Editor's Picks

The Most Interesting Startups Right Now, According To These Singaporean Startup Founders

At Vulcan Post, we’ve covered a fair share of both local and international startups.

From those who quit their day jobs to embark on their ideas, to those who have received lots of love from investors, every story and startup has a unique selling point, and even more unique stories behind them.

While we’re looking at the ecosystem mainly from an outsider’s perspective, what do startups themselves think of each other?

We reached out to several startups and asked them if there were others which they found exciting and interesting, and also the reasons behind their choices.

Marcus Tan, Co-Founder and President of Carousell

Carousell is a Singaporean community-based marketplace, and was launched in 2012. Available in 14 cities, the startup has recently expanded into the Philippines, and received an additional US$35million in funding, which will be used to accelerate its growth into new markets, and bolster its product and engineering teams.

Marcus Tan of Carousell
Marcus Tan of Carousell

Which startup do you find interesting?

Mimetic.ai.

Why?

They create a personal scheduling assistant that is powered by AI and helps with organising meetings. I’ve been using Carousell’s Mimetic Bot, Jarvis, for over three months now to schedule appointments, and it has saved me so much time and hassle.

You can give your Mimetic assistant instructions over email, and it will work with your calendar and invitees to schedule lunches, interviews, meetings; it can even do timezone math for overseas calls and conferences.

It’s a great productivity tool, and as the company develops their AI further, there’s a huge opportunity for this to become a must-have in people’s everyday lives.

Keyis Ng, CEO and Co-Founder of Cafebond.com

Inspired by Australian coffee culture, Cafebond was founded by longtime friends Keyis Ng and Eugene Chen who wanted to establish a platform to let people from all over the world share their culture through coffee. They have been featured in both The Straits Times and the Michelin Guide Singapore.

Keyis Ng / Image Credit: Cafebond
Keyis Ng of Cafebond

Which startup do you find interesting?

BandLab.

Why?

For me, startup life is not about the spotlight. It’s about disruption and innovation.

I recently had a meeting with Kuok Meng Ru, CEO and Founder of BandLab, and was inspired by his vision of leverage technology to building a global community of musicians. I like how our conversations become an idea sharing session about our startups.

He is one of the few founders I am excited to meet again.

Karl Mak, Co-Founder of SGAG

Founded by a pair of Singaporeans who felt that having a localised version of 9GAG “would be cool”, the idea took root in 2012 when they created a meme about the news of McDonald’s stopping its provision of the popular curry sauce. The meme and concept inevitably went viral, and SGAG has garnered over 530k followers to date.

Karl preferred us to use their logo :)
Karl preferred us to use their logo 🙂

Which startup do you find interesting?

Talenox, Lawcanvas, Seedly.

Why?

Talenox – I’ve been a early customer with them, and they really solve a big problem in the startups HR space to solve the pain points for all employers. Many startups like myself don’t have experience with HR, so their one-stop solution really helps me get my HR organised.

Lawcanvas – It significantly reduces the legal fees a startup has to face when starting up. Their comprehensive list of documents has been extremely helpful in different aspects of running a startup. They are one of the most used services on my list every day.

Seedly – Personal finance with integration into our local banks has always been something I’ve been waiting out to help manage my personal expenditures. They also have a really passionate team that I believe will go a long way.

Ian Gregory Tan, Creative Director of Witching Hour Studios

Started in 2010, Witching Hour Studios is a boutique game development studio. Most recently, their game, Masquerada: Songs And Shadows, achieved crowdfunding success on Kickstarter, surpassing its £45,000 (S$76,790) goal.

Ian Gregory Tan / Image Credit: Prestige
Ian Gregory Tan of Witching Hour Studios / Image Credit: Prestige

Which startup do you find interesting?

Secret Lab.

Why?

I think they’re doing really cool stuff and I think they have good leadership.

Having spoken to them, I’m very impressed by their business acumen and ethics. They’ve picked a very difficult arena and they’re navigating it with poise and vision.

Daniel Lim, Founder of The Playbook

The Playbook is a fast-growing digital publication, delivering current stories in sports, entertainment and style. From Premier League analyses to the latest in geek and sneaker culture, The Playbook provides informational and entertaining content for the digital generation.

