GIC to buy shares worth up to US$225mn in gojek-backed Bank Jago; The amount would net GIC an approximate 9% stake in the company; In Dec 2020, gojek increased its stake in the firm to 22% as part of a strategic tie-up that aims to offer financial services to merchants and drivers in the country. More here

As SPACs flood the market, target firms are next point of focus; SEA is a prime hunting ground for SPACs, given that the region has promising tech unicorns that may not yet have the size and scale for a successful IPO in the US, while domestic markets may be under-equipped for them due to their size. More here

Farnsworth group to pay US$125mn for control of TikTok rival Lomotif; A few days ago, a group of investors including MoviePass chairman Ted Farnsworth, have signed an agreement with Zash to buy an 80% controlling stake Lomotif; This deal marks one of the biggest exits by a tech startup in S’pore in recent years. More here

Space-tech is ‘taking off’ in SEA with Singapore leading the way; Singapore is poised to be a strong force in aerospace and maritime engineering, according to Morgan Stanley; At present, it has 56 companies working in the space niche; Even though its neighbours, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia have government-managed space programmes, they do not have the robust market sector that Singapore enjoys. More here

The EV race is just beginning and Tesla is going to win it; When it comes to AI and autonomous driving, no other player comes close to the amount of data Tesla has collected, given that all Tesla 3s and Ys on the road today come with the autopilot function shipped. More here

Malaysia commits US$3.7bn for 5G tech implementation; The multi-billion investment is among 4 important types of digital infrastructure initiatives outlined by the government under the MyDigital — the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint – to accelerate innovation and create an effective digital ecosystem in the country; It’s expected to create some 105K employment opportunities. More here

Traveloka plans regional fintech expansion before 2021 listing; The company’s president, Caesar Indra, told Reuters in an interview that Traveloka’s Vietnam business had surpassed pre-COVID-19 levels, is nearly back to normal levels in Thailand, and is at half of pre-COVID level in Indonesia; The plan is to invest in fintech in a big way to allow more consumers to travel in the region. More here

Singapore’s social commerce startup focusing on beauty products Raena bags US$9mn Series A; Lead investors are Wave Incubation and Alpha JWC Ventures; Raena procures beauty products directly from brands and local manufacturers before selling them to micro-entrepreneurs on its platform. More here

Vietnamese edutech platform Manabie raised US$3mn; Investors include Do Ventures, Genesia Ventures and Chiba Dojo; The Manabie app allows high-school students to study online; It also has 5 learning centres in HCMC, where students can receive the dedicated guidance from individual counsellors (Press release)

Australia’s customer data platform for brands and retailers Lexer raises US$26.3mn; Lead investors are Blackbird Ventures and King River Capital; It has plans to expand into Southeast Asia; Lexer helps SME and MSMEs manage their data by assembling it all into one platform. More here

Singapore’s Her Capital invests in HK-based AI video interviewing platform Neufast; Neufast plans to utilise the money to expand its product suite and expand into Greater China and SEA; This is Her Capital’s inaugural investment since launching its women-focused fund last year, which it aims to raise US$10mn. More here

‘Global demand for plant-based meat products will be driven mostly by flexitarians: Next Gen COO Andre Menezes; Plant-based meat has seen strong demand in the West and is now also gaining momentum in Asia; According to DuPont N&B, demand for plant-based products in Asia will surge over 200 per cent in the next five years. More here

Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn’s VC firm invests in Vietnam’s e-commerce delivery-cum-podcast platform Loship; This is MetaPlanet’s debut investment in SEA; The new funding, which is part of Loship’s Series C round, comes four months after its undisclosed bridge round led by Vulpes Investment. More here

Singapore’s fashiontech startup Pixibo raises US$1.4mn from Atlas Ventures; Pixibo has plans to expand its offline stores to South Korea, Indonesia, Australia, and Philippines; The startup aims to help fashion e-tailers reduce their product returns by increasing their conversion rates and average order values through machine learning and data-driven solutions. More here

Why Beijing was right to rein in Jack Ma’s rogue Ant Group IPO; Ant’s business model, unregulated, would have potentially created systemic risk at a global level; Ant’s leadership tried to escape appropriate financial-sector regulatory scrutiny, even removing the word “financial” from their name just before their IPO application in July 2020. More here

Carro develops SEA’s first AI-driven customer service voicebot; It allows the caller to interact with the Talkbot using natural spoken language; It listens, understands and speaks several different ASEAN languages with localised accents, it even incorporates human-like actions such as pauses, clarification statements and chasing statements. More here

Local tech companies put Vietnam on the global map; Vietnam has more than 58K tech businesses, and the target of 100K tech firms by 2030 could be achieved as early as 2025; IT workers in Vietnam are now as capable as those from many developed countries. More here

E-commerce boom to continue in 2021 in Vietnam; A report by the Vietnam e-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency (iDEA) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that with 53% of the population participating in online shopping, the local e-commerce market grew 18%, reaching US$11.8bn last year, accounting for 5.5% of total retail sales of consumer goods and services nationwide. More here

E-payments rise, but S’pore not aiming to be cashless society: MAS board member Ong Ye Kung; Cash will continue to be a familiar and convenient way to transact; Registrations for PayNow (P2P fund transfer service) rose by 1.6mn last year, bringing the total number of registrations to 4.9mn; Meanwhile, PayNow Corporate registrations doubled to about 240K. More here

gojek and Tokopedia merger would add fizz to Asia’s tech sector; The merged gojek-Tokopedia, together with Sea, will herald the next breed of companies able to match Alibaba and Tencent in SEA; For the merger, the biggest implication for the competition is not that the traditional problem of antitrust, it is that of trust in consolidation. More here

Grab creates 350 jobs to bolster its financial services in SEA; Grab, IMDA, and Digital Industry Singapore will work together to grow Grab’s core product and engineering teams’ capabilities through the support of talent development programmes such as the TechSkills Accelerator. More here

Growing focus on sustainability gives Singapore an edge in green economy; Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said companies are realising that the sustainability agenda and economic efficiency need not be mutually exclusive, adding that there is now a “greater intersection” for both to be achieved at the same time. More here

Mobile shopping drives Chinese New Year e-commerce in SEA: Report; Thailand and Singapore roared ahead in sales volume increases; app traffic volume was also significantly up in Indonesia, compared with October 2020; On a y-o-y basis, sales in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam rose by an overall 68% on the previous festive season. More here

An online world without passwords. Will you embrace it?; Many organisations are looking at new standards that utilise public key cryptography to offer simpler and stronger authentication; It offers a layer of security that passwords lack; Passwords can be guessed, stolen, or hacked; But key cryptography mitigates that risk, by separating the information into two separate segments – or keys. More here

Singapore’s F-drones raises seed round funding; Investors include Eastern Pacific Shipping (lead), Schulte Group, SEEDS Capital, and Entrepreneur First; F-drones provides 24×7 commercial Beyond-Vision-Line-Of-Sight drone deliveries to ships; It is developing the Hyperlaunch Heavy, a fully electric and autonomous proprietary drone, capable of delivering 100kg payloads over 100km. Press release

Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

The post Ecosystem Roundup: Despite e-payments rise, MAS says S’pore not aiming to be cashless society; Is space-tech taking off in SEA? appeared first on e27.

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