DEALSTREETASIA: Startup company Pawnhero will be representing the Philippines in the upcoming Echelon Asia Summit 2015, after winning the main award in the first-ever Echelon Top 100 Philippines Qualifiers. (more…)
TECHINASIA: Venture capital firms have entered Singapore in droves, which means internet startups here can look forward to a wider variety of funding options. Here is a list of venture capital firms with a presence in Singapore that are actively investing in startups in the series A rounds and above. It includes funds that are supported by the Singapore government through the NRF TIS scheme and the ESVF initiative. (more…)
FINOVATE: Advanced Merchant Payments (AMP), a company that provides banks technology to offer loans to their small business customers, pulled in an undisclosed amount of funding today from Route 66 Ventures. The new installment is a follow-on round to the $5 million Series A round received in November 2014 from SBT Venture Capital. (more…)
TECHINASIA: Facebook woke up the internet industry when it announced that its popular Messenger app, one of the world’s largest chat apps with 600 million active users, will open up to third-party developers. The move emulates the recipe that brought Asian chat apps Line and WeChat into prominence as platform businesses. Announced on the same day (though overshadowed) was the news about Businesses on Messenger, an upcoming feature on the app that allows users to chat with businesses on customer support matters. Singapore startup Zopim, acquired last year by customer support software company Zendesk for US$30 million, will power the feature. (more…)
E27.CO: Bangalore-based Artoo IT Solutions, a startup that offers customer relationship management solution to banks and financial institutions, has secured US$500,000 in funding from seed-stage investor Accion Venture Labs and Rianta Capital Zurich’s impact investment unit Artha Initiative. The startup will use the capital to enhance its product functionality, build team and scale operations globally. (more…)
FORBES: How a Russian investor Yuri Milner established his “gold-mining machine” (firm DST) and why he believes that the future belongs to Asia. China lifted Milner up from ranked 35 to 20 in the Forbes ranking of the best investors. Investments in Alibaba and smartphone vendor Xiaomi opened Yuri Milner’s way to the Forbes’ top 20 investors. In the past year the entrepreneur preferred China to the US.
TECHCRUNCH: The rise of companies like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Ola have put a spotlight on the e-commerce opportunity in India, where the growth of catchy businesses is being fuelled by consumer demand, improving Internet connectivity and generous VC funding. Now, a new startup called Razorpay — part of the current Y Combinator class — is hoping to ride that trend, by giving more startups and larger tech companies in the country the ability to make it easier to integrate payments into their services. (more…)
DEALSTREETASIA: Russia’s economic slump is set to boost the fledgling financial services technology (Fintech) startup ecosystem in Singapore and South East Asia. Moscow-based venture capital firm Life.SREDA, that focuses exclusively on investments in Fintech mobile and internet projects, is pivoting to Asia, and moving its corporate headquarters to Singapore, executives aware of the developments told DEALSTREETASIA. (more…)
DEALSTREETASIA: Asia joined the world’s most funded regions for the fintech industry in 2014, with startups in this space raising total of $797 million, a report said. This growth was triggered mainly by fintech investments in China, and on a global level, fintech startups have raised about $6.8 billion during this period, according to data compiled by Life.SREDA, a venture capital firm headed in Russia.
E27.CO: Global online ticketing platform Peatix has raised US$5 million in Series B funding led by DG Incubation, the investment subsidiary of Digital Garage. SPH Media Fund, the corporate venture fund of Singapore Press Holdings and Japanese media company Sunny Side Up also invested in this round. Existing investors from the Series A round Fidelity Growth Partners Japan and Draper Nexus also participated in the round. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Rakuten, Japan’s largest online retail firm, has announced that it will soon accept bitcoin across its global marketplaces. The company is putting its investment in Bitnet — a startup that raised $14.5 million last October — to work with this development. Bitnet, which was founded by ex-Visa execs and is rivaled by Coinbase and Bitpay, will initially be integrated into Rakuten’s U.S. marketplace to allow customers to pay in BTC.
TECHINASIA: Yesterday at Cebit in Hanover, Alibaba founder Jack Ma took the stage to wax philosophical on entrepreneurship and the future of technology. While he oozed charisma on stage, the real treat came at the end of his address. After noting how online payments can sometimes be troublesome, the founder took out his smartphone and paid for a set of stamps on Alibaba using face-recognition technology (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Wiper, a chat application designed to provide users with control over their sent and received messages, recently rolled out support for bitcoin transactions between its users. The tool is simple, allowing individuals to send cryptocurrency to others inside the app’s main chat interface. But CEO Manlio Carrelli told TechCrunch that Wiper was “removed from the iOS App Store in China due to violating that app store’s policies,” and that “Apple [had] explained to [the company] by phone that this violation was related to Wiper enabling bitcoin payments.” (more…)
E27.CO: Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons Ratan Tata has made an undisclosed amount of investment in mobile payments and commerce company Paytm. With this investment, Tata will pick up a small stake in One97 Communications, the company that owns and operates Paytm. He will also take on the role of an advisor at the company.
TECHCRUNCH: Paytm, a India-based mobile payments service operated by (now) Alibaba-backed One97, has introduced a big new feature that lets 25 million users transfer money to bank accounts. Mobile wallets, like that of Paytm, have grown in popular in India, where credit card adoption is low and many services, including online retailers, process a lot of cash-based transactions. (Its billion-plus population is estimated to have just 450 million bank accounts, with many unused.) Wallets are at the intersection of that, providing greater reliability than cash, but without requiring users to get bank accounts.
TECHINASIA: As smartphone usage booms across Asia and web services become more commonplace, private equity firms and venture capitalists are exploring the lucrative potential of the region. There are a number of global VC firms, especially in Silicon Valley that are keeping an eye on startups on the other side of the planet. Below we’ve identified some big-name VCs who have backed South Asian startups.
BLOOMBERG: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. plans to invest in Snapchat Inc., the mobile application for sending disappearing photos, at a valuation of $15 billion, people familiar with the situation said. China’s biggest e-commerce company intends to invest $200 million, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.
TECHCRUNCH: Snapchat, one of the ten most popular instant messengers in the world, has raised $200M from Alibaba Group and Saudi Arabian investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal at the valuation of $19B. Alibaba’s only weakness against its traditional rival – Chinese Tencent – is the lack of a strong position in the messaging market. With this investment (as well as the investment of $215M in Tango messenger last year) Alibaba is trying to strengthen its position in the market by diversifying assets and insuring itself against the negative effects of the growing popularity of instant messengers as a means for communication, shopping, financial transactions, etc.