PayPal Uncovered: Helping Local Startups Thrive in Singapore

PayPal Braintree [ Some of the goodies I received yesterday. Thank you, PayPal and Vanitee 😀 ]

I use PayPal frequently, whether it’s for payment for online shopping or to accept payment from overseas. But beyond this ‘payment facilitation’ as I call it, I don’t know very much about what else PayPal does as a company. So I attended a PayPal Uncovered event yesterday and got a few insights into how they support local startups, and how the latter benefit from these partnerships (from the branding, cost savings, etc).

There were merchants who set up booths at the event, though what I would have really loved was to hear from them in a panel discussion setting, like what happened recently with the launch of Shopee. There were just 2 presentations yesterday, from Tyson Hackwood (Head of Asia for Braintree) and Anupam Pahuja (General Manager, Technology, PayPal Asia Pacific).

I like the 3 Golden Rules Anupam shared: (1) Put your customer first (2) Don’t forget the small stuff (3) Innovation as your DNA, in particular, customer-driven innovation. I think #1 is especially important as many companies tend to put profits first, instead of their customers who are actually the ones contributing to their revenues! 😛


If you don’t already know, PayPal was started some 2 decades ago as the payment solution for sellers on eBay. To date, PayPal has processed over 1 trillion dollars in payments (currently about $8000 per second) and now has approximately 173 million active customer accounts.

The company organizes PayPal Business Challenge, StartTank, BluePrint, and BattleHack! 😀

Some of the businesses featured yesterday were:

Airfrov, Andios, BoxGreen, Cottony, The Cage, and Vanitee.

Vanitee was the only merchant which gifted us with goodie bags which included some freebies and, of course, their press release. Thus I discovered that the company was founded in May 2015. They have a mobile app which allows users to book beauty services such as manicures. [ The parent company is Vanity Trove. I’ve always thought that the beauty box subscription model won’t last very long with the intense competition, so I’m glad they have branched out into doing other things. ]

Vanitee is expanding into Malaysia in 2016 to enable the company “to leverage on the country’s expertise in managing contact centres. Agoda, Grabtaxi and Jobstreet all situate their support HQ in Malaysia. No other country can support the seven main languages spoken in Asia.” [This is something new to me. Thanks for the new knowledge, Vanitee!]

If you’re thinking about joining the Vanitee platform as a beauty professional, Vanitee charges a 5% transaction fee. Only for the first booking will Vanitee take 20% on top of the 5%. Sounds reasonable to me.


What I gathered from the event is that merchants and local startups are very happy to partner PayPal. Among the many advantages are that PayPal charges merchants by the number of transactions instead of on a monthly basis. 🙂