Paktor, a dating app that rivals Tinder in Southeast Asia, is pushing itself in more global markets.YJ Capital — the corporate venture firm belonging to Yahoo Capital — led the round, which included participation from fellow new investors Global Grand Leisure, Golden Equator Capital and Sebrina Holdings, as well as existing backers Vertex Ventures which belongs to Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek MNC Media Group, Majuven, and Convergence Ventures.Paktor has now raised over $22 million to date, including a $7.4 million Series B round one year ago, which it has used to expand beyond its initial, Tinder-like dating app to cover offline events and services, such as group travel, speed dating and more.It has also expanded its geographies beyond an initial focus on Southeast Asia s six largest countries: Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.The move into Korea and Japan will be aided by YJ Capital, which maintains strong links with Yahoo Japan — the joint entity from SoftBank and Yahoo which is the country s largest web portal and media company and worth upwards of $8.5 billion.Jose Ruano and Miguel Mangas, formerly with IAC s Meetic in Spain, are CEO and VP of marketing respectively for Paktor International and in charge of globalizing the company.
Singapore-based media company E27 has closed a SG$3 million US$2.2 million Series A round as it looks to redevelop its tech-focused news website and events business following some tough times.The company previously raised seed rounds, the most recent being a $650,000 raise last summer, and there had been talk of new financing for the past month or so.Now the company has confirmed its raise from a bevy of new investors each of whom is involved in early-stage tech.The round was led by China-based TechTemple Group with participation from Linear Venture also China , Indonesia s Convergence Ventures and Singapore-based duo Venturecraft and venture builder Spacemob.E27 is best known in Southeast Asia for its news site — e27.co — and its long-running Echelon events business.First founded in 2007, it has endured a rough past year which included making layoffs and general restructuring.
China s Didi Chuxing and SoftBank Group Corp. are leading a new round of funding in the Southeast Asian ride-sharing service Grab that could exceed $600 million, according to people familiar with the deal.The round may close as early as this week and would push the total amount of funds available to Grab past $1 billion, said the people, who declined to be identified because the deal is private.Grab is seeking to raise a separate $400 million in the following weeks, said one of the people.Grab declined to comment, while SoftBank and Didi didn t respond to requests for comment.The talks signal that the truce between Didi and Uber Technologies Inc. in China this week is far from a global accord.Didi bought out Uber s operations in the country and became a shareholder in the U.S. company, but the Chinese firm s investment in Grab shows it will continue to clash with Uber in Southeast Asia and perhaps other regions.Didi, which struck an alliance with Grab last year, had raised a warchest of more than $10 billion for its campaign in China.Didi probably has a lot of reserves from what they thought might be a longer war in China, said Adrian Li, managing partner at Convergence Ventures, a Jakarta-based firm that doesn t have stakes in ride-hailing companies.
6 emerging market, Indonesia s President Joko Widodo has tapped for guidance the king of Chinese e-commerce: Jack Ma.Jokowi, as Indonesia s leader is known, further intensified the buzz surrounding his country s $2 billion e-commerce market with a stop at Jakarta s sprawling Mangga Dua bazaar last month, buying an iPad from a store belonging to web retail giant Bhinneka.com.Indonesia has an e-commerce market that McKinsey & Co. says can be one of the fastest-growing in the world, part of a digital economy adding $150 billion a year to gross domestic product by 2025.All the more reason for Jokowi to turn to Ma, founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., to advise his administration on how to supercharge online retailing in the country.It does have that potential and I think that part of it boils down to also Indonesia, as a culture, being incredibly consumptive, said Adrian Li, managing partner of Convergence Ventures, which backs early-stage tech startups in Indonesia.Indonesia s urban consuming class -- individuals with disposable income of more than $10 a day -- is growing by about 5 million a year to reach 86 million by 2020 amid rapidly expanding access to the Internet, according to McKinsey.Online sales could reach 7 percent to 8 percent of the total retail market by 2020 from about 1 percent currently, it estimates.The value of e-commerce could increase by as much as $15 billion over the next three years alone, the company estimates.Jokowi turned to Alibaba s Ma after touring the company s headquarters in Hangzhou, China in early September.
Some VC firms have a global presence.Gobi Partners Kay-Mok Ku, Convergence Ventures Adrian Li and Golden Gate Ventures Jeffrey Paine talked about what it s like to invest in South East Asia at the TechCrunch Beijing conference.While these three firms don t have the exact same geographic and investment focus, these three VC firms all recently raised new funds, proving that they re bullish on South East Asia.Over the last 10 years, there's been a lot of growth in China.China is obviously a very big market today but it's also hyper competitive.That s why it makes sense to bet on South East Asia today if you think that the region is still in the middle of an incredible economic boom.
Helpster, a Bangkok-based company that matches employers with people seeking blue collar jobs, has banked $2.1 million to expand across Southeast Asia.The funding, which was led by Jakarta-based Convergence Ventures with participation from Wavemaker Partners, will help the startup grow its position in the Indonesian market, which it recently entered.It will also go towards increasing its presence on home-soil in Thailand, where the majority of its 35 staff are based.Helpster was founded in January 2016 by Matthew Ward CEO and John Srivorakul CTO .Both have been involved in startups for some time.Srivorakul founded Admax sold to Komli and Ensogo sold to LivingSocial , and was involved with now-defunct investment firm Ardent Capital and logistics startup aCommerce, where his brother Paul is CEO.
