By BÉRÉNICE MAGISTRETTI for Venture Beat
Smythe, which provides software to stop scams, fraudulent activities, and compromised accounts from disrupting the web, has secured an additional $4 million in funding. (more…)
By Yon Heong Tung for e27.com
Existing investors Tencent and Apple are said to be mulling whether to participate on a pro-rata basis to avoid dilution of shares (more…)
By Yon Heong Tung for e27.com
OOjiBO offers a full stack solution that can allow the unbanked to make digital payments even without data (more…)
To get noticed by Silicon Valley’s startup machine Y Combinator is every budding entrepreneur’s dream. One of the world’s most influential and renowned accelerators, which now also engages in seed funding, it has backed successful startups such as AirBnB, Dropbox, and Reddit. Its screening of startups is said to be “nerve-wracking.” (more…)
Localizing to the Chinese market is tough, and is Jeff Bezos in a Transformers’ movie? Welcome to Last Week in Tech, where we look back at what happened in the tech and startup ecosystem in the last seven days. We’ve also collated a list of regional events to look forward to in the week ahead for your convenience. (more…)
By Yon Heong Tung for e27.com
The new funding round was led by Vickers Venture Partners, Wavemaker Partners, SPH Media Fund and angel investors (more…)
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is piloting a national know-your-customer (KYC) utility for financial services, based on the MyInfo digital identity service, jointly developed by the Ministry of Finance and GovTech, the lead agency for digital and data strategy in Singapore. (more…)
By Kevin McSpadden for e27,
After an explosion in the number of deals in 2015, the Vietnamese ecosystem regressed to the mean in 2016. But, other data supports overall positive growth, continuing a trend that has made Vietnam the darling “up-and-coming ecosystem” in Southeast Asia. (more…)
Ecommerce in Hong Kong is rapidly improving, with the latest market size showing consistent growth and average spend per user is also up. A whole 80% of all consumers now transact or research online. A lot of consumers in Hong Kong looks online to find the material of need and the frequently habit of shopping will maybe surprise. (more…)
Vladislav Solodkiy, managing partner, Life.SREDA VC
Media for equity is an innovative form of venture capital in which advertising inventory supplied by media partners is provided to startups in return for equity. These days, media for equity is the talk of the town. Why? Incumbent media companies are seeing (or have been seeing for the past 7–8 years) their traditional advertising revenues contract and are looking for what they call diversification revenues (hence their backing of startups that can benefit from a boost from a media partner — air time, partnerships, licensing, you name it). Additionally, success stories are increasingly fuelling their appetite to come back for more of these deals. On the flip side, advertising on TV is a pretty interesting and effective way for a consumer-facing (mobile) startup to gain access to a mass market. (more…)
By Michael Tegos for TechinAsia
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) continues to make it easier for investors to set up new funds and operate in the city-state. Today it announced it has opened a public consultation on a new corporate structure for investment funds. People can submit their comments on a number of questions posed in the consultation paper. (more…)
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today announced the successful conclusion of the proof-of-concept project to conduct domestic inter-bank payments using distributed ledger technology (DLT). The project, in partnership with R3 and a consortium of financial institutions, was first announced on 16 November 2016 by MAS. (more…)
When you think of insurance, certain things come to mind. The overbearing smell of coffee when meeting your own insurance agent for one, or the ink fumes after filling in the long insurance plans. For better or worse, convoluted insurance plans are a feature in our daily lives. (more…)
By Sainul Abudheen for e27
Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart has closed a US$1 billion funding round, with plans to raise an equal amount over the next few months, says a Bloomberg report quoting unidentified sources. Investors who have contributed to this round include Microsoft, eBay, and Tencent Holdings. (more…)
China’s Alibaba Group Holding has fully acquired online ticketing platform Damai.cn, the e-commerce giant said on Tuesday, marking a further push into entertainment by the firm as it expands beyond its core online retail business. (more…)
By Shiwen Yup for DSA
Singapore-based LifeSREDA.VC, a fintech venture capital (VC) firm with Russian roots, announced that they are launching a fintech fund for startups for the amount of $20 million as a first close, provided by local LPs frim Malaysia. In addition, the VC firm will be involved in opening a co-working space in Malaysia’s commercial capital of Kuala Lumpur. The fund will have its first close at $20 million, with LifeSREDA aiming to reach a hard close of $50 million by the end of the year. (more…)
Manila, Philippines – Press release
Ayannah, the leading provider of affordable and accessible digital financial services for emerging markets has partnered with Bayad Center, the bills payment subsidiary of Meralco, the Philippines’ largest electric utility to launch Juan Credit™, the first artificial intelligence-powered credit scoring system for the unbanked in emerging markets. (more…)
By Casey Hynes for Forbes
