Start Singapore: Taking Carousell from mobile to Web

The team behind Semantics3 (from left): Mr Vinoth Gopinathan, Mr Srinivas Kidambi, Mr Sivamani Varun, Mr Shawn Tan and Mr Govind Chandrasekhar; all NUS graduates.
The team behind Semantics3 (from left): Mr Vinoth Gopinathan, Mr Srinivas Kidambi, Mr Sivamani Varun, Mr Shawn Tan and Mr Govind Chandrasekhar; all NUS graduates.PHOTO: SEMANTICS 3

Taking Carousell from mobile to Web

Local start-up Carousell, a mobile e-market for second-hand items, has added a Web platform to reach new users.

Co-founder Quek Siu Rui told The Straits Times the new platform would mean buyers and sellers with a computer could use the service.

"We're mobile-centric but it means that you need the app and a smartphone to use us. But on the Web, anyone with a computer can find Carousell. It is a simple way for users, be they sellers or buyers, to interact with us."

It is also easier for sellers to add a Web address to their Facebook and Twitter posts linking back to their sale items on Carousell, he added.

Although the Web platform was announced just this week, it has already notched up more than 140 million page views since it was piloted earlier this year. The Web pilot version was tweaked according to user feedback and went through many iterations to ensure ease of use.

Since it started in 2012, sellers have sold eight million items. About 50 items are listed for sale every minute, leading to a product catalogue of 26 million items. The most popular items are for women such as clothes followed by lifestyle gadgets and beauty products. The service is available here, and in Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan.

Semantics 3 raises extra funding

Local big data start-up Semantics3 raised US$1.55 million (S$2.2 million) recently to ramp up its sales efforts.

This investment was led by E-Merge, an European investment company. Its other investor was Zillionize, an angel investment firm, which had already invested in Semantics3.

This brings its total funding to US$2.15 million.

Semantics3 indexes online retailers' prices, and provides data on historical prices to clients who include retailers and e-commerce consultants.

Co-founder Sivamani Varun said the firm has just released two new features that would help e-commerce companies and retailers get the latest product prices across their catalogue. Customers also request prices to be updated in real time.

The start-up has an office in San Francisco because "99 per cent of our business and customers come from the US".

Of the 17 employees, 11 are graduates from the National University of Singapore. The core engineering and management team is based in San Francisco with another group undertaking quality assurance activities based in Bangalore, India.

Gym app helps you find workout classes

Singapore-based firm Passport Asia helps fitness enthusiasts find workout sessions out of 60,000 monthly classes available here. Launched six months ago, this mobile fitness sharing app lets people easily find and book such classes instantly through the app.

Although it is profitable now, it is seeking to raise "high single-digit millions" to expand its technical team as well as to expand to 12 cities in Asia next year, said co-founder Sanjey Chandran.

"We can remain in the black but if we want to expand quickly, we need additional capital," he added.

In each city, Passport Asia will have to find local gym partners, he added. In Singapore it has partnered 350 gyms. Users need to pay about $59 a month to book up to four classes each month in any gym or $99 for unlimited access to any class in any gym here.

The firm did not disclose the number of subscribers it has.

Two key features include a GPS gym location search and a "lazy-proof" feature which automatically reminds you to go for a fitness class if you had not been working out for a while.

Said Mr Chandran: "We've the latest schedules. We're the only app which manages class cancellations and informs our users.

"If in the rare case a class is cancelled at the last minute, we provide you with an Uber ride to the nearest class which meets your criteria."

Grace Chng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2015, with the headline 'StartSingapore'. Subscribe