SINGAPORE-BASED Popsical, a startup that has created a home karaoke system combining a compact palm-sized device with a mobile app, has raised S$6.9 million in a Series A round led by Quest Ventures, with participation from government-owned investor SEEDS Capital.
Popsical’s notable early investors include Apricot Capital, Teo Heng KTV, Cash Studios KTV, OMG Ventures and Mediacorp.
Jeffrey Seah, a partner at Quest and an industry veteran from the data-marketing and digital-transformation domain, will join the startup's board of directors.
The fresh funds will be used for market expansion, hiring go-to-market talent and developing Popsical’s roadmap of products and software-as-a-service offerings.
Unlike conventional karaoke sets that rely on a single remote, Popsical can pair up with an unlimited number of mobile devices at the same time. It uses a licensed cloud-based streaming system that includes a 14-language interface and a library with over 200,000 songs, updated daily with latest hits and song requests from its users. The system also has vocal effects to make one sound like a rock star - or a chipmunk.
The extended stay-home period during the Covid-19 pandemic led to an uptick in demand for Popsical via its e-commerce website. Average monthly sales from March to May were 47 per cent higher than in February.
Popsical currently sells to the Singapore and Malaysia markets. It plans to expand to Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as outside South-east Asia.
Co-founder and CEO Faruq Marican said: "India has an incredible music tradition and we think that karaoke would be an absolute hit there. We are also looking at Central Asia and places such as Kazakhstan, where karaoke is growing immensely in popularity."
The Business Times reported in April that Popsical’s investor Quest was looking to strengthen startup collaborations between Central Asia and South-east Asia after clinching the backing of Kazakhstan's QazTech Ventures for its US$50 million second fund. QazTech is a venture capital firm under Kazakhstan's sovereign wealth fund, Baiterek National Managing Holding.
"We like that Popsical is well-positioned to liberate the location, performance and technical equipment dependency of karaoke," said Mr Seah. "They’ve spotted a viable gap in the market and we anticipate increasingly interesting opportunities for Popsical to exploit, especially with the Zoom meetings environment becoming a part of family and community life across the globe."