Ecosystem Roundup: Singapore gets new maritime startup fund, ZASH buys Lomotif, why Indonesia’s fintech scene is thriving | e27


Singapore-based digital banking network Tyme raises US$110mn Series B; Backers are Apis Partners, Gokongwei family-led JG Summit Holdings; JG Summit and Tyme will apply for a digital bank license in Philippines; As per UnaFinancial, Philippines is one of the markets in Asia with huge potential for the growth of neobank. More here

Digital fundraising: Ask yourself these 5 questions before raising money in the new normal; In the first episode of e27‘s Fundraising Fundamentals webinar series, Minh Vu Hong of Qualgro Ventures discusses the key things to keep in mind before approaching an investor. More here

SEA offers targets ripe for SPAC mergers as startups seek capital; Even as SPACs have a patchy track record in the region so far, they are gaining prominence as they offer alternative listing proposition to startups; Global SPACs have raised as much as US$24.26bn in Jan 2021 alone. More here

After failed merger attempt, Tiki and Sendo chart own strategies to take on bigger rivals; The plan to join forces was seen an attempt by both to take on Shopee in Vietnam; Even if the merger was materialised, the combined entity would still have been too small compared to Shopee. More here

Indonesia’s Amartha bags US$50mn debt financing from US-based Lendable; Amartha is an online platform that connects female entrepreneurs seeking working capital to lenders; The firm claims it has channelled funding of over US$222K to over 600K women micro-entrepreneurs in Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi. More here

Hustle Fund hits US$33.6mn final close of second global pre-seed fund; Hustle Fund 2’s anchor LPS are US VC firm Foundry Group Next, Taiwan’s Far Eastern Group, LINE Ventures, and Shanda Group; It plans to deploy up to one-third of the fund in SEA companies in HK and Australia, among other places. More here

Next Gen, a 4-month-old plant-based meat startup, raises US$10mn seed funding; Investors are Temasek, K3 Ventures, the New Ventures arm of the Singapore’s EDB; The fund will be used to launch its plant-based chicken consumer brand TiNDLE, and for expansion across Asia and R&D for future products. More here

ZASH acquires Singapore’s TikTok-like video-sharing platform Lomotif; Lomotif claims it has grown its monthly community by over 400% since its launch and 740mn+ videos have been shared; Lomotif is growing fast platform in LatAm, Asia, Europe and West Africa, and ZASH expects this acquisition to put it at the top surpassing TikTok and Kuaishou. More here

OpEd
What to do when your unicorn loses its sheen; On the backdrop of the scandal involving Filipino propertytech unicorn Revolution Precrafted, the writer points out that while it’s not that the unicorns have never been involved in scandals of any kind, at some point, the gap between expectation and reality has to be closed. More here

Warung Pintar buys Bizzy Digital for US$45mn; Bizzy Digital is an integrated logistics and distribution supply chain B2B platform; The acquisition would give Warung Pintar access to a combined pool of 600 brands and serve 230K retailers in 65 cities across Indonesia. More here

Jungle Ventures joins US digital workplace platform Saltmine’s US$20mn Series A; Other backers are JLL Spark and Xplorer Capital; Saltmine seeks to expand its portfolio of clients and accelerate growth in Asia Pacific, particularly in markets such as Australia, HK, India and Singapore. More here

FUNDtastic raises US$7.7mn in Series A to further develop, market its investment platform; Investors include Ascend Capital Group (lead) and Indivara Group; In Aug 2020, the Indonesian firm acquired mutual funds and securities platform Invisee for US$6.5mn. More here

Indonesia’s social commerce platform RateS raises Series A; Investors include Vertex Ventures and Genesis Alternative Ventures (co-lead); The startup has expanded to over 400 cities and more than tripled its growth in 2020 alone since its inception in 2016. More here

ErudiFi raises US$5mn Series A to grow its ‘study now, pay later’ model in Indonesia, Philippines; The round was co-led by Monk’s Hill Ventures and Qualgro; ErudiFi is a tech-enabled platform that helps financially underserved students get access to quality education centres. More here

Singapore’s fashion-tech startup Pixibo raises US$1.4mn from Atlas Venture; According to TechInAsia, the money will be used to further develop Pixibo Fit Centre, where customers can opt for Pixibo’s ‘Try Before You Buy’ service, and this new checkout feature enables shoppers to pay for their purchases only after they had tried them on. More here

SATURDAYS closes seed funding to scale its eyewear brand in Indonesia; Investors include Alpha JWC, Kynesis Group, Alto Partners; SATURDAYS’s eyeglasses are made in-house with premium materials like Italian acetate and ultra-lightweight Japanese titanium for consumers in Asia. More here

Meet the 8 embedded finance startups joining BRI Ventures’s new Sembrani Wira accelerator programme; GajiGesa, Biteship, MYCL, CookLab, Gredu, Restock.id, Minapoli, Tumbasin and Brick.io are the eight startups; Fazz Financials and Prasetia Dwidharma are the operating partners for the first batch. More here

Value proposition of SaaS for SMEs has to be clear from the beginning: Akshay Bhushan of Lightspeed; Despite the promising proposition, SaaS startups within Southeast Asia have not enjoyed as much success as their European and American counterparts; Compared to the West, success stories have been few and far between in the region. More here

Ovo’s CEO provides an insider’s look into Indonesia’s thriving fintech scene; Jason Thompson says the most distinctive characteristic of the Indonesia fintech industry is its proximity with the government and regulators; Customers are very forgiving, and they will engage with you, give you feedback and help you develop the product. More here

Philippine’s central bank BSP creates unit for physical money, digital payments ecosystem; The unit would consolidate existing currency and payment management units and would be responsible for producing banknotes, coins and securities documents, as well as refining gold, and the printing of the National ID cards. More here

Exploring SEA’s bustling seed-stage investment landscape; Some seed-stage investments in the region are capturing the interest of industry stakeholders such as B Capital, Jungle Ventures, and Qualgro VC; This new focus on early-stage startups is one of the most significant investment trends of 2021. More here

AR tech to boost Indonesia’s online personal care sector; Many e-commerce platforms of the sector have started providing virtual makeup try-on features years ago in Indonesia but user-adoption picked up during the COVID-19 lockdown as people were forced to stay at home. More here

Two Singapore startups join fourth EY incubator programme; Speech recognition software startup AI Communis and AI digital operations platform In-D will be part of the fourth EY Foundry, which has been extended to New Zealand, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka from previously being run only in Sydney and Singapore. More here

StarHub and Software AG partner for new 5G IoT platform service; Under this deal, StarHub will offer 5G IoT platform service, a new one-stop solution that provides IoT connectivity including StarHub’s 5G, device management, professional services to integrate existing or new systems, and managed services to run the entire IoT environment for any organisation. More here

Photo by Josh Hildon Unsplash

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