Just from Jan to June, 2017 has been a pretty good year for Singapore startups.
Speaking of which, the time also seems ripe for a show-and-tell of the startups who’ve enjoyed financial backing this year, starting with a showstopper.
1. Lazada, E-commerce
A day ago, e-commerce startup darling Lazada received a new round of funding of $1.38 billion – and from Jack Ma once again.
This means that Alibaba’s stake in the company will surge to 81% from 51%.
The new investment underscores the burgeoning confidence in Southeast Asia’s e-commerce scene, and as CEO of Alibaba Group – Daniel Zhang – shared, “they see a very positive upward trajectory ahead of them”.
As Lazada CEO Maximilian Bittner elaborates futher, “the investment is first and foremost an affirmation of Lazada’s continued success, and of Alibaba’s confidence in Lazada”.
2. SEA, Internet platform
In May, Sea raised a funding of $757 million, as well made its official rebranding from Garena to Sea Ltd.
Much of the money will be used to expand Shopee in Indonesia, especially crucial with talks that China’s JD.com has plans to invest in Indonesia e-commerce giant Tokopedia.
The startup which once specialised in online gaming, has since expanded to become multi-faceted Internet company, such as with e-commerce site Shopee.
3. Airfrov, Travel shopper
The Singapore platform enjoyed a funding of nearly $700,000 on June 19. The round was led by existing investor East Ventures, and whose angel investors include Carro CEO Aaron Tan.
Airfrov is a website where you can post items you want from another country, and a traveller going there can pick it up for you. Think of it as a global personal shopper site.
As Aifrov CEO Cai Li shared, the money will be used to “enhance the product smarter matching algrorithms”, as well as develop the developer team.
4. CarPal, Logistics
CarPal is a local logistics startup – one of the pioneering ones, in fact.
And in April, they celebrated a funding of $3.83 million, which brings their total funding to $4.83 million.
The funding round came in line with the launch of their new product – the CarPal fleet – a SaaS solution to delivery management.
“We observed many of our customers wish to build their own driver fleet – hence a product that gives them full control over delivery operations made a lot of sense,” said CEO and founder Maarten Hemmes.
This helps businesses cut delivery costs so that they can better compete with industry giants like Lazada and Zalora.
5. 99.co, PropTech
Singapore property portal 99.co raised a funding of $11 million in April 2017.
The funding round was co-led by Sequoia India as well as Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin, who addressed the idea of real estate being an antiquated market – and perfect for 99.co to grow into to become a future leader.
According to CEO Darius Cheung, the money will be used to strengthen their presence in Singapore and Indonesia, with a goal of breaking into 8 cities in Indonesia by end-2017.
“This is a huge milestone for us, and this growth is only possible due to the trust and support we’ve received from our partners, users and customers,” reflects Cheung.
But Cheung also reveals they plan to enter 2 more Southeast Asian markets – although specifics are not known.
“Candidates include the usual suspects, like Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines however.”
6. Ezyhaul, Logistics
In January 2017, “Uber for Logistics” Ezyhaul also raised $1.2 million in seed investment.
As we covered before, the money will be used to fuel product development, the team’s expansion in Malaysia, as well as in other Southeast Asian countries.
A young startup, Ezyhaul was founded in April 2016 to tackle the “inefficiencies in the $27 billion-worth road freight industry in Southeast Asia”.
It’s Uber-like tech platform allows shippers to connect with transportation companies. This allows them to make bookings for both domestic and cross-border transportation services.
7. Carro, Car Marketplace
Used car marketplace Carro raised $16.5 million in March 2017 from both existing investors, as well as new, undisclosed names.
The team plans to divvy up the funds across Carro’s markets in Southeast Asia (currently Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand).
The startup also launched a new product – Carro Express – where you can sell your cars within 2 hours. The car will be sold directly to the startup – allowing you to get paid instantly – and then the startup resells the vehicles to dealers via auction.
CEO Aaron Tan says they plan to add more services in the future, and that they’ll “pick and customise services according to market needs.”
“Nothing says we have to follow the same playbook everywhere.”
8. Lingokids, Language education
In June 2017, Lingokids raised a total of $5.5 million from European VCs Holtzbrinck Ventures, JME Venture Capital as well as Bessemer Ventures Partner.
Founded by siblings Cristobal (CEO) and Marieta Viedma, Lingokids is a platform that helps children acquire language easily with a subscription service of games, songs and videos etc.
The startup is now based in US, but has its roots in Singapore under its previous name Monkimun.
Part of the funding will be used to develop regional teams, but the team also plans to return to Singapore in the near future. The team here will then serve as the coordination hub for all activities in the region.
9. Spout360, eSports network
Spout360 plans to become the biggest eSports network in Southeast Asia, and they raised $2.9 million in April to achieve that.
Led by VC Reapra Investment Holdings, the team shares that the money will be used to fuel their expansion into Myanmar. They have even dedicated $826,000 of the funds to provide free eSPort educational resources for the local community.
In addition, they plan to create a one-stop service where entrepreneurs can build their own mobile apps – a vital ingredient in any business today
In a double win for the startup, they also announced their first acquisition of Zaany Technologies (venture builder) under their holding company Spout Entertainment Group.
10. Saleswhale, A.I
The final name on the list is Saleswhale, a startup that just a year into operation, has already enjoyed a funding of $1.65 million.
The fundraising was led by Gree Ventures, with support from other participants like Monk’s Hill Ventures and Wavemaker Partners.
The Y Combinator startup is steeped in A.I., with the aim of making chatbots more human, with a personal touch to replies.
And with this new round of funding, the team plans to double down on product and engineering – with the first step of growing their team from 5 engineers.
No Dearth Of Funding
Startup might be intimidated at the prospect of asking for money, but with no lack of it in the market, the issue is only in how you ask for it. VC firms aren’t the only source of funds, Grant Uncle can also come in handy.
Do you know of any other Singapore startups that got funded this year?
Featured image credit: Vulcan Post, Tech in Asia, Sea Group, Bloomberg