12 Singapore start-ups worth watching in 2020

28 Nov 20193.38k Views

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From renewables to wearables and from e-commerce to e-sports, we have rounded up some start-ups to watch in Singapore.

This time two years ago, Siliconrepublic.com rounded up 15 Singapore-based start-ups worth watching in 2018. But with plenty of tech activity happening in the city and other parts of south-east Asia, we’ve decided to revisit the Singapore start-up scene.

Here, we’ve gathered 12 top Singapore start-ups that you should keep your eye on in the year ahead.

Anchanto

The Anchanto SaaS platform enables businesses to manage their end-to-end e-commerce operations across multiple channels, helping them bypass the complexities and fragmentation that have traditionally made it difficult for bricks-and-mortar businesses to make the most of e-commerce.

The company was co-founded by Vaibhav Dabhade, Abhimanyu Kashikar, Shafique Muhammad and Julien Juttet. To date, it has raised more than $11m, according to Crunchbase, from investors including Innosight and MDI Ventures.

Carousell

Carousell is an online consumer-to-consumer marketplace. Set up in 2012 by Lucas Ngoo, Marcus Tan Yi Wei and Quek Siu Rui, the company has raised around $182.8m to date for its iOS and Android marketplace, which has been ranked as the top shopping app in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia.

Backed by Sequoia Capital and OLX Group, the company appears to on its way to achieve unicorn status – after merging with Telenor Group, the business is now valued at $850m.

Coda Payments

Coda Payments is a fintech start-up that is looking to address the fact 80pc of people living in emerging markets don’t have credit cards. To help businesses collect more online payments, Coda integrates more than 100 payment methods, providing alternative options to people who don’t have credit or debit cards. These options include e-wallets, bank transfers and paying from convenience stores.

The company has partnered with brands such as Three Indonesia, 7-Eleven, PayTM, Santander and Tesco Lotus to help provide these services. Founded in 2011 by Bobby Choi, Neil Davidson and Paul Leishman, the business has raised around $25.3m to date.

As well as its payments service, Codapay, its offers another service, Codashop, that helps digital content providers such as Netflix, Tencent and Garena to monetise games and streaming services in emerging markets.

Eliphant

Eliphant is a start-up offering a range of services in the e-sports market. The company provides consultancy and networking services, as well as events and project management, marketing and advertising, and technical services such as tournament and league creation. The start-up also offers a platform for competitors to stream high-quality productions and rent camera equipment for e-sports events.

Founded in 2014 and led by Elicia Lee, the start-up has since launched a convention called GameStart. Eliphant is also an official partner of Gamescom Asia and has entered a strategic partnership with Sozo, a subsidiary of Sony, to expand operations in Asia.

Grain

Grain is an online food delivery company that operates in Singapore and south-east Asia. Founded in 2014 by Ernest Sim, Isaac Tan, Rifeng Gao and Yi Sung Yong, the start-up uses data and a tech-enabled distribution network to bring food to customers.

 

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The company says that its mission is to make sustainable food accessible for everyone, focusing on the customer experience. So far, Grain has been used for catering and lunch orders by companies including Apple, Facebook, Airbnb, Microsoft and Uber. The start-up has raised $14.2m in funding from Openspace Ventures, Sass Corp, Cento Ventures and other investors.

Igloohome

Announced as a preferred partner of Airbnb in recent years, Igloohome is a smart-lock start-up that helps property owners with access management. Set up by Anthony Chow, Kelvin Ho, Walter Wang Yue and Sharon Goh, the company has raised around $16.3m from investors including Kickstart Ventures, Insignia Ventures Partners and Wavemaker Partners.

The company has designed smart locks for homeowners to use anywhere they’d use a regular padlock, as well as a line of locks for enterprise customers. All of these locks are built with secure cryptography technologies for interoperability across Igloohome’s software and hardware.

Impress

An AI-powered recruiting solution, Impress was created to automate the hiring process, engage qualified people sooner and help businesses find the right candidate faster. The platform’s candidate evaluations are based on competency frameworks built by industrial-organisational psychologists.


The company raised $1.4m in its seed funding round, led by O Victory Fund and Reapra. It was founded in 2017 by Amrith Dhananjayan, Sudhanshu Ahuja and Vaisagh Viswanathan, and Ahuja recently explained the concept behind the company to Siliconrepublic.com.

KaHa

KaHa is the company behind Cove, an end-to-end smart IoT wearables platform, enabling brands to launch ranges of smart products. Since starting the company in 2015, founders Justin Tang, Pawan Gandhi and Sudheendra Shantaram have helped the company to raise $10.7m.

The start-up has designed a range of wearable solutions, including products for people with disabilities, products for athletes, products that monitor full body vitals such as temperature, blood sugar and UV protection. The business has also designed wearables for digital payments and personal safety.

Ninja Van

One of south-east Asia’s fastest-growing logistics providers, Ninja Van specialises in next day deliveries for e-commerce companies.

Launched in 2014 by Boxian Tan, Chang Wen Lai and Shaun Chong, the start-up has raised a massive $117.5m from investors including DPD Group and Monk’s Hill Ventures.

Pundi X

Pundi X is a blockchain company that aims to make cryptocurrencies available to everyone. Tokens listed on the Pundi X Open Platform comply with global security and compliance standards, giving users peace of mind when using crypto tokens across its XWallet, XPos and XPass, making blockchain-based digital assets an option for everyday payments, according to the start-up.

Co-founded by Zac Cheah, Pitt Huang and Danny Lim in 2017, the Singapore-based company raised $35m in an ICO last year.

Sunseap

Singapore’s Sunseap is one of the largest clean energy solutions providers in the region, with operations across south-east Asia. The start-up has a portfolio of projects completed and in the pipeline, from solar photovoltaic installations to off-site clean energy supply.

It was founded in 2011 by Frank Phuan and Lawrence Wu. It has raised a total of $187.7m from investors including United Overseas Bank, Banpu and Enspire Capital.

Synphne

Another wearables company, Synphne was founded in Singapore in 2013 by researchers John Heng and Subhasis Banerji. The company’s wearable solution trains the brain and muscles as one system, helping individuals with physical disabilities resulting from neurological pathologies such as stroke and traumatic brain injury, as well as those with learning disorders or age-related problems such as memory and functional decline, chronic stress and pain.

The technology facilitates the coupling of attention and muscle coordination in real time, enhancing the positive effects of neuroplasticity. The start-up aims to mimic how a human baby learns in its first few months after birth, when neuroplasticity is at its most efficient.

Updated, 3.30pm, 29 November 2019: A previous version of this article referred to the MD of Eliphant as Erica Lee. This has been updated to correct her name to Elicia. 

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Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com