Ecosystem Roundup: Grab's fintech arm raises US$300M Series A; Sea buys Indonesia's Bank BKE; Indian IPOs thriving despite COVID-19 | e27

Grab’s fintech arm GFG raises US$300M Series A led by Hanwha Asset Management; GFG claims its total revenues have increased by over 40% y-o-y in 2020, and expects to have a full revenue potential of US$60B by 2025; Its consortium with Singtel recently obtained a digital bank license in Singapore. More here

Sea Group acquires Indonesia’s Bank BKE; The group aims to ultimately transform the lender into a digital bank; The deal can be seen as part of NYSE-listed Sea’s ongoing plan to increase customer retention on its e-commerce platform Shopee by doubling down on its payments app ShopeePay. More here

Indian IPOs thriving despite COVID pandemic; A total of 14 Indian companies saw their stocks listed on the BSE and the National Stock Exchange during 2020; The 4 Indian unicorns that are expected to launch IPOs this year are Flipkart, Zomato, Delhivery and Policybazaar. More here

The next Xiaomi: How Realme became the world’s fastest smartphone brand to reach 50M sales; While it may not be a popular brand yet, Realme has shipped 10M phones globally in the first 14 months of its founding, a mighty feat for a young company; The Chinese smartphone company was founded in May 2018 by Sky Li, former VPO of Oppo. More here

Vietnam’s payments app Momo raises Series D; Lead investors are Warburg Princus, Goodwater Capital; As per reports, the size of the funding is US$100M+; Momo aims to become a super-app and kickstart its own investment arm, Innovation Ventures, to back local startups that can be integrated into its app. More here

Indonesian sharia-based P2P lending platform ALAMI raises US$20M+ in equity and debt funding; Lead investors are AC Ventures and Golden Gate Ventures; Last September, Nikkei Asia reported that despite COVID-19, Islamic finance thrived in Indonesia as banks and fintech companies “rushed” to seize opportunities in the market. More here

Indonesia’s book-keeping app BukuKas secures US$10M Series A, acquires smaller rival Catatan Keuangan Harian; Backers are Sequoia India (lead), Saison Capital, January Capital, Founderbank Capital; BukuKas claims to have a registered user base of 3.5M small merchants and retailers and has crossed 1.8M MAUs. More here

Ajaib, a mobile-first investment platform for millennials in Indonesia, raises US$25M; Lead investors are Horizons Ventures, Alpha JWC; Indonesia has a low penetration rate for stock investments, with only 1.6M capital market investors in the country, which is less than 1% of its population of 273M. More here

Singapore cybersecurity firm MicroSec raises an undisclosed amount in Series A; MassMutual Ventures is the lead investor; The company’s enterprise-grade security capabilities for IoT devices include an anomaly detection system that provides intelligent detection of tampering and misuse of devices. More here

SG’s digital assets exchange Zipmex raises US$6M in oversubscribed funding led by US VC Jump Capital; It plans to diversify product offerings, including the expansion of its interest-bearing product ZipUp and its new native token ZMT; Zipmex claims it has transacted over US$650M in gross transaction volume so far and has 100K+ users. More here

On-demand blue-collar workforce app Sampingan raises US$5M Series A; Investors include Altara Ventures (lead), Golden Gate, Antler, Access Ventures; Sampingan claims it has 850K+ workers in 80 cities connected through the platform and is serving 100+ Indonesian enterprises. More here

Korea’s content discovery platform Dable raises US$12M Series C; Backers are SV Investment, KB Investment, K2 Investment; It plans to accelerate international expansion into Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, China, Australia, Turkey in 2021. More here

Malaysia’s Islamic and conventional P2P microfinancing platform microLEAP raises US$3.3M; Investor is MAA Group; microLEAP serves micro-enterprises that may find it difficult to borrow money via traditional means; It claims to have grown 1,000%+ within just 5 months of its launch in April 2020. More here

Singapore-based Crown Technologies raises funding from East Japan Railway’s subsidiary; The investment will accelerate the rollout of ELLA, the AI-powered robotic barista; ELLA will be deployed across East Japan Railway’s network of 1,657 train stations that serve an average of 17M passengers daily ahead of Tokyo Olympics 2020. More here

SG’s foodtech startup Advantir raises seed funding; Investors include Raging Bull Investments, she1K Global, Expara Asia Ventures, Azerus; Advantir’s capsule dessert machine Swirl.GO creates four types of soft-serve desserts: ice cream, gelato, sorbet and frozen yoghurt; It operates with Swirl Pods, which are individual disposable capsules. More here

B2B FMGG marketplace GudangAda appoints ex-Grab Engineering Head Huan Yang as CTO; His appointment is key as GudangAda seeks to develop its warehousing and logistics offerings and move into new product categories beyond the FMCG industry; The news comes shortly after GudangAda successfully amassed a total of US$30M. More here

BNPL heats up in Singapore with Grab, Mastercard entering the scene; While the model first started out in countries such as Sweden, the trend is picking up steam across the world; The service is bucking the trend in Singapore where three-quarters of the population own a credit card. More here

Be Group ties up with VPBank to launch digital bank ‘Cake’ in Vietnam; With services hosted on the Be app through VPBank’s digital banking license, Be claims Cake will have access to over 10M customers, nearly a third of the country’s ride-hailing market. More here

Indonesia’s gamified learning and remote micro lessons startup Titik Pintar raises funding; Investor is Indonesia Women Empowerment Fund (IWEF); Titik Pintar claims it has more than 15K users across Indonesia. More here

Here’s what the world of business travel will look like in 2021; Travel management startup Navisteps expects a permanent decrease of absolute global business travel volume anywhere between 15-25% over the long-term; Given the travel restrictions and low consumer confidence, inter-state and intra-state business travel will be the most viable option for business travel in 2021. More here

WhatsApp takes a U-turn in its data privacy. Is it time to switch to alternative platforms?; The new privacy means Whatsapp will now be able to monitor the kinds of links of products/other things that you send your friends and families and use them to send it to other ads companies/brands. More here

Blockchain in agrifood: A great opportunity disguised as a trend?; Blockchain’s characteristics of immutability and transparency are used to improve coordination among supply chain players by increasing the visibility of info and, as a consequence, the effectiveness of the whole supply chain. More here

KONE joins CapitaLand-led Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab; The lab brings together leaders in the smart cities to co-create and test innovations at CapitaLand’s 5G-enabled Singapore Science Park; The lab will serve as an open platform where diverse industry players come together to tackle today’s pressing issues such as smart mobility, intelligent urban development, sustainability among others. More here

Experts see role for Singapore in spurring sustainability in region; According to Associate Professor Simon Tay, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, the city-state can drive efforts in the region through bilateral agreements, funding clean energy and investing in incentive schemes like carbon markets. More here

Malaysia is increasingly becoming a tech hub for international founders; It is currently ranked as the 11th best startup destination in the world; The government reliefs during COVID-19, such as Technology Start-ups Funding Relief Facility, and National PENJANA Fund, and other initiatives such as National Technology & Innovation Sandbox, etc have created a good impression among foreign founders. More here

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