Indonesian wealthtech startup Pluang raises US$20mn pre-Series B; Investors include Openspace Ventures and Go-Ventures; Pluang offers gold, US equity indices and cryptocurrencies, and allows users to make micro-savings as low as ~US$0.50; The company has been selected to provide mini-apps within gojek, Dana and Bukalapak. More here

Indonesia’s social commerce app KitaBeli bags US$10mn Series A led by Go-Ventures; The mobile app enables users to buy daily essentials, ranging from fast-moving consumer goods, fresh produce, beauty, electronics and other household items; By sharing info with their friends and neighbours, users can unlock discounts and benefit from lower prices for daily essential items. More here

Indonesia’s Flokq acquires co-living peer Yukstay; Financial details not disclosed; The deal, which was sealed in January, will see Flokq leveraging Yukstay’s tech capabilities to accelerate its business; Yukstay is backed by YC, Insignia Ventures; Flokq is backed by Urban Ventures Asia. More here

Bukalapak co-founders’s VC firm Init 6 invests US$5mn into Indonesia’s IDCloudHost; The startup provides cloud-based services including domain handling and server creation for customers ranging from startups and small businesses to individual developers; The firm claims to have served 100K+ customers and counts Telkom Indonesia and Mandiri Capital among its clients. More here

Singapore may be approaching a golden age for SaaS startups; For SaaS startups looking to build a regional business, a big draw of S’pore and SEA is the region’s cultural diversity and supply of tech talent, who aren’t just more affordable compared to those in the US or Europe but are equally skilled in software and engineering as well. More here

This S’pore startup built autonomous robots that deliver parcels, groceries to Punggol HDBs; OTSAW’s O-R3 security robot can autonomously patrol streets, pathways and open spaces, avoid static and dynamic obstacles, as well as return to base when its energy runs out; Besides outdoor patrol or surveillance at parks, the O-R3 is also good for deployment at oil or chemical plants. More here

How F10’s accelerator programme helps founders go from ideation to market-ready stage; What makes F10 stand out is its strong network of influential banks, consultancies, insurers and tech firms; All of its mentors hail from some of the largest corporates in the world, including Accenture, DBS, Deloitte, HSBC, NETS, Oracle, Standard Chartered and UBS. More here

HSBC Life-, Humanica-backed CXA Group to shut down Vietnam tech hub, lay off dozens; All 70 employees from the Vietnam hub will be laid off, according to TiA’s sources; Following the Vietnam shutdown, the employee wellness company would be left with 120 employees, with just six in Singapore; More here

‘Netflix of Indonesia’ merges with SPAC to list on US exchange; Asia Vision Network (AVN), the parent company of video-streaming platform Vision+, has merged with Malacca Straits Acquisition; The merger will see AVN as a US-listed Indonesian holding company that is expected to trade on Nasdaq. More here

Beacon VC invests in Thai construction-tech firm Builk’s Series B; The company plans to strengthen its product and expand within ASEAN; Builk provides a business management and online construction material trading platform for construction companies; It has previously raised investment from Moonshot VC and AddVentures by SCG. More here

Indonesia’s Qoala expands into Thailand by acquiring Thai insurtech FairDee; Qoala claims it processes 2mn+ policies per month, serving industries including automobiles, health, life, travel, fintech, consumables, logistics and employee benefits; In April ’20, Qoala raised US$13.5mn Series A, led by a JV between funds from Kookmin Bank and Telkom Indonesia, and Centauri Fund. More here

3 trends that will reshape the retail and logistics industries in Singapore this 2021; There will be opportunities for growth in 2021 as we learn to adjust to the post-COVID-19 world and form business decisions around the new trends and parameters; New trends have emerged at the back of these customer behaviour shifts. More here

Philippines creating US$5mn venture fund for local startups; The fund may provide between US$100Kand US$500K for each startup, which means 5-10 startups are likely to receive funding; The fund aims to support product R&D, product manufacturing, sales and marketing of startups. More here

Singapore’s UI test automation platform UI-licious raised US$1.5mn pre-Series A led by Monk’s Hill; The startup allows software teams to test and monitor user journeys for their web applications across browsers; It claims its no-code platform reduces the time needed to write a test by up to 80%. More here

ACKTEC bags US$1mn seed to expand its immersive learning platform to Asia; Investors are Octava, SEEDS Capital, EduSpaze, Govin Capital; ACKTEC helps organisations to transform their learning and development content into immersive learning modules utilising AR, VR and interactive 3D. More here

Atomionics raises seed funding to make navigation easy in areas where GPS doesn’t work; Investors include Wavemaker Partners, SGInnovate, Cap Vista, 500 Durians; Atomionics’s tech can pinpoint mineral and hydrocarbon reserves, provide precise navigation and create a universal positioning system that works in places like underground, underwater and space. More here

‘Due diligence is like dating before the long-term marriage’: Accion Venture Lab’s Paolo Limcaoco; DD is about investors getting to know the startup and it is done mainly on three levels — team, operations/business model, and financials. More here

Vietnamese fintech startup Gimo secures seed funding; Investors are ThinkZone Ventures, BK Fund and strategic angels; The company provides transparency and convenience of payroll services to local workers without a bank account; Users can request income payment in advance and track earnings through the app that is integrated into their companies’ HR management and payroll systems. More here

Human capital is the biggest enabler of digital transformation. Here’s how to enhance it; Companies that have transformed successfully under I4.0 attest to the importance of placing people at the heart of their transformation efforts; Change management to get employee buy-in and involvement is crucial to keep the workforce motivated and engaged in embracing new ways of working. More here

Digital banking platform for Filipino entrepreneurs NextPay accepted into Y Combinator, raises funding; NextPay enables SMEs to collect customer payments via digital invoices, manage their cash, and pay their employees, suppliers, or bills in batches to any bank or e-wallet. More here

In Singapore, digital wallets are set to overtake credit cards and BNPL is fast-growing; According to the 2021 Global Payments Report by FIS, credit cards were the most popular online payment method in 2020 in S’pore, but by 2024, this is expected to change with digital wallets taking the lead and account for 27% of online purchase transactions. More here

The ‘Lazada effect’ continues to trailblaze future of e-commerce, says founder; Nine years in since the establishment of Lazada Malaysia in 2012, the local e-commerce market has experienced an explosive growth from its nascent stages, to become a booming and all-encompassing industry, says Magnus Ekbom. More here

Singapore’s gaming gear company Razer posts first profit; The company reported a tiny net profit of US$0.8mn for the year ended December, reversing its US$83.5mn loss in 2019, as it vowed to expand its offerings beyond gaming and into digital financial services. More here

How Malaysia’s car industry is getting a tech turbo boost; Tech companies such as Huawei are focusing their efforts on car manufacturers; Huawei is evaluating the use of 5G and IoT to improve vehicle safety; Future automobiles will be able to predict traffic congestions and remain connected with other similarly equipped vehicles and traffic systems. More here

HCM City hopes to become Southeast Asia startup hub; HCM City has approved plans to develop 1K startups as part of its efforts to become a leading startup hub in SEA over the next 5 years; The plan envisages enabling 3K businesses to improve their innovation capacity and help 100 access venture capital by 2025. More here

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