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Rental Search 2.0
99.co is an end-to-end company that uses technology and data science to provides renters a radically honest, transparent and delightful experience. Real estate portals in Singapore are saturated by duplicate, and often fake, listings rife with conflicting, inaccurate and incomplete information. This is due to the individualistic nature of the brokerage business today. The portals serve agents as their customers and have no incentive to prevent such practices from perpetuating.
Why we love it: 99.co offers a delightful search and scheduling experience online, where every listing is unique, complete and accompanied by authentic photos. Based in Singapore, the 4th most expensive rental market in the world, they focus on the $300M rental market locally and plan to expand to apartment sales and services, and into other Asian cities.
“Darius is a serial entrepreneur and a brilliant thinker. He’s tapped into a huge pain point in Singapore, and by creating a beautiful, responsive portal for people to find, sell, and rent property, we think there’s a real opportunity to disrupt real estate across Southeast Asia. He has an amazing team behind him, and supportive investors willing to help him grow.” – Jeffrey Paine, Golden Gate Ventures
Snap, List, Sell.
Carousell offers a simple way to sell unused and under-used clutter! Carousell was started to solve the problems present in existing peer-to-peer marketplaces. Just too many valuable and functional things are chucked aside and wasted. They solve this problem by creating a fun and inspiring platform for people to buy and sell these things.
Why we love it: Carousell was started to solve the problems present in existing peer-to-peer marketplaces. Just too many valuable and functional things are chucked aside and wasted; wouldn’t it be amazing if we could make it fun and inspiring for people to buy and sell these things? That’s exactly what Carousell hopes to do. The existing alternative marketplaces do not have Carousell’s active community, a beautiful user interface, or its seamless mobile experience. The last point is incredibly important: Carousell’s mobile-only strategy speaks to the long-term viability of the platform in Southeast Asia.
“We found that the mobile-ﬁrst approach is the future. Our focus on mobile has attracted a young demography mainly in the 16-34 years old age group, who are absolutely hooked to Carousell.” – Quek Siu Rui, cofounder, Carousell
Pay with airtime
Coda Payments offers a convenient way for customers to make purchases online using their pre- or post-paid mobile accounts, while helping mobile operators manage a sophisticated margin differentiation program that allows them to better monetize their direct billing capabilities. Coda is active in Indonesia and Malaysia, and headquartered in Singapore.
Why we love it: No plastic, no problem! This mobile payment startup helps online, high volume, small transaction merchants accept money from the 2 billion worldwide customers with a mobile phone and no credit card. Mobile operators around the world are seeing revenues from their traditional content business plateau or decline, in part due to the shortcomings of premium-rate SMS. Coda’s direct carrier-billing infrastructure and merchant acquisition capabilities help mobile network operators recapture these revenues while increasing loyalty and driving acquisition. In turn, Coda allows online merchants to more effectively monetize their content and services. Coda is actively looking to bring more merchants onto it’s network.
“Across Southeast Asia, there are 250 million consumers with a mobile phone but no credit or debit card. We’re partnered with mobile network operators across the region to build a safe, simple, and fast way for consumers to make purchases online.” – Neil Davidson, CEO Coda Payments
Online grocery that’s cutting the checkout queue
RedMart.com is a Singapore based online grocer that delivers everyday essentials, such as diapers, rice, soda, and bottled water to busy consumers. RedMart is backed by well-respected investors and advisors, such as Golden Gate Ventures, Toivo Annus (Skype Co-founder), Jason Ackerman (Co-founder and CEO of online grocer FreshDirect.com in US), Boon Ling Yee (Singaporean, former Commercial Director of Tesco China), and Anne-Ev Juette-Enzmann (former Marketing Strategy Director at Tesco Thailand).
Why we love it: Amazon watch out, RedMart’s online shopping portal is set to revolutionize the way Singaporeans buy everyday home essentials. Their competitive price, large product selection, and same day delivery are just a few reasons folks are opting for the convenience of online ordering. This data-driven trio of founders have already outgrown their first warehouse and are set to deliver more goods, more efficiently in 2013. The founders are so committed to providing the best customer service and timely delivery that you may find them at your door, delivering the goods themselves.
