Ecosystem Roundup: Singapore gets a blockchain-powered telco | e27

Gorilla Mobile founder and CEO Xanne Leo

Aerodyne in talks to raise US$100M Series C, may enter Unicorn club; They include CVCs and PEs; The round could also include a significant amount from a Middle Eastern conglomerate; In May, Aerodyne received a strategic investment from a consortium of Japanese investors, comprising Real Tech Fund, Kobashi Holdings and ACSL.

Gorilla Mobile, Singapore’s latest telco, aims to shake up crowded market with novel offering; It will be offering a proprietary feature known as SwitchBack; Using blockchain technology, this allows customers to turn their unused mobile data into digital tokens, known as Gorilla Go Tokens.

Telio founder ordered to transfer his shares in the firm to OnOnPay investors of OOPA; The S’pore High Court put an end to a 2-yr dispute between Sy Phong Bui and OOPA’s backers, Captii Ventures and Gobi Partners, who accused Bui of setting up Telio without their consent and usurping their biz opportunity and rights of Telio; OOPA is the holding company of Bui’s previous venture OnOnPay.

Vietnamese fintech MFast raises US$1.5M pre-Series A; Investors are Do Ventures and JAFCO Asia; MFast enables users to access, use and introduce financial and insurance service packages among other product segments; MFast claims to have helped nearly 600K Vietnamese access financial and insurance services from reputable institutions.

Singapore’s wealthcare app Hugo raises US$2M funding; Investors include 1982 Ventures, angels and family offices; Hugo helps users develop healthy saving and investing habits that make financial security accessible to everyone in an easy and intuitive way; Hugo recently launched its Gold Vault which makes investing in gold easy and accessible to all, with increments as small as S$0.01.

Accelerating Asia to launch Fund II in H2, ups investment size to US$250K; In an earlier interaction with e27, Accelerating Asia said it planned to launch an ‘up to US$50M’ fund in Q1 2021; Since 2019, the VC has accelerated 36 pre-Series A startups in Singapore, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and India; Its portfolio companies have collectively raised US$27M.

Singapore biotech firm Nuevocor raises US$24M in Series A; Backers include EVX Ventures and Boehringer Intelheim Venture Fund (co-leads), EDBI and SEEDS Capital; The startup will use the money to accelerate the preclinical development of its lead programme, a gene therapy for cardio-myopathies.

BoomGrow has converted old containers to ‘machine farms’ to grow pesticide-free vegetables in Malaysia; It grows fresh, clean, hyperlocal produce such as butterhead, romaine, kale, Swiss chard, basil, and mint; BoomGrow is backed by SME Corp, PlaTCOM Ventures and MDEC, and is now in the middle of raising its Series A funding.

BRI Agro CEO Kaspar Situmorang: Why tapping into the ecosystem is key to a digital bank’s success; Kaspar Situmorang says global funds are now looking into SEA for investments in digital banking; The branch-centric banking model of the past has become obsolete even in 2020.

Indonesia’s Jala Tech selected for Unreasonable Impact Asia Pacific programme; Other selected startups hail from India, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia; Launched in partnership with Unreasonable and Barclays, the programme aims to scale high-growth ventures that address global challenges.

SEA looks to Israeli tech to improve farming techniques; Israeli agritech innovations have increasingly made their way into the farming communities in SEA through bilateral agricultural programmes; Israel has some 600 agritech and foodtech companies, with scores of them able to fine-tune solutions to suit farming conditions outside the country.

UPS set to expand retail presence in Malaysia amid e-commerce boom, partners with ParcelHub; UPS claims it’s seen e-commerce, parcel delivery and logistics management booming in the last 12 months and the demand is at an all-time high; US-based UPS firm is ready to capitalise on these trends and leverage ParcelHub’s 200 outlets.

Philippine firms can expand in EU via Estonia’s e-Residency programme; The programme recognises a lot of entrepreneurial mindset in SEA; There are many potential investors based in the region who can use e-Residency to expand or do business in the EU; By incorporating in Estonia, one can get access to the EU single market, or can easily co-manage an EU-based business across borders with partners from around the world.

Malaysian digital-first pet insurance startup Oyen raises US$420k seed funding; Investors are Hustle Fund and angels who are former and current executives from Airbnb, Facebook, and Rocket Internet; The company is driving towards having 100K pets insured in SEA within the next three years.

5 emerging HRtech startups in Indonesia; They are Urbanhire, Gadjian, Rekruta, Jobplanet, and Sleekr; The HRtech innovations created by these startups employ automation and digitisation to complete various time-consuming tasks, including filing, talent acquisition and management, benefits administration, and performance and compensation management.

Vietnam’s digital economy presents chances for investors, startups; Backed by a stable political climate, progressive economic policies, and sustained growth, a lucrative opportunity exists for both local players and investors alike to tap into the country’s potential for economic greatness.

Image Credit: Gorilla Mobile

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