Online community theAsianparent raises Series C to add e-commerce and expand into new markets


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TheAsianparent, Southeast Asia’s largest online community and content platform for mothers with 23.5 million monthly active users, announced today that it has raised a Series C led by Fosun Group, the Chinese conglomerate. The amount was undisclosed, but a person familiar with the deal says it was between $10 million to $30 million. E-commerce giant JD.com also participated, along with ATM Capital, Redbadge Pacific and returning investors Global Grand Leisure and WHG Holdings.

The new funding will be used on theAsianparent’s new e-commerce business and its expansion into new markets in Asia and Africa, focusing first on Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. Roshni Mahtani, the founder and CEO of Tickled Media, theAsianparent’s publisher, tells TechCrunch it looks for countries with high birth rates but relatively few online resources and communities for new parents. The site will have its own branding for African markets and launch first in

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Uber CTO says competing with Didi is ‘very healthy’ despite their complicated relationship


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Competing with a company that counts you as an investor is hardly conventional — some might call it strange — but for Uber it’s a situation that is not only normal but essential.

That’s according to the ride-hailing giant’s CTO, Thuan Pham, who talked about the complicated rivalry Uber has with China’s Didi Chuxing, which counts each other as investors. Uber famously exited China in 2016 — it has since left Southeast Asia and merged with a rival in Russia, too — and part of that deal saw it take nearly six percent of the Chinese company’s business while Didi got equity in Uber. Yet, years later, the two compete in the growing Latin America market, where Didi is making aggressive moves, and also in Australia.

“If you don’t have competition then you can become complacent because there’s no competition to challenge,” Pham said during an interview at

uber 2

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


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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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PayU, Naspers’ global fintech firm, enters Southeast Asia with acquisition of Red Dot Payment


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PayU, the Naspers owned fintech firm that specializes in emerging markets, is broadening its global reach into Southeast Asia after it announced a deal to buy a majority stake in Singapore-based Red Dot Payment.

Naspers is best known for its payments and fintech business in markets like India, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe, but now it will enter Southeast Asia, a market with over 600 million consumers and rapidly rising internet access.

PayU plans to tap that potential through Red Dot, an eight-year-old startup founded by finance veterans which offers services that include a payment gateway, e-commerce storefronts and online invoicing across Southeast Asia. PayU said it has acquired “a majority stake” in the business. It did not specify the exact size but it did disclose that the deal values Red Dot at $65 million.

It isn’t clear exactly how much Red Dot had raised from investors overall —

Laurent Le Moal 2017

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Grab raises more money — again


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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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Warburg Pincus announces new $4.25 billion fund for China and Southeast Asia


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Warburg Pincus, the private equity fund with over $60 billion under management, is doubling down on Asia after it announced a $4.25 billion fund dedicated to China and Southeast Asia.

The firm has been present in China for 25 years, and it has invested over $11 billion in a portfolio of over 120 startups that includes the likes of Alibaba’s Ant Financial and listed companies NIO (a Tesla rival), ZTO Express (a courier firm)among others. The new fund will work in tandem with the firm’s $14.8 billion global growth fund which was finalized at the end of last year.

What’s particularly interesting about the new fund is that it has expanded to include Southeast Asia, where internet adoption is rapidly expanding among 600 million consumers, for the first time. It is the successor to Warburg Pincus’ previous $2.2 billion ‘China’ fund and, with the addition of Southeast

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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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Indonesia’s Kopi Kenangan raises a sweet $20M to expand its coffee business


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Kopi Kenangan, a startup that wants to make quality, fresh coffee affordable to Indonesian consumers, has raised $20 million as it begins to consider overseas expansion in Southeast Asia.

The round comes courtesy of Sequoia India and Southeast Asia, via the $695 million investment fund it closed last year. Kopi Kenangan previously raised $8 million from Alpha JWC Ventures.

Started in 2017 by Edward Tirtanata and James Prananto, the company aims to bridge the gap between cheap street vendor coffee and drinks priced at the higher end of the spectrum from international chains such as Starbucks — the ‘sweet spot,’ you might say. That delta is a major reason why Indonesia, which is the world’s fourth-largest coffee exporter, has Southeast Asia’s lowest coffee consumption per person, Tirtanata argued.

Kopi Kenangan is also unashamedly local. Rather than lattes, mochas or flat whites, its top-selling drink is ‘Es Kopi Kenangan Mantan,’ a

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Razer goes big on payments with Visa prepaid card


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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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Why is Andreessen Horowitz (and everyone else) investing in Latin America now?


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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Investments by U.S. venture capital firms into Latin America are skyrocketing and one of the firms leading the charge into deals is none other than Silicon Valley’s Andreessen Horowitz .

The firm that shook up Silicon Valley with potentially over-generous term sheets and valuations and an overarching thesis that “software is eating the world” has been reluctant to test its core belief… well… pretty much anywhere outside of the United States.

That was true until a few years ago when Andreessen began making investments in Latin America. It’s the only geography outside of the U.S. where the firm has committed significant capital and the pace of its investments is increasing.

Andreessen isn’t the only firm that’s making big bets in companies south of the American border. SoftBank has its $2 billion dollar investment fund, which launched earlier this year, to invest in Latin American deals as well. (Although the

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Go-Jek doubles down on India with yet another talent acquisition


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Go-Jek may be based in Southeast Asia, but the multi-billion-dollar ride-hailing firm continues to tap India for engineering talent. The Indonesia-headquartered firm announced today that it has acquired AirCTO, a recruitment platform based in Gurgaon.

