10 Singapore Firms Worth Watching In 2021

Singapore is a premier business destination, and many global companies – from America to China – have all gathered in our island nation to set up their businesses there.

However, this year has been rather difficult, with economies heading south and businesses struggling to stay afloat.

Despite the pandemic, some companies in Singapore have been successful in overcoming obstacles and raising funds, making acquisitions and experiencing significant growth.

Therefore, here are our bets on these 10 successful businesses in Singapore that are sure to make bigger waves in the year to come:

1. Enter

Image Credit: People Matters

Grab has become a household name in Singapore and is no longer just a ridesharing company. It has diversified its offerings to include food delivery and even financial services.

More recently, it introduced a microinvestment platform and a “pay later” feature to enhance its range of financial offerings.

In August, Grab raised US $ 200 million from South Korean private equity firm STIC Investments, bringing its total funding to more than US $ 10 billion.

In terms of future investments, Alibaba is said to be in talks to invest S $ 4.1 billion in Grab, and Singtel could also pledge more than S $ 600 million in its digital banking business.

Grab Chairman Ming Maa recently announced that the company’s revenues have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. Going forward, he said the company will focus on expanding its financial and merchant services business.

2. ShopBack

Image Credit: ShopBack via LinkedIn

The cashback startup recently sold its stake in financial platform Seedly to Hong Kong-based CompareAsiaGroup, without disclosing the sale price, however.

The sale comes two years after ShopBack acquired Seedly to venture into the personal finance business. Founded in 2016, Seedly claims to have over 1.1 million unique visitors per month to its community personal finance platform.

Following the sale, ShopBack said it will continue to operate as an independent branded standalone platform and plans to collaborate with more companies and develop more product features.

ShopBack has expanded extensively to Korea and Vietnam this year despite the pandemic, and has seen a surge in demand due to the boom in e-commerce.

3. Carousell

Image Credit: Carousell

Carousell raised US $ 80 million from South Korean tech giant Naver in September, raising its valuation to US $ 900 million.

While not yet profitable, it is rapidly climbing to join the rankings of a Southeast Asian unicorn business.

It recorded more than $ 1 billion in transactions on its platform between February and June and plans to double its Services category in 2021. This includes home services like plumbing, house cleaning and air conditioner maintenance. .

According to Carousell co-founder Quek Siu Rui, their goal is to bring the company back to profitability within the next three to four years and exit by 2024.

4. Ninja Van

ninja van
Image Credit: Ninja Van

Ninja Van raised US $ 279 million in April and is currently valued at US $ 740 million.

The Singapore-based company has raised a total of US $ 400 million since its launch in 2014.

The potential unicorn currently operates in six markets: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

He works with e-commerce companies including Lazada of the Alibaba Group, Tokopedia in Indonesia, and Sea’s Shopee; and saw a 2.5-fold increase in parcel volume in recent months following the surge in e-commerce demand.

5. A Championship

a championship chatri sityodtong
Image Credit: Will Baxter via Financial Times

ONE Championship raised US $ 70 million in June and its valuation has already surpassed US $ 1 billion, making it a unicorn company.

Today, it is Asia’s largest global sports media property with more than 2.7 billion potential viewers in 130 countries.

Although the pandemic has interrupted their live events in stadiums, they are literally retaliating by moving their scheduled events to closed-door, non-audience facilities.

To get things done, the company has also turned to creating content for its YouTube channel and Instagram account, and achieved “social media and digital audience records.”

They also have plans underway to film a new reality TV series called “The Apprentice” with ONE Championship founder and CEO Chatri Sityodtong as the host. The winner will secure a US $ 250,000 job at their Singapore headquarters.

6. Sunseap

Image Credit: Asean Records Organization

Sunseap raised $ 50 million in funding in January and an additional $ 100 million as part of its Series D funding the following month.

The local solar energy supplier has won numerous government tenders and is already powering the Apple Store in Singapore.

It will also provide solar power for Facebook’s Singapore operations, including its first custom-built data center in Asia.

Recently, Sunseap established a new green mobility business line, which aims to install 10,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging points in Singapore by 2030.

Judging by the strong pressure from the government for sustainable solutions and the adoption of EVs, Sunseap is certainly poised to experience strong growth in the coming year.

7. Shiok meats

shiok meats
Image Credit: Shiok Meats

Shiok Meats, the global cellular shellfish meat company, first raised US $ 3 million in June and an additional $ 12.6 million in September.

Its latest round of funding will help build the first commercial pilot plant of its kind in Singapore, from which it plans to launch its chopped shrimp product in 2022.

This puts the start-up on schedule to become the first company in the world to have a fully operational commercial pilot plant for the production of cell-based crustaceans.

Singapore aims to produce nearly a third of the food it needs by 2030, which has sparked renewed interest in food tech startups like Shiok Meats.

Moreover, with the increased demand for meat substitutes, Shiok Meats is expected to experience stronger traction in the near future.

8. StashAway

Image Credit: StashAway

StashAway raised US $ 16 million in July, and assets under its management grew more than 330 percent last year.

Beyond being an investment management platform, StashAway has branched out into financial education with StashAway Academy.

The company plans to expand into a few more countries, although it has not disclosed where it is turning at the moment.

What is clear, however, is that they have grown steadily as more people reflect on their personal finances given the volatility of the market and the general uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

9. 99.co

99.co darius chan
Image Credit: Fortune Net Worth

99 Group, which operates real estate portal 99.co, recently acquired real estate platform and real estate data provider Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) for an undisclosed amount.

As part of this acquisition, 99 Group will acquire all of the shares in SRX’s parent company, Streetsine Singapore.

The move will put SRX under the same roof as Singapore’s other real estate platforms 99.co and iproperty.com.sg.

According to 99 Group, this acquisition will create an expanded pool of listings, information and data tools, enabling it to offer consumers and real estate professionals in Singapore better value and more competitive offers.

To support its growth, 99.co also recently announced that it will hire 100 technical staff at its Singapore and Indonesian offices over the next year.

Additionally, the real estate resale market in Singapore is currently at an all time high, so it’s no surprise that real estate startups like 99.co are thriving during this time.

10. Hoolah

Image Credit: Stuart Thornton via Medium

Founded in 2018, hoolah introduced the concept of payment in installments in Singapore to help online retailers solve the problem of abandoned carts.

Their service also offers an alternative payment option, in addition to credit cards, allowing consumers to purchase big ticket items whenever they want.

It raised eight-figure funding in March to fuel its expansion and recently expanded to Malaysia.

It has nearly 1,000 partner stores and intelligently taps a millennial growing demand in Asia to “buy now, pay later”.

Kiss the waves

Small and medium-sized businesses are the real engines of our economy. Some have been able to surf the wave better than others; some are driven to the brink of destruction, while others adapt and flourish.

Like many aspects of life, during the COVID-19 era, the pandemic also presents a business opportunity.

A key benefit of running a small business is its agility and ability to adapt quickly. Amidst the chaos, some stealthy business owners are doing just that: adapting their strategies, their sales channels, and their entire philosophy to reassess, reshape, and realign.

This remarkable ability to adapt and pivot has enabled managers and their companies to evolve and thus survive.

Featured Image Credit: Grab, Carousell, ShopBack, Ninja Van, One Championship, Sunseap, Shiok Meats, StashAway, 99.co, Hoolah

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Jothi Venkat

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