Singapore-based mental health startup Intellect recently raised a seed round of funding.
According to TechCrunch, one of the angel investors is online marketplace Carousell’s co-founder and CEO Quek Siu Rui.
The undisclosed seed round was led by Insignia Ventures Partners. Besides Quek, other angel investors include former Sequoia partner Tim Lee and startup consultancy xto10x’s Southeast Asia CEO Chai Jia Jih.
Chai was also previously Senior Vice President of Growth and Strategy at Carousell.
According to Intellect, the team plans to use the new funds to drive its market expansion across Asia, as well as invest in clinical research.
What Is Intellect And Who Is Behind It?
Intellect’s consumer app reportedly made it to Google’s best personal growth apps of 2020 list.
According to Crunchbase, the mental health startup was founded by serial entrepreneur Theodoric Chew in July 2019 and is headquartered in Singapore.
We first reported about him back in 2018, when he told us he had begun “dabbling in a string of online businesses and mini side projects” while he was still a student at Raffles Institution (RI).
He had spent a lot of time at home working on his projects and started to lose interest in studying.
He left RI when he was 16 to focus on his projects before deciding to take up a part-time diploma.
He then created and exited his first startup by 20. Back when the media and content space wasn’t so crowded, he created a content curation platform called Existgreat.
In 2016, Existgreat was sold to a group of American entrepreneurs in a private deal between the buyers and Theodoric.
Since then, he has been experimenting with business ideas and building startups — Intellect is one of them.
Intellect is described as “an app that helps you redevelop your traits, habits and behaviours through digitised therapy programs”.
It is developed by a team of the world’s leading psychologists and behavioural experts.
Theodoric launched Intellect earlier this year because he saw a market for it in Asia.
While there is a growing pool of mental wellness apps in the United States and Europe that have attracted more funding during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian market is still very young.
Intellect’s goal is to encourage more people to incorporate mental health care into their daily routines by lowering barriers like high costs and social stigma.
The pandemic has definitely raised more burnout and other mental health issues.
The company says it saw more than one million users in just six months after launching.
On Google Play store, the app attained a 4.8 out of 5 star rating with 40,684 reviews in total. Many reviewers mentioned that they “love the app” and it has “improved their lives”.
Carousell CEO’s First Personal Investment
A point that is worth noting from this investment round is that this is Quek’s first personal investment.
According to VentureCap as reported by TechinAsia, Quek had previously cashed out around US$465,000 from Carousell and could have used the money to invest in Intellect.
This is a great way of giving back to community and it is important to see successful entrepreneurs supporting budding entrepreneurs.
Angel investors usually provide seed round support to startups in the initial phases of the company, when most other institutional investors are not prepared to back them.
This is especially helpful to upcoming startups which usually experience a lack of funds to grow the business at the initial stages.
Other Startup Founders Who Became Angel Investors
For one, property portal 99.co founder and CEO Darius Cheung is a well-known angel investor in the startup industry.
Prior to 99.co, he co-founded mobile security startup, tenCube which was acquired by the American global security software company, McAfee in 2010 for an undisclosed sum.
A report at the time suggested that the deal was worth over US$5 million (S$6.8 million).
He has since made some personal investments and invested in startups over the years, namely Glints, Carousell, JFDI.Asia and AppyZoo.
Co-founder and CEO of live-chat software startup Zopim, Royston Tay, is also an active angel investor and startup mentor in the Southeast Asia startup scene.
He has made personal investments in HR startup StaffAny, Motorist, MindFi, Saleswhale and MoneySmart. Subsequently, he exited from MoneySmart.
Additionally, founder and CEO of JobsCentral Group, Lim Der Shing, is also a well-known angel investor.
In 2011, JobsCentral was acquired by CareerBuilder, making it one of Singapore’s largest tech exits at the time.
He has invested in Motorist, Homage, Alodokter and MetroResidences from 2015 to 2019.
Likely To See More Of Such Investments From Carousell CEO
Quek mentioned that he decided to invest in Intellect because they are a “user-centric” product, which is similar to Carousell.
In his Facebook post, he praised founder Theodoric and the Intellect team for “making meaningful impact” as “mental health is a problem to be solved, especially during these times”.
This could suggest more of such investments in product-based startups such as Intellect from Quek.
Featured Image Credit: Carousell