These 5 S’pore startups may join the billion-dollar “club” in 2022

by Msnbctv news staff

It’s 2022 and issues are wanting rosier than a couple of months in the past. Economies are reopening and journey is again within the image.

Final yr, many Singapore startups clinched the extremely coveted “unicorn” rating. The startups embody Carousell, PatSnap, Ninja Van, and Carro.

Components that drove the excessive valuations had been because of strong funding from non-public fairness markets within the Southeast Asia area over the previous few years, supported by a rising center class and a rise in smartphone and knowledge utilization.

The pandemic additionally boosted tech-related sectors because of a rise in tech and digital adoption.

With the pandemic abating, it appears firms are nonetheless not slowing down on digitisation, having realised the significance of that when some had been caught unprepared by the affect of Covid-19. It’s doubtless that extra Singapore startups will proceed to achieve the billion greenback valuation standing within the close to time period, because the nation’s startup ecosystem matures.

So what number of Singapore startups will doubtless hit “unicorn” standing this yr?


ShopBack, a web based buying rewards app backed by Temasek Holdings Pte, is claimed to be in talks with potential traders to boost US$150 million to assist finance its growth, in accordance with a Bloomberg report.

The funding spherical is anticipated to worth the corporate at about US$1 billion. The Singapore startup presents cashback and different rewards for customers. It has expanded to 10 markets together with Australia, Taiwan, and South Korea.

In 2020, it raised US$75 million in a funding spherical that included traders Temasek and Rakuten. In 2021, it raised US$40 million in an funding spherical participated by Temasek, EDBI, East Ventures, Indies Capital, and January Capital.

Not lengthy after, it purchased purchase now, pay later (BNPL) startup Hoolah to speed up BNPL choices to retailers and buyers.

ShopBack Co-Founders Henry Chan and Joel Leong / Picture Credit score: East Ventures

The startup confirmed a 150 per cent progress in income in 2020, in comparison with a yr in the past. It’s mentioned to have 30 million customers on its platform and has helped facilitate over US$7.3 billion in income for greater than 5,000 service provider companions.

In an interview with Yahoo in 2020, the agency had not dominated out the thought of an IPO within the close to time period, however CEO Henry had mentioned that it stays targeted on creating worth for customers and retailers on this interval.

To cope with the pandemic, ShopBack has been extra-focused on optimising the enterprise and rationalising its value construction to function extra successfully with restricted assets.

Funding Societies

This Fintech claims it’s the area’s largest SME digital financing platform. It makes use of different types of credit score scoring and has disbursed greater than US$2 billion in financing to companies because it launched in 2015.

In Feb this yr, it introduced it raised US$144 million in an oversubscribed Sequence C+ funding spherical led by SoftBank Imaginative and prescient Fund 2. New traders like VNG Company, Rapyd Ventures, EDBI, Indies Capital, K3 Ventures, and Ascend Vietnam participated within the spherical.

Funding Societies Co-Founder and Group CEO Kelvin Teo / Picture Credit score: Funding Societies

Institutional traders additionally supplied US$150 million in debt strains. This provides as much as a complete funding of US$294 million (S$395.58 million) which the corporate will faucet on to additional its growth plans in Southeast Asia.

The earlier funding spherical was a US$45 million Sequence C raised between 2020 and 2021.

The startup’s shoppers vary from neighbourhood shops and e-commerce distributors to medium-sized firms who search different types of financing than financial institution loans.

Picture Credit score: Funding Societies web site screengrab

The enterprise gives revenue-based financing and is claimed to be faster to disburse than financial institution loans. Though the merchandise’ rates of interest are typically increased than banks however they’re decrease or equal to bank cards.

Based mostly on knowledge from VentureCap Insights, its final valuation previous to the most recent fundraise was at US$326.4 million as of 2021. The startup is more likely to now have a valuation that’s greater than US$500 million.

Startup knowledge insights portal Crunchbase notes Funding Societies’ whole funding quantity raised to be at US$400.50 million.


The Singapore primarily based digital telco has been boosting its Singapore headcount since October.

It had near 250 individuals and wished to extend extra workers – by 25 to 35 per cent – in 12 months (from October final yr) to scale up its Circles X software program providing. Circles X operates on a software-as-a-service income mannequin.

