Top Startups / January 11, 2021
Asaf Fybish

Asaf is an investor and startup growth advisor. He specializes in organic marketing and he's our Chief of Stash

Top 20 Singapore Startups to Watch in 2021

The rise of Asia within the startup scene is a fact this year. In 2020, 30% of the top ecosystems came from the region, in contrast to 20% in 2012. As a result of the government's concerted policies, Singapore, described as the Asian Silicon Valley, has rise as the leading regional startup hub of Asia. The startup ecosystem has a $21 billion value, exceeding the global average of $10.5 billion. The primary reasons are the ease of doing business, the pro-business policies, and the efficient tax regime.

We often cover some of the top startups from different countries, so it was only natural to look at Singapore next.

Singapore was rated by Startup Genome's The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2020 (GSER 2020) as #17 of the world's top ecosystems. It is an amazing place for startups to operate. The World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Ranking is rated as the second-best country to run a business worldwide. The currency is stable and strong, unlimited trade and capital can flow easily in and out of the country.

There's also good financial assistance. The government helps to grow and expand young startups by introducing new inventive schemes for businesses constantly. Singapore startups can postpone paying taxes until they are more established, and a startup's first $73,000 in income will be exempt by 75%. In 2018 they raised tax deductions for IP registration fees from 100% to 200% and qualifying costs acquired on R&D from 150% to 250%.

There is a program, Enterprise Singapore's Startup SG, which provides early-stage startups with access to mentorship, equity financing, cash grants, and business loans. This program is including the Startup SG Equity Co-Investment Fund for deep tech and digital startups and the Startup SG Founder scheme.

Although Singapore has many startups from numerous sub-sectors, Digital Health and Fintech is its strength. In Digital Health, they allocated $4 billion to health and biomedical sciences R&D as part of a Research Innovation and Enterprise 2020 5-year plan, and many great digital health startups are flourishing.

Regarding the fintech industry, a fintech regulatory sandbox program was introduced, a fintech innovation lab was opened, and a fintech innovation village by the name LATTICE80 was being launched by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). For fintech development over the next five years, MAS set aside about $225 million through the Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme.

Singapore's ecosystem has a worldwide reach as a host of The FinTech Festival, the biggest fintech, and innovation event globally. It is a global platform to facilitate collaboration between government, corporations, and startups and attracts over 45,000 participants from 130 countries. Entrepreneurs also set up a local nonprofit named the Singapore Fintech Association to help with collaborations in the industry.

The government understands the importance of talent and invested in initiatives like FinTech Talent Programme and TechSkill Accelerator (TeSA). This way, Singapore will get more tech talent and realize its vision of becoming a smart city.

Singapore has a long history as a financial hub, has the resources, knowledge, and networks needed to succeed as a top startup ecosystem. Singapore is a magnet for talents across the world, and when people with different backgrounds meet, magic will happen. That is exactly what you will find in the Singapore startup scene: magic.

 

1. Credit Culture

Year founded: 2016
HQ: Singapore
Size: 11 - 50
Founders: Edmund Sim

Credit Culture Website

Credit Culture is a financial service provider. They are the first fintech company that offers digital solutions for personal loans in Singapore. They enable consumers to benefit from a cheaper, better, and faster loan applications process and mark ongoing market inefficiencies with their innovative and proprietary technology. Its management has more than 30 years of experience in the financial world and in-depth knowledge of the consumer credit and technology area.

Credit Culture aspires to make credit costs for consumers lower and drive financial inclusion of multiple income bands, also the lower-income segment. Credit Culture raised $30 million in 2019, over one round from one investor, RCE Capital Berhad. With that being said, a great opener to our list.

 

2. Seedly

Year founded: 2016
HQ: Singapore
Size: 11- 50
Founders: Kenneth Lou and Tee Ming Chew

Seedly Website

Seedly is a finance assistant platform. This fintech startups expense tracking app helps users to save time and make smarter financial decisions. The app allows users to sync up to five bank and card accounts, so all their finances are in one place.

Users have an overview of their balances and monthly cash-flow, and they can automatically categorize all the expenses with just one click.

