Less than four months after securing US$50 million in Series C from Sequoia India, Singapore’s mobile data plan operator Circles.Life has closed another round of funding from government-backed fund EDBI (lead investor) and Silicon Valley-based Founders Fund.
This round will help Circles.Life — which claims to have grown its subscriber base by more than 9X from Q1 2017 to Q1 2019 — expand its presence across APAC and beyond, starting with Taiwan in June 2019. This will be followed with the launch of services in Australia.
In both Taiwan and Australia, the plan is to roll out digital mobile solutions as the first step in creating a platform of personalised digital services. In total, it will launch services in more than five countries over the next 18 months.
The new financing round will also be used to build a tech hub in Singapore and continue to innovate in the personalised digital services space in the country and beyond. It aims to grow the global team with the Singapore engineering team expanding by 50 per cent by the end of 2019.
“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 Abhishek Gupta, Co-founder of Circles.Life.
With support from EDBI Circles.Life aims to align itself with the country’s ambition to make the smart nation a reality. “Homegrown Circles.Life is reinvigorating Singapore’s telco industry with its customer-first, data-driven approach enabled by its innovative digital platform. Built from ground-up, the platform not only provides a more flexible mobile service but also personalised lifestyle experiences for the consumer. As a strategic investor, EDBI looks forward to supporting Circles.Life in its next phase of growth to be a regional champion, leveraging Singapore as their springboard,” said Chu Swee Yeok, CEO and President of EDBI.
Established in 2005 by a group of technology pioneers including Peter Thiel, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm has notably been the first investor into Facebook and SpaceX, both currently leading the technology revolution in their respective fields.
“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,” said Jeff Lonsdale of Founders Fund.
Founded in 2016, Circles.Life’s strategy is to launch an innovative digital mobile solution and use this as the platform to build more personalised digital services. At the core of Circles.Life’s unique business model is Circles-X, a proprietary software platform in the cloud which delivers a highly flexible and completely digital customer experience across the entire service journey.
Circles.Life operates by purchasing bandwidth from the local telco M1 and then selling it to customers at discounted prices (or giving a huge amount of data). For example, in February the company pulled a clever marketing stunt by announcing it was killing its 20GB for US$20 plan at the end of the month. Then, a day later, it announced that it was offering unlimited data for US$20 a month.
Circles.Life claims to have crossed 5 per cent mobile telco market share in Singapore since its launch.