In December final yr, Circles.Life provided to purchase again US$5 million in worker inventory choices forward of a deliberate preliminary public providing. The corporate mentioned that worker shares awarded within the early days of the enterprise have grown over 13-fold in worth.

Picture Credit score: Circles.Life

The startup raised US$48.9 million in Sequence C funding in 2019, which valued the corporate at US$544 million, VentureCap Insights knowledge confirmed.

In Feb 2020, the agency introduced an undisclosed funding spherical from Warburg Pincus to additional fund progress and for growth in new markets. The startup didn’t disclose the funding sum, however knowledge from Crunchbase present that progress investor Warburg Pincus tends to inject a couple of hundred million {dollars} when investing.

Picture Credit score: Samuel Foong, Circles.Life

The startup’s earlier traders embody Sequoia Capital India, Singapore’s Financial Growth Board funding arm EDBI, and Silicon Valley’s Founders Fund.

Circles.Life had mentioned it could spend greater than US$250 million to maneuver into a minimum of 5 markets by end-2020.


Based in 2013, this Singapore primarily based startup is a next-generation broadband satellite tv for pc operator that goals to offer quick high-quality broadband entry at inexpensive costs to Asia Pacific.

It raised a complete of US$307.30 million in funding over three rounds. The most recent funding of US$160 million was in Dec 2019 from a debt financing spherical led by Asian Growth Financial institution and GuarantCo.

Picture Credit score: Kacific

This yr, it mentioned it has collaborated with ICT supplier and community operator HGC World Communications to spice up vital connectivity throughout rising markets within the Philippines. The suppliers supply infrastructure that may profit the federal government and companies within the nation.

Kacific’s geostationary Ka-band satellite tv for pc, Kacific1, was launched in Dec 2019 to offer connectivity to the underserved.

Because the satellites are rolling out, the startup might have plans to boost extra funds for growth functions.

If the satellites take off, the corporate may even see a repricing of its valuation actual quickly, though it’s more likely to not disclose that piece of knowledge even when it hits unicorn standing for commercially aggressive causes.


The B2B retail platform co-founded by CEO Ankiti Bose and CTO Dhrub Kapoor in 2015 is reportedly elevating US$150 million to US$200 million, in a report in February.

The deal might assist it turn into the following unicorn with a valuation of over US$1 billion. In 2019, Zilingo had raised US$226 million in a fund elevate led by Sequoia Capital, Temasek, and Burdal Principal Investments, giving it a US$970 million valuation.

Picture Credit score: Zilingo

The startup is simply shy of US$30 million to hit that unicorn standing. However that achievement won’t be celebrated with Co-Founder and CEO Ankiti who has been suspended from her publish.

The suspension is tied to Zilingo’s fund elevating efforts. The method to boost funds meant that there could be a due diligence course of required to verify the corporate’s account books. This course of became a probe into monetary irregularities that concerned Ankiti.

Zilingo Co-Founder and CEO Ankiti Bose / Picture Credit score: Zilingo

Ankiti was then suspended and the corporate’s numerous board of administrators, which incorporates names like Shailendra Singh, the Managing Director of Sequoia India, stop.

This information got here after the departures of Temasek Holdings’ Xu Wei Yang and Burda Principal Investments’ Albert Shyy.

Except the funding spherical was scrapped after this excessive profile scandal, there could be an opportunity for Zilingo to make a comeback if it manages to resolve its administration and board points. However it’ll first should do numerous fireplace preventing and get again the belief from traders and shoppers.

Offers proceed to be energetic

Singapore continues to be a frontrunner in funding and offers exercise in Southeast Asia, because of the presence of excessive progress firms that has been years within the making.

Analysis from Google, Temasek, and Bain and Co present the area’s web economic system to double to US$363 billion by 2025. Worldwide traders are additionally hungry for ‘progress at scale’ funding alternatives, and Asia Pacific, particularly Singapore, is an apparent market.

Observers predict extra unicorns to emerge, following the momentum from final yr. Time to catch a unicorn?

Featured Picture Credit score: ShopBack, Circles.Life, Kacific, Zilingo, Funding Societies

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