They introduced a community feature where, before users make a financial decision, they can crowdsource knowledge from peers. It is a review platform as well as a comparison tool.
They held, in 2019, Singapore's first personal finance festival. Seedly has raised $19.000 in funding over 2 rounds from 2 investors.

Seedly was acquired by Shopback, a discovery and rewards platform that helps to make smarter purchase decisions, in 2018 for an undisclosed amount. They gained access to international markets and resources to grow.

Two years after, in October 2020, CompareAsiaGroup, a Hong-Kong based leading financial management platform, acquired Seedly for an undisclosed amount. Seedly will work closely with CompareAsiaGroup to grow the personal finance community in Singapore and abroad while running as an independent, standalone platform. A very strategic acquisition is an amazing opportunity for Seedly to scale up their game, and it granted them access to many features focused on user engagement. A well-established name in the scene and a great addition to this list.

 

3. Skuad

Year founded: 2019
HQ: Singapore
Size: 51 - 100
Founders: Dave Fall, Naman Singhal, and Sundeep Sahi

Skuad Website

Skuad is a digital payroll platform to build, pay, and manage worldwide distributed teams. The company helps employers build and pay their remote employees easy without setting up local offices. Skuad automates global payroll, taxation, and local compliance and gives benefits for employees to spread worldwide.

With many companies worldwide shifting to remote working, as a startup that simplifies remote working, Skuad is becoming a necessity.

Skuad raised $4 million over 1 round in December 2020 with 4 investors. with this funding; the startup wants to grow its remote employment infrastructure and scale its growth team in various geographies. They will become the global standard for remote working and deserve a spot on our list.

 

4. Coda Payments

Year founded: 2011
HQ: Singapore
Size: 101 - 250
Founders: Bobby Choi, Neil Davidson, and Paul Leishman

Coda Payments Website

Coda Payments helps digital content providers in more than 30 countries monetize their services and products through payment channels that every consumer can use. There is no need for a credit or debit card. Their consumers, trusting Coda Payments to collect their revenues, are leading digital entrainment companies like Netflix, Tinder, and Garena.

While it was initially focused on enabling carrier billing, now it goes further than that. The focus now is facilitating payment from whatever means possible.

Besides their headquarter in Singapore, they have additional offices in Jakarta and Bangkok.
They were named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in 2020. Status in the past was received by prestigious companies like Google, Twitter, TransferWise, and Airbnb. Coda was ranked as the 4th fastest growing company in Singapore by The Straits Times and the Financial Times as the 22nd fastest-growing company in the Asia Pacific region.

Coda Payments has raised $25.3 million in funding over 8 rounds by 12 investors. They claim to process 17,000 transactions a day, the signs of a promising and thriving Singapore startup. That’s why we mention them in our list.

 

5. VoloFin

VoloFin Website

Year founded: 2020
HQ: Singapore
Size: 11 - 50
Founders: Anand Tiwari and Roshan Shah

VoloFin is a fintech platform that offers invoice financing for SMEs in Singapore, India, and the USA through the Next-Gen IT platform powered by Blockchain.

VoloFin is one of the first to leverage blockchain for MSME and SME lending. They made a platform that solves the large gap in SME lending while delivering value to all the stakeholders.
With their technology, SME's get immediate price indications and in-principle approval. The user interface is simple and user-friendly and allows a fully digital quick, and easy onboarding journey.
Volo Fin allows companies to efficiently grow their business without worrying about the credit risk of the buyer. The whole trade cycle is on the blockchain, making it watertight and transparent for all stakeholders.

The highly advanced blockchain technology platform with AI capabilities is supported by an experienced team with a lot of knowledge of banking, credit appraisal, trade finance, operations, debt management, and technology. And with the hiring of a new CEO, Mohit Agarwal, who played an essential role in the growth of Marsh, this young startup is shooting for the moon, and I believe they will reach it.

 

6. Funding Societies

Year founded: 2015
HQ: Singapore
Size: 101 - 250
Founders: Iwan Kurniawan, Kelvin Teo, and Reynold Wijaya

Funding Societies Website

Funding Societies connects investors with small businesses that need funds through their online peer-to-peer platform. Making reliable SMEs bankable and connecting them with retail and institutional lenders solve the financial inclusion issue.

