, Singapore
24881 views
Photo by RODNAE Productions via Pexel

20 Hottest Startups of 2023

Healthtech startups dominated the list.

Startups pushing for better healthcare dominated the twelfth edition of Singapore Business Review’s (SBR) Hottest Startups, taking over five of the 20 spots on the list.

Startups categorised as deep tech also reigned this year. Talking to SBR, investors said that many of the emerging startups are “developing disruptive applications in the Web 3.0 space.” 

READ FULL STORY: The ChatGPT effect? Investors bet big on deep tech startups 

This year's startups are backed by top venture capital firms such as Monk's Hill Ventures, Quest Ventures, Milltrust International, East Ventures, SC Ventures, Singtel Innov8, and Gobi Partners.

Here are Singapore Business Review’s Hottest Startups of 2023, arranged by founding year.

Safe Space™

Safe Space CEO Antoinette Patterson

Founder/s: Antoinette Patterson & Lynette Seow
Total Funding: $700,000
Founding Year: 2017

Safe Space is a B2B2C digital platform that connects clients to clinical therapists in real-time. The startup offers mental health services remotely whilst keeping prices affordable due to lower overheads. In a span of a year, the startup was able to grow its therapist base by 583%.  It was also able to post a 416% client growth within 10 months. Milltrust Ventures said the startup deserves to be part of this year’s list given its impressive retainment statistics amongst others, with 97% of its clients recommending the app to others and 94% reporting a positive impact on their mental health. Currently, the startup is raising a Pre-Series A.

Glife Technologies

(L-R) Wayne Goh, Justin Chou, and Caleb Wu 

Founders: Justin Chou (CEO), Caleb Wu (Deputy CEO) and Wayne Goh (COO)
Total Funding: $18M
Founding Year: 2018

Glife Technologies is a technology start-up dedicated to uplifting farmers, suppliers and merchants in the food and agriculture industry as it aspires to feed Southeast Asia sustainably. As a vertically integrated food service solution provider, Glife expanded its services in 2021 by providing the full stack of restaurant digital technologies for merchants in the HORECA industry. From seed-to-table supply chain distribution to driving the adoption of digital solutions for restaurants, Glife aims to connect stakeholders across the food value chain on a single platform to strengthen the eco-system and now serves more than 1,000 farmers and over 2,500 customers across the region.

RideBeam

Alan Jiang and Deb Gangopadhyay

Founder/s: Alan Jiang & Deb Gangopadhyay
Total Funding: US$135M
Founding Year: 2018

Within five years, Singapore-headquartered RideBeam has become one of Asia-Pacific’s largest shared micromobility enterprises, with operations in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan,  and Turkey. It also plans to expand in Vietnam and the Philippines. The startup offers e-scooter rentals in a bid to bring a “safe, affordable, and sustainable new mode of transport to citizens around the globe. One of RideBeam’s investors, Gobi Partners, recommended the startup to be part of this year’s list. Gobi Partners backed the startup in 2018 during its seed funding round. In February 2022, RideBeam secured US$93m in Series B funding.

NOVI Health

(L-R) Joanne Tay, Sue-Anne Toh, and Kyle Tan

Founder/s: Sue-Anne Toh, Kyle Tan, Joanne Tay
Total Funding: US$5M
Founding Year: 2018

NOVI Health is a Singapore-based provider of technology-enabled chronic disease and preventive healthcare. The Monk's Hill Ventures-backed startup incorporates the latest scientific and clinical evidence-based approaches in a holistic personalised manner, to bring about better health at scale. NOVI’s digital-first approach allows for increased accessibility and affordability, with the opportunity to deliver greater value and impact more lives. The US$5M it raised during a Series A round will be used to accelerate hiring for its technology, growth, and product teams, while also investing further in its technology-enabled platform.

Tigerhall

Nellie Wartoft

Founder/s: Nellie Wartoft
Total Funding: US$10.8M
Founding Year: 2018

Tigerhall is a social learning platform leveraged by Fortune500 firms to learn best practices from senior executives across industries and to make internal knowledge more accessible. It's a modern user experience drawing on best practices from the world's top consumer apps, leading to high engagement and employee love. The platform also allows sophisticated curation and audience segmentation, so enterprises can drive targeted development initiatives with specific employee groups. Amongst the startup's backers is Monk's Hill Ventures.

