Taiwan e-scooter maker Gogoro raises US$300M to grow its battery swapping network

Kevin McSpadden, writing for e27;

Gogoro, a Taiwanese electric scooter company with a global footprint, announced today it has raised a US$300 million Series C from notable investors like Temasek, Generation Investment Management, Sumitomo Corporation and ENGIE.

With a mission to tackle the globe’s current environmental problem, the company has built a network of battery swap stations to make riding an e-scooter more convenient. For example, in Taiwan, the company has 415 stations and estimates over 20,000 swaps per day.

That battery swap service could be something that electric car manufacturer could implement. So rather than wait for hours before a battery (installed in the car) to charge up, why not just swap a fully charge battery to the depleted one. Faster right?

IntelleGrow launching US$31M venture debt fund to invest in social enterprises

Sainul Abudheen K, writing for e27;

Mumbai-based IntelleGrow — a non-banking financial company (NBFC) which provides debt for working capital needs of early-stage, high-risk SMEs, typically, in the social impact sector — is launching a new fund to the tune of INR 200 crore (approximately US$31 million), its CEO Akbar Khan told e27.

The new fund, expected to go live sometime next year, aims to invest in IntelleGrow’s existing portfolios, as well as new companies.

IntelleGrow has already backed 180 companies across agriculture, clean energy, education, financial inclusion, affordable healthcare, and water and sanitation.

Appier Announces Series C Investment Round with SoftBank Group, LINE Corporation, NAVER Corporation, EDBI and AMTD Group

Press release from Appier regarding the $33 million Series C investment from SoftBank Group, LINE Corporation, NAVER Corporation, EDBI and AMTD Group.

Appier Announces Series C Investment Round with SoftBank Group, LINE Corporation, NAVER Corporation, EDBI and AMTD Group

New Investments will Spur Appier’s Artificial Intelligence Innovations for Enterprises

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Media OutReach – August 30, 2017 – Appier, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) company, announced that it has secured Series C investment of USD$33 million from SoftBank Group Corp., LINE Corporation, NAVER Corporation, Singapore-based EDBI and Hong Kong-based AMTD Group. This brings the total amount of investment in the company to over USD$82 million.

Chih-Han Yu, CEO and co-founder, Appier

Appier believes AI can help enterprises deal with today’s rapidly changing business environment, helping them process enormous amounts of data to identify patterns and make intelligent decisions. The additional funds will enable Appier to expand its portfolio of AI solutions and build more functionality for enterprises who want to take advantage of recent advances in AI technology.

The new investment will also enable Appier to continue to hire global talent as it extends its engineering and artificial intelligence research capabilities beyond Taiwan, to markets such as Singapore. The company also plans to expand its presence in the many markets in which it currently operates.

“Appier believes artificial intelligence can solve many challenges faced by today’s enterprise. Our platforms have helped our customers succeed in digital advertising and marketing, and we are now looking to bring AI to other parts of the enterprise. We are looking forward to partnering with our Series C investors as we embark on our next stage of growth,” said Chih-Han Yu, CEO and co-founder of Appier.

Appier’s first product, the CrossX Programmatic Platform, brought AI into digital marketing. Its second, Aixon, is a data intelligence platform that allows business users at a variety of enterprises to discover new customers, enrich their understanding of their customer base, and make predictions using AI. The company has doubled revenues over the three quarters since it closed Series B2 in November 2016.

“AI, combined with Big Data, IoT and other disruptive technologies, is going to create an impact on the world that will be bigger than the Industrial Revolution. We are already starting to see AI generate benefits in many parts of our lives and believe it also has a great role to play within the enterprise. Appier’s approach to AI for the enterprise is unique and we look forward to partnering with them as they build exciting new AI solutions for business,” said Ren Tanaka, Corporate Officer and Deputy Head of Business Unit at SoftBank Group Corp.

“Taiwan is one of the key markets for LINE, and our investment in Appier marks our commitment to invest in this market and support local startups to expand globally. We are excited to partner with Appier to explore more AI and advertising technology opportunities in our key markets,” said In Joon Hwang, CFO of LINE Corporation

“Appier has enabled a growing number of brands to develop consumer-adaptive marketing solutions for the digitally savvy Asian market. We look forward to working with Appier as they apply their AI technology to other exciting areas such as predictive analytics for real-time business decision-making. Appier’s development activities also synergizes well with Singapore’s AI.SG initiative to power, build and augment the local AI capabilities and ecosystem,” said Ms Chu Swee Yeok, CEO and President of EDBI.

