Start Singapore

US firm buys JustCommodity

HOME-GROWN agricultural commodities software firm JustCommodity has been acquired by Allegro Development Corporation based in the United States.

The sum was undisclosed.

Texas-based Allegro, a leading provider of commodity management software, will use the acquisition to expand into Asia and solidify its market position in power, utilities and oil markets, said a media statement yesterday.

When combined, the companies will create a stronger marketing strategy and make full use of two development centres in Dallas, Texas, and Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Singapore firm provides specialised domain expertise in agriculture commodities and has 80 employees in Asia. Its customers represent some of the world's largest trading firms, including Forbes Global 2000 and Fortune 500 companies.

In 2012, local venture capital firm Extream Ventures led a $5.6 million investment in the company. Among the investors was Infocomm Investment, the venture arm of the Infocomm Development Authority. One of Extream's partners, Mr Leslie Loh, was appointed chairman of JustCommodity.

Allegro chief executive Frank Brienzi said in the statement that JustCommodity has a track record of success in agriculture commodities, and a seasoned leadership team that understands the nuances of navigating Asian markets.

Information portal for finance products

SINGAPORE investors keen to look into a range of financial products from around the world can go to WeInvest, a portal with information on more than 20,000 products such as deposits, property, mutual funds, stocks and real estate investment trusts.

The free service offers, for example, comparisons of mutual funds offered by different companies, in an easy-to-understand format.

Founded by former investment banker Bhaskar Prabhakara, WeInvest is not a broker. Information provided on the portal allows investors to decide the best choices for themselves. There are also independent views from other investors and market experts worldwide, who will offer investment ideas and strategies.

"WeInvest does not 'sell' products. It does not have a bias towards recommending any specific product," said Mr Prabhakara, adding that users can make their investment decisions from a shortlist of products that meet their investment criteria.

Mr Prabhakara started development of the product last year before releasing a beta version last October.

Check out start-up trends at expo

ECHELON 2015, a start-up conference-cum-expo, will be held next week to examine the emergence of financial technology, the status of mobile apps and other issues.

Panel discussions will be held on business opportunities for South-east Asian start-ups in Europe, the United States, China and India.

Echelon, an annual event, will feature entrepreneurs and venture capitalists as speakers, including Mr Matt Barrie of Australian start-up Freelancer and Mr Kuan Hsu, principal partner of venture capitalist firm Gree Ventures.

An expo of 100 start-ups from Asia is another major draw, along with special pavilions for start-ups specialising in drones and the so-called Internet of Things.

The two-day event will be held on June 23 and 24 at the Singapore Expo. To get tickets for the event, go to e27.co/echelon/asia/tickets/

GRACE CHNG

Send news on start-up developments to chngkeg@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2015, with the headline 'Start Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe