After a hiatus of one year and about two weeks after this year’s National Day, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered his 2021 National Rally of the Day speech yesterday (August 29).
The National Day Rally is generally considered the most important political speech of the year and provides a platform for the Prime Minister to address the nation and share important policy issues.
They usually outline the challenges our nation has faced, the goals that are being set to transform the country, and the strategies and policies that have been put in place to shape Singapore to what it is today.
In this year’s speech, Prime Minister Lee addressed a number of issues: Covid-19, economic growth, support for lower-wage workers, resolving concerns about foreign workforce holders, and the management of race and religion.
During the 1 hour and 15 minute speech, he also highlighted several self-produced companies:
Carro, based in Singapore, is an online platform that buys and sells used cars in Southeast Asia. He joined the Unicorn Home Club in June this year, when he completed a $ 360 million round of funding that increased his valuation to $ 1 billion.
The new fund injection will be used to add the Philippines and Vietnam to Carro’s existing presence in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
According to Carro, it is now building a solid base in the $ 55 billion Southeast Asian used vehicle market with more than two million active users, reaching a gross commodity value of US $ 1 billion last year. ended in March.
Carro’s revenue also more than doubled year-on-year to US $ 300 million, with positive EBITDA for the second year in a row.
To date, Carro has also secured more than US $ 400 million from the Singapore government’s investment party, EDBI, as well as B Capital, Insignia Ventures Partners, Mitsubishi and SoftBank, among others.
As Singapore’s businesses and entrepreneurs grow, Singapore can better sustain long-term growth, Prime Minister Lee noted.
In a March report, it was said he owned the company exceeded A $ 350 million in sales last year. Earlier records had revealed how Covid-19 contributed to the growth of the business, as more people were buying their chairs due to home arrangements.
Overall, the company has experienced “meteoric growth,” with sales steadily increasing over the years.
It took the founders from six to eight months to create the first prototype i at least 20 iterations to complete the design. In March 2015, they finally launched their first gaming chair: Secretlab THRONE V1.
The first 200 units sold out in a week and the company quickly became unbalanced in a month. Fast forward to 2019, Secretlab sold more than 200,000 chairs.
That same year, Secretlab also secured an undisclosed amount of financing from its subsidiary Temasek Heliconia Capital, raising the company’s valuation to between $ 200 million and $ 300 million.
Then, in 2020, according to Secretlab manufactures more than 500,000 chairs a year and has left its mark on more than 60 countries. Its largest market is North America, with more than 50% of sales, while Singapore only accounts for approximately five percent of its total sales every year.
Carousell has undoubtedly become a favorite app among Singaporeans in recent years.
Nor is it an exaggeration to claim that it has revolutionized the mobile market, reinventing the way people buy and sell online.
The trio of NUS alumni – Quek Siu Rui, Marcus Tan and Lucas Ngoo – worked on developing the Carousell mobile app after a year-long run in Silicon Valley, making good use of the skills they acquired by imagining a peer-to-peer market where NUS students could sell things to each other.
What started in school has become a widely used marketing application around the world, reaching millions of buyers and sellers every day.
Since its launch in 2012, Carousell has expanded to more than 20 major cities, including Hong Kong, the Philippines and Australia.
More recently, they were also holders of his potential list of the United States through a merger with a blank check company, which could value the company up to A $ 2 billion.
Carro, Secretlab and Carousell are just a few examples of Singapore companies that have left their mark on the new economy, as quoted by Prime Minister Lee.
They have grown to become global names and stressed that Enterprise Singapore is “supporting more entrepreneurs to keep up, step into the world, seize new opportunities and grow their businesses.”
Yvon Bock is the founder of To love, a company specializing in baby bottles and baby feeding equipment.
Launched in 2015, it was created from Yvon’s personal pain points with breastfeeding.
“From too many parts to assemble and clean to noisy bulky pumps and teats that cause confusion to the nipple, I wanted to modernize the whole system by making it simple, practical and innovative.” dit Yvon.
However, trying to enter an already saturated market and compete with internationally renowned brands that have legacies for decades was difficult for them.
Also, Singapore is a difficult market because “Singaporeans are making few babies,” Prime Minister Lee remarked.
Thus, from the beginning, Yvon expanded into other markets and Hegen products are now popular in China, Korea and even Israel.
When Covid-19 came out, many of Hegen’s physical retail channels closed, so he switched to online marketing. He improved his websites, performed live plays in multiple languages, and hired more staff to fulfill orders. Now, Hegen’s main growth engine is online sales, Prime Minister Lee noted.
“The government will create the conditions for entrepreneurs like Yvon to start and grow their businesses. But grants and subsidies only go that far. Ultimately, it is his own determination and ingenuity that will ensure his success, “he added.
We can beat Covid-19 together
After all, Prime Minister Lee stressed that Singapore is more than just a place to live, work and play.
“Our greatest strength is our people: united and resilient, firm and resourceful, in good and bad times,” he said.
He praised the different ways in which Singaporeans have stepped up to support each other in times of crisis.
“The Covid-19 will not be our last crisis. Surely we will encounter more tests on the road. We will try again, sometimes severely.
“Each generation will ask itself, as their parents did: will we survive? Will Singapore succeed? Will Singaporeans stay together as one people? My answer: We’ve done it before. We will do it again. “
Featured Image Credit: Carousell / Secretlab / Hegen / Carro