Singapore telco Circles.Life secures fresh funding from EDBI, Founders Fund

Rameez Ansar, Co-founder & Director, Circles.Life

Singapore-based digital telco Circles.Life has completed an undisclosed round of funding led by Singapore government-linked investor EDBI and Silicon Valley-based Founders Fund.

This comes just four months after Circles.Life raised an undisclosed Series C round from Sequoia India.

According to a statement, Circles.Life said it will use the capital to build a new tech hub in Singapore, drive innovation in personalised digital services, and finance its global expansion plans.

“We have raised the bar in Singapore’s telco space and will continue our effort to digitise the global mobile services industry – delighting consumers with highly personalised digital services,” said Circles.Life co-founder Abhishek Gupta.

The company added that it is on track to roll out its services to Taiwan in June followed by Australia later this year. Circles.Life had previously revealed in February that it plans to invest over $36.8 million (S$50 million) per launch, and launch in five markets over the course of 18 months.

Circles.Life will also expand its Singapore engineering team by 50 per cent by end-2019, to make it the company’s global tech hub. It also has an engineering centre in Bangalore, following the aqui-hire of Fratics and Klassify for their machine learning capabilities last year. Circles.Life had also revealed that it had set aside $18.4 million (S$25 million) to its Bangalore engineering centre to better support its growing operations.

The participation of Founders Fund is also the first telco investment for the Silicon Valley investor. Founders Fund was set up in 2005 by notable tech pioneers like Peter Thiel and is best known for being early investors in Facebook and SpaceX.

Jeff Lonsdale of Founders Fund said: “Circles.Life is demonstrating a new model for how telcos should operate. By being a digital-first telecom, they are able to provide superior customer experience, something that is very uncommon in an industry dominated by oligopolies who outsource the work on their technology stack to consulting companies.”

Founded in Singapore in 2016, Circles.Life operates an asset-light business model which eliminates all hardware and appliances in its architecture into a software-based cloud. Its technology also allows the telco to launch new services more quickly through smart analytics and its API-based platform.

Some of the company’s recent digital lifestyle products include Discover, an AI-driven mobile events app, and Ride for Rewards, a tie-up with Singapore’s EZ Link contactless transit smart card that allows commuters to earn redeemable points.