Editor’s take: The week that was — Aug 9-14


Here’s a quick recap of the significant developments that unfolded last week.

In the unicorn land, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC invested about $95 million in Indonesian e-commerce giant Bukalapak, thereby taking its stake in the company to 11%.

The funding came in just days after Bukalapak made a debut on the local stock exchange, raising a whopping $1.52 billion.

In other deals

Indonesian cryptocurrency exchange Pintu raised $35 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners, among others, to ramp up recruitment, and launch mass-market education campaigns.

Meanwhile, Sharia-compliant P2P lender ALAMI, in the archipelago, raised $17.5 million in its Series A+ equity round led by EV Growth, and Quona Capital. Sources told us that the company’s total equity funding now stands at over $20 million in its overall Series A round.

Yet another startup in the fintech space, AwanTunai, headquartered in Jakarta, raised about $11.2 million in a fresh round backed by existing investor Insignia Ventures Partners.

The VC is also understood to be in talks to invest in Honest Bank as the latter looks to raise $20 million from investors to buy a credit card licence from Indonesian lender Bank Permata.

In Singapore, delivery experience SaaS platform Parcel Perform secured $20 million from Cambridge Capital, SoftBank Ventures Asia, among others.

Meanwhile, Mighty Jaxx International, a platform for designer toys and collectibles in the city-state, raised $10 million in its latest funding round to expand its operation.

In a different sector, Singapore-headquartered cashback and rewards platform ShopBack is said to be raising capital in its Series E round from new and existing investors.

Vietnam, too, witnessed a spate of transactions over the past one week.

While e-commerce firm Tiki bagged $20 million from Taiwan Mobile, paediatric clinic operator Nhi Dong 315 closed its Series A funding from investors including BDA Capital Partners and domestic investment banker Thien Viet Securities.

Separately, IFC proposed a $25 million equity investment in PVI Holdings, Vietnam’s largest non-life insurer in terms of gross written premium.

Shanghai Longcheer Technology, which focuses on the design and production of smart devices, has raked in around $154 million led by state-owned China Internet Investment Fund.
In India, Eruditus Learning Solutions, which offers executive learning programmes, became the sixth startup to bag the unicorn tag this month after securing $650 million in its Series E funding round led by Accel US and SoftBank Vision Fund II.

Meanwhile, the country’s edtech platform for higher education upGrad also entered the unicorn club after raising $185 million at a valuation of $1.2 billion.

On a fundraising trail

New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF) committed a total of $303.6 million to funds managed by PE heavyweight KKR & Co and India’s Kedaara Capital.

Meanwhile, AppWorks, a VC firm that invests in Taiwan and Southeast Asia, made the final close of its third fund at a hard cap of $150 million, bringing the firm’s total assets under management to $212 million. The VC last raised $50 million for its second fund in 2014, and $11 million for its 2012 Vintage Fund I.

US pension fund San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System approved a $25-million investment in the healthcare vehicle managed by Asia-focused PE major Hillhouse Capital Group.

Separately, the $37 billion Texas County and District Retirement System committed investments worth $60 million to the latest fund of Chinese PE firm Gaocheng Capital.

Sozo Ventures, a US- and Japan-based cross-border VC firm, has made the first close of its latest fund at $164 million. Its new VC fund — Sozo Ventures III — received commitments from seven investors since its launch in April this year.

Deep dives

We did a detailed analysis on Southeast Asia’s burgeoning food delivery market that’s witnessing significant traction in the midst of the pandemic. Experts say, the growth trajectory for the sector, going forward, is expected to continue with both old and new players betting big on it.

Separately, we also did a story on how the pandemic has also ushered in greater demand for car-sharing platforms in Southeast Asia, with startups operating in markets like Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia witnessing growth.

In Indonesia, as many as 30 startups have applied to become crowdfunding platforms, about eight months after the financial services authority of Indonesia (OJK) amended rules for SCF. The applicants include fintech names like Aamira, Greenfund, Property.id, and the P2P lending platform Danamart.

In an interview, Conrad Tsang, founder and chairman of Strategic Year Holdings Limited, highlighted how edtech firms may turn into unicorns as the market in Southeast matures.

In other news

Razer Fintech is suspending its e-wallet and card services to focus on its more promising B2B payments business, confirmed an executive at the firm. The shutting of its e-wallet and card business comes in less than two years since its rollout in Malaysia and Singapore.


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