Hack for solutions

Zach Cheng (left) and Dinesh Raju, who are friends and business partners, are also the brains behind Anafore’s best-selling marketing software, ReferralCandy.

SINGAPORE - Local start-up Anafore has raised US$788,000 (S$998,800) for its referral service called ReferralCandy.

The company uses e-mail marketing to encourage the customers of retailers to tell their friends about the store.

After customers make a purchase, they are given a coupon that can be shared with friends. When their friends make a purchase, the customer receives a referral reward.

The funding was led by Singapore-based venture capital firm Innosight Ventures. Its earlier investor, BAF Spectrum, also participated in this round.

The new funding will help the company further develop its technology and expand into non-English-speaking markets. It will also be used to develop referral solutions for businesses with no online element.

ReferralCandy, headquartered at Block 71 in Ayer Rajah Industrial Estate, already serves hundreds of clients around the world.

Clients include shoe company Okabashi, image marketplace BigStock and online book store The Works.

Anafore said its revenues have tripled over the last year but no figures were disclosed.

Starcount bags $12.7m

Singapore-based social media research firm Starcount has raised US$10 million (S$12.7 million). The investors include Sir Terry Leahy, former chief executive of English retail giant Tesco.

Starcount tracks data across major social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to provide clients such as stars and brands with a measure of their social media popularity.

The funds will be used to further expand the technology and double headcount to about 100. Mr Leahy will become chairman of Starcount's client council, Star Chamber, a select group of high-profile brands and organisations brought together to develop solutions and products to improve their social media insight and fan interaction.

The founding partners of Star Chamber will be announced in the next few months.

Hack for solutions

Software developers are invited to join a three-day "hackathon" to create new solutions for the large Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) industry. Mice visitors spent $5.73 billion here in 2012.

Different technologies are needed to enhance both connectivity and the overall experience for visits, and also boost industry productivity.

The hackathon called Mice coLAB 2014 will be held from Feb 21 to Feb 23 at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Organised by UP Singapore, participants will attend workshops on issues affecting the industry and the technologies available.

To sign up, go to http://ptix.co/1d8huNH

Send news and developments on start-ups to chngkeg@sph.com.sg

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