Singaporean Ventures — Issue #5

Hi technauts!

Let’s dive into digital insurance 👛, floating cities ⛴️, hotel tech 🛏️, e-scooter safety 👨‍🚀, healthtech ⚕️ and sugar 🍬

GrabWheels: helmets are mandatory now

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.

Grab will roll out Grow with Grab, its full-scale push into SME lending and insurance, in the coming weeks. Grab has also launched its buy now, pay later system.

○ 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).

Corporates 👨‍💼

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).

Line has launched a US$20m scale-up program to build Thailand’s first unicorn within 5 years. 500 Startups Japan becomes Coral Capital, with a new US$45m fund.

○ Japan’s domestic startup scene is still struggling to take off. TL;DR: the main obstacle is not financing, but the wife block, the parent block, and a lack of entrepreneurial role models.

Also 🤫

○ Next week is the big week. Lyft is going public. And Uber will follow in April. Will this be the dawn of a new PayPal mafia?

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?

Google makes games. Snap is also in the race: its gaming platform will be launched next month.

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And see you in two weeks.

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VC @ Idinvest — Singapore