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Facebook early investor leads Darwinbox’s US$72M funding at US$1B valuation
Investors include Technology Crossover Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia, Lightspeed, and SCB 10X; Darwinbox says it’s powering digital HR for more than 1.5M employees from 650+ enterprises worldwide.

Square Peg co-leads US$40M round of edutech firm Cialfo
Cialfo connects high schoolers, counsellors, and colleges to ease the career exploration and college search process; It has partnered with over 1,000 colleges, including Imperial College London in the UK, and The University of Chicago in the US.

Aruna adds US$30M more to Series A round for Indonesia expansion
Investors are Vertex Ventures SEA & India, Prosus Ventures, AC Ventures, East Ventures (Growth Fund), Indogen Capital, SMDV and SIG Venture Capital; Currently operational in 27 provinces in the country, Aruna has developed 100 communities with over 26,000 registered fisherfolks.

SIRCLO acquires Warung Pintar to strengthen its omnichannel commerce strategy
It will offer a comprehensive omnichannel solution for principals or brands, distributors, business players, to end-consumers through its network of warungs (mom-and-pop stores).

Grab still tops SEA’s food delivery market in 2021: report
Grab contributes almost half of the region’s total GMV of US$15.5B, according to Momentum Works; Grab generated US$7.6B in GMV last year; It painted a similar story to 2020, when Grab contributed US$5.9B in GMVs to the region’s total of US$11.9B.

Edutech CoLearn raises US$17M more to close Series A round at US$27M
Investors include TNB Aura, KTB Network, BINUS Group, Alpha Wave Incubation, and AC Ventures; CoLearn gained traction amid the rise of mandatory online learning due to the pandemic and managed to amass over 4.8M users.

Retention in e-learning: Data analytics and crypto find their way into vogue
While personalised learning has started to make the mark in increasing the retention rate, using crypto to provide incentives in a “study-to-earn” mechanism is evincing interest among educators.

Logistics platform Inteluck closes US$15M Series B round for SEA expansion
Investors include Creo Capital, East Ventures, and Headline Asia; Inteluck provides a data-driven logistics platform that helps customers and supplier partners maximise logistics efficiency.

Ayoconnect scores US$15M in Tiger Global-led Series B
Other investors include PayU, Muir Capital, Ephesus United, and Watiga Trust; The fresh round comes 4 months after Ayoconnect raised US$10M in pre-Series B; The fintech firm connects bill providers with offline and online channel partners so consumers can pay their bills more seamlessly.

Singapore, Sri Lanka named as top Asian emerging ecosystems for cleantech startups
Cleantech companies have the highest age at transaction of any sub-sector, with the average company taking 3.8 years to reach Series A; One factor that Singapore and Sri Lanka have in common is the amount of government support and startup-friendly regulations that these two markets have.

Una Brands acquires ergonomic furniture brands ErgoTune and EverDesk+ for 8-figure USD
Una Brands will expand them into new regional and international markets, further their O2O offering with a showroom in Sydney, and launch onto additional e-commerce platforms; The brands have already been launched in Australia.

How Singaporean startup Xctuality helps creators, brands accelerate into metaverse
It offers 360° and immersive solutions in collaboration with the local arts, cultural and hospitality community; Xctuality has already raised over US$550K across two rounds of funding from investors, including Brain-Too-Free Ventures.

AirAsia’s logistics arm Teleport invests in trucking marketplace Kargo
The partnership also supports Teleport’s goal of making 24-hour deliveries possible through multimodal routes across Indonesia; Kargo enables shippers, transporters, and truckers to connect, transact, and track shipments through its marketplace; It has more than 75K trucks in its network.

Podcast platform SoundOn gets strategic investment from Taiwan Mobile
SoundOn provides consumers with a suite of audio products, including podcast originals, hosting services, social audio entertainment platform, podcast player and 360°audio advertising service; In January 2021, Kollective Ventures and Joseph Phua’s Turn Capital acquired SoundOn.

Meet the 5 Southeast Asian startups graduating from Sequoia Surge’s sixth cohort
For the first time, Surge also has onboarded startups from Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan; Of the total 20 startups announced by Surge, 17 have already received US$60M funding from Sequoia and other investors.

E-commerce enabler Etaily banks US$4.3M in seed extension
Investors include JG Digital Equity Ventures, Century Pacific Group, Landmark Department Store, Gobi-Core PH Fund; The fresh funds will go toward its regional expansion efforts and the development of solutions such as O2O cloud software for sales integration.

Sequoia’s Spark-backed edutech firm Ascend Now books US$2.1M in seed funding
Investors include Karen Yung of Dulwich College, Peter Galante of Innovate Language Learning, and Rishav Kajaria of Hastings Jute Mill; Ascend Now offers personalised online coaching and mentoring for K-12 students on both academic and beyond academic topics.

Ex-Tokopedia employee’s HRtech startup Gajiku nets US$1.1 M seed funding
Investors include AC Ventures, Agung Ventures, Monk’s Hill Ventures, and Sampoerna; Gajiku offers workers earned wage access and other financial services while assisting employers in digitising their human resources and accounting operations.

M&A roundup: Saleswhale sold to 6sense, PriceSpider acquires Hatch
Saleswhale is an AI-driven email marketing platform backed by Monk’s Hill, whereas Hatch is an omnichannel commerce solutions startup; Saleswhale is a company backed by Monk’s Hill Ventures and is also the first Y Combinator-backed company in Singapore to be acquired.

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The post Ecosystem Roundup: Darwinbox becomes unicorn, Cialfo bags US$40M, SIRCLO acquires Warung Pintar appeared first on e27.



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