The need-to-know takeaways from VidCon 2019


This post is by Eric Peckham from TechCrunch


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VidCon, the annual summit in Anaheim, CA for social media stars and their fans to meet each other drew over 75,000 attendees over last week and this past weekend. A small subset of those where entertainment and tech executives convening to share best practices and strike deals.

Of the wide range of topics discussed in the industry-only sessions and casual conversation, five trends stuck out to me as takeaways for Extra Crunch members: the prominence of TikTok, the strong presence of Chinese tech companies in general, the contemplation of deep fakes, curiosity around virtual influencers, and the widespread interest in developing consumer product startups around top content creators.

Newer platforms take center stage

GettyImages 1161447217

Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images

TikTok, the Chinese social video app (owned by Bytedance) that exploded onto the US market this past year, was the biggest conversation topic. Executives and talent managers were curious to see where

Continue reading “The need-to-know takeaways from VidCon 2019”

The need-to-know takeaways from VidCon 2019


This post is by Eric Peckham from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




VidCon, the annual summit in Anaheim, CA for social media stars and their fans to meet each other drew over 75,000 attendees over last week and this past weekend. A small subset of those where entertainment and tech executives convening to share best practices and strike deals.

Of the wide range of topics discussed in the industry-only sessions and casual conversation, five trends stuck out to me as takeaways for Extra Crunch members: the prominence of TikTok, the strong presence of Chinese tech companies in general, the contemplation of deep fakes, curiosity around virtual influencers, and the widespread interest in developing consumer product startups around top content creators.

Newer platforms take center stage

GettyImages 1161447217

Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images

TikTok, the Chinese social video app (owned by Bytedance) that exploded onto the US market this past year, was the biggest conversation topic. Executives and talent managers were curious to see where

Continue reading “The need-to-know takeaways from VidCon 2019”

Waresix hauls in $14.5M to advance its push to digitize logitics in Indonesia


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Waresix​, one of a handful of startups aiming to modernize logistics in Indonesia — the world’s fourth most populous country — has pulled in $14.5 million to grow its 18-month-old business.

This new investment, Waresix’s Series A, is led by EV Growth — the growth-stage fund co-run by East Ventures — with participation from SMDV — the investment arm of Indonesia corporation Sinar Mas — and Singapore’s Jungle Ventures . The startup previously raised $1.6 million last year from East Ventures, SMDV and Monk’s Hill Ventures. It closed a seed round in early 2018.

Waresix is aiming to digitize logistics, the business of moving goods from A to B, which it believes is worth a total of $240 billion in Indonesia.

A large part of that is down to the country’s geography. The archipelago officially has over 17,000, but there are five main ones. That necessitates a lot

Waresix trucks

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Pod Foods gets VC backing to reinvent grocery distribution


This post is by Kate Clark from TechCrunch


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Larissa Russell and Fiona Lee founded a cookie startup called Green Pea Cookie in 2014. The cookies were 100% natural, vegan and “handcrafted with love.”

The company failed but not because the cookies weren’t selling. The business couldn’t keep up with the antiquated wholesale food distribution system’s steep costs. Two incumbent players, United Natural Foods Inc. and KeHE Distributors, essentially controlled its only pathway to grocery stores across the country. So the founders shut down Green Pea and focused their efforts on building the tool Green Pea had needed to survive: Pod Foods, a distribution and logistics platform for emerging food brands.

“We were like so many other young entrepreneurs,” Russell, Pod Foods’ chief executive officer, tells TechCrunch. “I had studied government and economics and did the cookie company because I wanted to create something better for the world but we realized there was a much bigger issue

fullsizeoutput ff

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Grab raises more money — again


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Southeast Asia’s highest-capitalized startup is sitting on even more money from investors today after ride-hailing Grab announced it has raised $300 million from Invesco.

The deal takes Singapore-based Grab $7.5 billion raised to date. The money is part of its ongoing — feels-like-everlasting — Series H round which was started last June via a $1 billion capital injection from Toyota.

The round swelled to $4.5 billion thanks to contributions from a range of partners throughout 2018 and early 2019, then Grab said in April that it would add a further $2 billion to reach a $6.5 billion close before this year is out. This investment from Invesco is the first piece of that newest tranche to be announced, but there’s plenty happening under the surface, including a potential investment from PayPal, Ant Financial and others in a spinout of Grab’s financial services.

