Grab and GoTo IPOs could spawn more SEA startups, says 500 Startups; According to 500’s Vishal Harnal, the public listings of Grab and GoTo would allow for more investment in smaller businesses; The comments counter speculation that the newly-capitalised tech giants may squash competition.

US-based Nityo makes US$100M strategic investment in banking-as-a-service platform MatchMove, becomes its largest shareholder; MatchMove empowers its corporate clients to offer own-brand, secure and compliant digital payments, remittance, loans, insurance, and investments to their own customers; Nityo is an IT services firm with a presence in 38 countries and serves over 3K enterprise clients.

Book-keeping app BukuWarung rakes in US$60M to build an OS for Indonesia’s 60M MSMEs; Investors include Valar Ventures (lead), Wise, N26, and Goodwater Capital; BukuWarung recently launched a Shopify-equivalent, called Tokoko; Over the last 6 months, BukuWarung claims to have recorded over US$15B worth of transactions and US$500M in payments.

Alodokter raises fresh capital, claims 30M MAUs and 43K doctors on its telemedicine platform; Investors are MDI Ventures and Samsung Ventures; Alodokter provides an end-to-end digital solution to patients including telemedicine, doctor booking, medical content, and health insurance services.

Filipino live-streaming app Kumu closes Series B; Investors include SIG, Openspace Ventures, PH Conglomerates, and Endeavor Catalyst; The firm claims ~11.2M registered users around the world watch live streams up to 60M times per month, with over 100K active streamers commanding about one hour of average daily usage.

Indonesia’s Qlue banks Series B financing to scale its smart city solutions to new markets in Asia; Investors are KDDI Open Innovation Fund, TMI, and ASLI RI; Qlue’s smart city platform enables one-stop centralised control of the detection, analysis, and solution of urban problems through AI and IoT.

Logistics firm SiCepat taps EV space in a JV with NFC Indonesia, buys EV maker Volta; The newly formed EV company ESB will focus on the distribution of EVs, batter exchange and supporting services; NFC is a subsidiary of listed digital firm M Cash Integrasi.

Singapore’s e-bond trading startup BondEvalue raises US$6M Series A, forms JV in Mexico; Investors include MassMutual Ventures SEA, Citigroup, Potato Productions, and Octava; The startup’s BondbloX allows investors to buy and sell bonds in denominations of US$1,000 instead of the usual US$200,000, and through a public exchange.

Malaysian digital healthcare startup Naluri secures US$5M Series A; Investors include Integra Partners (lead), Duopharma Biotech, M Venture Partners, and Sumitomo Corporation; Naluri offers human-led and AI-augmented digital health coaching that aims to transform the lives of people who are at risk of, or managing, chronic and mental health conditions.

Indonesia’s financial wellness platform wagely bags US$5.6M; Investors include Integra Partners (led), ADB Ventures, GFC, 1982 Ventures; wagely’s earned wage access platform reduces financial stress for millions of low- and middle-income workers, who struggle with unexpected financial expenses between pay cheques.

Thailand’s automobile workshops digitalisation startup Autopair raises funding; Summit Auto Body Industry led the round; Autopair will use the capital to digitalise 1,000 independent automotive workshops; It also plans to expand into markets like Indonesia and Malaysia.

MooVita raises ‘multi-million dollars’ Series A to bring driverless cars to Singapore’s public roads; Investors are Yinson Green Technologies and SMRT Ventures; MooVita is developing a solution that could transform various vehicle types into autonomous ones for multitudinous driving conditions and applications.

Philippines files criminal complaint against scam-hit payment firm Wirecard’ ex-COO; Wirecard collapsed last June, owing creditors almost US$4B, accused by its auditor of a sophisticated global fraud; Former COO Jan Marsalek is accused of violating banking, cybercrime and e-commerce laws.

Korean VC STIC Ventures invests in Vietnamese men’s wear e-commerce brand Coolmate; Hanoi-based Coolmate claims to have clocked revenues of US$1.7M in 2020, at a growth rate of 15-20% per month; It previously raised funding from 500 Startups.

Plant-based egg startup Float Foods raises US$1.7M seed funding; Lead investors are Insignia Ventures and DSG Consumer Partners; Float Foods aims to optimise its plant-based whole egg substitute OnlyEg with nutritional enhancements and longer shelf life track for commercialisation in Singapore by 2022.

Grab, BRI Ventures team up to launch accelerator for startups in Indonesia; The Grab Ventures Velocity Batch 4 x Sembrani Wira will identify and develop post-seed startups in the country, whose products and services focus on catering to merchants and micro-entrepreneurs.

What entrepreneurs can learn from Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open; Mental health problems have been on the rise and those who work in fast-paced, high-stress environments such as startups can be at risk; Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open may reveal some surprising lessons that startup entrepreneurs can learn.

How early-stage startups can build a thought leadership strategy; The major thrust of your thought leadership should always be market education, especially in Asia where most consumer and enterprise tech industries are still relatively new.

Image Credit: MatchMove


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