“We started RedMart with the belief that Singapore is an ideal market for an online grocery service, and the result of our first year of operations has made us even more convinced. Our rapid growth demonstrates that Singaporeans demand a more convenient way to buy groceries and home essentials at a competitive price.” – Roger Egan, Co-founder & CEO RedMart
Indonesian Online Shop for Baby Products
Bilna.com is an Indonesian-based online retailer that gives Indonesian mom’s a shopping heaven, providing more product selection than anyone else, with close to 10,000 unique SKU combined with a speedy delivery service and world-class customer care. Along with Golden Gate Ventures’ investment, Bilna has received funding from Cyber Agent Ventures, East Ventures, DG Incubation, and TMS Entertainment.
Why we love it: Bilna taps into two exciting qualities of the Indonesian market: the E-commerce market is growing tremendously fast, and its status as having the largest population in Southeast Asia. More importantly, the baby goods industry can be extraordinarily profitable for market leaders: mothers are generally very loyal to particular brands, repeat purchases are commonplace, and margins are relatively stronger than other goods. By securing its place as the market leader in baby goods, Bilna is well-positioned to grow rapidly in the near future.
“Currently, the Indonesian Internet market is rapidly growing … there are clear signs indicating the rapid growth of the E-commerce market in Indonesia. Furthermore, due to economic growth, increase of personal income earnings and the growing population of Indonesia, we believe there is high demand of online shopping for babies and children related goods.” – Takahiro Suzuki, Managing Director, CyberAgent Ventures
Remittance payments for the Philippines
Ayannah’s product, Sendah aims to be the leading provider of mobile commerce and payment services to the world’s unbanked. For unbanked residents in emerging markets, we provide accessible digital commerce and payment services to spur financial inclusion and literacy and give access to products and services that improve quality of life. For migrants, we aim to give a better way to stay connected and to support their beneficiaries in their home country by giving them greater control over how their hard-earned remittances are used to improve the lives of their beneficiaries.
Why we love it: The team is tapping on a growing pain point for overseas workers sending money back home. For the Philippines, that’s over 40M Filipinos. We’re excited about their opportunity as they expand around the region into new geographies.
“Mikko and his team have a great vision and have built a great platform to serve a large and underserved market. We are glad to be part of the Ayannah team and would like to contribute our Web 2.0 experience to help Ayannah drive user acquisition and conversions. Based on what we have seen, Ayannah is off to a great start and has a great growth trajectory.” - Vinnie Lauria, Golden Gate Ventures
Online dev environment, saving startups time and money
With offices in Singapore and San Francisco, Nitrous.IO makes it simple for startups and technology companies to deploy development environments into the cloud, saving time and money. Building a development environment from a template eliminates the lengthy software installation process and prevents cryptic errors often caused by incorrect configuration settings. The platform currently supports Python, Ruby, NodeJS, and Go, as well as the popular Ruby on Rails and Python Django frameworks, with additional platforms to be released soon.
Why we love it: The team are stellar A+ engineers with a strong working history together. We knew from the start that this was a team we wanted to back. They nailed a pain point costing developers and companies time and money They lined-up hundreds of customers before even launching.
“Having analyzed [developer's] tweets, I’ve discovered the four things developers hate most: wasted time, configuration bugs, hard drive crashes, and airport security. Nitrous.IO just fixed three of them.” - David Cowan of Bessemer Venture Partners
Financial Empowerment through Social Networks
Coinvestors: Accel Partners, Blumberg Capital, Omidyar Network, Kickstart Ventures
Lenddo is an online platform that allows members to use their online social connections to access local financial services. Conceived with the principles of responsibility, character and altruism in hand, Lenddo was initially conceived by Jeff Stewart and Richard Eldrige in January 2009. Aside from the traditional banks and micro lending institutions, they’re considered first in their arena of lending through social network connections.