The acquisition, the price of which has not been disclosed, is a talent grab. AirCTO’s platform uses a mix of AI and humans to help companies hire “top” developer talent — that’s of interest to Go-Jek because the company intends to double down on India, which houses a significant number of its R&D workforce already thanks to prior acquisitions.

Indeed, the company said that AirCTO’s entire team will join it to develop “products that accelerate the recruitment of talent” within its ranks.

First up, the deal will see a Gurgaon office opened as part of a wider plan to hire 100 new tech staff this year to increase Go-Jek’s headcount in India to 500.

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Go-Jek doubles down on India with yet another talent acquisition


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Go-Jek may be based in Southeast Asia, but the multi-billion-dollar ride-hailing firm continues to tap India for engineering talent. The Indonesia-headquartered firm announced today that it has acquired AirCTO, a recruitment platform based in Gurgaon.

The acquisition, the price of which has not been disclosed, is a talent grab. AirCTO’s platform uses a mix of AI and humans to help companies hire “top” developer talent — that’s of interest to Go-Jek because the company intends to double down on India, which houses a significant number of its R&D workforce already thanks to prior acquisitions.

Indeed, the company said that AirCTO’s entire team will join it to develop “products that accelerate the recruitment of talent” within its ranks.

First up, the deal will see a Gurgaon office opened as part of a wider plan to hire 100 new tech staff this year to increase Go-Jek’s headcount in India to 500.

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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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China’s Didi kicks off expansion in Latin America with moves into Chile and Colombia


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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The wheels are turning on Didi Chuxing’s first major expansion in Latin America after the Chinese ride-hailing firm announced moves into Chile and Colombia to double its presence in the region.

Didi said it rolled into Valparaiso, Chile’s third largest metropolis, and Colombian capital city Bogota this week. The company plans to expand beyond those cities over time, and, in terms of services, it said that it will add dedicated licensed taxis in Colombia this year.

Anchored in China, where it is the country’s dominant ride-hailing service, Didi began to place focus on international expansion last year and Latin America is a key part of its global ambitions.

In the region, Didi currently operates in Brazil — where it acquired local player 99 for $1 billion — and Mexico, but recent reports have linked it with more countries in Latin America. In February, Reuters reported that the company was

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Startups Weekly: Will the real unicorns please stand up?


This post is by Kate Clark from TechCrunch


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Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a newsletter published every Saturday that dives into the week’s noteworthy venture capital deals, funds and trends. Before I dive into this week’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about the sudden uptick in beverage startup rounds. Before that, I noted an alternative to venture capital fundraising called revenue-based financing. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets.

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about this week: Unicorn scarcity, or lack thereof. I’ve written about this concept before, as has my Equity co-host, Crunchbase News editor-in-chief Alex Wilhelm. I apologize if the two of us are broken records, but I think we’re equally perplexed by the pace at which companies are garnering $1 billion valuations.

Here’s the latest data, according to Crunchbase: “2018 outstripped all previous years in terms of

😲

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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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Alibaba returns to growth with revenue up 51% to $13.9 billion


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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It’s business as usual for Alibaba after the Chinese e-commerce giant bounced back from a lackluster Q3 — which saw its slowest growth for three years. For Q4, the company saw revenue surge 51 percent year-on-year to reach 93.5 billion RMB, or $13.9 billion.

That revenue beat analyst expectations of 91.5 billion RMB, according to Barons, and net income came in at 23.38 billion RMB, or $3.48 billion.

Alibaba positions itself as the gateway to Chinese consumers, and it continues to grow. The company said its mobile monthly users — a metric it uses to measure shoppers — reached 721 million in March, an increase of 22 million in three months and 104 million over the last year. Annual active users were up 18 percent to 654 million and the company’s Chinese marketplaces saw GMV — the value of total goods sold — rise by

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InnoVen Capital, one of Asia’s most prominent venture debt firms, adds $200M more to its kitty


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Founders might not believe it, but managing a venture capital firm isn’t all that dissimilar to a startup. Case in point today: InnoVen Capital, one of Asia’s most prominent venture debt firms, has pulled in $200 million in new money to continue its expansion in the region.

The money comes from InnoVen’s two shareholders — Singapore sovereign fund Temasek and Singapore’s UOB — each of which has added $100 million in additional firepower for the fund, which is popularising debt-based financing within Asia’s startup ecosystems.

The organization came to be in 2015 when Temasek acquired the Indian ‘branch’ of Silicon Valley Bank expressly to offer differentiated financing to startups. The spinout was named InnoVen and it quickly expanded beyond India with the opening of an office in Singapore in 2016 and then an outpost in Beijing in early 2018.

The firm operates without a specific fund size unlike many other

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EV startup Rimac scores $90M investment from Hyundai and Kia


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Rimac Automobili, the European EV startup that landed an investment from Porsche last year, has again gained the backing of traditional automakers after Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors jointly invested €80 million, or around $90 million.

Beyond the significant cash infusion, the three parties said the deal includes “a strategic partnership to collaborate on the development of high-performance electric vehicles.” In other words, Hyundai and Kia — both of which fall under the ownership of Hyundai Motor Group — plan to work very closely with Rimac, which is based in Croatia, to bring electric vehicles to market under their brands.

Already we have an idea of what that will look like.

Today’s announcement teased an electric car within Hyundai’s N sports car division and a “high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle,” both of which will include collaboration between the Korean group and Rimac. (It’s worth noting that Rimac

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