Singaporean Ventures — Issue #4
On the menu today:
Superapps 💪, e-commerce 🛒, mobile payments 📱, blockchain ⚛️ and nightclubs 🍸
Startups and downs 🦄
○ WhyQ, the hawker food delivery startup, celebrates its 2nd year of existence. Read about the company’s differentiating strategy and vision now that it has acquired Plum, one of its major competitors. Restaurant reservation platform Chope has been integrated to Chinese lifestyle app Meituan, thereby gaining access to 290m users.
○ Find a doctor with DocDoc. The platform, which boasts 23,000 doctors and 700 hospitals, has raised US$4.4m from Cyberport Macro Fund to expand to Hong Kong.
○ Snaphunt, an AI-HR tech startup, has raised US$1m from Beenext. Customers include Microsoft and Antler.
○ ‘Buy now, pay later’ startup Rely has raised a 7-figure Series A led by Goldbell Financial Services. The company uses AI to assess the user’s repayment capability.
○ Cybersecurity startup CloudSEK has raised US$490k from IDFC Parampara Early Stage Opportunities Fund.
○ Terra builds a crypto-infrastructure with self-regulating algorithms that automatically adjust money supply. The company has raised an undisclosed amount from Korean tech giant Kakao’s venture arm.
○ Lazada has appointed Pierre Poignant to the role of CEO (the 3rd in 9 months). The company is facing fierce competition in SEA from Shopee, Tokopedia and Amazon Prime Now.
○ Get free Netflix and Spotify services with this credit card by Crypto.com, that also comes with a crypto wallet and crypto exchange!
○ Singapore is clearly a promising hub for blockchain. Consensys has signed a MoU with government-backed accelerator Tribe, to act as technical partner and mentor for the accelerator’s projects. It has also been revealed that the Singapore Government’s Wealth Fund has participated in Coinbase’s US$300m round last year. Finally, NUS is reportedly working with Chinese company Chongqing Jinwowo Technologies on blockchain and AI projects.
Grab & Go-Jek 🚘
○ Grab’s CEO Anthony Tan has revealed the company’s strategy for 2019: more partnerships, in order to expand to new sectors such as healthcare and insurance. Grab has been ranked as the world’s 2nd most innovative company, by Fast Company, and has secured another USD$1.46bn from Softbank this month.
○ Grab has changed its ride cancellation policy. From now on, you will pay SG$4 if you cancel your ride 5 minutes after getting a driver.
○ GrabPay has officially launched on NUS campus, with a SG$0.5 rebate per transaction and SG$100 credit to top 5 spenders, until April 1st.
○ Go-Jek has officially expanded to Thailand, its 4th market (after Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore). The company has also signed a MoU with Indonesian city Bandung to provide cashless payment for public transportation, public services, and tourist activities.
○ Go-Jek has also received US$100m funding from Indonesian automobile distributor Astra to develop their partnership (Go-Jek using Astra 4W cars and fleet management system).
○ In Singapore, Go-Jek will start offering teleconsultation and other medical services to its drivers in April, via Doctor Anywhere.
○ Both companies compete to attract the best engineers, which has led them to be more open over the last weeks about their product vision. Read about Grab’s surge pricing widget design journey, Go-Jek’s definition of superapp, core engineering principles, infra and the challenges the company faced since it has launched its lifestyle app, Go-Life.
○ Google has launched its first physical space dedicated to developers inside its Singaporean office, to empower developers with its proprietary cloud and software resources.
○ For Gamers, by Gamers — Click here to apply for RazerPay beta! Razer, which has opened a regional center for fintech, esports excellence in Malaysia, has also unveiled EchoBase, its project to disrupt the building industry with AI.
○ United Overseas Bank (UOB) uses AI to speed up access to loans for SMEs, via its collaboration with B2B e-commerce platform OctoRocket.
○ DBS is organizing a hackathon to recruit its new cohorts of engineers.
○ Changi Airport’s Jewel Terminal will open on April 17th. You can register to be part of the happy fews (500,000) who will visit it from 11th to 16th.
Venture Capitalists 🎢
○ Engie Factory Asia-Pacific, the newly-launched corporate venture arm of French utility Engie will focus on opportunities in mobility, energy efficiency, renewables and smart cities, in SEA.
○ Antler, the startup generator created by the founder of Zalora, has expanded to London.
○ BLOCK71, NUS Entreprise’s lab, has expanded to Suzhou, China, in an effort to help Singaporean companies discover the Chinese market.
○ The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has announced a $6m programme, managed by VC firm TNB Accelerator, to support innovative building projects.
The Smart Nation 🇸🇬
○ The city of Singapore will start trialing smart sensors for parking spaces for 6 months, starting in June 2019. A web platform will allow users to find parking spots before they reach their destination.
○ SMRT, the public transportation network of Singapore, has announced a collaboration with Google-backed Japanese Deep Learning startup ABEJA to prevent accidents due to faults in railway maintenance.
○ The world’s first driverless electric bus is being trialed at Nanyang Technological University, in collaboration with Volvo. Meanwhile, NUS also claims to be at the forefront of smart city innovation.
○ How many of the 22 Singaporean billionaires do you know ?
Food for thought 🍜
○ Read about the 8 trends that will transform SEA e-commerce in 2019. The e-commerce boom will also bring new cybersecurity challenges, as explained in cybersecurity startup Horangi’s detailed report. Also, read why as an e-commerce startup you need a blog.
○ The future of luxury in China lies in…e-commerce. TL;DR: the rich don’t live in large cities, and e-commerce giants are the only players with the proper supply chain to reach them.
○ The center of gravity of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) for the aviation industry will move to Asia over the next 20 years. Read why here.
○ Facial recognition is outdated. The new trend is gait recognition (how people walk).
○ How China is becoming the land of unicorns: +37 in 2018.
○ What is the most well-funded startup in each country in APAC?
○ Do CEOs need personal assistants?
Beyond Singapore 🌏
○ Chinese car marketplace Chehaoduo has raised US$1.5bn from Softbank. The company, which has both a P2P used car marketplace and a new car/leasing business operates over 600 physical stores and is valued over US$9bn.
○ Ofo has found a — temporary — solution to its cash constraints: convert user deposits into e-commerce discounts.
○ 23 million people in China have been unable to travel, as a result of the social credit system put in place by the government.
○ Another day, another unicorn. Indian logistics startup Delhivery has raised US$350m from Softbank at US$1.6bn valuation.
○ The 2019 Uber/Lyft IPO battle is also the battle between two Japanese business magnates: Softbank’s ‘Masa’ and Rakuten’s ‘Mickey’, who hold 15% and 13% via their respective companies.
○ The Malaysian government has announced the development of its national car prototype with semi-autonomous driving capability, to be scheduled for 2019.
○ Patriotic Chinese kids sing their love for Huawei in viral Twitter video.
○ One newsletter app to rule them all — Click here to uberize me.
○ How to unlock Facebook Messenger’s dark mode.
○ Marquee, the largest nightclub in Singapore, will open on April 12th. Get ready!
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