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Exclusive: HR-tech startup WellteQ raises seed funding, to explore early listing

Singapore-based WellteQ, a digital wellness solution for employee health engagement and HR analytics, has closed a seed investment of A$1.2 million ($960,198) from investors that include Peak Asset Management.

The startup, with Australian roots, was founded by chief executive Scott Montgomery and COO Jeames Gillett, To date, it has raised A$2 million in external investment, which has fuelled its team growth. Its headquarters are in Singapore but it also maintains a distributed team across Australia and Vietnam.

In the market since 2015, the venture – which offers B2B group wellness programmes – serves clients across the Asia Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Later this year, it plans to expand its business operations in the US market. It offers the staff of large enterprises and corporates a health improvement service via its mobile app and uses engagement tools like rewards, virtual coaching and gamification to guide and motivate its users to improved health outcomes.

According to Montogomery, a key element of their software product is the engagement engine, which combined with the analytics allows for data capture by the firm. Beyond its enterprise subscription service, the firm also sees licensing of its software engine as an additional income. Its client portfolio includes Credit Suisse, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Citibank, Prudential, and Allianz apart from  aviation and telecom firms. Also Read: Singapore: GIC backs $42m Series B in Federated Wireless According to Montgomery, while the firm did possess a track record and was cash flow positive, WellteQ was not as well received as it could have been due to the startup not being in the fintech or e-commerce domain.  “It might be timing or an appetite element, but I am starting to consider other investment sources for non-organic growth, and that’s in the form of non-Singaporean VCs and non-private pathways as well,” he adds. When asked about the possibility of raising funding via an early listing of his company, Montogomery explains: “We’re definitely exploring all opportunities.”

Recent quarters have seen a number of technology enterprises in Southeast Asia, Silicon Valley and Australia explore public listings in either Hong Kong or Australia. “I have seen some success stories of late, in the form of growth-stage technology companies looking at a public path through RTO and IPO. And I think that’s got to be a consideration for all companies of our size and currently bigger.” An early listing for a startup venture, despite the associated higher administrative and compliance costs, also comes with a more significant public profile and greater ease in raising funds from public capital markets. Montgomery argues there’s “a benefit and a curse” when it comes to the public path, particularly for a B2B business that sells to large MNCs given that the reporting and compliance requirements impart credibility when dealing with corporate peers.

However, a stock exchange also represents “a far more liquid space to do that should you have a good investor base and track record in the listed space”. Also Read: ASX-listed Amcor said to be mulling takeover of packaging maker Bemis Australia: Picturewealth closes A$1.2m seed; Brighte closes Series A Australia: Altium acquires Upverter; CSL Behring buys Calimmune

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