Indonesian robo-advisor raises US$65mn; Investors are Sequoia India (lead) Prosus Ventures, Tencent, AC Ventures, East Ventures; Bibit helps first-time investors invest in mutual fund products and build portfolios suited to their risk profiles and investment goals.

SEA’s M&A, which took a hit in COVID-19-marred 2020, looks poised for a rebound this year; In 2020, there was a 17% y-o-y fall in M&A deal value in the region (both S’pore and Indonesia saw a steep fall — 23% and 34%, respectively, in deal volume); Among the sectors leading the M&A rebound could be tech; However, increasingly more tech investors are exploring M&As as a means to exit.

Singapore’s Near inches closer to Unicorn status; The SaaS firm is currently in talks to raise US$100mn; It has previously raised capital from Greater Pacific Capital, Telstra Ventures and Sequoia India; Since its last US$100mn fundraise in 2019, it made 2 acquisitions to transform itself from an APAC-focused biz to a global one; Near processes location, enterprise and consumer data to provide actionable insights to clients such as News Corp. and Mastercard.

Sayurbox secures Series B to grow its e-grocery marketplace in Indonesia; Investors include Astra Digital, Syngenta Group Ventures, Global Brain and Ondine Capital; The company plans to expand into newer regions of Indonesia; Last week, there was a news report Astra had invested US$5 million in Sayurbox earlier this year.

Mediacorp launches Bloomr.SG MCN accelerator to galvanise content creators in Singapore; The programme dovetails with Mediacorp’s purpose of engaging everyone every day by nurturing the next generation of creative talents in developing high quality content and growing their audience reach both locally and internationally.

Science and Tech Ministry (MOSTI) to groom Malaysia’s startups for the global arena; MOSTI will provide the opportunity for startups and innovators, together with other industry players, to leverage Expo 2020 Dubai and connect with global players and markets, to ensure Malaysia rises to the challenge of having top startups globally.

Analytics as a service (AaaS): Why more enterprises should consider outsourcing; AaaS could come bundled with multiple business-intelligence-related services; Primarily, the service includes services for data warehouses, services for visualisations and reports, and services for predictive analytics, AI and machine learning.

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to fund regtech and digital adoption; The MAS is committing US$32mn to spur the financial sector to accelerate technology adoption; Under the Regtech Grant scheme, Singapore-based financial institutions can apply for up to SG$75,000 to pilot potential regtech solutions, and up to SG$300,000 to develop larger-scale customised projects that can be fully integrated into their systems.

Telegram’s new update gives e-commerce a boost – Here’s how you can use it for your biz; Business owners can now build following on Telegram, communicate with fans directly, present their products and offer a direct checkout — all within a single app; With Payments 2.0, Telegram allows merchants to accept payments using several approved gateways, effectively covering over 200 jurisdictions around the world.

Asia leads the way with Central Bank Backed Digital Currencies (CBDCs); Cambodia, Thailand, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore have more CBDC projects than Canada, the UK and Sweden; Mainland China ranks third for its Digital Currency/Electronic Payment (DC/EP) project, a CBDC initiative that aims to improve the convenience, the efficiency and the resilience of the retail payment system.

Eliminating hiring on gut feeling: How Pulsifi bridges data and hiring; Its tech analyses “tens of thousands” of job profiles parsed through it by client companies; After processing the data, Pulsifi’s platform develops success profiles and predictive models to ascertain an individual’s fit with an organisation, while providing customised tips to increase individual employee engagement.

How Canada is using AI to drive green growth; The country is exploring using AI to produce chemical substances that accelerate the production of clean energy, such as hydrogen; It is also using big data and AI to prepare the country’s infrastructure for electric vehicles; It looks into environmental factors and drivers’ social behaviour to forecast needs for charging infrastructure, energy generation and future grid extensions, Natural Resources Canada wrote.

How fintech startups are disrupting Indonesia’s digital banking market; Indonesian e-banking found its footing in the past year, leaving local banks in a difficult position to either adapt or be left behind; Influential factors such as high mobile penetration, low broadband prices, a sizeable young population, and the volume of unbanked people have made Indonesia a hotspot for online banking and its investors.

Vietnam’s first unicorn bets on AI and overseas growth; Over the past decade and a half, VNG has diversified into cloud computing, ads, digital payments and media, and built up one of the biggest digital user bases in the country; Its Zalo chat app has 62 million users, putting it behind only Facebook and YouTube in terms of popularity in the country.

Know thy customer: The only rule for startups looking to build trust on social media; Learn everything you can about your audience; If you don’t know who your audience is, you can’t give them what they want; Whether you’re targeting baby boomers, millennials, sports fans, new parents and every intersection in between, it’s best to drill down on audience demographics to increase engagement.

The post Ecosystem Roundup: Near inches closer to Unicorn status + Bibit’s US$65mn fundraise appeared first on e27.

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