LinkedIn has unveiled the Top Startups list in Singapore which have successfully navigating the pandemic and recorded strong growth and demand. According to LinkedIn, the startups which made it to its list embraced innovation and the future of work, while identifying white spaces of opportunities. In the current state of the economy, many startups are riding the wave of digital transformation in order to seize new growth opportunities, and relooking the way they operate and diversify their business to meet changing consumer and business needs.
The LinkedIn Top Startups list is created using proprietary LinkedIn data – ranging from employment growth, to company engagement, to job interest and attraction of top talent. According to LinkedIn, in Singapore, startups in the fintech space are recording strong growth, with Advance Intelligence Group (#1), Endowus (#2) and Aspire (#5) making it to the top five startups on the list.
In the first half of 2021, the local fintech industry reached a three-year high in deals transacted owing to digital transformation. The pandemic also created a window of opportunity for many to embark on their investment journey in a bid to take advantage of the volatility of the stock market.
Correspondingly, there has been an increase in demand for cybersecurity solutions to combat risks that fintech services have to safeguard against, as witnessed from the Advance Intelligence Group’s growth. Other fintech startups that made it to the top 15 list include StashAway (#6), Nium (#10) and Validus (#11).
The top 15 startups in Singapore are:
1.Advance Intelligence Group
Helming the CMO role Advance Intelligence Group, which is an AI-driven tech company in APAC is Mi Li. The company employs more than 2,000 people and serves over 1,000 enterprise clients, 10,000 merchants and 10 million consumers in eight markets. The Group comprises two main business lines serving enterprises and consumers. It owns the “buy now pay later” platform Atome and cloud-based SaaS platform Geanie aids merchants to sell on multiple channels and manage their own omni-channel retail. Li has been with the company close to two years, and was previously with SCMP as SVP of marketing and events. She also worked with the likes of FT as global Head of Business Partnerships and Content Marketing amonst others.
Holding the CMO role at Endowus Jason Huan who is a marketing veteran with close to 14 years of experience. His journey with start-ups started in his time with United Overseas Bank where he oversaw the proliferation of the Rocket group of companies from Zalora, Foodpanda, and eventually Lazada acquired by Alibaba Group – where he spent 3.5 years at as CMO of Singapore, then Philippines before joining Endowus. Prior to joining Endowus, he was CMO Philippines for Lazada and responsible for establishing the brand as the market leader. He oversaw performance marketing, PR and communications, strategic partnerships, social media, and brand strategy and content.
Homage is founded by Gillian Tee. It is focused on bringing wellness and recovery through personal care delivery to care recipients, families and primary caregivers. Homage’s core product platform includes a holistic range of non-medical and medical solutions, including disability assessments and care planning, personal care assistance with daily activities, skilled nursing procedures and rehabilitation services like physiotherapy, speech and occupational Therapy. Tee founded the company five years ago. While a quick search by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE did not indicate clearly if there is a CMO in the company, the company did recently hire Beatrice Lee as head of content & communications. Meanwhile, Yang Jieyu handles digital marketing for the company and is responsible for growing user acquisition efficiently, with a mission of helping elderly age with dignity in all markets it operates in.
Marketing at Secretlab is currently handled by co-founder Ian Alexander Ang. The gaming chair manufacturer said last month that it was looking to fill more than 100 jobs in Singapore as it saw “massive growth”. It also hopes to recruit more people for marketing, public relations and global operational roles. Meanwhile, according to LinkedIn, Eugene Chua holds the title of executive head, global digital marketing, international expansion at Secretlab. Chua has been with the company over five years, and has also worked with the likes of Mead Johnson Nutrition and Jirnexu.
ASPIRE is a technology organisation that serves businesses with convenient and modern banking. It was started almost four years ago by Andrea Baronchelli, who interestingly has had marketing experience as CMO at Lazada Singapore for two years where he managed all functional teams within marketing, including performance marketing, branding & communication, strategic partnerships, merchandising & campaigns to establish Lazada as the leader in the e-commerce industry in SEA. He was also CEO of Lamido Vietnam (Lazada) and then moved on to become EVP of Lazada on an Alibaba Group Level.
The CMO of StashAway is Filippo Stefanelli. Stefanelli is responsible for all marketing and growth channels of StashAway, with the goal of empowering people in Asia to accumulate and manage wealth for the long-term. StashAway is an automated investment engine, which helps individuals to better manage their savings in an intelligent, simple, transparent, and cost-efficient way.
7. Doctor Anywhere
Doctor Anywwhere was founded in 2017 by Lim Wai Mun. It is available in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and recently established tech hubs in Bangalore and Ho Chi Minh City. A quick check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE did not find a CMO or head of marketing for the brand. However, there are a few marketing roles open, such as head of product marketing in Singapore and a digital marketing manager for Philippines. The company has also hired Bhawna Bijlani, as digital marketing manager. Bijlani has close to six years of experience in digital marketing, eCommerce, client management and team handling. Bijlani’s marketing journey started out in 2015, where she was the assistant marketing manager for DLF Brands, KidsKart. She also spent almost a year in Accenture before joining Doctor Anywhere.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE understands that ShopBack is currently on the hunt for a head of marketing as Imran Mohamad, who was appointed as ShopBack’s head of marketing in September 2020, recently left. The role will see the individual helping to expand ShopBack’s user base in Singapore, and driving more sales for merchants as well as cashback to users. The Singapore startup has presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, and Australia. It was started up in 2014.
