Grab acquires US$274mn-worth stake in Emtek, fuels talks of OVO-DANA merger; The deal was reportedly transacted through an investment company named H Holdings, which joined Naver in the sale of shares amounting to 8.4% of Emtek’s capital; The funds will go towards expanding the conglomerate’s business and funding daily operations. More here

Tiger Global invests US$50mn in Indonesia’s Ruangguru; With this, the edutech startup’s Series C2 fundraise has touched US$55mn; This round pegs the company’s valuation at US$830mn; Ruangguru offers a learning management system as well as learning video subscriptions, and online exam simulations, catering to K-12 education verticals. More here

Grab considering secondary Singapore listing after US SPAC merger; Listing on the SGX would enable Grab to have an investor base close to where its regional business is based, potentially offering its customers, drivers and merchant partners easier access to trade its shares; The potential Singapore listing plans come after Grab this week agreed a US$40bn merger with SPAC, Altimeter Growth. More here

Is everything hunky-dory with public listing via SPACs?; Grab’s valuation before the SPAC deal was around US$15bn, but with the SPAC and IPO deals, it is now valued almost US$40bn; The market signal is that even with negative EBITDA and past-Series F and H stages, a company can still go for an IPO and remain highly attractive for investors, which is giving a controversial message to young startups, says a VC investor. More here

Co-founders of Grab Philippines, Zalora join cloud kitchen startup Kraver’s Canteen’s US$1.5mn seed round; Kraver’s is looking to build 100 kitchens across the Philippines, investing heavily in regional metropolis hubs like Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao; SEA’s on-demand food delivery is expected to grow 4x by 2025, from US$4bn to US$8bn. More here

Indonesian edutech startup Binar Academy secures seed funding; Investors are Teja Ventures (lead), Eduspaze, The Indonesia Women Empowerment Fund, Savearth Fund; Binar Academy aims to equip high school and university students with the necessary skills required to succeed in the evolving digital economy; It claims to have educated 8K+ students and placed talents for jobs, leading to revenue growth of 80% last year. More here

Finch Capital’s Nomu Pay acquires Wirecard’s Asian assets; It will acquire Wirecard’s entities in HK, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand; This investment is part of Nomu Pay’s larger plan to build out a leading unified payment company in high growth customer segments in EMEA and Asia. More here

Philippine fintech Plentina raises US$2.2mn seed; Lead investors are Andrew Vigneault (CEO of ClearGraph, Unpopular Ventures, and DV Collective; The startup has developed a mobile app that offers store credit instalment loans with major retail partners, including 7-Eleven Philippines and Smart Communications. More here

Taiwanese fintech sector poised for growth amid booming startup ecosystem; StartupBlink’s Startup Ecosystem Map of Taiwan lists less than 40 fintech startups, implying that the domestic fintech ecosystem is still small; But recent developments and initiatives from foreign tech firms and banks are expected to give the sector a boost. More here

gojek-Tokopedia merger could transfer the landscape in Indonesia’s e-commerce market; Both are looking forward to firm up the deal as this would help them in elevating their status as a ride-hailing and e-commerce major in SEA; gojek has expanded in countries including Vietnam and Singapore while Tokopedia has over 100mn monthly active users in the country. More here

AirAsia to invest heavily in digital business; A Bloomberg report said, quoting sources that it is negotiating with prospective investors for a fundraising deal that would involve the issuance of new shares in the digital unit; In March, CEO Tony Fernandes said the airline’s so-called “super app”, launched in October 2020, would turn over US$250mn this year. More here

8 payment trends in SEA for 2021; A continued surge of contactless payments, expansion of digital payments, BNPL, shift in the membership model, increase in crypto investments and diversification of credit cards are among the trends. More here

Do you fit the mold for the next generation of values-driven VCs?; The number of VCs are growing and the industry is increasingly becoming concentrated; This means that simply offering large sums of money won’t get you traction with the best startups; Founders are looking for value over volume — they usually want mission alignment, connections, value-added services and industry expertise more than a blank check. More here

Business Mentor: The entrepreneurial journey; Failures are part of any startup. But through these failures, they learn and grow; This enables them to have a better perspective as they grow in value; Don’t make hasty decisions when you can take your time and focus on creating what is best for the business. Remember, “Rome was not built in a day”. More here

Edutech in SEA is ripe for acceleration. This is why they can help build a more inclusive society; The combination of a need for more accessible, quality education and recent digitisation create fertile ground for the edutech sector to flourish; There is a significant untapped opportunity for e-learning products and services to deliver quality learning programmes to traditionally underserved communities. More here

Image Credit: Ruangguru

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