Startups and downs 🦄
○ Eat healthier sugar, thanks to Nutrition Innovation, which has raised its US$5m Series A led by agri-food fund VisVires New Protein.
○ Hotel management platform Zuzu Hospitality Solutions has raised a US$3,7m Series A led by Wavemaker Partners.
○ Budget hotel operator RedDoorz is reportedly raising up to US$50m in a B round led by Chinese VC Qiming Venture Partners.
○ Backpacker/coworking booking startup Tribe Theory has raised US$0.7m and expanded to Bali and Yangon. The main target of the company is mobile SEA entrepreneurs.
○ AnyMind has raised US$8m to put AI ads in MRT stations, starting in Bangkok.
○ Docquity, the Linkedin for doctors, has raised US$11m led by Itochu Corporation.
○ Regulatory tech startup Tookitaki has raised US$7.5m in a Series A round co-led by Jungle Ventures and Illuminate Financial.
○ Insurance startup CXA has raised a US$25m post-B-round bridge. The company develops tailor-made health insurance products for 600 clients, among which Fortune 500 companies such as L’Oréal.
○ Fintech startup Silot has closed its US$8m Series A, and plans to expand to Japan.
○ Ecxx has launched its digital asset exchange. The company has received US$44m in funding and has partnered with Ledger (France).
○ Read the story of Ankiti Bose, the CEO of fashion e-commerce startup Zilingo, valued at US$970m.
○ Email integration startup Collabspot has been acquired by US company SugarCRM.
○ Janio wants to disrupt cross-border logistics with its asset-light trucking marketplace model.
○ Motorist has revealed its app for vehicle management.
○ Paris-based digital marketing startup Scibids has opened its first international office in Singapore.
○ New 15,000 sq ft high-end co-working space in town at Raffles Hotel, by The Great Room Offices (to be opened later this year).
Grab & Go-Jek 🚘
○ Where are we now? Full report here.
○ You now need to pass a safety test to re-use GrabWheels. New rule: mandatory helmet (free pickup at stations). Training sessions will be held from Apr. 1–5 and grant 10 free rides/SG$18 worth of Grabfood credits.
○ The Philippines have rejected Go-Jek’s appeal for ride-hailing licence.
○ Read how Go-Jek uses code to select candidates.
○ Is ridehailing going to be disrupted again? Vietnamese player FastGo will be here next month.
○ There is a Telegram group that aims to rival Grab Hitch (hitch = rides planned in advance).
○ ST Telemedia has set up an initiative to help Asian companies adopt AI and cloud in their business
○ Apple has partnered with several local education institutions to create software engineering courses for its proprietary language, Swift.
○ Singtel has launched Singtel Dash on NUS campus, its e-payment solution. It has also announced it will sponsor the national e-sports team at the SEA Games, that will be held in the Philippines in November this year.
○ TPG’s 1-year free mobile SIM trial is now open to 200,000 more users. Unlimited data, unlimited local mobile-to-mobile calls…and hopefully no unlimited queue at pickup locations anymore!
○ Chinese insurance companies have been entering the Singaporean market since 2015, as part of the One Belt, One Road initiative.
Venture Capitalists 🎢
○ Golden Gate Ventures has teamed up with Hanwa Asset Management (South Korea) to build a SG$200m fund focused on Series B.
○ Softbank has announced a new US$500m Asian early-stage fund.
○ Maloekoe Ventures is raising a new US$100m fund, seed to B, sector-agnostic.
○ EY has announced it will launch an incubator in Singapore.
The Smart Nation 🇸🇬
○ Will Singapore be the testbed for the first smart floating city ? Read about Green Float, the urbanization project of Shimizu Corporation to build a city on the sea.
Food for thought 🍜
○ What are the differences between Asian and Western marketplace business models? Andreessen Horowitz explains it all.
○ Here is a deep dive on the path to profitability for Shopee, the challenger to Alibaba, Lazada and Tokopedia in SEA. Its mother company Sea (public) is raising up to US$11.5bn to support Shopee’s growth.
○ Read about Singapore’s romance with bikesharing and e-scooter sharing, now that bikes are gone.
○ Vietnam is the next hot startup scene in SEA.
○ Learn how Chinese influencers, aka Key Opinion Leaders (KOL), convert fans and generate sales in the world’s largest e-commerce market.
○ From Lazada founder to CEO of Vestiaire Collective, a French re-commerce company, read the story of Max Bittner.
Beyond Singapore 🌏
○ Indonesian logistics startup Kargo has raised US$7.6m in seed. The company’s roster includes veterans from Uber China and is backed by Travis Kalanick’s fund.
○ Indonesian health platform Halodoc has raised US$65m from Singaporean corporates Singtel and UOB.
○ Learn about Kormo, the Google-backed job seeker app recently launched in Jakarta.
○ How to make money out of traffic jams, with small packages delivery. It’s happening in the Philippines, and it’s called Jojo.
○ What is the best food delivery in Malaysia? Discuss.
○ Mofang, a Chinese late-stage real-estate startup that operates 70,000 appartments in 20 cities, has raised its US$150m Series C, led by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. Mofang takes long-term leases for entire commercial or industrial buildings from landlords, renovates them and then manages the leasing to tenants.
○ Huawei has developed an OS, just in case.
○ Who will stop TikTok? Indian startup ShareChat is reportedly raising US$200m. Qutoutiao is burning a lot of cash. Facebook’s clone, Lasso, is not doing so well with only 70k downloads in the US since its launch last November.
○ Read the story of Bill Liu, the Chinese billionaire who created the world’s thinnest flexible display.
○ Alibaba is the king of the hill of Hong Kong’s e-commerce scene, a US$4.8bn market.
○ The funding freeze is hitting Chinese PE/VC funds.
○ The Indian government has revealed its EV strategy: US$1.4bn in subsidies to electric vehicles and a hike in import tariffs to encourage domestic players. Meanwhile, Ola has raised a US$300m round led by Hyundai. Car-sharing startup Drivezy is raising US$100m at US$400m valuation. The company’s monthly bookings rose from 37k to 53k in just 3 months. 70% of the 10k+ listings are from private owners. Finally, logistics startup BlackBuck is reportedly raising US$150m led by Accel US, joined by Goldman Sachs, B Capital and Sequoia Capital.
○ Delivery Hero has acquired restaurant discovery platform Zomato’s UAE operations for US$172m and invested along with Naspers in its latest tranche of US$105m, putting the valuation at US$2bn. Meanwhile, Sequoia India backs competitor Faasos, which focuses on-demand food delivery, in a US$16m round.
○ OYO is stepping in the coworking business.
○ Meet Bangladesh’s 2 superapps: Pathao and Shohoz, which has raised an undisclosed round from European investors. On Shohoz: 1.5m rides/month (up 50% from 6 months ago), 30k food deliveries/month (started in Dec. ‘18).
○ Uber for trucks, Uber for helicopters, and now Uber for planes.
○ Human Rights Record of the United States in 2018, a report by the Information Office of the State Council, China. available here.
○ What happens to developers when they get old?
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And see you in two weeks.