Category: Business

Singapore’s Carousell Acquires Online Car Classified Platform Caarly, Hires New CFO And GM

Carousell, a mobile commerce platform for the operations of classifieds marketplace, after the recent acquisition of Malaysia-based personal safety app “Watch Over Me”, has announced again yet another acquisition. This time, it’s a Singapore-based used car marketplace known as Caarly.

Founded in 2014, Caarly’s operations are similar to Carousell wherein it is a mobile application which facilitates online trading. But the company, different from Carousell, instead focuses on cars. That is the application enables car dealers and individual sellers to use a smartphone app to take photos and list their cars on Caarly’s online marketplace. The enterprise currently boasts a partnership with more than 200 car dealers in the city-state.

The reason behind this acquisition is because the Singapore-based peer-to-peer marketplace noticed that there was an increase in users who were looking to sell and buy cars on the site.

Siu Rui Quek, the co-founder and CEO of Carousell, further elaborates the motive underpinning the acquisition, saying that “Carousell has grown over the last 4.5 years, and so have our users. Over 50 per cent of them in Singapore are now over 25 years old, and have significantly more purchasing power. We’ve seen how their evolving needs have resulted in more listings and greater demand in higher value verticals like cars.”

The terms of the deal are undisclosed. But the entire Caarly team will join Carousell, being positioned in the car classified vertical. Both applications will proceed as normal, as existing Caarly users can continue to use the Caarly platform to list their inventory with a simple 1-tap post to cross post to the car category on Carousell.

Acquiring Carrly will help Carousell improve its used car classifieds as well as bring car dealerships into its platform. The startup has plans to start releasing their used car listing from dealers in Singapore and eventually into its other markets. To date, the platform is currently available in 14 cities.

Additionally, Carousell has also made an announcement on Thursday that it has appointed former PropertyGuru managing director, Winnie Khoo as the general manager for its Singapore and Malaysia operations as well Rakesh Malani who is the former CFO of the Indian adtech firm Komli Media to join the team.

With this new development, of acquisition and new hires, it seems that the mobile classifieds platform strategy is moving towards implementing a sustainable monetization model.

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By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Singapore Startup Cafebond To Make Australia’s Specialty Coffee More Easily Accessible

A great cup of coffee can boost productivity. It is also the stuff in which team culture are made of. Thus, having a great cup of coffee in the office is always a good investment for both employers and employees. However, the purchase of an expensive coffee machine though exciting at first has always ended up with the machine sitting there to collect dust. People just get bored if it is not with the right coffee taste.

A Singapore startup founded by Eugene Chen and Keyis Ng on May 25 intends to change just that. By opening a new web and mobile platform – coffee lovers can shop for Australia’s best coffee beans, freshly roasted with just a click. This startup is known as Cafebond and it targets Singapore growing market for specialty coffee, aiming to be the supplier to this demand by making specialty coffee more accessible.

To date, Cafebond has made accessible the taste of coffee from 14 of Melbourne’s top cafes-cum-roasters, such as Small Batch Roasting Co and Code Black Coffee Roasters. On another list, the startup also include deliveries from World Barista Champion Sasa Sestic’s Roastery and Cafe as well as Ona Coffee in Canberra. offers a web and mobile platform that crosses geographical borders as it connects coffee lovers with the best coffee brands in the world. It aims to bring better coffee tasting experience to office workers, so that they can taste and buy unique specialty coffee beans and blends from roaster-owned cafes from London to Melbourne, Singapore to Beijing, in one easy checkout process. But above all, these coffee beans are sold at an affordable price.

“What Cafebond does is bring the shipping cost down to make these beans more affordable,” said co-founder and CEO Keyis Ng, “Because to ship a 250g bag of beans from Australia to Singapore using DHL or TNT will easily cost up to S$30 to S$40 dollars, which is more than the cost of the beans,” Ng shared, explaining that the flat delivery fee regardless of the size of the order, is made possible using a consolidation shipping algorithm.

The startup is invested by Quest Ventures, China’s leading venture capital firm and is incubated with Infocomm Investments, the investment subsidiary of Singapore government’s tech agency IMDA (Info-communications and Media Development Authority). is also one of the four startups hand-picked by Microsoft Singapore to be co-located within its Asia Pacific Headquarters and is currently part of DBS Hotspot 2016, the startup support programme by DBS Bank which is one of Asia’s largest bank.

For more information, please visit

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Japanese Startup, HOMMA Secures US$4.1 Million In Seed Funding To Create “A Tesla-Like Home”

Looking to redefine the standard of living, California-based HOMMA is a startup that sets out to innovate our concept of housing. It aims to craft the vision of a new lifestyle and reimagine our daily living. But for the sake of a better picture, just think of it as “a housing-version of Tesla”.

To accomplish this, HOMMA looks to create an AI-based software and service that will connect homes. The startup is founded by Takeshi Ted Homma who has been an entrepreneur since his student days working with the early internet doing web design and development. Following this, he also played an active role at Sony and Rakuten. It is later in 2015 that he made the decision to quit and pursue this startup, named after himself, HOMMA.

“It took 100 years for the telephone to become the IPhone. 100 years later and Ford Cars have evolved into Tesla. But what about homes? Have they changed in the course of a 100 years?” Takeshi Homma, the founder of HOMMA explained in an interview with The Bridge, “Actually, I really thought someone would appear and solve this problem, but no one showed up so I’m going to do it.”

