Did you know that Singapore was ranked number 10 in Compass’ 2015 report of startup ecosystems? These companies help explain why
Despite being a tiny city-country with a population of less than six million people, Singapore is a startup powerhouse in Southeast Asia. This 50-year-old nation has advanced a lot more and a lot faster than any of its neighbours in Asia and is one of the few countries that boasts of highly developed infrastructure and technology.
Over the past several years, Singapore has been making significant efforts to increase the number of entrepreneurs and startups. As a result, it has produced some very successful companies. In fact, Singapore was ranked number 10 in Compass’ 2015 report of startup ecosystems.
A lot of these startups are innovating in the e-commerce space and are just starting to expand internationally. So for those of you looking to learn more about Singapore’s startup ecosystem, here are 10 of the country’s most successful startups you ought to be familiar with.
While ordering groceries online is becoming increasingly popular, honestbee takes it a step further. It gets trained shoppers to select items from grocery stores that are then delivered to people’s doorsteps.
Unlike other startups in the space, honestbee does not hold inventory for long and delivers groceries in less than an hour. Think of it as fast fashion for groceries.
Honestbee secured US$15 million in Series A funding in October from Formation 8 and big investors like Steve Chen, YouTube’s Co-founder. The startup is expanding quickly internationally with entry into the Hong Kong market in October and anticipated entry into the Taiwanese ecosystem.
Try to imagine a Google Analytics for the offline shopping world: Trakomatics is exactly that!
Using Trakomatics, retail stores and malls can track their shoppers using video analytics. It collects the data of shoppers’ demographics and behaviours in malls and stores, after which it uses complex algorithms to interpret the data. In a world where innovation in shopping is largely centred around e-commerce, Trakomatic’s novel solution brings with it an important reminder that retail is not dead and there are still ways to improve offline retail using technology.
Ever wished that a robot would cook for you? Zimplistic is a company that creates exactly that by designing intelligent kitchen appliances. Its flagship product is a robot called Rotimatic that makes rotis (Indian flatbread) and wraps. Rotimatic owners just need to put the ingredients into Rotimatic, which then uses its 15 sensors to combine the ingredients and prepare rotis and wraps.
Within a week of its launch, Zimplistic had sold US$5 million-worth of Rotimatic machines and soon afterwards, garnered a waiting list of US$72 million worth of orders. It also raised a US$11.5 million Series B round in July.
Recognised as one of Southeast Asia’s hottest startups, Tradegecko is an inventory management software for retailers and SME wholesalers. It lets sellers control their inventory, sales, and orders from one place and syncs inventory across different channels, warehouses, and locations.
Tradegecko is one of the fastest growing SaaS platforms in Southeast Asia and has already built a global client base in 90 countries. In April, it raised US$6.5 million in Series A funding.
ConneXionsAsia is a medtech startup that handles benefits and wellness for employers and employees through an online platform. Somewhat similar to Zenefits in the US, two-year-old ConneXionsAsia hit an impressive revenue of US$6 million within its first year and raised US$8 million in Series A funding in January.
ConneXionsAsia provides personalised benefits to employees so that health benefits given through employer-sponsored insurance do not go to waste. The portal lets employees choose benefits based on their needs.
Started by three young Ivy league dropouts, Glints is an online portal that connects students and young graduates to employers. Glints quickly achieved fame because of the young age and inspiring story of the founder, which remains quite rare in Asian society compared to the Western world.
Glints was able to attract a large number of employers and corporates to list jobs on its platform to recruit students and young graduates for jobs with skills they wanted.
Being a tiny island with a growing population, Singapore’s property and real estate problems are not much different from the struggles of cities like New York and London. PropertyGuru solved this huge problem of discovering suitable property and real estate through its online portal, which lists properties and real estate agents.
Now considered to be Asia’s leading online property platform, the company has raised a total of US$129 million, the bulk of which was in a funding round it completed in June.
Property Guru is already quite dominant in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. In early December, it acquired RumahDijual, one of Indonesia’s leading property websites. So far, it looks like the startup is on the fast track to IPO.
One of the few billion dollar companies originating from Southeast Asia, Razer creates gaming hardware and software. Two gaming enthusiasts launched the startup to create products that fit into the lifestyle of gamers like themselves.
Razer accounts for 30 per cent of the global video game mouse and keyboard industry. Other Razer products include wearables, gaming systems, and gear. With offices and employees across Europe, North America and Asia, Razer has a global presence.
One of Singapore’s most-loved startups, Carousell is a mobile-based peer-to-peer marketplace for people to sell their used goods. Carousell gained traction incredibly quickly and saw extremely high engagement rates in its early days. Singaporeans responded to Carousell very well and it became a household name as people used it to get rid of their old clothes, jewellery and a variety of other things.
Backed by Sequoia, Carousell is one of the few successful mobile e-commerce companies in Southeast Asia.
10. Ninja Van
Ninja Van is a delivery service that specialises in logistics and next-day delivery. It sells its services to companies like Zalora and Watson, who need to deliver products to their customers. Ninja Van is growing extremely fast and raised US$2.5 million in funding in March.
The Ninja Van team is especially picky about the technology it uses to sort parcels, route vehicles, and run operations and hopes to make its technology the differentiator from the competition. Just a few days ago, it launched a service called Ninja Collect, which lets people collect their delivery from a drop off location so that they do not need to wait at home for their deliveries to arrive.
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