Here is the monthly round-up of recent startup-related news and upcoming events in Singapore for September 2016.

Government Initiatives

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) launches a Fintech Innovation Lab

MAS has launched Looking Glass, a fintech innovation lab that focuses on financial technology solutions for startups. According to the press release, the lab (which is located within the MAS building) aims to:

  1. Allow MAS to test fintech solutions with tech startups and financial institutions.
  2. Provide consultation by industry experts to startups for legal, regulatory and business-related matters.
  3. Provide a venue for training and networking sessions for the fintech community.

Sopnendu Mohanty, the Chief FinTech Officer stated that the Innovation Lab demonstrates the MAS’ “commitment to promoting a culture of innovation in the financial sector”. This is not the only step the MAS is taking to promote the fintech community in Singapore. Earlier this month, MAS set up an International Technology Advisory Panel (ITAP) to advise it on the latest international developments in the FinTech sector and on how Singapore companies can embrace the latest technologies for financial services.

Startup Activity

Interfone Offers the Best Roaming Rates

Singaporean startup Interfone will offer you the best roaming rates. All you need to do is attach the Interfone sim sticker to your phone’s sim card and download the app that displays competitive rates for your number. The size of the sticker is 0.5 mm and fits easily onto an Apple or Android sim card. The best part is that when travelling overseas you can use your home number. A user does not have to activate roaming; the user has to purchase credits that can be converted either into minutes or data through Interfone’s app. The price is lower than the normal roaming rates. Interfone has entered into various agreements and its service is available in 100 countries. The company wants to expand its network and hopes to raise $25,000 from the campaign that it has launched on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding site. The company will spend these funds on marketing and to establish a global presence. Interfone will soon introduce additional features such as app-to-app calling.

PwC Singapore’s New Venture Hub

PwC Singapore recently announced the launch of Venture Hub, a one-stop shop targeted at helping investors and entrepreneurs who have a business idea and are active in the startup and innovation space navigate the complex ecosystem.

The hub, headed by Patrick Yeo will be set up in Singapore. PwC has been active in the FinTech space for quite some time. With the launch of Venture Hub, the firm will focus on other technology areas such as Wealthtech, Biomedicaltech, etc. In a statement, Yeo stated that “There are many stakeholders in the venture ecosystem ranging from start-ups, investors, incubators, accelerators to government agencies, each playing an important role. In order to effectively meet the needs of the varied stakeholders with speed, agility and efficiency, we felt that the conventional model of how professional services firms provided advice to such stakeholders had to change”.

PwC’s Venture Hub also promises to connect its clients to other regional and global markets.

Funding

Biofourmis raises $1 million funding

Biofourmis, a data analytics company in Singapore secured investment of $1 million in a funding round from SpesNet and Edent Strategy. The startup that was founded in the year 2015, focuses on the health care sector and offers predictive, precise and meaningful insight into a person’s health. The company’s product Biovitals is the world’s first personalised analytics engine for physiological data. Wearable technology and biosensors generate data every second; Biovitals, with the use of cognitive technology, interprets this and other data in any form and formulates health predictions on a real-time basis. Founder and CEO of BioFourmis, Kuldeep Singh stated that the company’s vision is to empower people by making personalised health care data understandable and actionable through cutting-edge technology.

Edtech startup Tueetor raises investment of $1.48 million

Tueetor, a Singapore-based edtech startup recently secured an investment of $1.48 million from iGroup Ltd. Tueetor matches learners and trainers online on the basis of a set criteria such as qualification, subject, level, teaching experience, etc. iGroup Ltd who invested in the company is a research information resources and library technology provider. Tueetor will use the investment to automate the online platform that connects learners with trainers. The company aims at resolving issues faced by parents and their children in terms of easily accessible education providers. Tueetor also wishes to expand its presence in Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Shanghai, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

Another Singapore-based edtech startup Ciaflo secured an undisclosed amount in pre-Series A funding. Founded in 2012, Ciaflo helps students in Singapore choose university programs and also assists them in their application process.

Appknox to expand to South-East Asia with its pre-Series A funding round of $625,000

Appknox, a Singapore-based mobile security startup raised $625,000 in a pre-series A funding round. SeedPlus, a venture capital firm led the funding round. The company will use the new funds to expand its presence in Southeast Asia. Appknox uses an app’s URL (Universal Resource Locator) to discover security loopholes and fixes them in a few minutes. The company that started its services in India works with e-commerce clients such as Paytm, BigBasket, Times Internet, etc. However, Prateek Panda, the co-founder of the company stated that with regard to mobile security, the Singapore market, dominated by financial services is more mature than the Indian market. Additionally, the recent implementation of the Privacy and Data Protection Act mandates companies to secure all data. After Southeast Asia, the company plans to secure Series A round funding to expand their services to the US and European markets.

Singapore online payment company Red Dot Payment secures a seven-figure investment in Series A Funding

Singapore-based Red Dot Payment, an online payment solution platform secured investment in a round led by MDI Ventures, an investment arm of Telkom, Indonesia’s largest telco. The other investors who participated in the round include GMO Venture Partners, Wavemaker Partners and Toivo Annus, the co-founder of Skype. The undisclosed investment will facilitate the expansion of the business in Southeast Asia. Nicko Widjaja, the CEO of MDI Ventures said that Red Dot Payment will provide advantages to industries that require solutions focused towards their special needs.

Singapore’s Funding Societies raises S$10 million in Series A funding round

Singapore-based Funding Societies, a peer-to-business lending platform recently secured S$10 million in Series A funding round. The investment round was led by Sequoia India and had other investors such as Alpha JWC Ventures participating. Funding Societies, founded by Kelvin Teo in 2015 is a platform for SMEs to secure funds that help them facilitate their growth. The individual and institutional lenders gain returns by lending to these SMEs. Since its inception, the company has provided loans to around 100 SMEs in Singapore amounting to S$8.5 million. The company has also provided loans of around S$1 million to 30 SMEs in Indonesia.

Fynd raises a pre-series A funding round worth $385,000

The on-demand mobile device repair platform, Fynd secured a funding of $385,000 in a pre-Series A funding round. Far East Ventures, the venture capital arm of Far East Organization, led the funding round. Known as the “Uber for mobile phone repair”, Fynd will use these funds to scale its business in Southeast Asia. Founded in 2014, Fynd offers efficient mobile and tablet repair services to its customers and also extends 30 days warranty for the replaced parts. Fynd is now available in Singapore and Hong Kong. The company will launch in Jakarta by the end of the year. Jonathan Ng, the co-founder of Far East Ventures stated that they see great potential in the services that Fynd offers especially in markets that have a high smartphone penetration such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

Upcoming Events

Webit.APAC Debuts in Singapore

Singapore will host Webit.APAC on September 20, 2016 at the Resorts World Convention Centre. The event participants include digital and technology experts from Singapore, Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. Webit.APAC, hosted by the NRF under the Prime Minister’s Office of Singapore is a part of the SWITCH Innovations week in Singapore. Webit is a global community that involves people and businesses that are interested in technology and digital transformation. The speakers at the event are top executives of companies such as Lego, IBM, Aegis, etc. The key topics that will be discussed at the event include digital marketing and advertising, investing in media startups, brand and company transformation among others. You can apply for tickets to the event at the Webit.APAC website.

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