Singapore’s list of successful home-grown start-ups continues to flourish, further cementing the nation’s image as a pressure cooker for the entrepreneurial culture that is developing throughout Southeast Asia. The country’s dynamic fast-moving start-up ecosystem, business-friendly environment and government schemes and grants, continue to lure in new companies with fresh and impressive ideas. With tech firms popping up everywhere in Singapore, it’s undoubtedly a hotspot for up-and-coming businesses.
With plenty of new names climbing the ranks throughout the first half of the year, here are some Singapore-based start-ups to keep an eye on as we enter the second half of 2019:
This private Singapore-based online food company was founded in 2014. Using a tech-enabled distribution network and data, the company offers meals and catering to customers via its online platform. Grain places great emphasis on customer experience, and are on a mission to ensure sustainable, nutritious food is accessible to everyone. The online food-based company raised $10 million USD in their latest Series B funding round, with Singha Ventures leading the investment.
A corporate venture capital fund branch of Singha Corporation, Singha Ventures are part of Thailand’s major alcoholic, beverage, food, and packaging company Boonrawd Brewery Group. Singha was joined by new investors Genesis Alternative Ventures, K2 Global, FoodXervices, Majuven, and Sass Corp, with returning investors like Raging Bull, Cento Ventures, and Openspace Ventures. Grain has so far raised a total of $14.2 million USD, over 4 rounds of funding backed by 15 investors in total, and will use the funds to build further infrastructure in Singapore and expand to other Asian cities, with Bangkok as their first target.
This global maintenance, inspection and security automation company has created technology to assist drones in their inspection process. H3 Dynamics is made up of 3 units building specific technology that works together, creating a single solution. By combining machine learning, remote telerobotics, and automation, they provide decision support to operators using drones to inspect places like buildings or agricultural patches, removing the need for a professional drone pilot to control the flight. Founded in 2015 by Taras Wankewycz, the start-up is headquartered in Singapore with locations in Europe, the U.S, and partnerships in Japan and Latin America.
H3 Dynamics secured a further $10 million USD at their latest and fifth round of Series B funding, bringing their total funding amount to $23.5 million USD. Mirai Creation Fund led the latest round of funding. The Tokyo-based investor was founded in 2015 and is backed by Toyota Motor Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and SPARX Group Co. Ltd.
Another Singaporean start-up, Zowedo, provides small and independent businesses with a platform to promote their services and tools on a retail level, connecting them to customers and enabling them to embrace the digital economy. The Singapore-based group is led by C.E.O, Antoine Nicole, a tech industry veteran who worked for Schneider Electric in supply chain for 8 years, and Apple as a senior project manager for Applecare.
Nicole and his at team at Zowedo have created a one-stop spot for everyday services, providing a proprietary real-time appointment booking system that allows customers to find, book, and pay for a service they need, in sixty seconds. Zowedo claims it now has listings of over 1,100 businesses on their platform and has integrated with Locanto, a worldwide online classifieds network to assist with drawing traffic. The start-up has just raised $200,000 USD in a funding round, with Paragon Capital Management as the lead investor.
Founded in 2016 by Arthur Mak and CaeciliaChu, YouTrip is a multi-currency mobile wallet that allows the user to make overseas payments with no transaction fees. The emerging Singapore start-up is the first multi-currency mobile wallet with a prepaid Mastercard in the country. It offers zero transaction fees in over 150 foreign currencies at wholesale exchange rates and the mobile app stores 10 selected currencies that can be easily exchanged through an in-app feature. Southeast Asia has one of the largest and fastest-growing outbound travel markets in the world, making it a prime environment for YouTrip to flourish.
The tech start-up has recently raised $25.5 million USD in a pre-Series A fundraise. The contributing investors include Insignia Ventures Partners, a Singapore-based early-stage tech venture fund with a focus on Southeast Asian companies. YouTrip said the new funding will be heavily invested in technology to continue the development of its technical payment infrastructure, as well as the roll-out of new features. Further expansion in Southeast Asia is on the horizon for the company, and with over 200,000 downloads since launching in 2018, it will no doubt continue to grow.
There is certainly no shortage of impressive start-ups oozing out of Singapore this year, and with its unicorn scene flourishing, the tech-savvy country will no doubt continue to add to its list of elite home-grown entrepreneurial talent.