They are the first peer-to-peer platform that received operating licenses from regulators in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. They won lots of awards like the Global Excellence Award from ITU telecom. Within 5 years, funding societies have helped finance over 3.3 million business loans with more than S$1.8 billion in funding.

Over 7 rounds, they raised a total of $112.5 million in funding and are funded by 10 investors. In December 2020, they received an undisclosed amount of investment from Samsung Venture Investment Corporation. With this investment, prospective partnerships and collaborations between the two were introduced. Funding Societies wants to expand its technology team across the region and develop its strategic and new business models in its next stage of evolution, pushing its vision of financial inclusion for SMEs in Southeast Asia.

They effectively bridge the SME credit gap in Southeast Asia and lead the region’s digital lending industry and finance these economies' future. A well trusted and flourishing startup established a good name for themselves and deserved a spot on our list.

 

7. CoinHako

Year founded: 2014
HQ: Singapore
Size: 11 - 50
Founders: Gerry Eng and Yusho Liu

CoinHako Website

CoinHako is a crypto-currency wallet service that provides non-technical users with the basic functions of cryptocurrency. Consumers can buy, sell, swap, and secure their digital assets instantly. Their site is available in English, Chinese, Indonesian and Japanese. You can also download the app for quick and secure 'on the go' access to digital currencies. They call themselves 'the simplest way to start using bitcoin in Asia,' and they implement industry best security practices to secure your digital currencies.

Besides being funded by Boost VC, they got a personal investment boost of 'six figures' from venture capitalist Tim Draper. CoinHako is one of the most recognized wallets in Asia and is known for its simplicity. Already thriving since 2014 and still going strong. I name that we must mention when we’re talking about the top startups from Singapore.

 

8. AIDA

Year founded: 2016
HQ: Singapore
Size: 11 - 50
Founders: Andrew Ang

AIDA Website

AIDA is a developer of machine learning solutions for the insurance and banking branch. They focus on delivering AI for risk and compliance analytics. The award-winning proprietary machine learning technology gives a set of smart AI solutions that drive results for companies across all organizational levels.

They won many awards like the Fintech Innovation Award 2017 Global Fintech and Hackcelerator 2016 Award-winning AI & Machine Learning solutions.

In 2019 AIDA raised 1 round. AIDA is funded by 3 investors, one of them MasterCard, for an undisclosed amount.

This investment will be put into market penetration and North Asia’s expansion, focusing on Hong Kong and Japan. AIDA is a new wave tech startup with global potential and a great addition to this list.

 

9. CardUp

Year founded: 2015
HQ: Singapore
Size: 11 - 50
Founders: Nicki Ramsay

CardUp Website

CardUp an online card payment platform that enables companies to access any payment or collection of expenses using cards, even in places where card payments are not accepted. Examples are payments paid by cash, cheque, or bank transfer like rent, tax, payroll, invoices, and more.

Their technology connects to accounting and ERP platforms, so businesses will get consistent data flow and reporting. Consumers will have the card benefits like earning reward points on big payments and extended credit terms.

They launched a new solution that provides businesses to access credit on international payments at competitive rates immediately. With CardUp, businesses can make credit card payments to overseas suppliers who don't accept card payments. This way, they can also use their available credit limit to delay the outflow for up to two months on payments to over 100 countries. At the moment, CardUp is working with all major banks in Singapore and Malaysia.

They raised a total of $2.5 million in funding over 3 rounds and is funded by 5 investors. They want to help drive the digitization of payments in more markets across the region. Right after their latest round, in September 2020, where they raised an undisclosed amount, they expanded their services to Hong Kong. A well-played move, and it will go only up from here. That’s why they deserve to be one of the top Singapore startups.

 

10. Insider

Year founded: 2012
HQ: Singapore
Size: 501 - 1000
Founders: Arda Koterin, Hande Cilingir, Mehmet Sinan Toktay, Muharrem Derinkok, Okan Yedibela, and Serhat Soyuerel

Insider Website

Insider has a product called Growth Management Platform (GMP) that enables digital marketers to drive growth from acquisition to activation, retention, and revenue. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to give the client detailed insights into targeting the right customers through the right avenues with the right messages. With this predictive segmentation, marketers are empowered to deliver personalized journeys across the web, mobile apps, and ad channels. It's easy to implement and user friendly.