Grab Announces Strategic Investment from Toyota Tsusho

Grab;

Grab Inc. (“Grab”), the leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia, today announced that Toyota Tsusho Corporation (“Toyota Tsusho”), the sole general trading company of Toyota Group, has invested in Grab. Toyota Tsusho made this investment through its Next Technology Fund, and is the latest participant in Grab’s current financing round, led by SoftBank and Didi Chuxing.

A big win for Grab!

Kata.ai, the startup formerly known as YesBoss, raises US$3.5M in Series A funding round

Anisa Menur A. Maulani, writing for e27;

Indonesian artificial intelligence (AI) startup Kata.ai today announced that it has raised a US$3.5 million in Series A funding round led by Taiwan-based Trans-Pacific Technology Fund (TPTF).

MDI Ventures, Access Ventures, and Convergence Ventures also participated in the deal.

In addition to them, VPG Asia, Red Sails Investment, and angel investor Eddy Chan also took part in the round.

Grab will pour $100m into Myanmar as it faces off with Uber

Judith Balea, writing for Tech in Asia;

Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing app, has committed to invest US$100 million over the next three years in Myanmar, where Uber also debuted earlier this year.

The company will use the money to extend its services to more cities in the country, which has seen exploding mobile phone adoption. It will also roll out other products such as its digital payment feature GrabPay, and increase its local headcount to 200, it said in a statement. The company is exploring offering its corporate ‘Grab for Work’ solution after seeing healthy demand.

China’s Didi backs Uber rival Careem to expand its global footprint into the Middle East

Jon Russell, writing for TechCrunch;

A week after its first investment in Europe, Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing is spreading its wings once again after it announced a financing deal with Careem, an Uber rival in the Middle East that is valued at more than $1 billion. The size of the investment was not disclosed.

Didi Chuxing appears to be investing to every ride-sharing startups in every region, except for Uber.

Didi and Softbank to invest $2b in Grab; round may reach $2.5b

Judith Balea, reporting for Tech in Asia;

Southeast Asia’s leading transportation app Grab has new ammunition to battle rivals Uber and Go-Jek. The Singapore-headquartered company announced today that its two largest shareholders – China’s Didi Chuxing and Masayoshi Son-led Softbank – are investing up to US$2 billion to lead its current funding round.

Grab expects to raise an additional US$500 million from existing and new investors, bringing the round’s total to US$2.5 billion. Jack Ma’s Alibaba was supposedly eyeing to join in.

That’s one massive funding. This could threaten Uber’s growth in the region.

Apple awards Corning first Advanced Manufacturing Fund investment

Apple;

Apple today announced Corning Incorporated will receive $200 million from Apple’s new Advanced Manufacturing Fund as part of the company’s commitment to foster innovation among American manufacturers. The investment will support Corning’s R&D, capital equipment needs and state-of-the-art glass processing. Corning’s 65-year-old Harrodsburg facility has been integral to the 10-year collaboration between these two innovative companies and will be the focus of Apple’s investment.

It makes sense for Apple to invest and their supply chain, specially if they’re supplying the components to their most important product. Looks like these investment will be for US-based companies only.

What it’s like working for Warren Buffett: ‘It’s literally just reading about 12 hours a day’

Tae Kim, reporting for CNBC;

Combs also revealed what a typical day was like as a Buffett manager:

“I get in around 7 or 8 and I read until about 7 or 8 at night. And I go home and see my family and then I’ll read for another hour or two in bed at night. And you know, there might only be three to four phone calls the entire week. So there are very, very few interruptions … But it’s literally just reading about 12 hours a day.”

IFC injects $2m in SeedPlus to fund early stage startups in Asia

Nadine Freischlad, reporting for Tech in Asia;

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a US$2 million equity investment in SeedPlus, a seed stage venture fund based in Singapore, to support early stage technology entrepreneurship in Asia.

SeedPlus is a collaboration between four investment firms – Jungle Ventures, Infocomm Investments, Accel Partners, and RNT Associates.

SeedPlus

SeedPlus, a seed stage venture fund based in Singapore. The firm invests S$500k to 1M in early stage companies on market terms. Once the investment is in place, they’ll help you to grow to profit or the next round of funding through our network and our full­-time operating partners.

SeedPlus is a network of networks. Between Jungle Ventures, PwC, Google, Accel Partners and Infocomm Investments,

Intel buys autonomous vehicle technology firm MobilEye

Daniel Morial, writing for Yugatech;

For $15.3B, Intel agreed to but Israeli autonomous vehicle technology firm MobilEye on Monday to develop driverless systems for automakers. MobilEye is one of the largest players in autonomous vehicle tech and it recently teamed with Intel on BMW’s iNext self-driving platform.