Indonesia-based early-stage investment firm Kejora has announced the first close of a second fund which is targeted at $80 million for investments in Southeast Asia.Kejora, which is known for its Ideabox accelerator program in Jakarta, has secured one-third of its target, with investment from LPs that include Indonesia s Barito Pacific Group, Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Family and Hubert Burda Media.The fund is focused on serving pre-Series A and Series A rounds in Southeast Asia with $2 million to $5 million commitments towards each startup.Founding partner Sebastian Togelang revealed that already it has invested in six companies.We are looking for companies that are scalable and solving big problems that the large population of Southeast Asia are having.We like founders who are experienced and have the potential to solve the vision and problem, and the ambition to scale to be number one in the region, Togelang told TechCrunch.
Sale Stock, an Indonesian ecommerce startup that sells its own women’s fashion label, has raised a US$27 million “series B+” round co-led by venture capital firms Gobi Partners and Golden Equator.Alpha JWC Ventures, Convergence Ventures, GEC, KIP, MNC, and SMDV also took part in the round.Gobi backed the startup through its new US$200 million Meranti ASEAN Growth Fund, which has closed US$50 million so far, it said today.The fund looks to back 15 or more startups in Southeast Asia.Its limited partners include MAVCAP, GS Shop, and CKM.Sale Stock appeared to have gone through some rough patches last year, laying off over 100 people and trimming salary costs by 13 percent.
UrWork was a participant alongside U.S. firm Social Capital (which is increasingly active at Indonesia), Fortune Union Investments, ACE Capital and other undisclosed backers.It has 88 locations in 22 cities in its native China, but it is planning an aggressive overseas expansion into 32 cities worldwide over the next three years.Just as we have witnessed Chinese tech firms moving rapidly into Southeast Asia to grab a slice of the fast-growing startup ecosystem, so the co-working unicorns have taken aim at the region, and Indonesia — its largest economy — in particular.Already, UrWork has a location in Southeast Asia via Singapore in addition to a presence in the U.S., but now it is looking to expand into Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, through this deal.“Southeast Asia’s economy and technology market are extremely promising with huge growth potential for both local ventures and for China based businesses.ReWork founder and CEO Vanessa Hendriadi told TechCrunch that UrWork’s strategic investment will give leverage for future alliances with clients and retail estate partners.
Indonesian co-working space operator Rework has announced over US$3 million in pre-series A funding to expand across Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bali.The round was co-led by China’s ATM Capital and Indonesia-based Convergence Ventures, with participation from China’s co-working unicorn UrWork.UrWork is China’s largest co-working space provider and has been valued at US$1.5 billion since receiving pre-series C funding last month.The company made its first foray outside of China in July when it opened a workspace in Singapore’s One North science and tech district.UrWork now operates in 100 locations across China, Singapore, the US, and the UK.More overseas growth is said to be in the pipeline.
Independently-owned hotels sometimes fall through the cracks of the hospitality industry because they struggle to compete with major chains, but don’t belong on Airbnb or HomeAway.Zuzu Hospitality Solutions bridges the gap in Asia by providing essential revenue management and marketing services to small hotels while allowing them preserve their own brands.The Singapore-based startup announced today that it has raised seed funding of $2 million led by Wavemaker Partners, with participation from other Southeast Asian venture capital firms Golden Gate Ventures, Alpha JWC and Convergence Ventures.Other backers in this round include Paul Brown, the chief executive officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group and former Hilton president of brands and commercial services, and returning investor Goodman Capital.Co-founders Dan Lynn and Vikram Malhi left their jobs at major players in the online travel space to launch Zuzu last year.Lynn was HomeAway’s vice president of APAC and emerging markets, while Malhi served as Expedia’s managing director of Asia.
Some of China’s biggest internet firms left no doubt about their intention to be part of Southeast Asia’s slowly awakening digital economy.In the past months, companies like Didi Chuxing, Alibaba, Tencent, and JD have poured billions of dollars into funding and acquiring businesses in the region, especially in Indonesia.Apart from these strategic investors, Chinese VC firms’ appetite for the Indonesian tech sector is also growing.Indonesia’s expanding population of 260 million people is seen as a safe bet by some Chinese investors because of the increased purchasing power that comes with it.And many feel like they can apply what they’ve learned at home to bring businesses to success here.“I feel here like I felt 20 years ago in China – there are so many opportunities,” said Tony Qu, managing partner at ATM Capital while onstage at Tech in Asia Jakarta 2017.
Google and AT Kearney also identified fintech as one of the most attractive categories for investors within the country’s startup ecosystem.The Indonesian government’s ecommerce roadmap also specifies fintech integration and better payment infrastructure as a key focus moving forward.Other lenders joining the digital wave include private lender BTPN, which spent 1.3 trillion rupiah (S$131 million) to develop a digital platform called Jenius, over the past three years.DBS Indonesia also launched Digiland, a completely paperless and signature-free banking experience.In fact, 17 percent of fintech startups are lending platforms, and businesses like Modalku and Investree leading the charge.He also points out a huge gap between the available market of MSMEs that fintech players can serve and existing players in this space.
Indonesia represents almost 40% of the economic output of Southeast Asia and is now rising as the next market for Chinese companies looking into Southeast Asia market for a number of advantages.In the “Startups in Indonesia” panel, Adrian Lee, managing partner at Convergence ventures and Weihai Liew, CEO and founder of Mainspring Technology, concluded that Indonesia needs more talent.They said Chinese entrepreneurs and investosr should look into this booming market, with Adrian mentioning “China will be to Indonesia what US was to China.”Convergence Ventures is one of the largest VCs in Indonesia with an early stage technology venture fund that has invested in 30 companies in Indonesia over the years.Mainspring Technology is a mobile apps and games company based in Jakarta focusing on the Android platform in Indonesia.The company made an AI-driven news app that works like Jinri Toutiao in China and is actually backed by Jinri Toutiao.
Chinese conglomerate Shanda Group invested $5.6 million Series A in Malaysian startup NIDA on February 2017 in order to further tap into Southeast Asia regions, the next booming travel destination for Chinese tourists.In fact, Southeast Asian countries remain top destinations for Chinese outbound tourists.But why did the global privately-owned investment group Shanda (盛大集团) invest in the 3-year-old Malaysian company?It seems that Shanda, seeing the SEA as the next market, is betting on NIDA to do the same.As Shanda’s investment group is headquartered in Singapore, this might help NIDA’s expansion in the neighboring country.“NIDA caught our attention as they have developed a business model that enables the Company to quickly build a highly scalable platform with a strong brand by effectively addressing the needs of travelers and local hotels in the fragmented, less digitalized yet large and rapidly growing economy hotel sector in Southeast Asia,” said Robert Chiu, President of Shanda Group said in the press release when NIDA received investment.
Didi Chuxing looks to raise US$1.5 billion through first-of-a-kind bond sale (China).It is planning further expansion to Hong Kong and Jakarta later this year.DocDoc nets US$5.45 million through convertible bond sale (Singapore).The startup provides an appointment-booking portal for patients, and uses clinical informatics and healthcare quality assessments to offer recommendations.The funding comes from London-based Adamas Finance Asia, and will help DocDoc to scale its doctor discovery product.The startup’s Golden Paddy mobile app offers personalized advice and services to smallholder farmers, aimed at improving their productivity, market access, and financial inclusion.
M17 scraps IPO, raises US$35 million from private investors (Singapore, Taiwan).The company will remain private after raising US$35 million in private funding from existing investors like Infinity Venture Partners, Majuven, and Convergence Ventures.Patent intelligence startup snaps up US$38 million series D from Sequoia and Xiaomi founder (Singapore).PatSnap, a Singapore- and London-based startup that provides patent and research services, has raised US$38 million in a series D round lead by Sequoia and Shunwei Capital, a fund by Xiaomi boss Lei Jun.WeWork looking to raise funding at US$35 billion valuation, according to SoftBank exec (US).SoftBank executive Rajeev Misra said during an event in London that co-working dynamo WeWork is raising more funding at a valuation of US$35 billion.
Grab in tie-up with SP Group to expand electric fleet (Singapore).The ride-hailing company is adding 200 new electric vehicles early 2019 as part of a strategic partnership with Singaporean utilities provider SP Group, which is building a network of fast-charging points in the city-state.The Australian government has banned the Chinese telecom giant from selling 5G-enabled equipment in the country as it seeks to update its wireless infrastructure.According to a Huawei statement on Twitter, its rival ZTE is also under the same embargo in Australia.Data held by the service will stay within India, in compliance with a new regulation requiring payments companies to store customer data locally.The ecommerce player has taken down 4.8 million listings and shuttered more than 1,000 stores following a public outcry and government scrutiny over fake goods on its platform.
If you’re looking for funding opportunities to bring your company to the next level, then you’re in luck.This October 23 & 24, over 50 keen investors will be gathered at Tech in Asia Jakarta 2018’s Speed Dating segment in search of the next disruptive startup.The firm focuses on early-stage ventures in Southeast Asia and Japan.They have invested in more than 150 companies, including early bets on ecommerce giant Tokopedia, flight search engine Traveloka and cashback company Shopback.Preferred investment size: US$100k – US$500kVerticals of interest: B2B, Education, Greentech, IoT, Mobile, Productivity, Social Enterprises, Any startup that shows good potential
Singapore-based Zuzu Hospitality Solutions today announced it has raised a US$3.7 million series A round led by Wavemaker Partners.The round, which was closed in Q4 2018, will fund the startup’s plan to expand to Thailand, Malaysia, and Australia.Existing investors Golden Gate Ventures, Convergence Ventures, and Alpha JWC Ventures participated in the round.New investors Access Ventures and Line Ventures also joined in.Before the new injection, Zuzu’s last funding was a US$2 million seed round in 2017.Zuzu offers an outsourced yield management solution for independent hotels.