Combining personalization, decision-making, and data engines into one platform help create consistent brand experiences across channels and bridge the gap between offline and online. Marketing problems are being solved with the AI and ML-powered engine, which optimizes Return on Ad Spend, drives conversations and improve discovery, and generates insights that can enhance your personalization program.

Insider raised a total of $46.1 million in funding over 6 rounds and is funded by 9 investors. They have offices spread worldwide and were listed as one of the 100 hottest startups by WIRED Magazine. With the co-founder and CEO, Hande Cilinger, being ranked by Cb as one of the top three women CEOs outside the US and clients like Singapore Airlines, Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, this startup can't go wrong and must be a name in this list.

 

11. Near

Year founded: 2012
HQ: Singapore
Size: 105-250
Founders: Anil Mathews

Near Website

Near is one of the biggest intelligence sources on people and places, processing data across 44 countries from over 1.6 billion monthly users. Near launched an interactive, cloud-based AI platform called AllSpark, which powers data-driven marketing and enhanced offerings via a set of SaaS products.

AllSpark works to create anonymized, location-based users' profiles based on its sources and then merges from data partners, carriers, and its customers and phones. Besides their headquarter in Singapore, they have offices in San Francisco, New York, London, Bangalore, Tokyo, and Sydney.

Near’s clientele contains big brands like News Corp, the We Company, and MasterCard. They raised a total of $134 million in funding over 5 rounds and is funded by 8 investors. Backed up by leading investors such as JP Morgan Private, Equity Group, and Cisco Investments. In July 2019, their latest funding raised $100 million from the private equity firm Greater Pacific Capital. Near stated that this investment would be used to launch new data products and expand into strategic markets.

They acquired Teemo, a Paris-based location intelligent platform, in November 2020. With this strategic acquisition, Near got access to more advanced data intelligent products and audience curation and data-driven marketing capabilities to customers in the European market. Near is, even with Covid-19, accelerating. They could expand into other markets by making similar acquisitions in the future. The first step is there; they have a foot in the door to expand throughout Europe and direct access to numerous big brands in Paris. Near well deserved their spot in this list.

 

12. Attune Technologies

Year founded: 2008
HQ: Singapore
Size: 101 -250
Founders: Anand Gnanaraj, Arvind Kumar, Mohanaraj Paramagurusamy, and Ramakrishnan Venkataraman

Attune Technologies Website

Attune Technologies is one of the pioneers in Cloud-Based products designed to help the healthcare ecosystem by offering their next-generation Healthcare IT products to deliver business benefits to its customers.

The solutions smoothly integrate hospitals, pharmacies, labs, radiology, blood banks, medical devices (IoT), accounting, and insurance companies, which results in growth in revenues and operational efficiency. Attune Technologies launched two powerful apps to minimize the existing communication gap and collaboration in the healthcare area.

They support customers in over 15 countries in the Indian Subcontinent, South East Asia, Middle East, and Africa.

Attune Technologies raised $16 million over 3 rounds and is funded by 2 investors, Norwest Venture Partners and Qualcomm Ventures.

The concept of ‘Internet of Things’ or a connected universe for the entire healthcare branch is brought to life by Attune Technologies. A very well established and important startup from Singapore that must be mentioned.

 

13. TradeGecko

Year founded: 2012
HQ: Singapore
Size: 101 - 250
Founders: Bradley Priest, Cameron Priest, and Carl Thompson

TradeGecko Website

TradeGecko offers an online inventory and order management software that enables SMEs to manage their sales and supply chains within a single platform. Users receive thorough data insights as well as their operations, inventory, and accounting e-solutions.

Thousands of customers are using the software across more than 100 countries. They’ve managed to build their customer base's foundations in the U.S, Hong Kong, and Australia.
TradeGecko raised a total of $17.7 million in funding over 5 rounds and is funded by 9 investors. Investors like Openspace Ventures, Wavemaker Partners, and 500 Startups, and others.

In August 2020, global SaaS platform Intuit announced that it would acquire TradeGecko to strengthen its business solution QuickBooks. This was Intuit's first SEA deal. The acquisition's financial details were not announced, but it is said that it was sold for more than $80 million.