Another major technology company pouring tons of money in autonomous vehicle technology.

China’s taxi on-demand war reignited: Didi rival UCAR is raising $1 billion

Emma Lee, reporting for TechCrunch;

Didi Chuxing’s deal to acquire Uber China seemingly left the Chinese ride-hailing giant as the last man standing and therefore sole winner of China’s vast ride-sharing market. However, Didi’s success has also served to open new opportunities for other competitors. It would seem that there’s no way for a single company to gobble up the entire market as a whole, even if it’s Didi.

UAE’s Zain Group makes strategic investment in MyTaxiIndia

Sainul Abudheen K, reporting for E27;

Gurgaon-based MyTaxiIndia (MTI), an online platform to book outstation taxi and cab rental services in India, has raised strategic investment from UAE-based investment and holding company Zain Group of Companies.

The startup was founded in 2013 by Anshuman Mihir (CEO). MTI is an outstation taxi and cabs service provider, focussed on servicing both one-way taxi and package-based outstation taxi service segments. Its services are available in more than 120 cities across India with 10,000-plus routes, including Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Agra, Chandigarh, Pune, Manali, and Shimla.

Penang’s own Delivereat raises US$450K to deliver food beyond the city

Anisa Menur A. Maulani, reporting for E27;

Malaysian food delivery startup Delivereat today announced that it has raised an RM2 million (US$450,000) pre-series A funding round led by Gobi MAVCAP’s ASEAN Superseed Fund.

Another food delivery service, as if Asia needs more of these service. Let’s see how long Delivereat can keep up with the established food delivery service.

Manufacturing giant Foxconn is taking over SoftBank’s investment fund in Asia

Jon Russell, reporting for TechCrunch;

Foxconn is taking over SoftBank’s Asia-based tech investment fund. The manufacturing giant, which is responsible for producing Apple’s iPhone among many other tech products, has agreed to buy a majority 54.5 percent stake in SoftBank Asia Capital in exchange for $600 million, according to a filing.

The deal is scheduled to go through March 1, after which time SoftBank Asia Capital will no longer be a SoftBank affiliate. A SoftBank representative confirmed that the agreement will see Foxconn become “the decision maker on investments” for the fund.

Ola gets $330m from SoftBank, but valuation plummets to $3.5b

DurbaDurba Ghosh, writing for Tech in Asia;

India’s Uber arch-rival Ola has once again won backing from Japan’s SoftBank, with fresh funding of US$330 million, a person familiar with the details of the deal told Tech in Asia.

However, the fresh funding comes at a cost. Ola’s valuation has dropped by more than 30 percent to US$3.5 billion, Business Standard reported today. Ola’s valuation drop is indicative of declining investor confidence in India.

It’s high time for Ola to expand to other markets and not just their home country.

Malaysia’s Dah Makan raises $1.3M for an organized approach to food delivery

Jon Russell, reporting for TechCrunch;

Dah Makan has become the first food delivery startup to raise significant capital in Southeast Asia this year, bringing some fire back to what has been a popular niche for local investors.

The company has closed a $1.3 million seed funding round from backers that include NFQ Capital, East Ventures, Asia Venture Group and Grupara. A former CEO of Nestlé is among the angel investors to have participated.

Southeast Asia’s Playlab invests $1M in Brazilian gaming startup Cupcake Entertainment

Jon Russell, reporting for TechCrunch;

Thailand-based casual game studio Playlab has turned investor after it invested $1 million into Cupcake Entertainment, a Brazil-based game maker.

The deal is a little different in that it is not an equity investment; instead, Playlab and Cupcake have agreed to a profit-share deal. Cupcake started producing games in 2014, and its current titles include Letters of Gold and Words of Gold. Co-founder and CMO Gabriel Stürmer described its products — which are for iOS, Android and Facebook — as “casual brain games” that require users to “make boards, or do mathematic combinations.”

Eduardo Saverin in $25m funding for insurance and wellness marketplace

Judith Balea, reporting for Tech in Asia;

CXA today announced it has become a US$100 million company following a US$25 million series B investment, co-led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group and Singapore-based EDBI. Global life and health reinsurance company RGA, Philips Healthcare, maker of data-driven medical devices and disease management programs, and existing investors NSI Ventures and Bioveda Capital also put in some cash.