Singapore’s Circular closes US$7.6 mil funding to spearhead consumer tech subscriptions in APAC
- Seed funding brings brings Circular’s total valuation to US$30 mil
- Will expand offerings in Singapore, accelerate expansion in Australia
Circular, a Y Combinator-backed subscription service specialising in high end consumer electronics, has successfully closed its seed round of US$7.6 million (RM36 million). The round was led by AirTree Ventures, with participation from investors at YC Continuity Fund, Global Founders Capital, Partech Ventures and January Capital.
Notable angel investors include the founders of PropertyGuru, Funding Societies, Stashaway, Carousell and Nutmeg. Circular’s valuation now stands at US$30 million (RM142 million).
Founded in Singapore in 2021 by Nick Ramsay, George Oliver, Pantha Roy and Yaniv Bernstein, Circular offers customers subscriptions to a wide range of premium tech devices, complete with free damage protection covering up to 90% of repair costs. Through a flexible and affordable monthly subscription, Circular claims that customers can access the latest tech gadgets in a sustainable manner and at a fraction of the cost.
In addition to its core categories of phones, tablets and laptops, Circular has recently expanded its offerings to include popular gaming products in its Singapore catalogue.
Circular plans to further expand its offerings in Singapore, focusing on product-market fit, while accelerating its expansion in Australia, and growing its B2B offering, Circular for Business, to cater to the underserved startup and SME segments in both markets.
The company claims to have grown 3X in the last 12 months, and aims to triple its presence across Singapore and Australia in the coming year.
Business model aims to maximise value while minimising waste, ensuring each device utilised until end of life
The consumer electronics industry is large and diverse, with approximately 50 million premium tech devices sold across APAC in 2022. Circular maintains that these products are becoming increasingly expensive, chronically underutilised, and eventually discarded to gather dust in drawers and closets. This represents a significant addressable market for Circular and a substantial opportunity for disruption as the first-mover tech subscription startup in the region.
Circular’s business model aims to maximise value while minimising waste by ensuring each device is utilised until the end of its usable life. By offering both refurbished and brand-new devices, as well as partnering with industry-leading refurbishment specialists, Circular contributes to the efficient use of valuable resources and investment in the consumer electronics production. These resources are brought back into market circulation, extending the product life cycle.
Furthermore, Circular passes on cost-savings to consumers, allowing them to access unique and appealing subscription offerings. For instance, using the iPhone 15 Pro Max 256GB as an example, subscribers can save up US$699 compared to purchasing the phone outright from Apple, all without device protection.
[RM1 = US$0.211]
Nick emphasised the significant issue of tech device underutilisation, which Circular aims to address through its subscription model.
“By extending the lifespan of products and preventing precious materials from ending up in landfills, we hope to gradually shift patterns of consumption and reduce our collective burden on the environment,” he added.
He further highlighted customers returning for additional devices, often even second or third ones, which indicates a shift toward subscription-based device needs.
Meanwhile, Craig Blair, founder and partner at AirTree said, “Circular is at the heart of perennial and emerging consumer trends, such as the shift towards sustainability, changing ownership preferences and the desire to have the latest tech. Additionally, the founding team possesses an incredibly strong and complementary skill set across company building, product, engineering, marketing, and logistics that makes us excited to lead their seed round and see where they take the future of the circular economy.”