These Singapore-based AI Startups are Taking the Lead with Seed Funding
Earlier this week, artificial intelligence (AI)-driven HR-tech startup Snaphunt bagged $1million funding from Singapore-based BEENEXT. Now, another Singapore-based AI-based fintech startup, Rely, which differentiates itself with Buy Now Pay Later feature, has raised funding.
The growth journey of Snaphunt took off when founder Tulika Tripathi bootstrapped the venture two years ago with tech partner Prakash Sanker, who is now the chief technical officer of the company. The startup received the funding from BEENEXT, a newly launched fund by a Japanese e-commerce entrepreneur Teruhide Sato. On the other hand, Rely raised a seven-figure pre-series A funding, led by Goldbell Financial Services. Other investors who joined the round were family office Octava and strategic investors from the financial and technology sector.
The startup’s “buy now pay later" service allows shoppers to split the payment for purchases into three equal, interest-free monthly instalments by linking a debit card to their Rely account.
Speaking about their journeys and challenges both the founders reveal how their journey have been so far and how the funding will help them grow operations.
What bought you funding from the lead investors in the lion city? Tripathi says, “We believe that everyone deserves to find a job they love, and this enriches their lives and the lives of those around them. Also, if organizations find the right talent more quickly and conveniently, it unlocks enormous potential for them make a stronger impact in their own industries. With Snaphunt, we are in a unique position to leverage technology to help individuals and companies achieve these outcomes.”
Similarly, explaining the concept of “Buy Now Pay Later” in online shopping, CEO and co-founder Hizam Ismail says, “Rely wants to continue to stay at the forefront where the ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ concept is being touted as the perfect fit for the way consumers shop online. It plans to be on par with the rapid expansion of the e-commerce industry in Southeast Asia and Singapore.”
How the Funding Will Help
Sharing about her experience on getting an investor on board in a company which was initially bootstrapped, Tripathi says, “We are excited about having BEENEXT on board and will be spending this investment on making some key hires and aggressively expanding our footprint in Singapore before extending it to other Southeast Asian countries later this year.”
“Finding the right culture fit is a big challenge in recruitment,” says Sandipan Chattopadhyay, CEO of Xelp, Snaphunt’s technology partner. “We are enjoying pushing the limits of AI and ML to create solutions around this,” he adds. The funding will help company expand its presence in Singapore and other neighbouring countries.
With both the startups banking on Singapore with a prediction that the country is one of the fastest growing nations, Ismail says Rely also wants to strengthen its presence in Southeast Asia.
The company has recently partnered with e-commerce retailers such as Zalora, Zilingo, and Fitlion. It says that there is a particularly strong uptake from millennials, which makes up 75 per cent of these ‘Buy Now Later’ transactions.
“We recognise the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ industry in the region to be ripe with potential and complimentary to the e-commerce industry at this stage. Rely’s use of alternative data and machine learning have the potential to propel both industries,” says Alex Chua, CEO of Goldbell Financial Services.