Grab declined to comment

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Splyt wants to connect the world’s ride-hailing apps for easy international roaming


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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The vision of a universal global ride-hailing service is over. Uber’s decision to exit markets like China, Southeast Asia and Russia coupled with the failure of its rivals to develop a proposed roaming system, means that global travelers must install multiple apps if they are to take advantage of on-demand taxis. That’s unless a little-known startup can turn a bold plan into reality.

In the world of ride-hailing and its billion-dollar investment checks, an $8 million capital raise may not be a big deal but it does represent a coming-out for Splyt, a UK-based startup that is aiming to help make global ride-hailing roaming a reality — and not just within ride-hailing apps.

The four-year-old company announced this week that it closed an $8 million Series A round from a range of undisclosed (and existing) family offices and angel investors. In addition, the round included participation from Southeast

Splyt Team

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Facebook’s searchable political ads archive is now global


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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Facebook has announced it’s rolled out a basic layer of political ads transparency globally, more than a year after launching the publicly searchable ads archive in the US.

It is also expanding what it dubs “proactive enforcement” on political ads to countries where elections or regulations are approaching — starting with Ukraine, Singapore, Canada and Argentina.

“Beginning today, we will systematically detect and review ads in Ukraine and Canada through a combination of automated and human review,” it writes in a blog post setting out the latest developments. “In Singapore and Argentina, we will begin enforcement within the next few months. We also plan to roll out the Ad Library Report in both of those countries after enforcement is in place.

“The Ad Library Report will allow you to track and download aggregate spend data across advertisers and regions.”

Facebook is still not enforcing identity checks on political advertisers

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Razer goes big on payments with Visa prepaid card


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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The latest pairing between a tech upstart and a financial titan is a digital prepaid card targeted at Southeast Asia’s 430 million-plus unbanked and underserved population.

On Monday, Razer, the Singapore-based company best known for its gaming laptops and peripherals, announced a partnership with Visa to develop a Visa prepaid solution. The service, which allows unbanked users to top up and cash out easily, will be available as a mini program embedded in Razer Pay, the gaming company’s mobile payments app. That means Razer’s 60 million registered users will be able to pay at any of the 54 million merchant locations around the world that take Visa.

Going virtual is the natural step given the region’s fast-growing digital population, but the pair does not rule out the possibility to introduce a physical prepaid card down the road, Razer’s chief strategy officer Li Meng Lee told TechCrunch over a phone interview.

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Binance begins to restrict US users ahead of regulatory-compliant exchange launch


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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The world’s largest crypto exchange is going legit. Binance, which processes over $1 billion on a daily basis and for so long has embodied crypto’s wild west culture, announced that it will launch a U.S-based service — but, in the meantime, it is implementing restrictions for U.S. passport holders worldwide and those based in the country.

The company has grown to become one of the biggest names in crypto by allowing anyone to use its service to trade a myriad of tokens, many of which are unavailable or limited on other exchanges. But over the past year, Binance has matured and begin to offer more formalized services. Following fiat currency exchange launches in the UK, Uganda and Singapore, so Binance is opening a dedicated U.S. exchange to avoid uncertainty around its legality.

This week, Binance announced it is pairing up with BAM Trading Services — which Coindesk

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Korean hotel platform Yanolja raises $180M at a valuation of over $1B


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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The travel tech industry has got another unicorn. Following the likes of Airbnb, OYO, Traveloka and Klook, Korea’s Yanolja said today it has closed a $180 million Series D round that takes it valuation beyond $1 billion.

The investment is led by GIC, a Singapore sovereign wealth fund, and Booking Holdings, the U.S. firm behind travel services such as Booking.com, Agoda.com and more. The company had previously raised around $60 million, according to Crunchbase data. In 2017, Bloomberg reported that its valuation was over $500 million.

Yanolja is best known for reinventing the concept of love hotels in Korea — turning them from seedy places into attractive short-term rental options for young people and travelers. Founded by a former hotel worker, Lee Su-jin, it started out as an advertising platform for love hotels before adding its own app-based booking service.