Novelship

Chris Xue and Richard Xia

Founder/s: Richard Xia (CEO), Chris Xue (COO)
Total Funding: US$22M
Founding Year: 2018

Sneakerheads in Asia go to Novelship to buy or sell limited-edition or in-demand sneakers and apparel given the brands of sneakers available in the marketplace like Nike, Air Jordan, adidas Yeezy, Fear of God, Supreme, bape, Bearbrick and more. To ensure product authenticity,  Novelship verifies shoes and streetwear sold and bought on the platform. More than four years after its inception, Novelship was able to expand operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, and Taiwan.  From April 2022 to January 2023, the marketplace raised close to US$20M.  East Ventures, one of the startup’s investors, believes Novelship is leading the way to exert a real effect on the streetwear market. “As Asia’s fastest-growing marketplace for limited-edition streetwear, Novelship has been able to serve customers across APAC. Novelship managed to create a strong sense of loyalty among the sneaker community by staying on top of the latest trends,” the venture capital firm added.

Helicap

(L-R) Jeremy Tan, David Wang, and Quentin Vanoekel

Founder/s: David Z Wang, Quentin Vanoekel, Jeremy Tan 
Total Funding: US$10M
Founding Year: 2018

Helicap is a Singapore-based market network that offers exclusive private co-investments to a broad network of accredited investors. The Helicap Group, together with two subsidiaries regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, aims to fill a US$500B financing gap for the underbanked by deploying capital through 1,000 originator partners in the region, with a strong financial inclusion mandate. Helicap leverages industry-leading credit analytics technology, which analyses millions of loan data points from origination platforms to extract credit rating insights for its risk management framework. This technology is paired with their fully online investor deal platform, which provides co-investment opportunities to their exclusive investor base. Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, Helicap has disbursed more than US$180M in private investment volume with zero originator defaults. The company's equity backers include top-tier VC firms such as East Ventures and Voveo Capital, billion-dollar asset managers PhillipCapital and Tikehau Capital, and Japanese financial services firm Credit Saison.

Oncoshot

Dr. Huren Sivaraj and Ruslan Enikeev

Founder/s: Dr. Huren Sivaraj  and Ruslan Enikeev
Total Funding: US$8.04M
Founding Year: 2018

The health insights exchange platform helps patients, caregivers and oncologists find trials anywhere in the world. The startup also helps regional healthcare institutions, contract research organisations, global biotechnology, and pharmaceutical companies to facilitate data-driven cancer clinical trials whilst accelerating enrollment into actively recruiting ones. By cutting time spent in the enrollment stages,  clinical trial stakeholders get to save tens of thousands of dollars per day. tens of thousands of dollars per day.  Milltrust Ventures, one of Oncoshot’s early backers alongside Mass Mutual Ventures, said it was blown away by the platform’s ability to interpolate big data, expedite clinical trials and help clinicians enrol their patients for studies quickly. “Oncoshot is one such company yielding tangible results and is envisioned to improve cancer therapy development,” the VC said.

VFlowTech

Dr. Avishek Kumar and Dr. Arjun Bhattarai

Founder/s: Dr. Avishek Kumar and Dr. Arjun Bhattarai
Total Funding: US$13.5M
Founding Year: 2018

With a belief that energy storage solutions are critical to unlocking further potential from renewables, Dr. Avishek Kumar and Dr. Arjun Bhattarai created VFlowTech. The startup’s main product, vanadium redox flow batteries, can operate at a much wider temperature, making them less prone to degradation of electrolytes due to over-temperature operation. Compared to Lithium-Ion batteries, Bhattarai said vanadium redox flow batteries have a longer lifespan, have a lower chance of catching fire, and are ideal for utility-scale storage, equally for off-grid systems relying on renewables and grid applications. Real Tech Holdings, VFlowTech’s lead investor during its Series A funding believes the startup “has the potential to become a changemaker in this space, particularly with their expertise and unique IP.”

Handprint

(L-R) Mathias Boissonot, Dr. Ryan Merrill, and Dr. Simon Schillebeeckx

Founder/s: Mathias Boissonot, Dr. Ryan Merrill, Dr. Simon Schillebeeckx,
Total Funding: US$3M
Founding Year: 2019

Handprint, Asia's leading Regeneration platform, allows corporations to embed regenerative practices into their businesses and become a force for good. Companies use Handprint to restore ecosystems that are critical for planetary health (e.g. coral reefs, habitat preservation, mangrove restoration, etc.). Handprint curates, verifies, and quantifies this positive impact and provides tools for companies to report and communicate this impact with digital means. Singtel Innov8, one of Handprint Tech’s backers, said it invested in the startup to “better help businesses integrate sustainability into their operations to achieve their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.” “Handprint’s platform could further support the businesses Singtel works with to make greater social and environmental impact,” added Singtel Innov8.

