The mane attraction: Why the lion city is a shoo-in for entrepreneurs and their families

Despite having lived in Zurich and Los Angeles, learn why Anytime Mailbox co-owner, Marcel Buechi, regards Singapore as a prime destination for his business and family.

9 March 2020 / By SGN

Marcel Buechi (left) posing for a ‘we-fie’ with his family at the National Day Parade

Singapore enjoys continued popularity as a hotbed for start-ups and entrepreneurs. In fact, The World Bank ranked Singapore as one of the top three companies among a list of 190 for its ease in doing business.

Besides citing reasons like its simple, efficient, and quick incorporation processes, the lion city is often lauded for its laws which serve to protect the interests of businesses.

During his stay here in Singapore, Marcel has visited a number of attractions with his family such as the Gardens by The Bay and the Art Science Museum with his family in tow.

While that is one of the reasons why Marcel Buechi — co-founder of Anytime Mailbox — decided to move from the US to settle down in Singapore. He adds that he also took his family’s lifestyle into consideration, before making the move two years ago.

You’ve got mail — Now what?

Marcel runs Anytime Mailbox, a 40-man digital mailbox and postal mail management software company alongside his business partner, Matt Going. The pair share an ambitious mission to transition all physical mail onto smartphones and laptops through their company. Its main tech team is based in the Philippines with other staff members in Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States serving customers at over 650 locations across North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

With an account, users can choose to view and interact with their postal mails through their gadgets, putting in requests for it to be opened, scanned or even forwarded to another address.

Being a frequent traveller and digital nomad, Marcel remembers how difficult it was for him to know what mail he was receiving back home when he was away. Flash forward to today, Marcel confesses he’s a fan of his own company and currently holds three virtual mailboxes — in California, Nevada and Singapore.

And if you think that digital mailbox services like Anytime Mailbox is a niche business—think again. Marcel shares, “There are a wide range of users including expats, digital nomads, small businesses, frequent travellers, virtual office clients and increasingly more just regular folks.”

Many ‘fine’ reasons to choose Singapore

Prior to moving to Singapore, Marcel spent 22 years in Zurich and another 22 years in Los Angeles. Having been based in Switzerland before, Marcel says he sees many similarities between the two countries including how both countries are clean and organised. “However, there is this stigma of Singapore being overly controlling with all the fines, rules, and order. You can even find souvenirs referring to the city as the “fine” city — pun intended.”

But over time, Marcel learnt that isn’t the case, with many locals and expats turning out to be good-mannered folks. His previous visits to the Lion city as a tourist, Marcel says, has made him aware of the general safety and ample opportunities for children to blossom.

Marcel took his daughter, Robyn (right), aged 4, on a trip to Pulau Ubin where they rented a bike and cruised around the island.

“In my view, there is simply no better place to live with a family and raise a toddler than Singapore,” points out Marcel who has a daughter — Robyn, 4.

A Singaporean son at heart

In his time away from work, Marcel says you can find him exploring MacRitchie reservoir. “It’s a great place to get some outdoor time and go for a run. It’s such a treasure to have close by.”

Marcel also finds pleasure in doing simple ‘Singaporean’ things such as having a local breakfast with his family at his neighbourhood hawker stalls.

Marcel points out that being able to work from home means he’s able to visit the food centre for his usual plain prata and teh tarik after dropping Robyn at her preschool in the morning.

Marcel enthuses, “Some of the various hawkers know me by now and get my ‘Teh’ ready without me ordering.”

For business owners and their families looking to make the same transition to Singapore, Marcel offers up these words of advice: “Take your time to explore the various neighbourhoods. The few months preceding our move, we lived in Batu Pahat, Malaysia. It allowed us to come to Singapore a number of times to discover places to live and preview preschools.”

Staying connected to a network like SGN also helps and Marcel looks forward more opportunities to meet and interact with like-minded people. He says, “In hindsight it would have been helpful to know of the network back in 2017 when we were planning the move.”