The Covid-19 pandemic has seen funding rounds being cancelled and investors being more selective and prudent with where they put their money at.
However, some startups continue to grow and have managed to raise funds to grow their operations despite the economic downturn.
Here are 11 startups in Singapore which have continued to close funding rounds despite the slowdown in investor activity.
Singapore-based last-mile logistics player Ninja Van raised US$279 million (S$395 million) in its latest Series D funding round in April 2020.
Investors in the current round include Facebook co-founder Eduardo Savarin’s B Capital Group and ride-hailing giant Grab.
The round comes after a surge in e-commerce activities globally, during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. With the increase in e-commerce orders, logistics also saw increased business as well.
Earlier last month (September 2), Southeast Asia’s leading property listing company PropertyGuru bagged an additional investment of S$300 million from existing investors TPG and KKR.
The fresh capital will further PropertyGuru’s growth plans across its main market Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Growth has been encouraging for PropertyGuru in 2019, with a 24 per cent year-over-year revenue growth that beat its own forecasts.
Founded in 2016 in Singapore, Biofourmis is a fast-growing AI-powered therapeutics startup.
In early September 2020, they raised US$100 million in a Series C equity round led by Softbank Vision Fund 2.
With the new funds, Biofourmis will look to develop, validate and commercialise several digital therapeutics solutions.
There has been a significant surge in demand for virtual care in the face of the pandemic and the startup has seen a significant increase in demand for its platform during this period of time.
CEO and founder Kuldeep Singh Rajput had said that the firm’s revenue in the first half of the year alone was 10 times more than the whole of 2019.
Launched in 2016, Singapore-based fintech startup Thunes operates a global B2B cross-border payments network.
It announced its latest Series B funding round last month that saw Helios Investment Partners leading the US$60 million investment. Other investors include Checkout.com as well as existing investors GGV Capital and Future Shape.
In August, Thunes announced an 80 per cent increase in transaction volumes for the second quarter of 2020.
The latest round of funding is expected to drive the continued development of Thunes’ global network and accelerate its expansion and growth in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The capital raised will go into expanding its team and product offerings, including business payments and collections from emerging markets.
These regions represent Thunes’ largest growth opportunity, where fragmented and complex payment ecosystems often leave consumers and businesses struggling with slow, costly, and unreliable ways of moving money.
The Singapore-headquartered e-scooter sharing startup raised US$26 million in June to grow its mobility fleet in Korea, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Taiwan.
Sequoia India and Hana Ventures led the Series A financing round, with participation from other investors such as RTP Global, AppWorks and Right Click.
As commuters look for alternative transport means to move around faster and at less cost, electric and gasoline scooters have become popular in several Asian nations and elsewhere.
The startup will also use the fresh capital to “accelerate” to more markets the launch of its third-generation e-scooter, the Beam Saturn, which features swappable batteries and improved build.
Last month (September 23), digital wealth manager Syfe closed US$18.6 million Series A funding led by Valar Ventures.
The fundraise, completed amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, will go towards strengthening Syfe to meet Asia’s saving and investing needs for the future.
The funds will be used to enter new markets, develop new products and services, hire top talent, and enhance Syfe’s technology platform.
Last week (September 30), the world’s first cell-based crustacean meat company based in Singapore announced its US$12.6 million (S$17.1 million) Series A funding round.
The first cell-based meat company in SEA, and the first and only cell-based meat company working on shrimp, Shiok Meats (“Shiok”) was founded in 2018 by two stem cell scientists, Dr Sandhya Sriram and Dr Ka Yi Ling.
The round was led by Aqua-Spark, the first investment fund focused on sustainable aquaculture and included investments from SEEDS Capital, Real Tech Fund and Irongrey.
The funds will contribute towards building the first-of-its-kind commercial pilot plant from which Shiok plans to launch its sustainable, minced shrimp product in 2022.
Last week (September 30), Singapore-based e-scooter rental startup Neuron Mobility announced a new Series A+ investment of US$12 million, bringing their total Series A capital raising to US$30.5 million.
The funding round — co-led by returning investors Square Peg Capital and GSR Ventures — will accelerate the company’s international expansion post-Covid-19.
The industry saw increased adoption of electric scooters and bikes during the pandemic as many people are either using their cars less frequently because they are working remotely or there are movement restrictions where they live.
As a result, electric bikes and scooters offer an alternative to public transportation and ride-hailing services for short trips.
Currently, the company operates in Australia and New Zealand in addition to SEA markets.
Founded in 2017, Singapore lifestyle brand IUIGA secured S$10 million in Series A funding from the technology arm of Indonesian conglomerate Konimex Group.
The fresh funds will be channelled into its Singaporean and Indonesian operations but Indonesia will be the focus for this year as the company sees immense potential in the country.
To meet the “growing omnichannel demand”, the startup is looking to grow in that aspect.
Particularly, during the circuit breaker, IUIGA said its daily online retail traffic was up to four times the traffic at its brick-and-mortar outlets.
The funding will also be used for product development, and invested in Big Data and artificial intelligence to beef up e-commerce customer personalisation capabilities.
In July, influencer marketing platform Partipost raised US$3.5 million in a seed funding round.
The round was led by SPH Ventures, the investment arm of publisher Singapore Press Holdings, with participation from Quest Ventures and other investors.
The funding will go towards growing Partipost’s current markets, Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan, as well as expansion into markets with heavy social media usage such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Next Gen, a foodtech startup producing and commercialising plant-based meat products has launched in Singapore with a seed funding of US$2.2 million.
It calls Singapore its headquarters and has established a leadership team and research and development (R&D) centre here. They are also looking to expand to China, US and Europe over the next three years.
Furthermore, the company is aiming to serve 9,000 restaurants and target to launch the consumer brand within the next six months.
Extra S$285 Million In Gov’t-Backed Funding To Help Struggling Startups
Covid-19 will undoubtedly deliver winners and losers, and start-ups that remain financially prudent and provide relevant opportunities and solutions could find themselves capitalising on the current situation.
In many cases, Covid-19 has resulted in a pronounced uptick in activity in areas such as e-commerce, online entertainment and social media, digital healthcare services, and non-contact services such as robotics and artificial intelligence.
As a result, some of the startups in the list have seen a surge in demand for their products and services due to Covid-19. This led venture capitalists to put their money on these startups.
If your startup is facing difficulties in raising funds during this period of time, the Singapore government has ramped up government-backed and other stimulus efforts to help mitigate the downturn for startups.
It committed an extra S$285 million to the Startup SG Equity scheme in a bid to finance “promising” start-ups.
The funds will help them sustain their innovation and commercialisation activities in various sectors.
Featured Image Credit: TechCrunch / IUIGA / PropertyGuru / Shiok Meats / Partipost