Start Singapore: 9 S’pore start-ups to face foreign rivals

Mr Joseph Phua, co-founder of Paktor, which has over five million registered users.
Mr Joseph Phua, co-founder of Paktor, which has over five million registered users. ST FILE PHOTO

9 S'pore start-ups to face foreign rivals

Nine local finalists at the Singapore Start-up Challenge will compete against foreign counterparts during Techventure 2015, an annual start-up conference in September.

The winner stands to win $50,000 along with office space.

The local start-ups are medical device maker Innovfusion; nanotechnology firm Nodis, smart metering firm Intraix, educational robotic maker EdgeBotix, light measurement device maker Tip Biosystems, solar light manufacturer Fosera Lighting, property manager Igloohome and logistics company Sypher Labs.

They will receive mentoring from the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) to prepare for the competition.

Innovfusion, which won $30,000 as the winner of the first Singapore Startup Challenge on Tuesday, develops and sells medical infusion syringe pump systems used in obstetrics and gynaecology.

It is one of 14 start-ups that pitched at the Challenge, which was organised by the National Research Foundation Singapore and ACE.

Techventure will be held on Sept 21 and 22 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

Paktor, Fastacash raise millions in capital

Online dating site Paktor and social payments start-up Fastacash have raised millions in capital to fund expansion plans.

Paktor wants to expand to North Asian countries like South Korea and Japan as well as into South America and Europe.

It will also use the US$7.5 million (S$10.2 million) it raised to develop new features.

Co-founder Joseph Phua said Paktor, which started two years ago, is an industry leader in South-east Asia and Taiwan with over five million registered users.

The funding came from Singapore venture capital firms Majuven and Vertex Venture Holdings and Convergence Ventures from Indonesia.

Mr Chua said: "Paktor's original aim was to introduce people who want to get into a relationship. But we felt it was too restrictive. We now want to reach out to people who want to meet other people socially because they have common likes such as hobbies and food."

Fintech start-up Fastacash will use the US$15 million it raised to expand to the US, Britain and the Middle East. Its service is used mostly by migrant populations who send money via social media. It said in a statement that it wants to get a foothold in India, the world's largest remittance market.

Fastacash's investment was led by local and foreign venture capital firms Rising Dragon Singapore, Life.SREDA, UVM 2 Venture Investments and existing investors who did not want to be named.

Video diary app lets users log memories

A video diary start-up, named Present, that allows users to capture and log their life in the form of videos was launched this week.

Founder Peter Draw said Present's mission is "to capture the many fleeting and precious first moments in our fast-paced lives so we can keep them forever".

The firm had earlier raised about $500,000 from investors such as Mr James Teo, executive chairman of Eastgate Technology, and Mr Bobby Lim, executive director of Tai Sin Electric.

The idea for Present was born from Mr Draw's many travels undertaken taken for his social enterprise work, which uses art to encourage children in devastated areas.

His encounter with a young girl from Costa Rica who lost her mother in an earthquake sparked the concept of Present as a way of encapsulating memories with loved ones.

Grace Chng

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2015, with the headline Start Singapore: 9 S’pore start-ups to face foreign rivals. Subscribe