This is a great outcome in many ways. For TradeGecko, it means an amazing opportunity to build the platform to power millions of SMBs as Intuit has more than 7 million small businesses as customers. TradeGecko’s inventory and order management system will be integrated with Quickbook’s set of financial, reporting, payment, and accounting tools. This will give the customers run and grow their business, all in one platform. The co-founders will join the Intuit team and will still play roles in the product and team integration. A great exit for this Singapore startup and a big name on our list.

 

14. Horangi

Year founded: 2016
HQ: Singapore
Size: 101 - 250
Founders: Lee Sult and Paul Hadjy

Horangi Website

Horangi is a SaaS company that provides security software and services supported by a team of CREST-certified worldwide cybersecurity experts in Asia. They built an integrated cybersecurity platform to thorough, secure organizations with enterprise-grade technology in the cloud. With over 200 customers within a wide range of industries, including Gojek, ShopBack, Ninja Van, PropertyGuru, and Marine Insurance Singapore, they have five offices around the world.

Horangi raised a total of $23.1 million in funding over 2 rounds and is funded by 9 investors. In March 2020, their latest round was good for $20 million and was led by Provident Growth, a private equity firm that focuses on South-east Asia.

Horangi will use the money for expansion in South-east Asia and strengthen its cloud-security product, named Warden, by integrating AI and machine-learning technologies to help organizations stay in front of threats. Besides that, they want to double its staff and grow its presence in Singapore and Indonesia. All in all, Horangi established a strong brand and a market-leading position in its core markets, with many years of cybersecurity experience, which makes them a top Singapore startup.

 

15. InfoTrie

Year founded: 2012
HQ: Singapore
Size: 11-50
Founders: Frederic Georjon, Janees Elamkulam, and Sandeep Chellappen

InfoTrie Website

InfoTrie is a Big Data, Financial Engineering, and News Analytics company that offers technology to analyze enormous flow of information formed by the financial industry. Their algorithms transform unstructured data from financial news, social media, blogs, reports, etc., into actionable warnings. The users will only receive optimal financial information, which helps users monitor their portfolio, build new breeds of investment strategies, and generate Alpha. Users can use InfoTrie's services and products to take action on early market-moving information and obtain perspective and context from evolved information.

They secured $396.800 (SG$500.000) in funding over 1 round. InfoTrie its presence is felt on a worldwide scale with additional offices in Paris, London, and Bangalore. Overall a flourishing startup, and with clients like JP Morgan, Trader Magazine, and Bloomberg backing them up, it can’t be missed in our list.

 

16. V-Key

Year founded: 2011
HQ: Singapore
Size: 101-250
Founders: Benjamin Mah and Joseph Gan

V-Key Website

V-Key offers, as a global leader in software-based security, solutions for mobile identity, authorization, authentication, and payments. They invented an internationally patented, innovative cryptographic software called V-OS. V-OS is the first virtual secure element of the world and allows businesses to create delightful customer experiences by combining ultra-high-security and convenience in multiple areas of mobile applications like cloud-based payments trusted authentication for mobile banking, and other secured mobile applications for user access, data protection, and identity. They work with major banks, payment gateways, government agencies, and enterprises.

V-Key has raised $16M over 2 rounds and is funded by two investors: IPV Capital and Ant Group.
They won multiple awards from the start. For example, the National Infocomm Awards – 2nd Runner Up for Most Innovative Product/Solution in 2016, the Association of Information Security Professionals (AiSP) Cybersecurity Awards 2019– SME (Vendor) and GATES GOLD Special Award for Innovative Solutions for Vendor in 2019.

Their products have been recognized by plenty of testing and accreditation figures around the world. V-OS Virtual Secure Element's cybersecurity has never been broken in more than 9 security penetration tests, and its strength is indisputable—a solid startup within the Singapore scene, which marked its territory and a spot in our list.

