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Meet Singapore's Top 3 Unicorns Ruling The Billion Dollar Club With an impressive list of home-grown startups like Grab, ReferralCandy and 99.co, the island nation is also considered as the best place to start a new business.

By Nidhi Singh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


As a startup, the journey to becoming a unicorn isn't easy as it sounds. The term unicorn is used for a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion. According to research firm CB Insights, there are more than 260 unicorn startups all around the world. Singapore, a leading startup hub in Asia, is home to three unicorn companies. With an impressive list of home-grown startups like Grab, ReferralCandy and 99.co, the island nation is also considered as the best place to start a new business.

A report by start-up event promoter Slush Singapore and venture capital firm Monk's Hill Ventures, say in Singapore, start-ups have access to venture capitalists and capital as well as a richer ecosystem. The report highlights that many international VCs already have offices in Singapore. Despite its small size, the country has the highest number of tech incubators in the region as well.

Let's quickly run through the list of unicorns ruling the billion-dollar club in the island nation:

Grab: Tech giant Grab offers ride-hailing, ride sharing, food delivery service and logistics services through its app in Singapore and neighbouring Southeast Asian nations Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia. As of March 2018, Grab was valued at US$ 6 billion. In 2014, Anthony Tan stated that the company may consider an Initial Public Offering (IPO) when the number of bookings through the app reaches 2 million a day. In March, Grab merged with Uber's SouthEast Asian operations, effectively turning Grab into the only rideshare service in the region

Lazada: Southeast Asian e-commerce company Lazada serves in six countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Founded in 2012 and incubated by Berlin-based Rocket Internet, the platform had raised approximately US$647 million over several investment rounds from its investors such as Tesco, Temasek Holdings, Summit Partners, JPMorgan Chase, Investment AB Kinnevik and Rocket Internet. In June, Alibaba Group announced that it will invest almost another $1 billion in the online retailer, bringing Lazada's valuation up to $3.15 billion.

Sea Limited: Sea Limited, originally named as Garena, is a consumer internet platform provider based in Asia. Founded in Singapore in 2009, by current chairman and group chief executive officer, Forrest Li, Sea began as an online gaming company for people to discover, download and play online games. In 2014, Garena was valued at $1 billion until the investment of the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan in the company on March 2015 increased its value to $2.5 billion. In May 2017, Garena rebranded to Sea Ltd, although the Garena name remains attached to its digital entertainment platform.

Nidhi Singh

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia-Pacific

A self confessed Bollywood Lover, Travel junkie and Food Evangelist.I like travelling and I believe it is very important to take ones mind off the daily monotony .

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