Carro, Southeast Asia’s largest automotive marketplace, recently hired Annop Kettratad as its chief branding officer. Kettratad is responsible for accelerating Carro’s brand in the retail business (B2C). Kettratad and a soon-to-be announced CMO will drive Carro’s branding and marketing needs. Meanwhile, its CMO Manisha Seewal left the company after three years with the firm. She helped the brand set up in-house marketing teams – including brand, PR, social, SEO, performance marketing capabilities and an entire creative hub – in all four markets comprising copywriters, videographers, video editors, graphic designers and journalists.
Jermiah Glodoveza joined NIUM as its VP, head of brand, content and communications in April this year. He has over 20 years of experience at multinational corporations, startups, and agencies, such as Samsung, Avaya and NetApp. Prior to joining NIUM, he was VP of communications and VP of B2B Marketing at Early Warning Services, a bank-owned fintech. His duties included PR, crisis communications, public affairs, employee and internal communications, industry communications, social media, content marketing, sales enablement, events and demand creation. Nium is a next-generation financial services platform that enables companies around the world to unlock new revenue opportunities and improve cash flow economics.
As head of marketing, Jingjing Xia oversees group marketing, brand and digital. Founded in 2015, Validus is an SME financing platform in Singapore focused on unsecured lending to growing businesses. It is currently present in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. Before Validus, Xia previously worked at Volvo Financial Services for more than six years, last helming the role of director, marketing, communications and brand. She also worked at Maybank Kim Eng, ANZ and National Arts Council.
MiRXES is a Singapore-headquartered biotechnology company whose mission is to improve and save lives through disease early detection tests. It was founded in 2014 by Lihan Zhou and Zou Ruiyang who both helm the titles of CEO and CTO respectively. The company aims to deliver early, actionable and personalised diagnoses across the care continuum to improve and save lives. A quick check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE did not show any marketing roles open or appointed. According to the company’s website, its story began in early 2000 when its founders pioneered a highly sensitive, specific and robust detection technology for microRNA. In 2014, it spun off from Agency of Science, Technology and Research to commercialise its technology and develop accurate multi-cancer early detection solutions and make them readily available and accessible to people who need them.
Bassam Abel Rahman oversees the marketing team at D2C dental brand Zenyum as SVP, marketing, joining the team last August. He currently heads the company’s international marketing and design teams to propel the business from a start-up to a recognised consumer brand. He has more than 15 years of experirence in the adland, spending four years with 72andSunny Singapore as MD. Before that, he was global group brand director at 72andSunny Amsterdam for two years and also spend 10 years working for international agencies such as BBH Asia Pacific, Agency.com London, Media Arts Lab London and Los Angeles, and TBWALondon. Among the list of clients he has worked with include Apple, adidas, Grab, Carousell, AirAsia, Nike, Google, PlayStation, and British Airways.
Jesslyn Kwong, VP, digital performance and solutions, leads the marketing team at property finder app 99.co. She first joined the company in 2018 as performance marketing manager before rising up the ranks to also help the role of regional performance marketing lead. According to her LinkedIn, Kwong describes herself to be an analytical and quantitative individual with professional experience in the ad tech industry. Before 99.co, she spent two years at Mediacorp focus on digital marketing and analytics, audience development. She also worked as a research analyst at Scripps Network Interactive and media insights analyst, business development and analysis at StarHub.
15. Ninja Van
Ninja Van has recently appointed Winston Seow, chief commercial officer, as the new chief marketing and enablement officer. His role involves overseeing marketing, communications, sales capabilities enablement, and insights initiatives across the business. In addition, he is responsible for driving the strategic direction of Ninja Van’s self-serve sales channels, playing a key role in Ninja Van’s customer acquisition and retention efforts across the region. Prior to Ninja Van, he has developed and executed marketing initiatives at world-class brands for L’Oreal, Yahoo!, and Asia Pacific Breweries. He has over 10 years of experience in brand management and consumer marketing.
According to LinkedIn, Singapore’s drive towards smarter healthcare has increased the popularity of startups in this space. As part of its goal to become a smart nation, Singapore has been encouraging the adoption of telehealth and smart healthcare services. We see Homage (#3), a personal care solution that taps on smart technology to provide home and community-based caregiving, as well as Doctor Anywhere (#7), a telehealth startup that provides video consultation services, starting to build momentum in the market.
Meanwhile, eCommerce platforms continue to provide unparalleled convenience, where consumers can purchase and receive goods and services in the comfort of their homes. Cashback reward programme ShopBack (#8) and e-commerce logistics company Ninja Van (#15) experienced a surge in growth as consumers turn to online sites for their daily needs, especially with work from home becoming a mainstay for many workers.
Chris C. Anderson, senior editor (Asia), LinkedIn News said: “This year, as economic recovery begins to take place across the globe, we know many individuals are looking to what the future holds – especially in the area of jobs and skills.”
“Startups have always been a natural indication of forward thinking and innovation, and today, they give us a glimpse into the future of how we live and work. The LinkedIn Top Startups list spotlights startups in Singapore which are leading the way across industries such as fintech, healthcare, e-commerce, automotive and real estate. We hope the list will serve as a signpost for professionals to identify emerging startups to work for and the roles that will be in demand, so they can equip themselves with the necessary skills,” said Anderson.
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