A group of Singapore-based venture investors and tech entrepreneurs have launched a campaign to raise S$1 million ($704,615) for low-income households in Singapore during the COVID-19 pandemic.
All of the proceeds raised through the Ray of Hope platform will go directly to Beyond Social Services charity’s COVID-19 Family Assistance Fund.
The campaign is spearheaded by Vertex Ventures managing partners Chua Joo Hock and Chua Kee Lock; GSR Ventures partner Jefferson Chen; super app platform Grab’s chief executive Anthony Tan; remittance and forex transfer startup Nium’s CEO Prajit Nanu; small and medium business lending platform Validus’ chairman Vikas Nahata; innovation intelligence company Patsnap’s CEO Jeff Tiong; media company Tickled Media’s CEO Roshni Mahtani; entertainment platform M17 entertainment’s chief operating officer Ng Jing Shen; and point of sale and e-commerce startup Storehub’s chieftain Wai Hong Fong.
On their campaign page, the group said: “We have benefited from what Singapore has given us. It is our turn to give back and help those who are financially vulnerable in this current situation.”
Beyond’s COVID-19 Family Assistance Fund will disburse S$300 to S$500 per month for three months to up to 600 low-income families in Singapore in the form of cash and food vouchers. All of the proceeds raised for the fund will go to the recipients; Beyond will not retain any funds for its general operations. As at 10:55pm Singapore time on Monday, the campaign had raised S$141,955 of its S$1 million target.
The recipients are families whose household income and employment have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beyond itself focuses on helping children and youth from less-privileged backgrounds in Singapore to break out of the poverty cycle. It currently works in five neighbourhoods reaching more than 3,000 families in 63 public rental housing apartment blocks. Beyond said that most of its beneficiaries are employed in “low-paid, precarious work”, and that many are daily-rated, casual workers without benefits like paid leave.
The Beyond campaign is the latest response by the regional startup community to help those affected by the coronavirus outbreak. A group of investors had earlier started a database at SEAcosystem.com for former startup employees looking for work as the number of layoffs climbs in the ecosystem.