YC-backed startup Super bags US$28mn to grow its social commerce platform in Indonesia; Investors include SoftBank Ventures Asia (lead), Insignia Ventures, Y-Combinator Continuity Fund, partners of DST Global and TNB Aura; The company plans to double down on its presence in East Java and launch in other Indonesian provinces later this year.

Indonesia-based customer retention platform TADA secures Series B1; Investors include MDI Ventures (lead), TMI, Finch Capital and Sovereign’s Capital; TADA offers a solution for businesses that want to invest in building relationships with their customers, helping them to accelerate growth, improve sustainability, and maximise customer lifetime value by empowering them to deploy subscription businesses.

StashAway raises US$25mn Series D; Investors include Sequoia India (lead), Eight Roads Ventures and Square Peg; The capital will be used by the fintech firm to accelerate its investment product across its 5 markets, and buy back up to US$3mn in ESOPs from employees; A digital wealth management platform, StashAway delivers automated, personalised portfolio management to each client’s individual portfolios.

Temasek invests US$120mn in Indian edutech startup UpGrad; UpGrad helps working professionals, students and enterprises upskill themselves in highly courses like Data Science, Management and Law; The company claims to have an above 85% programme completion rate with over 40,000 paid learners on its platform.

‘Investors are returning to being more sensitive to value’: Goh Seng Wee of Brain Too Free Ventures; He also says the rate of unicorns/success stories from SEA will probably accelerate at the greatest pace compared to any other market continents in the world; Many winners will be from this region.

Temasek co-leads US$30mn Series C of Chin’s EAVision; The agri drone startup makes it possible for agricultural sectors to profit despite the demanding geographical constraints with the help of its stereo vision sensors and algorithms which enable it to navigate challenging terrains.

POC Pharma raises US$4.5mn to digitise pharmacies in Vietnam; Investors are Picus Capital (Germany), Goat Capital and FJ Labs (both US-based), Febe Ventures (Singapore) and 500 Startups; POC helps the stakeholders in the pharmacy industry (pharmacies, drug manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, payers) to digitally manage their interactions and collaborative workflows.

Indonesian consumer insights platform Populix raises US$1.2mn pre-Series A; Investors include Intudo Ventures (lead), Quest Ventures, and strategic investors; Populix offers subscription-based customised services like brand health tracking, product launch perception auditing, customer satisfaction indexing.

Philippine e-sports and entertainment startup Tier One raises funding; Investors include Gobi Partners (lead), Warner Music Group, Octava, KAYAC, and Atlas Ventures; The money will be used to expand operations in Blacklist International (Tier One’s e-sports team), and set up its first content creation hub in the Philippines.

Mortgage Master raises US$700K pre-Series A from angels; The Singapore-based mortgage brokering platform will use the money for customer acquisition, forging strategic partnerships, and to enter Indonesia; Since launch, it claims to have delivered advice for ~US$3bn worth of home loans and directly facilitated US$603mn in home loan transactions on behalf of partner banks.

Vietnam’s Topebox raises US$1mn to launch latest blockchain game My DeFi Pet; Investors are Axia8 Ventures, Blockdream Ventures, Megala Ventures, and Animoca Brands; Topebox is a mobile game developer that has produced hits like Pocket Army, Sky Dancer: Free Falling, and King Rivals; According to AppBrain, its portfolio of games has appeared in the top 100 apps in 10+ countries.

Indonesian fitness startup Doogether banks pre-Series A money after expanding into online classes; Investors are AsianTrust Capital, Prasetia Dwidharma, Alexander Rusli (ex-CEO of Indosat Ooredoo); DOOgether is a fitness studio and classes booking apps; It has 200+ partners and 20K+ classes available to be accessed in the Greater Jakarta, Bandung, and Bali.

UBS AG, Genting Group invest in Bukalapak; This brings the e-commerce unicorn’s latest round to US$400mn; This follows earlier investment from Microsoft, GIC, and Emtek; The round comes as the Indonesian firm prepares for IPO; Proceeds from IPO would shore up its chest war against the rising dominance of Shopee and Tokopedia.

Temasek, DBS, JP Morgan to launch new blockchain-based global payments platform; Called Partior, it aims to disrupt the traditional cross-border payments ‘hub and spoke’ model, which is typically costly and lengthy due to multiple validations on payment details by banks.

Indian food delivery major Zomato files for US$1.1bn IPO with market regulator; The company will be issuing about US$1bn in fresh equity shares, with early investor Info Edge India selling its stake, worth roughly US$100mn, in the IPO; In its filing, Zomato said its revenue from operations grew from US$62.7mn in FYE 2018 to US$350.5mn in FYE 2020.

Alibaba Business School launches ‘Netpreneur Training Program’ in Philippines; It is part of Alibaba’s wider initiative to promote inclusive development and empower entrepreneurs and businesses both large and small. Applications for this programme are open from now until June 20.

IMDA’s open innovation platform (OIP) to offer digital solutions; The OIP will soon have a discovery engine that makes the searching and matching of problem solvers to problem owners easier, through automated recommendations by analysing problem statements and recommending solvers with relevant experience; This will increase the accessibility of innovation to more enterprises.

The future of insurance lies in giving control back to customers; Hyper-personalisation is the way to make insurance more relevant to customers to continue to meet financial needs and close protection gaps in Singapore, says Income CEOAndrew Yeo; This approach is about tapping on data to support customers so that they can find the right solutions and make the best decision based on their needs.

SaaS, open source, and serverless: A winning combination to build and scale new businesses; Each of these can offer significant benefits. But the real breakthrough is in combining all three, flexibly combining services (such as a login) from a third-party SaaS provider and integrating them with other third-party services (such as recruiting management services) and company-specific functions (such as salary calculations) in a fully serverless architecture.

The future is (already) here: what FIs need to know about AI; There are countless benefits and integration opportunities for AI implementation; With increased automation of consumer interactions, financial institutions can help reduce operational costs, refocus on growth opportunities, and ultimately generate greater revenue.

From e-voting machines to blockchain-based e-voting?; Blockchain technology usually allows people to verify that their votes are recorded and counted correctly without compromising their anonymity; Moreover, anyone may be able to check the counting without the secrecy being hampered; However, there are security concerns in blockchain-based e-voting too.

Photo by Fikri Rasyid on Unsplash

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