 

17. Doctor Anywhere

Year founded: 2016
HQ: Singapore
Size: 11 -50
Founders: Lim Wai Mun

Doctor Anywhere Website

Doctor Anywhere is a tech-led healthcare company and created a digital platform that offers on-demand healthcare. Their platform gives quick access from every location to wellness and health solutions, and they have a strong network of healthcare providers and experienced doctors. It makes healthcare smooth, simple, and convenient and is optimized to help users managing their health in a way that suits their lifestyle and needs.

Greater health outcomes are more achievable than ever with the use of technology. Users can consult a licensed local doctor via video call anywhere, anytime, and get medication delivered to their house within hours. There’s easy access to your health reports, medical history, and other documents because of the in-app storage. It also offers an online health products maker place.

Over 1,300 general practitioners and health care specialists in Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore a registered on the platform. You can imagine that, as the coronavirus started to spread, Doctor Anywhere gained more attention.

Doctor Anywhere raised a total of $31.3 million in funding over 2 rounds and is funded by 5 investors. They raised $27 million in their latest round in March 2020 from a group of investors, including Malaysian hospital operator IHH Healthcare. They used the investment by launching a new online mental health video consultation service in October 2020. Doctor anywhere stated that access to support for mental well-being is more critical now than ever before. Users from any place worldwide can use this service to seek support from experienced mental health practitioners.

Doctor Anywhere is a super flexible, smart, and flourishing Singapore startup that knows how to cut the mustard.

 

18. Ninja Van

Year founded: 2014
HQ: Singapore
Size: 501 - 1000
Founders: Boxian Tan, Chang Wen Lai, and Shaun Chong

Ninja Van Website

Ninja Van is a tech-based express delivery company that provides stress-free delivery services for businesses across South-east Asia. They are a thriving startup in the logistic space and became the region's largest and fastest-growing logistics startup specializing in express e-commerce delivery. Ninja Van currently delivers more than a million packages daily to customers in six countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. They have e-commerce partners like Alibaba's Lazada, Shopee, and Indonesia's Tokopedia.

Ninja Van raised more than $400 million over 5 rounds and is funded by 12 investors. They're refusing to disclose its valuation, but we can assume that the startup has reached unicorn status. Their latest round, in April 2020, gave them

$279 million of funding. Investors like Eduardo Savarin's (Facebook co-founder) B Capital Group and Grab, among others, were included.

Ninja Van plans to use the funds to grow their existing services and widen their interventions in the business-to-business sector. They might do another round of funding before an IPO or sale.
Ninja Van is a unicorn with a high potential of growth even more now, the number of online shoppers due to covid-19 is increasing rapidly. The only unicorn in this list and an impressive one indeed.

 

19. Referral Candy

Year founded: 2009
HQ: Singapore
Size: 11-50
Founders: Dinesh Raju and Zach Cheng

Referral Candy Website

ReferralCandy is an e-commerce store plugin that enables its users to get more word of mouth sales. It helps users conduct their own customer referral programs, and it rewards buyers for telling their friends about the store. It's easy to use, so no developers needed it, and it is also easy for the shoppers to refer their friends. Besides that, it focuses on referral marketing services and customer acquisition.

They launched a product called Candybar, a digital punch card for traditional stores to turn customers into regulars and reward customer loyalty. This helped over 30.000 online stores with their referral programs.

ReferralCandy has raised a total of $750.000 (SG$1M) over 2 rounds and is funded by 6 investors. Seeing the trend of e-commerce growing during the covid-19 pandemic, businesses need to implement a good loyalty program and word-of-mouth to survive. ReferralCandy is just the right tool for businesses in these times. A clever and easy solution created by a small but not be missed Singapore startup. That’s why they’re on our list.

 

20. Pace

Year founded: 2020
HQ: Singapore
Size: 11 - 50
Founders: -

Pace Website

Pace is an online payment platform where users can shop, spreading their purchases across later payment, so shop for more with no interest or hidden fees. They allow you to spread your purchases into 3 interest-free installments.

Pace raised an undisclosed amount in 1 Seed round, funded by Vertex Ventures. A super new startup, but one that we need to follow. Not as big (yet) as the other names on our list, but a rising one indeed. We didn’t want to keep you from this gem, so we added it to our list.

Top 20 Singapore Startups to...
Asaf Fybish

Asaf is an investor and startup growth advisor. He specializes in organic marketing and he's our Chief of Stash

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