Singapore’s Agentbong named Startup Grind’s 2017 Startup of the Year
- Only Singapore-based company in the top 50; chosen from a field of over 6,000 startups across 80 countries
- Elderly-related services significant contributor with ageing population and growing number of dual-income families in Singapore and Hong Kong
- Upcoming Pre-Series A funding round to fund expansion into Malaysia, Australia and Japan, product development and helper training
SINGAPORE, 21 Mar 2017 – Agentbong, an online platform for professional home care services based in Singapore and Hong Kong, has been named 2017 Startup of the Year at the prestigious Startup Grind 2017 global conference held in Redwood City, California in February. The award, from the largest startup community in the world, recognises the most promising startup globally; this from a field of more than 6,000 startups across 80 countries.
50 companies, including Agentbong, were chosen from thousands of applicants and inducted to Startup Grind’s Global 2017 Startup Program, where they had the opportunity to exhibit at the February conference and be in front of some of the best entrepreneurship mentors and investors from Silicon Valley and around the world. Agentbong was the only company from Singapore in the programme.
Mr Sam Ng, CEO and Co-founder of Agentbong, said: “The award is a fantastic acknowledgement from the global startup community. We see this award as a recognition of the relevance of our platform to the growing need for professional domestic services. The experience we had at Startup Grind last month gave us great insights and ideas into how we can bring Agentbong to the next stage of our growth.”
Building an online community to serve growing eldercare needs
Since Agentbong launched in Hong Kong and Singapore in January 2016, the company has provided over 100,000 hours of professional home care service to homeowners in both countries, by matching job requests from homeowners with helpers who provide services such as house cleaning, babysitting, cooking and eldercare. Its focus on service quality, training, along with a seamless customer experience, has resulted in strong revenue growth of 20 percent each month, with revenue exceeding USD 100,000 a month since October 2016.
Since September 2016, Agentbong has included medical escort services, where experienced caregivers and qualified nurses accompany patients to medical appointments, as part of their app offering.
“We included eldercare services as part of our service offering right from the start as we saw a need for this between the growing number of dual-income households and an ageing population. Along the way, we realised that working professionals needed help in bringing their aged relatives to medical appointments in a safe and professional manner to give them peace of mind. With our platform already having qualified nurses and experienced caregivers, it was easy for us to implement this much needed service,” added Sam.
Eldercare and medical escort services now contribute to 20 per cent of all jobs each month on the app in Singapore, and ten percent in Hong Kong.
In order to ensure there are enough trained helpers to match requests, Agentbong partners with organisations such as the Hong Kong Federation of Women’s Centres, the Hong Kong Red Cross and Hong Kong’s YWCA. In Singapore, they also provide training for the helpers to ensure professionalism; including on-the-job training stints with senior caregivers and through partnerships with accredited training providers such as iCare Life. Agentbong also actively recruits helpers from job fairs and Family Service Centres.
Funding to drive regional expansion
Ageing population is an increasingly relevant issue in developed countries in the region. As such, Agentbong plans to expand to places such as Malaysia, Australia, and Japan within the next 12 months. These countries all have high mobile penetration and are also very similar to Hong Kong and Singapore in terms of their need for professional home services.
In line with its expansion and growth strategy and leveraging on the momentum around the success of the platform and the Startup of the Year award, Agentbong is embarking on a Pre-Series A funding round in the next few months. The funds will go towards global expansion, product development, and helper training.
“We see huge market opportunities for growth in Singapore, Hong Kong and the region. We’ve managed to achieve so much in the past year through our unique model and emphasis on quality service, and we’re looking at the next stage of our growth now. We want to be able to truly disrupt the home care services market in the region, by providing services that truly addresses the domestic needs of homeowners,” said Sam.