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The incubator of a new breed of global startups

As a highly developed country equipped with the most advanced technologies, Singapore now rivals Silicon Valley as a major center of startup companies. Already home to many of the world’s largest multinationals, the city-state had displayed admirable adeptness in profiting from the digital economy.

Two companies that are spearheading the startup boom in Singapore are Fundnel and Asia Law Network.

Fundnel Founder and CEO Kelvin Lee (left) and Co-Founder and CMO Justin Chow (right)

As a young player in financial technology, Fundnel assists small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in identifying investment opportunities and expanding their presence in this new economic landscape. By focusing on SMEs, Fundnel is democratizing access to investment markets and whilst educating a new breed of entrepreneurs on how to raise capital for, and scale their businesses.

“Many business school students in the United States do not have stock trading accounts. That’s why we believe that we have to encourage these people to use our platform to start investing,” Fundnel Founder and CEO Kelvin Lee said.

As a completely digital company, Fundnel offers borderless access to all its users who are looking for alternative ways to commence investing and diversifying their asset allocation. The platform allows users to hyper-localize their portfolios by considering private placements into investable businesses around them.

 “Taking this platform to a country without a proper capital markets infrastructure, we could become the only cost and time efficient way for SMEs to raise funds and hire people. Job creation is key to social stability and economic growth and that is what nation building is all about. It’s interesting and inspiring to see how this can impact the world,” Lee said.

Asia Law Network Founder and CEO Cherilyn Tan

Meanwhile, Asia Law Network was born in 2014 after Cherilyn Tan needed a lawyer for advice on a number of issues. With no background in legal systems, Tan found it hard to find a trustworthy lawyer. ALN’s underlying mission is to enable people in Asia to make more confident and sound decisions by connecting them with competent lawyers.

“We’re a developed country but the population is totally underserved,” Tan said.

Operating in the legal industry has meant that ALN prioritizes trust and transparency in its systems by removing barriers and allowing easy access to affordable legal advice. Given the amount and complexity of legal information, ALN had organized the massive amount of information and articles, which are vetted and corrected by lawyers.

Its strict ethical framework has already attracted 30% of the lawyers in Singapore to join ALN. Many more firms around Asia have also signed up.

In line with its plans to expand across Asia, ALN provides services needed specifically in developed markets, like Hong Kong and Australia, as well as in developing economies, like Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. Operating in these different environments has meant that ALN had to build relationships with government ministries and law enforcement agencies.

“There’s a lot of social goodwill out of it. We educate the public to get advice before it becomes too late. We open ourselves up to partnerships and there are a lot of ways to work with those systems and develop online distribution,” Tan explained.

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