Singular: Building A Winning Advisory Model

Sunway Group’s innovation arm, Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs), has announced the top five startups from its one-month pre-accelerator phase of the 2021 Sunway iLabs Super Accelerator programme.

The accelerator programme, kicked off together with Pan-Asian venture capital firm Gobi Partners last month and was completed with 23 startups in a pitch competition to a panel of judges. 

The top five selected startups are Loop Foods, Rent Guard, Singular, Trabble and Wise Crafters. 

In the next three months of the Super Accelerator programme, Sunway iLabs will help the selected top five startup founders connect with Sunway’s global network of partners, industry experts, mentors and investors.

Head’s Up will be interviewing all five chosen startups each week to discuss further on where they are, their challenges, and how they are creating, how their participation in Sunway iLabs will impact their journey moving forward. 

But just before you go on to read our chat with Terrence Hooi, Co-Founder and CEO of Singular Capital on what he’s banking on, here are some news to catch up on!

News & Announcements

MDEC Partners With CEDAR To Help SMEs Increase Revenue And Reduce Process Time Cycles

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has partnered with the Centre of Entrepreneur Development and Research (CEDAR), to Catalyst small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) digitalisation adoption through its structured Accelerator Programme.

The programme is designed for SMEs with a mission to help increase revenue, reduction of man-hours and/ or reduction of process time cycle.

This includes a three-day online training workshop where qualified SMEs will be exposed to ‘Lean Model Canvas’ and ‘Design Thinking’ modules, plus technology matching with a choice of over 400 Technology Solution Providers (TSPs).

SMEs who are interested to join this programme can register here.

SOCAR Raises US$55 Million In Latest Funding Round

SOCAR Mobility Malaysia (SOCAR) has closed a covenant-based investment round of up to US$55 million in its recent Series B funding exercise. Covenants are promises or agreements entered into by a borrowing party to comply with the terms agreed upon in relation to a loan agreement. 

SOCAR - currently valued at US$213 million (RM885.7 million), will see both equity and capital injection from South-Korea based EastBridge Partners as well as an investment by Malaysian multinational Sime Darby Bhd in this funding exercise.

Head’s Up Interviews Terrence Hooi on what Singular has to offer and what’s in store for their customers looking to have their expectations met.

1.    What are you hoping to achieve with Singular? 

Singular is an active investment manager in an App. We have a novel approach to this- Singular is focused on an important but niche problem that the current market players are missing. Robinhood has democratised buying and selling securities. Wealthfront/StashAway have democratized the chore of getting invested in a passive, low-cost market-weighted portfolio.  Singular is democratising active, sophisticated wealth management for the masses.

The very wealthy have always been able to afford to pay people to manage and invest their savings, but financial APIs in the late aughts let Singular extend a similar service to people with a ~$10K net worth instead of ~$5M.

Problem: Most Robo-Advisors failed at big test of benchmark performance. It is incapable of hedging downside market risks and fall short of helping users achieve their investment goals according to Backend Benchmarking (BEB).

Hedge Funds are very Secretive. Most of the Top Performing Hedge Funds have been closed to new Investors. Here’s a concept: How about creating a “Portfolio” of the greatest money managers on earth. Bufett, Klarman, Tepper-- combine the top ideas of these and other “Hedge Fund Titans” to create a super portfolio of their combined top holdings.We specialize in doing what we do really well: outperform the S&P over the long term by following our time-tested investment philosophy

Singular Uses Software to automate the Investment process by analyzing the Top 5% performing Hedge Funds Globally.

Our North Star is building the "winning" advisory model used by top Wealth Managers globally and democratising it for the masses.

2.    Do you consider yourself a disruptor ?

What Stashaway did to democratise the chore of getting invested in a passive, low-cost market-weighted portfolio. Singular is democratising, active sophisticated wealth management for the masses. 

We wouldn’t consider ourself a disruptor as we have seen first-hand the expansion of Robo-Advisory in Wealth Management is an emerging trend across the industry. Singular’s mission is to democratize access to first class investing traditionally only available to the ultra-wealthy.

However, todays Robo-Advisors has yet to meet client expectations as traditional Robo-Advisors still focuses on passive investment approach.

According to Deloitte, the current Robo-advisors is having a transformation with the following features and services.

Robo-Advisor 1.0

Clients receive single-product proposals or portfolio allocations based on listed investment products like stocks, bonds, ETFs. Example: StashAway

Robo-Advisor 2.0

Created as fund of funds where clients get questionnaires that are not only used to filter suitable products but to allocate clients assets into pre-defined risk-allocated portfolios. Example: Robofolio, Endowus

Robo-Advisor 3.0

Investment decisions and portfolio rebalancing generated by algorithmic which is monitored and personalized. Examples: Wealthfront, Betterment.

Hybrid-AI Model

Sophisticated risk management and profiling questionnaires lead to direct investment via self-learning artificial intelligence (AI) investment algorithms. SIngular is building a World-Class investment manager that go beyond the approach of Robo-Advisors today. Singular’s added value is an algorithmic that replicates the top money managers globally and provide single client portfolio without human interaction following our self-developed algorithms.

The overall goal of Singular looking to democratize financial products using self-learning artificial intelligence (AI) Investment algorithms to develop a world-class customer experience for the masses. 

3.    In terms of funding, how could potential funding improve your services and in which areas?

With the support of Sunway iLabs, StartupBootcamp Fintech and F10 Singapore as the top 2% of selected startups globally, Singular is raising a seed round of funding for Singular to maximise our recent momentum, expand our product to other algorithmic advisor domains ( focused on Algorithmic personalised hedge), and to continue to develop software that automates services traditionally provided by personal bankers and hedge fund managers.

4.    What are the areas as a startup you are looking to improve with the help of the partners, Sunway iLabs and Gobi Partners? 

Singular is aiming to run a Pilot Program with Sunway Group and Sunway iLabs with more than 16,000 of staff members with its latest IOS an Android Mobile App.

Our previous collaboration with Six Group Julius Baer and PWC has seen tangible benefits since working with Singular to create the 1st beta version of the Singular App. Hopefully with the help of Gobi Partners and SunSea Capital, Singular will be able to reach our fund raising goal and get local regulatory licenses to expand in various emerging markets like Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam in the next three to five years.

5.    Has the pandemic influenced customer behavior and reception to your services?

Singular has seen an accelerated growth during the COVID-19 pandemic further confirming the studies by the World Bank. Singular is also adapting to the pandemic which is largely resilient in spite of COVID-19. That said, The pandemic could accelerate the adoption of Fintech. 

Fintech companies like Square, Inc. released a report how the onset of COVID-19 has affected global commerce and payments behavior. Square estimated the shift in Fintech adoption has accelerated within one-year what would have taken more than three years without the pandemic.

6.    What will your demographic of customers look like and what features will the startup offer? 

Existing retail investors, High Net-Worth individuals, investors looking for above average market returns. Our main target will be affluent millennials looking for superior returns or “alpha” from the top money managers around the world.

For more information on Singular, visit here

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