Thus, with the motto written on their website, “Redefining our standard of living,”, the startup aims to work on an ambitious project that will create a new vision of the future with regards to the necessities of life. Additionally, they also aim to solve the connectivity issue that arises due to devices from different manufacturers and multiple apps for different purposes.

The startup recently launched their seed round funding on October 24. The seed round was participated by Mistletoe, B Dash Ventures, Genuine Startups, 500 Startups Japan, East Ventures, Draper Nexus and architectural firm KMDW. On the other hand, individual investors included Hiroshi Mikitani, the co-founded and CEO of Rakuten, Tomohito Ebine, the founder of Opt, Shintaro Yamada , CEO of Mericari, Hirokazu Mashita, founder and director of M&S Partners, Hiroaki Yasutake, Kotaro Chiba, co-founder of Colopl, Hollywood-based film producer Masi Oka.

For more information, please visit

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

EXA Global Is Building The First Ever Immersive Virtual Reality Theme Park In Malaysia

Following The Void in the United States and Zero Latency in South Australia, a company based in Puchong, Malaysia is about to bring the world a new reality – First ever Virtual Reality theme park in Malaysia.

EXA Global – a wholly owned subsidiary of Havson Group Berhad – is working towards bringing immersive virtual reality  gaming experience to Southeast Asia. The company which has a licensing model for retailers, malls, cinemas and theme park operators has recently announced their upcoming plan to open the country’s first virtual reality attraction that will commence early next year.

The gaming experience in EXA is completely jaw-dropping. Players are put in an essentially empty room, wearing headset and carrying gaming equipment, and before they knew it, they are fighting critters, scurrying through an unknown environment , handling incoming attacks, assist and interact with each other, and completing goals. Best of all, the equipments are untethered, movements are not restricted, hence giving a “free roaming” immersive experience to the players.

To be a frontier at VR, pioneering hardware and facility research in-house is unavoidable. EXA’s hardware research is provided by their wholly owned subsidiary, Dutajaya Media (DJM), an ASEAN leading VR tech company and the first VR R&D center in Malaysia.

Another notable sister company is Mediasoft, responsible for the VR gaming content in EXA Global. Founded in 2012, Mediasoft has grown to be the no.1 game company in Malaysia with more than 50 original titles. Mediasoft along with Tomotech, their Singapore-based arm that develops PS4 games, have developed and published successful games including JumpSmash and Rollspike series which have combined 10 million downloads worldwide.

Recently, Havson Group as a Malaysian representative, won Create@Alibaba Cloud’s Start-up Contest (CACSC), rising above 12 selected startups from Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia as the Champion. The event is the first ever global entrepreneur contest organized by Alibaba Cloud in partnership with Infocomm Investments, held earlier on 26th of August this year.

The company has thus far raised 3 seed rounds and plans to raise Series A soon.

For more information, please visit or contact us.

by Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media.

VR Animation Studio, Baobab Studios Raises US$25 Million In Series B Round

Baobab Studios is a startup that creates VR animation. It is currently working on INVASION! and ASTEROIDS!, two of its top VR application which are available on all major VR platform. Previously, the startup caught media attention when it was announced that their 6-minute VR animated short, “Invasion!” was going to be made into a feature-length animated film by Hollywood production studio Roth Kirschenbaum.

INVASION! is an award-winning VR animation about two aliens and their plans to take over the Earth, until they encounter a pair of adorable bunnies, in which the player will be one of them. The animation is created by the founder of Baobab Studios and the director of Madagascar, Maureen Fan as well as narrated by American actor, Ethan Hawke.

Today, the company once again make the headlines as they made an announcement that it has ended its Series B round with a funding worth US$25 million. The round was led by Horizon Ventures with participation from Twentieth Century Fox, Evolution Media Partners, China’s Shanghai Media Group, Youku Global Media Fund and LDV partners.

Existing investors such as Comcast Ventures, HTC and Samsung has also contributed to the funding. With the end of this round, the company has become one of the largest single funding rounds for a virtual reality creative studio to date with an accumulated total funding of US$31 million.

The new funding will be used to expand its executive team whereby Larry Cutler, the Pixar’s technical director for Toy Story 2 and Monsters Inc, will join the team as the chief technology officer (CTO) to help lead and produce great content.

Baobab Studios aims to create VR animations that can inspire a sense of wonder through compelling stories, believable characters, immersive worlds, beautiful art, and high-quality animation, inspiring people to dream.

“We believe that the story should always come first and that the technology should work to serve the story,”said Maureen Fan, the CEO of Baobab Studios

But this is just only part of the VR entertainment industry, as VR continues to expand its reach into gaming experiences and even theme parks. The Void from United States, Zero Latency from South Australia, and the upcoming EXA Global that is slated to open in Malaysia early next year has all announced that VR is here to transform our reality. Then again, VR is more than just a new way for hardcore video gamer to immerse in all the technical gizmos that these entertainment park can wow users with, what matters at the end of the day is also great content.

“We are in the midst of a virtual reality revolution with the technological advancements that provides us the opportunity to develop immersive experiences and encapture audiences like never before.” says Daniel Tan, the CEO of Next Unicorn Ventures.

For more information, please visit

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

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