Today it claims more than 200

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This entrepreneur is donating unwanted bike-sharing cycles to underprivileged students in Myanmar


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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What is the world to do with the graveyards of dockless bicycles left over after China’s bike sharing startups retreated from global markets?

One man has come up with the best idea to date: donate them to students who need them.

Entrepreneur Mike Than Tun Win has bought 10,000 bikes from bike-sharing companies which he plans to provide to school children across Myanmar, many of who walk miles to school and, more broadly, lack transportation for their families.

“It’s a common sight to see lines and lines of students walking long distances from home to school in rural villages,” Than explained. “Some students can walk up to one hour from home to school and the families can hardly afford a simple form of transport like bicycle or motorcycle… a school bus is almost unheard of to the students in rural villages.”

To bridge the gap, Than — whose companies

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Google’s Indigo subsea cable is now online


This post is by Frederic Lardinois from TechCrunch


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Google and its partners today announced that the 5,600-miles-long INDIGO subsea cable, which connects Sydney and Perth with Jakarta and Singapore, is now ready for service. To build the cable, which will significantly strengthen the connectivity between Australia and Southeast Asia, Google partnered with AARnet, Indosat, Singtel, SubPartners and Telstra.

The cable, which features about 110 repeaters, will have a total design capacity of 36 terabits per second with the option to expand in the future. Google says that’s more than enough to handle a few million simultaneous Hangout (or Meet) video chats between Singapore and Sydney.

The cable was first announced in 2016, when it was still called APX-West and didn’t include the extension to Sydney, which is now called Indigo Central. Google joined the efforts in early 2017 and construction started in 2018.

Indigo is a good example of Google’s expanding network of submarine cables. Typically, the company

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Agritech startup TaniGroup raises $10M to help Indonesia’s farmers grow


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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In 2016, former World Bank analyst Eka Pamitra teamed up with five friends to start a business that would help farmers in their native Indonesia. Today their company — TaniGroup — closed a $10 million Series A round that’s aimed at expanding its service nationwide with the support of the government.

TaniGroup works for more than 25,000 farmers in Indonesia to help them get fairer rates for their crops, and grow their businesses. It does that in two ways: it operates a b2b platform that helps farmers sell their produce direct to retailers, which reaches a registered user base of 400 SMEs and 10,000 consumers. The company also manages a microloan fund that grants farmers access to working capital for growth.

TaniHub is the sales service and TaniFund is, as the name suggests, the microloan fund. The fund arrived in 2017 when the product had landed initial traction, and it

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Aptiv’s Karl Iagnemma at TC Sessions: Mobility July 10 in San Jose


This post is by Kirsten Korosec from TechCrunch


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Before automakers and giant tech companies kicked off their own autonomous vehicle pilots, a startup called nuTonomy launched a self-driving taxi service in Singapore for the public, not just its test engineers.

The AV industry took notice; and by October 2017 it was snapped up for $450 million by Aptiv, U.S. auto supplier and self-driving software company formerly known as Delphi.

We’re excited to announce that Karl Iagnemma, co-founder of nuTonomy and now president of Aptiv Autonomous Mobility will participate in TechCrunch’s inaugural TC Sessions: Mobility, a one-day event on July 10, 2019 in San Jose, Calif. centered around the future of mobility and transportation.

Iagnemma, who earned his MS and PhD degrees from MIT, co-founded nuTonomy in 2013. The former director of the Robotic Mobility Group at MIT, has filed for, or been issued, 50 patents and published more than 150 technical publications and edited volumes that

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Crypto exchange Binance prepares to add margin trading ‘soon’


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Binance, the world’s most prominent crypto exchange, says it is close to adding a much-anticipated margin trading feature to its service following weeks of speculation.

The company tweeted confirmation of the upcoming feature in a screenshot which subtly teases the imminent arrival of margin trading options. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (pictured above) first revealed that the feature was headed to Binance during a live stream following a hack earlier this month that saw Binance lose around $40 million in Bitcoin.

TechCrunch understands that margin trading has been beta tested among selected users. A Binance representative declined to comment on the specifics, but did confirm that margin trading will be available on Binance.com “soon.”

