Quest Ventures leads $5m funding in SG cloud karaoke startup Popsical

Faruq Marican, Co-Founder and CEO of Popsical.

Venture capital firm Quest Ventures has led the S$6.9-million ($5 million) Series A funding in Popsical, a Singapore-designed cloud Karaoke brand that saw sharp growth in demand during the COVID-19 period.

In a statement, Popsical said Seeds Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, also participated in the round. The new investors now join other early backers in the startup, which include Apricot Capital, Teo Heng KTV, Cash Studios KTV, OMG Ventures, and Mediacorp.

Popsical said the extended stay-home period during the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a huge uptake in the global demand of the product, which is available via its e-commerce website.

The Popsical Remix Karaoke system, a “cloud karaoke system with Spotify-like features”, has gained positive consumer and corporate responses alike in Southeast Asia, Middle East, and Europe, according to the company.

Unlike conventional Karaoke sets that rely on a single remote, Popsical has the capability of pairing up with mobile devices at the same time to add songs to the play queue anytime. Its licensed cloud-based streaming system also includes a multi-language interface and a library updated daily.

The fresh funding will be used for digital and geographic market expansion as well as to further upgrade Popsical’s products and services, among others, the startup said.

As part of the Series A investment, Jeffrey Seah, Partner at Quest Ventures, will join the Popsical board of directors.

“They’ve spotted a viable gap in the market and we anticipate increasingly interesting opportunities for Popsical to exploit, especially with the Zoom-environment meeting becoming a part of family and community life across the globe,” Seah said.

Karaoke originated in Asia and has become a go-to recreational activity around the world. According to a research report cited by Popsical, the global Karaoke market was last valued at $4.2 billion in 2020 and is forecast to hit $4.6 billion by the end of 2026.

The investment from Quest Ventures will also present Popsical a market entry corridor into Kazakhstan and Central Asia – where Karaoke is a popular social and business event.

Quest Ventures has recently secured the first close of its $50 million fund – Quest Ventures Fund II. More than half of the target corpus has already been raised with its limited partners comprising Temasek’s Pavilion Capital, Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund subsidiary QazTech Ventures, and multiple family offices and entrepreneurs from around the world. Fund II is Quest’s first institutionally-backed fund.

The fund targets early-stage startups in Southeast Asia and emerging Asia, and sees itself expanding into markets such as Indonesia, Myanmar, and the Philippines. Since 2010, the firm has been discreetly investing in e-commerce and internet economy startups in the region. Its portfolio today includes prominent names such as Carousell, Carro and ShopBack.

Even with the Covid-19 pandemic muting investment activities around the world, the VC firm announced a few deals in recent weeks. Aside from Popsical, Quest also led the $7-million Series A funding round in Singapore-based logistics startup Moovaz in late April.

Early this month, the firm also led the $2.1 million funding in Singapore-based legal AI knowledge management platform INTELLEX. As part of the funding agreement, Quest Ventures partner Jeffrey Seah will join the INTELLLEX board of directors.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.