Daniel Lim of The Playbook
Daniel Lim of The Playbook

Which startup do you find interesting?

SkyRoam and nuTonomy.

Why?

For SkyRoam, they solve a real issue which is not having to worry about being connected overseas.

Whether it’s travelling for pleasure or as a startup expanding in new territories, their offering is simple and could really help startups who are planning on expanding. Could also help writers/founders/anyone who travels and don’t have an office in those countries. Life is easier not having to worry about getting connected and having to keep multiple SIM cards and numbers.

The second is definitely nuTonomy. Any startup that’s innovating in transport for that matter, but nuTonomy for sure especially since its local. I think the idea of self-driving cars is exciting, and the fact that nuTonomy was the world’s first to deploy self-driving cars for public use is amazing.

While I think startups that go above and beyond to innovate are great, I’d love to see more of those that solve every day issues (doesn’t have to be world-saving issues). Like apps that make it easier for the elderly to get checked up or match-making startups with vacant office spaces.

Also, enterprise can come those beyond the digital tech scene, which tends to get forgotten as tech startups are the sexy in-things right now. Would be great to probably learn more about up-and-coming non-tech startups.

Kenneth Lou, Co-Founder of Seedly

Born out of “frustration and consumer pain”, Seedly is a personal finance management app which mainly targets millennials. The startup has been invested in by NUS Enterprise, East Ventures and DBS Innovation Group.

Kenneth Lou (right) / Image Credit: CrunchBase
Kenneth Lou (right) of Seedly / Image Credit: CrunchBase

Which startup do you find interesting?

Mimetic.AI, and PolicyPal.

Why?

Mimetic.AI has a personal scheduling email bot Evie. I think it’s really interesting and I tried it out once… and saves me a little bit of time to finalise meeting times.

PolicyPal, doing insurance policy aggregation, is also very interesting because it’s a market that has not changed much, but also because it’s very difficult to really breakdown due to existing regulatory environments.

Visakan Veerasamy, Co-Founder of Statement and Content Strategist at ReferralCandy

Founded in early 2012 by Visa and Desmond, Statement creates and sells t-shirts and totebags with Singlish slang and hidden swear words for the cheekier among us Singaporeans.

Visakan Veerasamy of Statement and ReferralCandy
Visakan Veerasamy of Statement and ReferralCandy

Which startup do you find interesting?

Carousell.

Why?

I remember when they started out. I was selling t-shirts at a flea market and they went around, vendor to vendor, to get everyone to signup on the spot. This was like… 2012? 2013? And my wife’s been buying and selling all sorts of things on it. It’s been super useful, convenient, doesn’t cost us anything.

That’s how all startups should start in my honest opinion – if you don’t do that, you’re not going to understand your user very well.

I know Siu Rui (co-founder of Carousell) is also really humble and hardworking. He’s always eager to listen to any feedback you might have, and never lets funding, etc. get to his head. He also has a real sense of mission and service.

It’s also cool that him and his team are just downstairs from ReferralCandy‘s office!

Walter Oh, Co-Founder Of BoxGreen

BoxGreen is a startup providing subscription boxes for healthy snacks. In 2015, they delivered a whooping 74,854 boxes to hungry and health-conscious customers. The service is also available in Malaysia

Walter Oh / Image Credit: Tech In Asia
Walter Oh of BoxGreen / Image Credit: Tech In Asia

Which startup do you find interesting?

Supplybunny.

Why?

I thought SupplyBunny is quite a clever and practical idea. The wholesale space has largely been neglected and is a fairly manual and tedious process. No restaurants like to deal with multiple suppliers so it’s good to have a solution that brings everyone on board, especially in the F&B space.

Eager to see how the execution goes and if it’ll be in Singapore anytime soon.

Which Startup Do YOU Find Interesting?

Apart from seeing which startups are the ones that have stood out, it was also a pleasant surprise to hear about the personal anecdotes they have with the products, and encounters with the founders themselves.

Startups are a dime in a dozen these days – which one has caught your attention recently? Let us know!

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