Carousell CEO Is The Latest Startup Founder Turned Angel Investor
Singapore-based mental health start-up Intellect recently raised a funding round.
According to TechCrunch, one of the angel investors is the co-founder and CEO of online marketplace Quek Siu Rui.
The undisclosed seed cycle was led by Insignia Ventures Partners. Besides Quek, other angel investors include former Sequoia partner Tim Lee and CEO of Southeast Asian startup consultancy xto10x, Chai Jia Jih.
Chai was also previously Senior Vice President of Growth and Strategy at Carousell.
According to Intellect, the team plans to use the new funds to boost its market expansion in Asia, as well as to invest in clinical research.
What is the intellect and who is behind it?
Intellect’s consumer app would have been among Google’s best personal growth apps of 2020.
According to Crunchbase, the mental health start-up was founded by serial entrepreneur Theodoric Chew in July 2019 and is headquartered in Singapore.
We first talked about it in 2018, when he told us that he had started to “get into a series of online businesses and side mini-projects” while still a student at the Raffles Institution (RI).
He had spent a lot of time at home working on his projects and had begun to lose interest in studying.
He left RI at the age of 16 to focus on his projects before deciding on a part-time degree.
He then created and left his first startup at age 20. Back in the days when the media and content space weren’t so crowded, he created a content curation platform called Existgreat.
In 2016, Existgreat was sold to a group of American entrepreneurs as part of a private deal between the buyers and Theodoric.
He has since experimented with business ideas and created startups – Intellect is one of them.
Intellect is described as “an app that helps you redevelop your traits, habits and behaviors through digital therapy programs.”
It is developed by a team of the world’s leading psychologists and behavioral experts.
Theodoric launched Intellect earlier this year because he saw a market in Asia.
Although there is a growing pool of mental wellness apps in the US and Europe that have attracted more funding during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian market is still very young.
The goal of Intellect is to encourage more people to integrate mental health care into their daily activities by lowering barriers such as high costs and social stigma.
The pandemic has certainly sparked more burnout and other mental health issues.
The company claims to have seen over a million users in just six months after launch.
On the Google Play Store, the app was rated 4.8 out of 5 stars with a total of 40,684 reviews. Many reviewers said they “loved the app” and that it “made their lives better”.
Carousell CEO’s first personal investment
One point worth emphasizing in this investment cycle is that this is Quek’s first personal investment.
According to VentureCap, as reported by TechinAsia, Quek had previously cashed approximately US $ 465,000 from Carousell and could have used that money to invest in Intellect.
It’s a great way to give back to the community and it’s important to see successful entrepreneurs supporting budding entrepreneurs.
Angel investors typically provide start-up support to startups in the early stages of the business, when most other institutional investors are not ready to support them.
This is especially useful for upcoming startups who typically suffer from a lack of funds to grow the business early on.
Other start-up founders who have gone on to become angel investors
On the one hand, the founder and CEO of real estate portal 99.co, Darius Cheung, is a well-known angel investor in the startup industry.
Prior to 99.co, he co-founded mobile security startup, tenCube, which was acquired by U.S. global security software company McAfee in 2010 for an undisclosed amount.
A report at the time suggested the deal was worth over US $ 5 million (S $ 6.8 million).
He has since made personal investments and invested in startups over the years, namely Glints, Carousell, JFDI.Asia and AppyZoo.
Co-founder and CEO of live chat software start-up Zopim, Royston Tay, is also an active angel investor and startup mentor on the Southeast Asian startup scene.
He has personally invested in HR start-ups StaffAny, Motorist, MindFi, Saleswhale and MoneySmart. Subsequently, he left MoneySmart.
In addition, JobsCentral Group Founder and CEO Lim Der Shing is also a well-known angel investor.
In 2011, JobsCentral was acquired by CareerBuilder, making it one of Singapore’s biggest tech releases at the time.
He invested in Motorist, Homage, Alodokter and MetroResidences from 2015 to 2019.
Likely to see more such investments from Carousell CEO
Quek mentioned that he decided to invest in Intellect because it was a “user-centric” product, similar to Carousell.
In his Facebook post, he praised founder Theodoric and the Intellect team for “making a significant impact”, as “mental health is an issue to be addressed, especially during these times”.
This could suggest more such investments in startups based on products like Quek’s Intellect.
Featured Image Credit: Carousell
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