Sixty-nine percent of Filipinos were underbanked as of 2015. But the country also has the fastest-growing smartphone market in ASEAN–not to mention that it’s home to the selfie capital of the world. The combination creates an interesting opportunity for fintech entrepreneurs, and Mark Vernon has taken advantage of it. (more…)
By CryptoCoin News
The Bank of Korea plans to execute the R3 consortium proof-of-concept blockchain technology project. Kim Jung-hyuk, head of the e-finance planning team for the bank’s financial supervisory service, announced the project at the Digital Money 2017 conference, according to EconoTimes. (more…)
Passengers traveling through Singapore Changi Airport can now utilize their unneeded foreign change (or remaining Singapore dollars), using the new TravelersBox kiosks located at the airport. TravelersBox is an innovative fintech company that helps travelers convert their leftover foreign currency, including bills and coins, into digital money with favorite e-Gift cards (iTunes, JD.com, Grab, Tokpedia, Starbucks, Facebook) or e-wallet brands (PayPal and Baidu). (more…)
By CryptoCoins News
A new report has found that India’s investments in FinTech dropped significantly in 2016 from 2015, indicating what impact a lack of mega-deals can have on a country even though actual deals in India remained steady over the same period. (more…)
By Casey Hynes for Forbes
Financial inclusion is a topic of growing importance in countries such as Myanmar, where advances in tech are rapidly changing the dynamics in how people access financial products. As I wrote in 2016, fintech companies are capitalizing on Myanmar’s rapid development and increasing smartphone and internet penetration by offering digital financial products.
Although many people in Myanmar are skeptical of traditional banking institutions, fintech startups hope to win their confidence through low-cost, user-friendly products. One such organization is Wave Money, a joint venture between Telenor, Yoma Bank and Myanmar First Investments. (Disclosure: I performed contract editorial work for Telenor Group in 2014 and 2015.)
In a new partnership with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Wave Money is targeting women consumers specifically in an attempt to increase financial literacy and inclusion in Myanmar. The company is developing a financial gaming application that will be accessible via users’ mobile phones.
The app’s content will be delivered through a gamified system that teaches consumers about savings, interest and insurance. Ultimately, the goal is to help women become confident enough to engage with formal banking systems and navigate financial products they may have shied away from in the past. Wave Money, UNCDF and Australia’s DFAT aim to reach 260,000 women, 30,000 of whom already use mobile money accounts.
“The partnership between Wave Money and UNCDF will be instrumental in identifying how we can most effectively serve those currently underserved and excluded,” said Brad Jones, Wave Money’s CEO, via email. “We believe that through this application, people in Myanmar will be able to improve their understanding of financial concepts, which will further enhance financial inclusion in Myanmar.”
Less than 10% of women in Myanmar between the ages of 18 and 34 currently have bank accounts, and only 29% have access to formal financial services. In a press release announcing the partnership, the partnering parties attributed the low numbers to “the lack of information that reaches women, and poor guidance available to them on where and how to use financial services that meets their respective needs.”
A digital gateway
But with smartphone penetration growing rapidly in Myanmar, digital platforms offer a gateway for reaching greater numbers of women and provide them with the means to participate more fully in the economy. In 2016, the GSMA reported that 33% of women own mobile phones in Myanmar, and about 1.4 million use smartphones. According to Jones, Wave Money will use UNCDF resources and data in developing the gamified app to ensure that it meets the needs of the women it aims to reach.
The Wave Money-UNCDF-DFAT partnership stems from UNCDF’s SHIFT Challenge program. The Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations (SHIFT) department emphasizes empowerment through access to financial services and specifically focuses on women in underserved markets. Wave Money submitted a proposal for its gamification platform to the Challenge, and will receive funding from SHIFT, DFAT and the UNCDF’s Expanding Financial Access (EFA) program, the latter being the primary sponsor.
The EFA’s goals for Myanmar include increasing the number of adults who use more than one financial product from 6 to 15% and boosting overall inclusion from 30 to 40% by 2020. The program also aims to reach 830,000 “low income beneficiaries,” such as small-scale farmers, young consumers, and women entrepreneurs.
Winning over skeptics
As the first company to receive a mobile financial services license from Myanmar’s Central Bank, Wave Money sees an opportunity to “enable and empower people with the freedom to manage their money the way they most prefer in an easy and reliable way,” according to Jones. The hope is that consistent, transparent products will win over consumers who are skeptical of financial systems.
“The main objective of our digital gamification on financial literacy is to increase the understanding and perceptions of formal financial services and increase their interest and trust,” Jones said. “In this way, we believe that this will help improve these relationships.”
First appeared at Forbes