4 min read

Daily Markup #307: Boxgreen’s healthy snacks give former inmates a second chance at life; Prenetics partners healthcare group to create the future of medicine; How celebrity endorsements influence these Southeast Asian countries

500 Southeast Asia Team



Credit: Boxgreen

A wholesome product

  • 500-backed snack subscription platform Boxgreen started from the idea of offering accessible and low-cost snacks. A few years later, the startup has shown a commitment not only to produce its own healthy snacks and make a social impact where they operate.
  • From curating and packing snacks from grocery stores, the startup now produces and retails more than 20 types of healthy snacks. Meanwhile, the founders continue to work with food scientists and nutritionists to create more products.
  • Boxgreen also implemented an inclusive hiring policy. In 2019, the company located its latest packing facility and warehouse within Changi Prison Complex. Each day, around 10 selected inmates worked as snack packers, with four full-time supervisors.
  • To date, the startup has hired around five former inmates in its logistics operations. It has trained and worked with more than 80 inmates.
  • Read the full story on The Straits Times here.
Credit: Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

It takes two

  • 500-backed digital health startup Prenetics has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with EC Healthcare (ECH), a non-hospital medical service provider in Hong Kong.
  • Under the partnership, the two firms will enable preventive and precision medicine, drug discovery, and health policy steering for governments.
  • This will be achieved by combining Prenetic’s genetics and diagnostic testing services with ECH’s health data resources. They will jointly develop IT solutions to enhance the integration process.
  • ECH will also be the designated offline fulfillment partner of Prenetics online business and will be granted the exclusive license to market and sell certain Prenetics DNA testing products. In addition, ECH will be Prenetics’ marketing and operational partner to promote Prenetics diagnostic and genetic testing products.
  • Read the full article on Yahoo! Finance here.
Credit: iPrice Group

The power of celebrity

  • 500-backed online shopping aggregator iPrice Group released the results of a study looking at how Hollywood brand ambassadors and western media shape Southeast Asians’ online interest in products.
  • Results showed that Singapore and the Philippines’ were the most influenced by celebrity and influencer endorsements.
  • When musician Questlove and singer Nicki Minaj wore Crocs, iPrice saw that the search interests for the brand surged in April 2021 by 243% and 244% in Singapore and the Philippines respectively.
  • A similar trend was also seen in cryptocurrency. With celebrities such as Kanye West, Elon Musk, and Jay Z fueling the conversation, searches from cryptocurrency in 2021 reached an all-time high in at least 2 years, experiencing a 755% and 542% increase in the two countries.
  • Read the full report on iPrice here.

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500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. In Southeast Asia, 500 Startups invests through the pioneering 500 Durians family of funds. The 500 Durians funds have backed over 200 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology. It continues to connect founders with capital, expertise and powerful regional and global networks to help them succeed.

This post is intended solely for general informational or educational purposes only. 500 Startups Management Company, L.L.C. and its affiliates (collectively “500 Startups”) makes no representation as to the accuracy or information in this post and while reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the information herein is accurate and up-to-date, no liability can be accepted for any error or omissions. All third party links in this post have not been independently verified by 500 Startups and the inclusion of such links should not be interpreted as an endorsement or confirmation of the content within. Information about portfolio companies’ markets, competitors, performance, and fundraising has been provided by those companies’ founders and has not been independently verified. Under no circumstances should any content in this post be construed as investment, legal, tax or accounting advice by 500 Startups, or an offer to provide any investment advisory service with regard to securities by 500 Startups. No content or information in this post should be construed as an offer to sell or solicitation of interest to purchase any securities advised by 500 Startups. Prospective investors considering an investment into any 500 Startups fund should not consider or construe this content as fund marketing material. The views expressed herein are as at the date of this post and are subject to change without notice. One or more 500 Startups fund may have a financial interest in one or more of the companies discussed.

500 Southeast Asia Team