchangeably through the process.
What should I do before I apply?
• Read these FAQs carefully.
• Spend time on defining who your user is. This is a real person (even if they are imaginary) — think of her name, age, what she does, what she likes, where she lives, how she commutes, her specific worries and concerns. Your user is not just an age range, gender, and income group.
• Spend time defining your product. Think of how it will solve your user's problem or address their issue. The form of your media product (website, podcast, app) is less important than how it addresses your user's specific issue.
• Look at examples of what other startups have done with audiences.
What's the application deadline?
We've extended it to April 3. Applications are now closed.
What happens after I apply?
We will read your application very, very carefully. We want to assess it for how dedicated you are to testing and iterating a media product prototype with an actual audience. Then if you make it to the shortlist, we'll contact you with more details.
What are the timelines on this? What happens when?
Here's how we're seeing it:
April 3, 2020
You get your application in before midnight, Singapore time.
April 6, 2020
We'll narrow all the applications down to a long list, and we'll tell you if you made it in.
If you did, we'll do a quick call with to ask you about how you're thinking about your audience, the issue you're addressing, and the media product you want to address it with. We'll also talk you through next steps.
April 13, 2020
We'll announce our final list of 15 teams, as well as coaches.
The program begins.
The program consists of four components
1. Three bespoke workshops around business models, product development, and operational needs.
Dates and locations for these will be announced later.
2. Periodic check-ins with coaches
3. A showcase of your prototypes at Splice Beta in September
4. A final get-together event in November
A date and location for this will be announced later.
Do I have to pay anything?
No. If you get in to the program, we'll giving you the grant funds, and cover your travel and accommodation costs to attend the workshops and get-together.
All we ask is that you spend the time it needs to ideate, build, test, and iterate your prototype. The whole point is to be able to build a real media product that will create value for your audience and revenue for you.
We're Alan Soon and Rishad Patel, and we're the co-founders of Splice, a little media startup based in Singapore that works around the world.
Our mission is to drive radical change by supporting bold, forward-looking media startups in Asia. So we report on, teach, transform, and fund newsrooms in Asia.
The Splice Beta Fund is our way of helping you build media products that are useful and relevant to real audiences. Together with the Facebook Journalism Project, we want to help you build something that is valuable enough to pay for.
Let's do this!
We're in a golden age of media. Everything you need to create, discover, distribute, and amplify content is now possible on your phone. For entrepreneurs, this opens the door to creating new media products of utility and relevance that weren't possible even five years ago.
The idea of mass media for mass audiences has ended. The promise of digital is in serving niche products and services to niche, highly engaged audiences.
This user-focused product mindset is what we hope to help you with. We'll provide the funding, knowledge, mentoring, and community — you bring the ideas.
We have answers.
Ask us about anything you don't see addressed in these FAQs. We'd love to hear from you.
Got it. We'll get back to you as soon as we can.