Bored? How you go beyond shopping, eating and watching movies in Singapore with a new website
Singapore — New start-up Funzing, which bills itself as an online marketplace of events, wants you to know that Singapore isn’t boring. This is why the “Airbnb of experiences” has chosen Singapore to be the fourth city in its launch schedule — following Tel Aviv, London and Manchester. The Singapore site features activities, such as pop-up yoga sessions on the rooftop of the Esplanade, a Game of Thrones Sword Tag experience and a Winnie the Pooh bento making session. “The whole concept is a marketplace where anyone can find unique events or create experiences based on hobbies, passions or skills.
“All of the events on the site are created by real people willing to host others for unique stuff, like pickle making in someone’s kitchen, yoga in the park, a lecture about physics in a secret bar or a dim sum-making class with the owner of a restaurant,” explained Funzing’s chief marketing officer Yaron Saghiv, who was born in Singapore and returned to lead the launch this year. “Since the events are generated by individuals and owners of small medium enterprises, it is guaranteed the variety will be unique and different.”
Funzing is also an avenue for travellers to experience something local as newcomers can use it to meet residents of the city and experience the unusual aspects of the place. As Saghiv pointed out, “Everyone goes to the Big Ben or Oxford Circus in London, but not everyone is even exposed to a ‘Secret Indian Food Tour’ in Brick Lane.”
Q: How do Funzing’s activities differ from what’s offered on travel sites like Viator or apps, such as Be My Guest?
A: Funzing was created as a community website by locals originally for other residents — hosts on the site are usually repetitive, buyers sometimes become hosts themselves and go to several events a year and hosts can become buyers. Since the DNA of Funzing is much more community based and not built for tourist purposes we believe that the content and environment is more authentic.
Q: How do you find your hosts? And what’s the incentive for them to get involved?
A: We find our hosts through different niche communities and forums. There are talented people everywhere and since the listing on Funzing is free of charge anyone can give it a try and take their hobby or passion one step further. We’re commission-based only on tickets sold on the platform. Until that point our hosts receive content and marketing assistance just like you would have received on websites, like Airbnb. We are looking to further develop the Foodie (unique cookery classes), DIY (build your own lampshade), Night Out alternatives (become a DJ for an evening) and Family Events categories. In Singapore we have people like guitarist Neil Zaza for an intimate guitar experience, and Little Miss Bento who teaches you how to make a Winnie the Pooh Kawaii bento box and more.
Q: Lots of Singaporeans think that there is nothing much to do here. How do you intend to dispel that myth?
A: Singapore is a fascinating place with people who love going out and enjoy their leisure time. We are here to expose those talented individuals and secret events so they will become known and approachable to anyone. Funzing’s mission is to give an alternative to the usual cinema, restaurant or shopping mall and make you find yourself suddenly in a secret supper club or quirky workshop.
Q: Besides signing up for activities, what are your personal tips for having a fun, more local time on your travels?
A: Don’t be afraid to discover and explore. One of my nights in Singapore led me to all sorts of places. It started in a restaurant in Clarke Quay, which led to a private function in the Hard Rock Cafe where I met owners of a few bars; from there I went to spontaneous cocktail masterclass of one of the bartenders and finally to a house party around Bukit Timah. Serene Lim