Intellect

Theodoric Chew

Founder/s: Theodoric Chew
Total Funding: US$23m
Founding Year: 2019

Intellect covers the full continuum of mental healthcare in one solution – from healthy to clinical. The mental health platform is clinically researched and developed by a team of psychologists, researchers and partnered experts. Its services are available in 13 languages and 20 countries in Asia. Singtel, Dell, foodpanda, Shopee, Shopback, and TechinAsia are part of Intellect’s roster of clients. The platform also has a strong partner network which includes Mercer, Aon, Cigna, MSIG, Manulife, and IHH. Singtel Innov8 recommended Intellect to be part of this year’s list.

Standard Chartered nexus

SC nexus Global Lead Kelvin Tan and Chief Product & Commercial Officer Sachin Sharma

Founder/s: Standard Chartered Bank
Total Funding: Undisclosed
Founding Year: 2018
 
The startup formed by SC Ventures allows digital ecosystems such as e-commerce players, traditional retailers and fintechs to embed financial services, by leveraging Standard Chartered's banking licences and solutions. Its launch also made Standard Chartered the first international bank in Singapore to provide a Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) solution. In 2022, the startup enabled its all-commerce partner Bukalapak in Indonesia to offer digital banking. With a fully digital onboarding, users can open their accounts on Bukalapak's platform in as fast as 1.5 minutes. In 2023, it will go live with its second partner, Sociolla in Indonesia. The third partner in the second market is concurrently being deployed and a public announcement is expected sometime in H1 2023. The team behind Standard Chartered nexus will also commercialise the IP and spin-off to a new entity, Audax, in 2023, which enables banks and financial institutions to scale and modernise at speed with its digital banking capabilities to complement existing core systems.

TASConnect

Kingshuk Ghoshal and Sujay S K

Co-Founder/s: Kingshuk Ghoshal, Sujay S K
Total Funding: US$6M
Founding Year: 2022

The bank-agnostic trade and supply chain finance platform was incubated through SC Ventures, Standard Chartered Bank’s innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm.  It began commercial operations in the second quarter of 2022. TASConnect offers enterprises and financial institutions with scalable, customisable, and multi-funder solutions for Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable by enabling the availability of working capital to last-mile suppliers and buyers in efficient and cost-effective ways. In 2022, the platform achieved revenue-generating status, recording a gross transaction value of more than US$10b by handling over 225,000 invoices. Amongst the platform’s pioneer clients is Lenovo. 

Evo Commerce

Roy Ang Ming Wei & Teoh Ming Hao 

Founder/s: Roy Ang Ming Wei & Teoh Ming Hao 
Total Funding: US$4M
Founding Year: 2020

Evo is direct to consumer brand builder which focuses on products that help individuals better take care of themselves. The products which Evo offers include high-quality supplements & hair products. The startup’s pioneer brand was BounceBack, a hangover pill. Other brands which Evo carries are Stryv and Mantou which focuses on hair care solutions. Since its founding in 2020, Evo has expanded into 10 markets, serving more than 20,000 customers. Within two years, the startup has also recorded a 12-fold increase in topline revenue. One of the startup’s investors, East Ventures, believes Evo Commerce is “leading the way in revolutionising consumer access to the best quality products in the region.”

Pace Enterprise

Turochas Fuad

Founder/s: Turochas Fuad
Total Funding: US$46M*
Founding Year: 2020

Pace Enterprise was founded by Turochas Fuad,  the man behind co-working space site SpaceMob and rental site Travelmob which were both acquired by large enterprises WeWork and Nasdaq-listed HomeAway, respectively. Fuad’s impressive skills in business have attracted Genesis Alternative Ventures into supporting Pace Enterprise. “We are backing Turochas who started Pace as a fintech company that wants to democratise finance in a way where Pace can empower traditional financial institutions all the way to neobanking,” said the venture. True to its tagline, “the freedom to pace yourself,” the startup allows its users to spread their purchases into three interest-free payments. 

Ordinary Folk

Sean Low
 

Founder/s: Sean Low
Total Funding: US$5M
Founding Year: 2020

Ordinary Folk was born on a mission to “radically transform Asia’s approach to healthcare.” The startup has three main services called “Noah,” “Zoey,” and “Cyrus.” Noah is targeted at men wanting to receive remote diagnosis and treatment, whilst Zoey is aimed to support women’s sexual wellness and fertility journeys. Cyrus, which is Ordinary Folk’s logistics fleet, works to ensure medications are delivered to the startup’s clients fast with the use of artificial intelligence (AI). In April 2022, the startup bagged $5m in pre-seed funding from Monk’s Hill.

