Start Singapore: University student sets up venture capital movement

Rabbit Ray, a product of JoyTingle, a social enterprise firm started by Esther Wang (left), teaches kids from ages four to eight about various medical procedures, including intravenous drip and vaccinations.
Rabbit Ray, a product of JoyTingle, a social enterprise firm started by Esther Wang (above), teaches kids from ages four to eight about various medical procedures, including intravenous drip and vaccinations.PHOTO: JOYTINGLE

University student sets up venture capital movement

Budding venture capitalists now have a way to help them get a foothold in the industry.

Mr Wong Hoong Chun, a Singaporean student in London, has co-founded the Venture Capital Movement (VCM) for undergraduates in London. The second-year student at the University of London said he wants to be a venture capitalist but has no experience.

"To be a venture capitalist, one has to be an entrepreneur experienced in founding and developing start-ups or you must have a corporate financial background," said Mr Wong, who is studying information management for business.

Internships are also rare, making it doubly hard to learn the business, he added.

The VCM has organised workshops and events to help venture capitalists and angel investors share their expertise on start-up evaluation through workshops and events.

It held its flagship event for the first time earlier this month.

Participants pretend they are venture capitalists and conduct live analysis of actual start-ups before presenting to a judging panel drawn from the industry. The winning team will join the grand finals of a similar competition in the United States next year.

Mr Wong said: "After my course, I'll consider extending the VCM to Singapore."


Facebook co-founder gives S'pore firm a boost

Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin has invested in local start-up Perx, a customer engagement and loyalty platform provider.

The funds - the amount was not disclosed but is in the seven-figure range - will be used to expand Perx's business.

Other investors include local venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures, and Perx chief executive Anna Gong and chief technology officer Rob Roach.

The funding will allow Perx to use big data and analytics to gain better insights into customer purchasing behaviour. Previously, the firm was focused on managing loyalty programmes for businesses.

Mr Saverin said Perx is moving in the right direction. "I have always advocated the relevance of customer engagement and significance of big data in today's business discussions," he said.

The Perx mobile app was launched four years ago. It has more than 400,000 registered users and partnerships with more than 200 merchants in Singapore.


EDB arm invests in US healthcare start-up

United States start-up Welltok has raised US$45 million (S$64 million) from EDBI, the venture arm of the Economic Development Board, US venture firm Bessemer Venture Partners and other investors.

The funds will be used for international expansion, said a statement from EDBI.

Founded in 2009, the Denver-based start-up manages health programmes for insurers and employers to encourage people to lead healthy lifestyles.

Its CafeWell Health Optimisation Platform supports employers, insurers and other agencies to reach and influence all types of consumers on an individual level. CafeWell has been used by millions of consumers and health companies in the US.

Welltok is considering expanding to Singapore, where it could collaborate with health managers to localise CafeWell for Asian consumers. This would enable large-scale collection of consumer health data and behavioural patterns that could provide insights for its business.


Booking service firm Vaniday expands to S'pore

Want to get your hair done?

Try online service Vaniday (https://www.vaniday.com.sg), which allows people to book beauty and wellness services.

Consumers can select from a wide variety of salons and book a treatment directly off the salon's calendar. It has signed up more than  500 salons here, including prominent names like Kim Robinson and Action Hair.

Vaniday has raised US$17 million (S$24 million) this year and aims to revolutionise the process of choosing and booking beauty and wellness services. The start-up has operations in Brazil, Italy, France, Russia and United Arab Emirates.

Portal that teaches kids about medical procedures

If you have children who are afraid of needles, try Rabbit Ray.

The website, which is a product of social enterprise start-up JoyTingle, teaches kids from ages four to eight years about various medical procedures, including intravenous drip and vaccinations.

The kids will become more familiar about medical procedures and, in turn, reduce their fear of the procedures. JoyTingle is an incubatee of the NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurship unit of the National University of Singapore.

Grace Chng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2015, with the headline 'StartSingapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe