Start Singapore: Hipvan gets $4.7m in new funding

Hipvan gets $4.7m in new funding

Furnishing a new home can be an exciting time. Others find it a bore - and a chore.

Singapore start-up Hipvan wants to make shopping for sofas, tables, lights and appliances not only exciting, but light on the pocket too. It is an online home-and-living shopping portal with about 40,000 items.

Earlier this week, the firm raised $4.7 million in a round of funding led by local venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures. Other investors include Mr Toivo Annus, technical co-founder of Skype, and Singapore-based East Ventures.

Golden Gate's investment partner Vinnie Lauria said that it invested in Hipvan because e-commerce is expanding into specific areas, such as groceries and furniture, a trend that has been growing steadily.

Consumers are also becoming familiar with e-commerce and are willing to buy more expensive items, such as furniture and mattresses, online, he added.

This has translated into a 370 per cent surge in sales since last year. To cope, Hipvan boosted its staff from 15 a year ago to 50, many of whom are designers working on house-brand products.

Co-founder Danny Tan told The Straits Times: "To bring our costs down, we're working directly with manufacturers to design our own beds, sofas and other furniture." The start-up plans to grow in the region.

Lunch Actually acquires Thai mate

Singapore online dating site Lunch Actually has found its own match in MeetNLunch, a Thai matchmaking service for professionals it has acquired for an undisclosed sum.

Co-founder Violet Lim said: "We saw great potential for synergy in our respective businesses. Through this acquisition, we have immediate access to the growing singles market in Thailand."

The deal will help Lunch Actually cement its position as the biggest dating player in South-east Asia, she added.

MeetNLunch founder Nikki Assavathorn said dating services are much in demand in Thailand and the industry is still growing at a rapid pace.

It has more than 150,000 members and has arranged around 10,000 dates.

LunchActually's acquisition comes hot on the heels of its new dating app LunchClick, which was launched in April.

Founded by Ms Lim and her husband Jamie Lee, Lunch Actually has expanded to Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Hong Kong and Jakarta.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2015, with the headline Start Singapore: Hipvan gets $4.7m in new funding. Subscribe