Beyond the bottom line: Early Stage

Food, health, and real estate.

Photo by Evan Krause on Unsplash Photo by Evan Krause on Unsplash

This week, we highlight young startups in Southeast Asia that made noteworthy progress—in some cases, by looking to make an impact on their societies.

In Indonesia, agritech startup Kedai Sayur raised USD 1.3 million in seed funding in a round led by East Ventures. The one-year-old company’s name translates to “vegetable kiosk,” but that only gives us half of their story. Kedai Sayur connects vegetable hawkers with farmers, letting the former browse for options on the startup’s app. It also offers delivery vehicles to its roving hawker partners to replace conventional vegetable carts. Already, 2,000 hawkers have signed on in the Greater Jakarta area, and Kedai Sayur will use its new funds to expand that client base.

Over in Singapore, proptech startup GorillaSpace secured an undisclosed seed investment from real estate developer Mitsubishi Estate—the first overseas investment by the Japanese conglomerate. Founded in 2018, GorillaSpace calls itself the first property marketplace that lists long-term office space alongside short-term work space options. In the first three months of this year, GorillaSpace helped 1,000 businesses locate new work spaces. With its fresh funds, GorillaSpace plans to triple its listings. At the moment, the company only operates in Singapore, but plans to expand to other countries soon.

Boxgreen, which runs a healthy snackbox subscription service in Singapore and Malaysia, raised an undisclosed amount in pre-Series A funding from Expara Ventures, Octava Impact Investment, and Angel Central Syndicate. Notably, a portion of each sale made by Boxgreen goes toward providing meals to those in need. Also, the company will set up a manufacturing facility in Changi Prison to train and offer employment to ex-felons. Boxgreen also recently acquired cold press juice brand Squeezed! Juice.

Also in Singapore, fintech startup Salutat raised seed funding from 500 Startups, Expara Ventures, and Impact Investment Exchange. A relative newcomer on the scene, Salutat was among Startupbootcamp Fintech’s 2019 cohort and uses behavioral psychology to develop automated customer service and digitized conversation tools for businesses. The idea is to shift lenders’ customer engagement from call centers to phone-based communication platforms like WhatsApp and Line. Salutat also encourages financial institutions to reach out to entrepreneurs who are underserved, particularly women who have started their own small businesses.

“Early Stage” is a series where the writers of KrASIA highlight startups that caught our eye for the week, whether they achieved an important milestone, rolled out a truly innovative product or became embroiled in controversy.