Singapore is a vibrant location for tech start-ups looking for funding, but it never hurts to have some practical guidance on how to shortlist the right partners for your company. Learn from Dr Arne Jeroschewski as he shares how Parcel Perform found its strategic investors in Singapore and what other startup founders should keep in mind as they engage the multitude of investors in the tech node.
18 Apr 2022 / By SGN
Amidst global economic headwinds, the outlook for Singapore’s economy remains strong in 2022. The country is a nexus of regional and global trade, and boasts a robust technological and financial infrastructure, making it a well-established tech node for startups and SMEs that attracts founders and entrepreneurs from all over the world.
One such international startup is Parcel Perform, a cloud-based delivery experience platform that chose Singapore as its base for growth and scalability. Founded in 2016, Singapore-headquartered Parcel Perform offers a SaaS platform connecting merchants with eCommerce carriers and provides shipment tracking features.
Parcel Perform co-founder Dr Arne Jeroschewski came to Singapore in 2010. A long-time management consultant at McKinsey & Company – where he worked on technology projects in Europe, Africa and Asia – he possesses extensive experience in logistics and e-commerce, as well as a PhD in Regulatory Economics.
In his prior roles, Dr Arne was Vice President at Singapore Post’s SP eCommerce, and in 2012, he was the founding CEO of ZALORA, South East Asia’s leading fashion eCommerce player across eight markets.
Dr Arne cites Singapore’s world-class infrastructure and international reputation as a global business hub as motivating factors for his decision to found Parcel Perform there. “Singapore’s geographical location also enables us to operate seamlessly across different time zones,” he says. “These factors helped us build a truly diverse team across Southeast Asia and Europe while growing our client base, consisting of global marketplaces, retail brands, and logistics carriers.”
Singapore’s thriving VC scene enables tech startups to reach new heights
Dr Arne sees Singapore’s investors as integral to his company’s success. “Being based here has enabled us to access a broad and diverse network of regional investors such as 500 Startups, Wavemaker Partners, and BANSEA during the early stages of our development,” he says. “These investors understood the challenges we were facing and had the foresight to recognize the potential of what we were building during our discussions.”
Guidance from early investors was crucial in the founders’ journey as they scaled the business and developed their product during those early stages of growth.
“When the time came to raise our Series A round, we felt it was essential to work with investors who had the expertise and experience working with e-commerce and logistics startups. This was the turning point in our shift towards more global investors and an international mindset,” Dr Arne explains.
Parcel Perform raised $20 million in a financing round in August last year. Cambridge Capital led the logistics tech startup’s Series A financing round, while SoftBank Ventures Asia and existing investors including Wavemaker Partners and Investible participated in it.
“Starting Parcel Perform here gave us the inspiration, the resources, and the knowledge to take our business to international heights. We are proud to be a Singapore-based company that has achieved a global reach.”
Fundraising tips for tech startups in Singapore
E-commerce sales soared as a result of global lockdowns, and as such growing internationally and securing investors during the height of a global pandemic was a crucial objective for Parcel Perform. As the founder of a successful international tech startup that calls Singapore home, Dr Arne is well placed to offer some tips on securing investor partnerships in the city-state:
- Fundraising in a busy tech startup environment such as Singapore entails operating in a complex and not always transparent environment, especially when in-person meetings aren’t possible. There is also more to it than just raising capital, like finding a suitable partner with an aligned vision and the network to support your growth.
- Whether you’re looking out for VCs, family offices or angels in Singapore, networking matters during the fundraising stage; aspiring founders should try to engage with potential partners early on so that they can show growth over time.
- It is imperative to understand the investor’s expertise and function; are they aligned with your long-term vision and objectives? Can they help you connect with potential partners or customers instead of just offering you money in exchange for equity and focusing on returns, how instrumental they can be in helping you expand across Southeast Asia?
- Many reputable startup investors are based in Singapore so start by building up a list of investors and seeking out those who actively invest in deals relevant to your startup’s business and industry. Current and recent deal flow is an essential metric for founders to look at as it indicates openness to invest.
- Good hustle is critical to any entrepreneur and no measure of analytics or technology can ever replace that. However, fundraising can take a lot out of your time and resources. Always strive to find a balance between your responsibilities and investor pitches. Always put yourself and the business first.
- Seek introductions by other founders to their investors and build relationships with those who have gone through similar investment cycles. Conferences and networking events specializing in venture capital and startups are promising avenues to start.
Taking off from Singapore to Southeast Asia and beyond
Dr Arne believes that investment appetites are growing, as startups boom in Singapore and across Southeast Asia. “Still, your company’s visibility to investors is very dependent on your social network. Founders need to put in the extra effort into networking, sift through the noise and decide what’s best for their company,” he says. “At the end of the day, the reality is that out of 100 investor discussions, only very few of those will invest in your startup.”
Parcel Perform has come a long way since 2016. The startup has managed to build a global enterprise SasS solution that is scalable and responsive to the needs of retail brands, marketplaces and carriers. They now have customers worldwide from Latin America, North America, Africa, Europe and Australia, having grown by 500% since the beginning of the pandemic.
The startup’s immediate goal for 2022 is to open multiple new offices and continue to grow the team, with the United States being one of its key expansion markets, all with Singapore as its home.
This article was first published by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), a government agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry that is responsible for strategies that enhance Singapore’s position as a global centre for business, innovation and talent. More information on EDB can be found here.