Sep 14, 2017 Jessica Blechingberg
In 2015, Singapore was ranked among the top 10 Global Startup Ecosystems by Compass.co. Known as the premier startup launch pad of Southeast Asia, Singapore is one of the most vibrant ecosystems in Asia with excellent funding opportunities, market reach and startup experience. It is an attractive destination for startups looking to expand beyond their native domiciles and has also become number one in the world for startup talent. With the Singapore government perennially rolling out new initiatives to attract startups, the list of reasons to establish a base in the Southeast Asia (SEA) region, is growing at an exponential rate.
Today, Singapore is seen as a prime location for accessing the Southeast Asian markets. That holds also for these three Nordic startups, who among many others, head to Slush Singapore on September 19.
Naava, the Helsinki-based startup, revolutionizes indoor air quality with its green walls. Today it is one of the global leaders in biological air purification. Naava is coming to Singapore to meet meaningful future cooperation partners, investors and customers, and to find a place for their Naava Gigafactory and Asian HQ & R&D facilities in Singapore. Naava is actively finding out the opportunities in Singapore, as it is one of the most important Asian business hubs and a stepping stone for Asian market.
“Singapore is known for its lushly green nature, but they spent over 95 % of their time indoors, in the built environment. Singaporeans face the same Western problems: Mass urbanization and buildings that hinder your health and wellbeing. Naava reconnects humanity with nature in the built environment and offers a breath of fresh Nordic forest air indoors,” explains Aki Soudunsaari, CEO and founding partner of Naava.
The Stockholm based company Bitrefill provides mobile airtime distributions services on a global level using Bitcoin. The company strives to further develop reliable, easy to use, low-cost service for prepaid top ups, supporting top up to SIM cards in over 400 operators in 100 countries.
Bitrefill is heading to Singapore to share new experiences and to learn about the SEA scene. Co-founder of Bitrefill, Michel Gustavsson explains: “I expect it will be a great place to connect with local companies that I’d never find or hear about if we didn’t go. SEA has always been an important region for us, any progress made there with potential partners and collaborators can make a huge difference, so even though we are already active in the SEA region we’re looking to grow and improve.”
The Danish fintech company Tradeworks is a cloud based automation software that has been designed for both individual Forex and CFD traders as well as Institutions (brokers) who wish to stand out from the competition. Tradeworks’ product enables traders to optimize their trading performance with innovative yet simple technology. With its Headquarters in Copenhagen and an APAC Office in Singapore, Tradeworks already has experience in expanding to the SEA region.
Being an established Nordic company in Singapore, Thomas Nyegaard, co-owner and head of business development of Tradeworks, explains that there are a lot of things in common with both of the regions: “Funnily enough, Singapore has a lot in common with my native country, Denmark. They have roughly the same size population, enjoy world-class infrastructure and both countries have embraced the digital revolution notably making them frontrunners in the fintech space.”
Singapore was an obvious choice for Tradeworks due to the language, ease of doing business and sound legal structure. Having a presence in Singapore has helped Tradeworks on a number of levels most importantly getting a solid foothold among Asian customers and identifying some of their key strategic investors. “As a marketplace, SEA is very interesting – given its size and economic momentum driven by a relatively young and increasingly prosperous population. But of course, there are cultural, linguistic and legal barriers to overcome,” highlights Thomas, and continues: “My advice to Nordic founders, looking to expand to Singapore is to start out by ‘kicking tires’ and getting a quick feel as to where your product seems to get the best reception and then going full steam to crack that market. We did that in Indonesia with great success.”
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