 

Margin trading, which lets traders use their balance as collateral to super-size their buying power, is seen by many

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Biofourmis raises $35M to develop smarter treatments for chronic diseases


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Biofourmis, a Singapore-based startup pioneering a distinctly tech-based approach to the treatment of chronic conditions, has raised a $35 million Series B round for expansion.

The round was led by Sequoia India and MassMutual Ventures, the VC fund from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. Other investors who put in include EDBI, the corporate investment arm of Singapore’s Economic Development Board, China-based healthcare platform Jianke and existing investors Openspace Ventures, Aviva Ventures and SGInnovate, a Singapore government initiative for deep tech startups. The round takes Biofourmis to $41.6 million raised to date, according to Crunchbase.

This isn’t your typical TechCrunch funding story.

Biofourmis CEO Kuldeep Singh Rajput moved to Singapore to start a PhD, but he dropped out to start the business with co-founder Wendou Niu in 2015 because he saw the potential to “predict disease before it happens,” he told TechCrunch in an interview.

AI-powered specialist post-discharge care

There

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Bringing tech efficiencies to the agribusiness market, Silo harvests $3 million


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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Roughly $165 billion worth of wholesale produce is bought and sold every year in the U.S. And while that number is expected to go up to $1 trillion by 2025, the business of agribusiness remains unaffected by technology advancements that have reshaped almost every other industry. ‘

Now Silo, a company which has recently raised $3 million from investors led by Garry Tan and Alexis Ohanian’s Initialized Capital and including Semil Shah from Haystack Ventures; angel investors Kevin Mahaffey and Matt Brezina; and The Penny Newman Grain Company, an international grain and feed marketplace, is looking to change that. 

Silo’s chief executive, Ashton Braun, spent years working in commodities marketplaces as a coffee trader in Singapore and moved to California after business school. As part of the founding team at Kite with Adam Smith, Braun worked on getting Kite’s software to automate computer programming off

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Amazon leads $575M investment in Deliveroo


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Amazon is taking a slice of Europe’s food delivery market after the U.S. e-commerce giant led a $575 million investment in Deliveroo .

First reported by Sky yesterday, the Series G round was confirmed in an early UK morning announcement from Deliveroo, which confirmed that existing backers including T. Rowe Price, Fidelity Management and Research Company, and Greenoaks also took part. The deal takes Deliveroo to just over $1.5 billion raised to date. The company was valued at over $2 billion following its previous raise in late 2017, no updated valuation was provided today.

London-based Deliveroo operates in 14 countries, including the U.K, France, Germany and Spain, and — outside of Europe — Singapore, Taiwan, Australia and the UAE. Across those markets, it claims it works with 80,000 restaurants with a fleet of 60,000 delivery people and 2,500 permanent employees.

It isn’t immediately clear how Amazon

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Vertex Ventures hits $230M first close on new fund for Southeast Asia and India


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Tis the season to be raising in India and Southeast Asia. Hot on the heels of new funds from Strive and Jungle Ventures, so Singapore’s Vertex Ventures, a VC backed by sovereign wealth fund Temasek, today announced a first close of $230 million for its newest fund, the firm’s fourth to date.

Vertex raised $210 million for its previous fund two years ago, and this new vehicle is expected to make a final close over the coming few months with more capital expected to roll in. If you care about numbers, this fund may be the largest dedicated to Southeast Asia although pedants would point out that the Vertex allocation also includes a focus on India, echoing the trend of funds bridging the two regions. There are also Singapore-based global funds that have raised more, for example, B Capital from Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.

Back to Vertex, it’s worth

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YouTrip, a challenger bank in Southeast Asia, raises $25M for expansion


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Singapore-based startup YouTrip thinks consumers of Southeast Asia deserve a taste of the challenger bank revolution happening in the U.S. and Europe, and it has raised $25 million in new funding to bring its app-and-debit-card service to more parts in the region.

Challenger banks have sprung up in Europe in recent years. Unicorns Monzo, Revolut and N26 are among those that offer their customers a debit card linked to an app and various levels of banking services, including savings and overdrafts. Brex — another billion-dollar-valued startup — is bringing that approach across the pond to the U.S. market.

But what about Southeast Asia?

All the signs indicate this is a region where digital services can thrive. The number of internet users across its six main countries is larger the entire U.S. population, and online spending is tipped to triple to $240 billion by 2025. Already, the region

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