Locad

(L-R) Shrey Jain, Constantin Robertz, and Jannis Dargel

Founder/s: Shrey Jain, Constantin Robertz, Jannis Dargel
Total Funding: US$16.3M*
Founding Year: 2020

Within two years of operations, logistics startup Locad’s clientele has expanded to over 200 brands ranking from well-known international brands to strong D2C brands. Its warehouses all over Singapore are also equipped with a predictive inventory allocation algorithm which allows Locad to place the right inventory close to the customers, resulting in significant delivery costs and time-saving outcomes for merchants. Locad’s logistics engine also syncs inventory across multiple sales channels and manages storage and delivery through its network of warehouses and shipping carriers. One of Locad’s investors, Reefknot Investments, believes the startup’s asset-light distributed warehousing network model is transforming the e-commerce last mile landscape. 

Olea

Amelia Ng and Letitia Chau

Founder/s: Amelia Ng and Letitia Chau
Total Funding: US$50M
Founding Year: 2021

Olea is a blockchain-based digital trade finance origination and distribution platform which aims to disrupt the current trade finance model by matching suppliers’ financing needs with alternative liquidity from investors seeking a compelling asset class linked to the real economy. The startup combines Standard Chartered Bank’s trade finance and risk management skills and Linklogis’ blockchain supply chain technology. SC Ventures said Olea brings together financial services  and emerging technologies to develop a solution that addresses what the Asian Development Bank has estimated to be a $1.5t global trade finance gap in 2019. Amelia Ng, CEO, and Letitia Chau, Deputy CEO, are the two founders.

Vitality Foods

Sowmiya Venkatesan and Raavee Shanker 

Founder/s: Raavee Shanker & Sowmiya Venkatesan
Total Funding: $200,000
Founding Year: 2021

The food-tech company focuses on delivering nutritious and delicious plant-based food onto the plates of the growing silver generation. In order to create healthy products, the startup works with nutritionists and healthcare professionals. Vitality Foods has created instant, plant-based solutions that it is looking to commercialise by partnering with food manufacturers, hotels, restaurants and food services. There are also plans to introduce a consumer end-product in the second half of 2023.  “By 2050, an estimated 20% of the global population will be aged 60 or older. Two-thirds of this population will be living in Asia-Pacific. Yet age-specific, non-prescription food products which specifically cater to the needs of these consumers, whether in terms of nutrition, texture or taste preference, is limited and underserved. We believe our company is well positioned to powerfully drive this transition” stated Vitality Foods. In December 2022, Vitality Foods closed its pre-seed round where it raised $200,000.  As of writing, the startup has commenced its seed round.

Trust Bank Singapore

Trust Bank Singapore CEO Dwaipayan Sadhu

Founder/s: Standard Chartered Bank, FairPrice Group and NTUC Enterprise
Total Funding: $455m
Founding Year: 2022

Trust Bank Singapore entered the banking scene in 2022, with not just one, but a range of products, including a credit card, savings account and family personal accident insurance. The Standard Chartered Bank and FairPrice Group-backed digital bank already had 450,000 sign-ups five months into its operations. Trust Bank Singapore was able to scale rapidly due to its “ground-breaking customer referral programme which used the digital bank’s  modern, cloud-native technology to create a real-time user experience.” As the first of Singapore's new wave of digital banks, Trust Bank Singapore aims to  bring a new standard of banking to Singapore and enable significant savings on everyday expenses through the FairPrice Group and NTUC Income ecosystems.

Follow the links for more news on

Join Singapore Business Review community
Since you're here...

...there are many ways you can work with us to advertise your company and connect to your customers. Our team can help you dight and create an advertising campaign, in print and digital, on this website and in print magazine.

We can also organize a real life or digital event for you and find thought leader speakers as well as industry leaders, who could be your potential partners, to join the event. We also run some awards programmes which give you an opportunity to be recognized for your achievements during the year and you can join this as a participant or a sponsor.

Let us help you drive your business forward with a good partnership!

Exclusives

Singapore’s new law weaves safety net for gig workers
Gig workers will be enabled to secure their retirement, benefit from improved workplace safety, and gain greater visibility within the industry.
Here’s how Gen Z consumer preference reshapes APAC’s marketing landscape
Gen Z consumers are observed to purchase based on pleasure and purpose, whilst being conscious of cost and convenience.

Event News

Event News

SBR National Business Awards 2024 Winner: Wiseasy Technology Pte Ltd Cards & Payments
Lay Cheng Tan, Co-Founder & Chief Investment Officer, and Mayank Raheja, Managing Director (EMEA & SA) of Wiseasy Technology Pte Ltd, provided insights into preventing fraud and inefficiency with the WiseQ QR Payment Solution.
Cards & Payments SBR National Business Awards 2024 Winner: Wiseasy Technology Pte Ltd
Lay Cheng Tan, Co-Founder & Chief Investment Officer, and Mayank Raheja, Managing Director (EMEA & SA) of Wiseasy Technology Pte Ltd, provided insights into preventing fraud and inefficiency with the WiseQ QR Payment Solution.