Why we love it: Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing markets in the world today, but traditional banks are unwilling or unable to lend credit to its nearly 610 million denizens. That’s why we’re so excited by Lenddo’s concept of financial empowerment. Through its proprietary technology and industry standard accreditations, Lenddo’s innovative solution leverages the power of social networks to help traditional banks issue credit to over half a billion people.
“Technology can redefine how this market accesses financial services. Digital inclusion in the financial services space is as much a social responsibility as it is a rapidly growing global opportunity, and Lenddo’s proprietary algorithms and deep market insight are breaking down barriers.” - Minette Navarette, President, Kickstart Ventures
Mobile Dating for Serious Relationships
Coinvestors: 500 Durians, AIS (SingTel Partner)
Noonswoon introduces singles to one quality match every day at noon, usually to someone they already share mutual friends with. Users have 24 hours to decide whether or not they like the person they are matched with. If both matches like each other, they get connected and are able to chat directly through the app without needing to reveal any personal contact information.
Why we love it: While there are over 5,000 dating companies fighting over 300M people in the US, there are only a handful companies in SEA targeting a market of 600M people within the region. Noonswoon is already emerging as the dominant player. They also have two key competitive advantages: Noonswoon’s proprietary machine learning algorithm creates optimal matches through Facebook Graph API, and their business partnership with with SingTel (with a combined mobile subscriber base of 416 million customers from its own operations and regional associates) is putting Noonswoon directly in front of users through carrier’s own App Stores.
“We believe that the sense of belonging is important. We actually want to create a real relationship. That’s why we try to imitate the real world activities – people know each other through friends. Privacy is our main priority and we don’t believe in just matching people just because they are in the same area. - Mickey Asavanant, CTO & Co-founder
Online Platform for Startups, Investors, and Talent
Coinvestors: Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Google Ventures
AngelList is a platform for startups to meet investors, talent and incubators. Startups like Uber, Leap Motion and thousands more have raised money on AngelList, and many investors like A16Z and KPCB have used the platform to invest directly or through syndication. In fact, nearly one startup a day raises part of their round on AngelList. Every month, startups are matched with up to $10M-$15M in capital, with many of these these startups going on to raise over $2B over their lifetimes.
Why we love it: Sourcing deals and leading syndicate rounds can be very difficult. AngelList helps us with both problems. Not only can we use the platform and its robust search filters to identify lucrative opportunities in our selected industries, we can also easily organize syndicate rounds, communicate with co-investors, and promote both our fund and portfolio companies. The ability to raise money on AngelList is especially important: by allowing many more investors to participate, startups and lead investors have a much easier time raising capital without having to resort to relying on traditional VCs.
““We need to redefine what a seed round looks like, and what a Series A round looks like. It’s going to start shrinking .. The number of startups will continue to go up. I’m maniacal enough to think that eventually everyone will work for themselves, and we will all be startups of one.” - Naval Ravikant, Co-founder
Instant, Visual, Mobile Translation
WayGo is an app that is changing the way expats, tourists, and business travelers experience China and the Chinese language. Utilizing a combination of both Optical Character Recognition and a translation piece, Waygo translates Chinese characters into English text by seeing images, finding the relevant text, and finally creating sensible phrases. Waygo does not require an internet connection to operate.
Why we love it: Companies that enter the field of OCR spend many years getting their solution to work, let alone be any good. Waygo is no different. Their team has been working on their in-house, proprietary algorithms for about two years and it has paid off. When benchmarked against ABBYY (the top commercial OCR) their software is five times faster, two times more accurate, and a tenth of the file size.
“The idea for Waygo came about two years ago as I was working in China building mobile games. I was in the process of learning Chinese and found it extremely difficult, especially for someone used to romance languages. At first the idea was an educational tool, but eventually it grew in my head that this could help any traveler in any country see with new eyes.” - Ryan Rogowski, CEO & Co-founder