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Warburg Pincus backing pushes Singapore’s Circles.Life to near-unicorn status

Circles.Life will use the new funds for expansion into new markets.

Singapore-based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Circles.Life said it has received a “substantial” amount of funding from global private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

The latest investment puts the company closer to unicorn status, a source familiar with the matter told Tech in Asia. Circles.Life declined to disclose the exact size of the round.

According to a statement, Circles.Life plans to use the new funds—in addition to the capital it raised from investors such as Sequoia, EDBI, and Founders Fund in earlier rounds—to further accelerate its growth and expansion into new markets. Currently, it has operations across Singapore, Taiwan, and Australia.

Founded in 2016, the company provides its customers with personalized cloud-based digital telecommunications services, including simplified data-focused plans, a seamless onboarding process, and an easy-to-use app.

Its solutions are backed by its proprietary software platform Circles X, which was built from the ground up to deploy its products to customers in an instant, according to the company’s website.

“We see a tremendous growth opportunity for Circles.Life, particularly within the rapidly digitizing mobile market in Asia Pacific. The industry has not adapted quickly enough to provide a seamless experience to its customers in this new age, creating a large white space for technology-enabled challengers,” said Warburg Pincus managing director Saurabh Agarwal.

Since its inception, Circles.Life claims to have acquired over 5% market share in Singapore. Other MVNOs in the city-state include redOne, Zero1, and MyRepublic Mobile.

The company launched its services in Taiwan in June 2019 and said it planned to spend more than SGD 250 million to move into at least five new markets. It then entered Australia through a strategic partnership with local telco Optus in September later that year.

Recently, Circles.Life announced another partnership, this time with Singapore-based ticketing company Sistic, expanding its non-telco offerings. With the partnership, users can directly book events on the Circles.Life app and pay using the credit card registered with their telco account.

This article first appeared in Tech in Asia.