500 Southeast Asia
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500 Southeast Asia

Durians Daily #194: Big moves for Singaporean startups; Removing barriers for brides; Saving lives and the economy with an app

Serious about startups

  • Under Singapore’s national budget for 2021, several initiatives were launched to catalyze the growth of startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
  • The government will invest in three platforms aimed at connecting corporates to accelerators, VCs, and startups. These platforms will encourage corporations to source innovative businesses within the startup ecosystem that can add value to their organizations.
  • 500 fellowships will be launched to improve expertise in areas including cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence and healthtech. These fellows will be able to help various stakeholders in the startup ecosystem better understand the different deep tech sectors.
  • The government’s venture debt program will be extended and enhanced, with an increase in the cap on loan quantum support from US$3.8 million to US$6 million.

A labor of love

  • 500-backed Malaysian startup Nikahsatu has been on a mission to capture the wedding industry. How? By making planning stress-free and financially accessible for all brides and also getting vendors paid on time.
  • Serving an average of 2,000 brides monthly via its website, the startup brands itself as a one-stop center, allowing a bride to customize any aspect of her wedding.
  • Having successfully navigated the pandemic, Nikahsatu’s next focus is to penetrate as many cities and towns as possible. “There is a gap in tier-2 cities of quality affordable wedding solutions, which will allow us to serve these underserved markets,” co-founder Rushdi Razif said.
  • According to Rushdi, the startup currently owns about 8% of the [~US$1.7 billion] Malaysian market. It will work towards getting a larger share of as much as 30–40% for the next three years. An expansion into Indonesia is also part of its five-year plan.

Back to the office

  • In an ambitious plan to help restart the economy, 500-backed Covid-19 testing startup Prenetics will be providing health screenings to more than 100 companies in London.
  • Its digital health passport will store results of employee’s Covid-19 tests and vaccine certificates. Available on an app, employees will scan their phones upon arrival at the office and gain access if given the all-clear.
  • The startup will also operate testing ‘pods’ for companies and is handling many of the rapid 15-minute tests that the UK government is offering to fund for all firms with more than 50 employees.

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500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. In Southeast Asia, 500 Startups invests through the pioneering 500 Durians family of funds. The 500 Durians funds have backed over 200 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology. It continues to connect founders with capital, expertise and powerful regional and global networks to help them succeed.

This post is intended solely for general informational or educational purposes only. 500 Startups Management Company, L.L.C. and its affiliates (collectively “500 Startups”) makes no representation as to the accuracy or information in this post and while reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the information herein is accurate and up-to-date, no liability can be accepted for any error or omissions. All third party links in this post have not been independently verified by 500 Startups and the inclusion of such links should not be interpreted as an endorsement or confirmation of the content within. Information about portfolio companies’ markets, competitors, performance, and fundraising has been provided by those companies’ founders and has not been independently verified. Under no circumstances should any content in this post be construed as investment, legal, tax or accounting advice by 500 Startups, or an offer to provide any investment advisory service with regard to securities by 500 Startups. No content or information in this post should be construed as an offer to sell or solicitation of interest to purchase any securities advised by 500 Startups. Prospective investors considering an investment into any 500 Startups fund should not consider or construe this content as fund marketing material. The views expressed herein are as at the date of this post and are subject to change without notice. One or more 500 Startups fund may have a financial interest in one or more of the companies discussed.



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500 Southeast Asia

500 Southeast Asia is an early-stage VC firm; The company has backed over 250 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology.