The latest company to pull in financing is Airwallex, a China-Australia startup that specializes in cross-border transactions.The Melbourne-headquartered company this week announced a $3 million seed round led by Chinese investment Gobi Partners, with participation from angel investors Huashan Capital One and Billy Tam, CEO of China s Easylink Payments.The startup aims to ease the headache and cost of cross-border purchases by enabling consumers to buy items from outside of their country using their local currency.In essence it uses the same principles as London-based Transferwise in that it reduces the costs that both merchants and consumers eat up when is the two parties are using different currencies.Airwallex CEO and co-founder Jack Zhang came upon the idea after growing tired of the additional cost of importing goods from overseas for a coffee shop business that he invested in while working for banks in Australia.Zhang, formerly with ANZ and NAB, decided that tech could provide a better solution and he founded Airwallex alongside four other co-founders, including CTO Jacob Dai and COO Lucy Yueting Liu, who spent time working foreign exchange for Barclays Bank.
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.
iPrice, an 18-month-old e-commerce aggregation service that s active in seven countries in Southeast Asia, has closed a $4 million Series A funding round.The investment was led by existing backers Asia Venture Group AVG and Venturra Capital with participation from Gobi Partners, DMP, Econa and Starstrike Ventures.Malaysia-based iPrice previously raised $1.2 million one year ago, in additional to a $550,000 seed round that kicked the business off when it launched in early 2015.The fundamental idea of the service is to be a one-stop destination to make sense of online shopping in Southeast Asia, a region that contains some large e-commerce players — Alibaba acquired a controlling stake in $2 billion-valued Lazada earlier this year, for example — but no single dominant entity.That s unlike say the U.S. and parts of Western Europe, where Amazon is the go-to, or China, where the likes of Alibaba and JD.com have build formidable empires.iPrice now has more than 100 staff and it works with retail partners to help them gain visibility, traffic and sales.
This is the third post in our series: Discover China s Next BAT, where we will go over the potential tech giants that are leading China s IT industry.Stay tuned to keep updated on the next BAT.iiMedia Research Group, a leading research institute in China, has released a list of leading mobile internet companies based on the findings of a corporate judging panel consisting of global industry experts, influential investors, and public voting with over a million ballots cast.From that list, we have chosen eight companies we believe will dominate their markets.Here are the first four:1.Xbed 搜床科技 - internet hotelXbed provides self-service hotels rooms.Using Xbed, users can rely completely on Xbed mobile app or its WeChat account for the whole stay from reserving the hotel room and checking in and out to opening and locking of the room door and payment.Founded in May 2015, Xbed is said to bring a sharing economy model into the accommodation industry as it allows people who have worked in accommodation industry to be part-time workers to help with the cleaning.Xbed raised $1 million in its seed round on December 5, 2016, from Gobi Partners and QF Capital.2.Douyu TV 斗鱼 – live broadcastingFounded in 2014, Douyu TV is one of the earliest live-streaming platforms among more than 200 Chinese streaming platforms that have popped up.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates is the of WeChat, China s most popular messaging app.The billionaire posted a 30-second video on his official account gatesnotes with a short sentence in Chinese welcoming viewers and describing in English the channel s focus, which Gates said will act as a personal blog with posts about the books he is reading and other thoughts.The video has accumulated more than 100,000 views and 23,300 likes as of February 15.If you want to reach Chinese people, WeChat is the place, said Ken Xu, a partner at venture capital firm Gobi Partners.Celebrities frequently use Chinese social media apps to connect with their overseas fan base.Gates created an account on Weibo, a popular microblogging website, in 2010 and has more than 3 million followers.
Malaysian fintech startup Jirnexu has raised $1.5 million in funding from DMP, Gobi Partners, and OSK Ventures International Berhad (OSKVI).That brings the Kuala Lumpur-based company’s total funding to date to $6 million.Jirnexu’s full stack technology provides banks and insurance companies with a solution that manages every stage of the customer journey, including marketing, acquisition, fulfillment, and retention.The company counts among its customers global and regional financial institutions such as Citibank, HSBC, Standard Chartered, AIA, Zurich, Manulife, and U4Life, as well as local banks BSN and RHB.Sales commissions for consumer banking and insurance products in Southeast Asia alone are worth $25 billion per year, according to market researcher Sigma Research.Jirnexu is also targeting the $35 billion worth of multi-channel and distribution financial technology budgets in Europe and the Middle East with a white-label solution.XpressApply, Jirnexu’s proprietary platform, is aimed at disrupting conventional methods of selling banking and insurance products, enabling financial institutions to offer unique value propositions to online and mobile-first consumers efficiently and at scale.It also offers analytics for targeted strategies to fulfill and maximize the value of a consumer relationship over many years.XpressApply helps banks increase return on marketing investment by up to 300 percent by doubling conversions and productivity.Jirnexu will use the money to finance RinggitPlus.com, Jirnexu’s online financial aggregator in Malaysia.The funds will accelerate the development of its technology solutions and implementation in its priority markets: Malaysia and Indonesia.Yuen Tuck Siew, CEO of Jirnexu, said, “RinggitPlus.com has grown to be Malaysia’s largest digital customer acquisition channel for banks, attracting more visitors than all other comparison sites combined.
Escooter rental app BeeFly receives USD 3 M in financingBeeFlyFounded in: 2016Financing status: RMB 20 million (USD 3 million) financing in 2017BeeFly is an escooter rental startup that meets long distance travel needs from 3 to 10 kilometers with its rental services.Founded in 2016 in Beijing, the startup has already placed 200,000 escooters in Beijing and Shanghai.It is expected to put millions of escooters in China’s first and second tier cities by the end of 2018.Users can rent BeeFly’s escooters on its app with a RMB 288 deposit, and then use it to unlock escooters, set parking reservations, finish payments, and finally leave it at a good place so that it can be found by other users just like shared bikes.BeeFly’s escooters can last 100 km with a full charge, and has a maximum speed up to 30 km/h.This funding was from Keda Group, and the capital will be used to extend the escooters’ battery life and ensure the security of its escooters.Shared parking platform Uchewei receives USD 1.7 M in Series A roundPhoto from 58pic.comUcheweiFounder: Xu KeFounded in: 2015Financing status: RMB 12 million (USD 1.7 million) Series A financingUchewei is a shared parking platform that aims to fully utilize vacant parking spaces.The platform helps users find parking spaces in peak periods as well as help parking space owners rent spaces to others.A Beijing company founded in 2015, Uchewei’s services covers 180 core Beijing business districts with more than 5,000 parking spaces available on its platform.These parking spaces are mainly rented from property management companies and third party parking management companies.
p Editor’s note: Starting from today, TechNode is publishing the China Funding Daily, a daily summary of interesting fundings from around China’s exciting tech and startup ecosystems.Feedback, good or bad, is always welcome./p p New fundings in China on May 1, 2017 /p p Jimi (机蜜), a 2-year-old, Hangzhou-based smart hardware rental app, has raised RMB 66 million in Series A funding led by Incapital Fund (盈动资本) with participation from U51.com (51信用卡)./p p New fundings in China on May 2, 2017 /p p Huochebang (货车帮), a 3-year-old, Guiyang-based Uber-type service for trucks in China, has raised US$ 156 million in Series B funding led by Baidu Capital (百度资本) with participation from All-Stars Investment (全明星投资).The new round pushed the firm’s valuation to around US$ 1 billion./p p Live.me, a 1-year-old, Cayman Islands-based live video streaming application and a subsidiary of Cheetah Mobile Inc, has raised US$ 60 million in Series A funding led by Matrix Partners China (经纬中国), with participation from Evolution Media China (EMC媒体基金), Gobi Partners (戈壁投资), IDG Capital (IDG资本) and Welight Capital (微光创投) as well as Cheetah Mobile (猎豹移动).
p Cheetah Mobile, the Chinese firm that specializes in utility apps for smartphones, has enlisted the help of outside investors for its live-streaming service.Cheetah announced this week that its one-year-old Live.me service has pulled in $60 million from a range of China-based investors that include Matrix Partners China, Evolution Media China, Gobi Partners, IDG Capital and Welight Capital.Cheetah itself also took part in the round.It said it retains a majority 70 percent share in the service following the deal.Beijing-based Cheetah, which is listed on the NYSE, is best known for utility apps such as Clean Master, Battery Doctor and Speed Booster.Overall, Cheetah claims more than 620 million monthly users of its 20-plus services, with around 80 percent of that figure located outside of China.
p Cheetah Mobile’s live video streaming platform Live.me receives USD 60 million in financing /p p Live.me /p p Founded in: 2016 /p p Financing status: RMB 413 million (USD 60 million) in financing in 2017 /p p Live.me is a live video streaming platform and a Cheetah Mobile subsidiary.Users can record live videos with their mobile phones via the Live.me app to share moments of their daily lives and interact with other users.In addition, users can purchase digital “gifts” such as emojis for their favorite live video creators./p p Live.me first launched in the United States in 2016, and topped the United States’ GooglePlay social networking bestseller list since August 2016, and was also ranked in the top five of the Apple App store’s social networking bestseller list in the U.S.The platform has so far covered more than 50 countries and regions in the world, and has been downloaded more than 15 million times./p p This funding came from a group of investors including Matrix Partners China, Evolution Media China, Gobi Partners, IDG Capital, Welight Capital, and Cheetah Mobile.
p Cheetah Mobile’s live video streaming platform Live.me receives USD 60 million in financing /p p Live.me /p p Founded in: 2016 /p p Financing status: RMB 413 million (USD 60 million) in financing in 2017 /p p Live.me is a live video streaming platform and a Cheetah Mobile subsidiary.Users can record live videos with their mobile phones via the Live.me app to share moments of their daily lives and interact with other users.In addition, users can purchase digital “gifts” such as emojis for their favorite live video creators./p p Live.me first launched in the United States in 2016, and topped the United States’ GooglePlay social networking bestseller list since August 2016, and was also ranked in the top five of the Apple App store’s social networking bestseller list in the U.S.The platform has so far covered more than 50 countries and regions in the world, and has been downloaded more than 15 million times./p p This funding came from a group of investors including Matrix Partners China, Evolution Media China, Gobi Partners, IDG Capital, Welight Capital, and Cheetah Mobile.
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.
Pan-Asia venture capital firm Gobi Partners announced the first tranche of its latest Southeast Asia-focused fund last week.Malaysia Venture Capital Management (MAVCAP), home shopping company GS Shop – part of Korea’s GS Group – and Indonesian investment firm CKM are the three initial limited partners of the fund.Its focus will be on the cloud computing, ecommerce, and fintech spaces, as well as tech startups specifically catering to Muslim consumers.It is Gobi’s fourth Southeast Asia-themed fund – and its ninth overall.Announcing the closing of the fund’s first tranche in Singapore on Wednesday, Gobi’s founding partner Thomas Tsao said that the firm established Meranti to address a substantial shortage of growth-stage investment in Southeast Asia’s tech startup ecosystem.He described the situation as a “funding barbell,” with money gravitating towards each end of the scale – either seed and series A rounds, or later stages, with the critical growth phase at series B and C missing out.
Tokopedia gets over US$1 billion in fresh investment in addition to a significant new shareholder, Gobi Partners launches a fund to address Southeast Asia’s supposed series B problem, and Obike secures US$45 million to take bicycle-sharing to new markets.Uber has appointed a new chief business officer for its Asia-Pacific operations.New boy Brooks Entwistle has previously served as CEO of regional investment firm Everstone Group and chairman of Goldman Sachs Southeast Asia.Uber said his appointment reinforces Uber’s commitment to “writing a new chapter” in Asia-Pacific, where it has faced fierce competition and numerous controversies.Gobi Partners has launched a new Southeast Asia-centric US$200 million growth fund.The pan-Asia venture capital firm said its Meranti ASEAN Growth Fund, which has so far closed US$50 million in backing, will focus on what it sees as underfunded series B and C rounds in the region.
The funding comprised a US$1 million strategic investment from Japanese trading house Itucho, which has acquired a 5 percent stake in Eko as a result.The rest of the capital came from existing shareholders who exercised follow-on rights.Two years ago, Bangkok-based Eko raised US$5.7 million in a series A round led by Gobi Partners.Prior to this it had secured US$1 million in seed funding from 500 Startups and a number of angel investors.Other previous backers include Siemer Ventures and Tigerlabs.Eko says it is scaling up for an anticipated series B raise next year, but opted for the strategic investment from Itochu in the interim because of the Japanese corporate’s because international reach.
Singapore-based online fashion marketplace Zilingo has raised US$17 million in a series B funding round co-led by Sequoia Capital India and Burda Principal Investments, the venture capital arm of German publisher Hubert Burda Media.Existing investors Beenext, Susquehanna International Group (SIG), Venturra Capital, and Wavemaker Partners participated in the round.Two high-profile angels also joined in: Draper Fisher Jurvetson founder Tim Draper, and Manik Arora, founder of IDG Ventures India.Zilingo co-founder and CEO Ankiti Bose tells Tech in Asia that the company – which provides an online marketplace for offline vendors of clothes, jewelry, and related beauty and lifestyle products – will be using some of the funding to double-down on the highly promising Indonesian market, where it launched four months ago.“So the main intention behind raising this round was to consolidate what we’ve done so far, and keep growing.”Beyond this, the capital will also be invested in brand-building, especially via more traditional marketing efforts rather than simply through online channels.
Indonesia’s Deliveree closed its series A funding round today, netting US$14.5 million to expand its presence in Southeast Asia.Gobi Partners led the round, following up on a recent investment in Deliveree competitor GoGoVan.PSA Unboxed, Asia Summit Capital, and founding investor Inspire Ventures also took part.Wavemaker Partners is also a shareholder since its July 2016 merger with Ardent Capital, which was an early investor in Deliveree.Since launching in Jakarta in 2015, Deliveree has expanded to Bangkok and Manila (where it operates under the Transportify brand), with more locations planned following the series A fundraise.Deliveree is just one of several startups in Southeast Asia focused on solving the region’s “last-mile” logistics problem.
Beijing Fengchao Technology, a company specializing in smart agriculture and drones for agricultural applications, has completed its CNY62 million series A round financing, with Tendence Capital leading the investment.In March 2017, the company already gained pre-A round investments from JD, Gobi Partners, and Yonggang Wuka.Founded in 2015, Fengchao Technology is a high-tech company that focuses on industrial drone development, systems integration, and industrial application solutions.It concentrates on the application of drones in the agricultural sector.Fengchao Technology has established an online drone management platform.At the same time, the company cooperates with traditional agriculture channel resources via a franchising model.
Indonesian tour package booking site Tripvisto is folding up, with CEO Bernardus Sumartok confirming the shutdown.Sumartok explained that the company’s worsening unit economics meant it could no longer continue to operate, but he declined to share other details.The Tripvisto site is still accessible but no longer takes bookings, and its social media channels haven’t been active since July 2017.In 2015, right after Tripvisto raised US$ 1 million from Gobi Partners in a series A round, Sumartok spoke of a “ten-fold growth in monthly revenue over the past year.”Tripvisto was also backed by East Ventures in its 2014 seed round.East Ventures managing partner Willson Cuaca said his assessment of the situation was the same as Sumartok’s.
To some, Shanghai-based startup incubator INNOSPACE+ seems like it’s taking a different path.Taking a lonely path might have been difficult for new players, but now 7-year-old INNOSPACE+ has incubated nearly 400 startups, with a 75% 3-year survival rate.All of their events, resources, and the selected startups are centered on their investment strategies and directions to harness the maximum synergies from all these activities.“Our model is using the return on investment to cover the cost of running an incubator as well as providing an acceleration program,” Tan said.This means that we would only set up presence in locations with a strong pipeline of investible projects as well as the need for localized portfolio management support,” Tan elaborated.Together with their VC Alliance, consisting of the top VC players including Gobi Partners, PreAngel Fund, Innoangel and Atom Ventures, they have been referring projects to each other.
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