iSelect takes control of iMoney, one of Southeast Asia’s top financial comparison sites

Judith Balea, writing for Tech in Asia;

ustralian Securities Exchange-listed iSelect has boosted its stake in Malaysia-based financial comparison service iMoney, giving it majority ownership of the company.

In a disclosure to the ASX, the company said it hiked its iMoney stake to 51.5 percent from 23.8 percent by buying US$4.15 million worth of shares from other shareholders. The purchase price equates to a value of “5.9 times iMoney’s FY17 revenue,” it said.

Creative Ventures launches US$50M fund to bring deep tech to Southeast Asia

Yon Heong Tung, writing for e27;

Silicon Valley-based VC Creative Ventures has announced the launch of its second fund — a US$50 million fund that will focus on deep tech companies in the US.

This will be my first time encountering the term “Deep Tech”.

According to Swati Chaturvedi;

We define deep technology as companies founded on a scientific discovery or meaningful engineering innovation. This is where you’re asking, “Aren’t all technology companies founded on these principles?” Partly yes, but mostly no. Most technology companies these days are built on business model innovation or offline to online business model transition using existing technology. Take Uber for example – Uber is built on the concept of a “sharing economy” – a business model innovation enabling individuals to share existing resources.

Deep technology companies on the other hand, are built on tangible scientific discoveries or engineering innovations. They are trying to solve big issues that really affect the world around them. For example, a new medical device or technique fighting cancer, data analytics to help farmers grow more food, or a clean energy solution trying to lessen the human impact on climate change. Continuing the Uber reference, deep-technology companies in the transportation business would include autonomous vehicles, flying cars or other similar transformative technologies.

Interesting!!

Lazada expands Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace in Southeast Asia

Reuters;

Online retailer Lazada Group said it will sell select items from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Taobao marketplace in three more countries in Southeast Asia, expanding the partnership between the two e-commerce firms.

Taobao Collection will be offered in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand in the next few weeks through Lazada’s platform, it said in a statement on Monday. Lazada began selling Taobao products in Singapore and Malaysia earlier this year.

Southeast Asia games firm Sea, formerly Garena, files for $1 billion US IPO

Jon Russell, writing for TechCrunch;

Southeast Asia-based games and e-commerce firm Sea, formerly known as Garena, has officially filed for its much-anticipated U.S. IPO. The company, which is valued at over $3.75 billion, will list on the New York Stock Exchange as ‘SE’ and is looking to raise $1 billion.

Sea is best known for its Garena gaming business, which predominantly focuses on PC games but also includes mobile, but in recent years it has branched out into e-commerce with its Shopee service and payments with its AirPay business.

This will be big!

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!

In its push to compete in Southeast Asia, WeWork is pouring $500 million into the region

Connie Loizos, writing for TechCrunch;

Less than two weeks ago, WeWork took the wraps off a new massive round of funding — $500 million from the Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital, the Japanese internet giant SoftBank, Greenland Holdings, and China Oceanwide.

Now, the company is announcing that it’s pouring that exact amount — $500 million — into expanding into Southeast Asia and Korea.

WeWork currently have more than 40,000 members in 23 cities worldwide. In Asia, they have 7 offices in 4 countries, namely China (including Hong Kong), India, Japan and S. Korea.

Amazon has officially launched Prime Now in Singapore

Kevin McSpadden, reporting for e27;

Amazon has officially launched its Prime Now service in Singapore today, potentially opening the American e-commerce giant to Southeast Asia and the 600 million people who live here.

This is a giant putting is foot in the door. It’ll just a matter of time before Amazon goes all out in the region.

Amazon prepares to enter Southeast Asia via Singapore launch

Jon Russell, reporting for TechCrunch;

Amazon is continuing its international expansion push with the launch of its services in Singapore coming imminently. The arrival could happen as soon as this week, according to a source with knowledge of the plans, and it will mark Amazon’s entry into Southeast Asia.

The launch will see Amazon Prime, Amazon Prime Now fast delivery and Amazon’s regular e-commerce services become available to Singapore’s population of over five million people, the source said. Pricing is unclear at this point.

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.”

New incubator seeks out Southeast Asia’s blockchain and bitcoin startups

Kylee McIntyre, writing for Tech in Asia;

If you’re just starting work on a blockchain tech startup in Southeast Asia, there’s a new gateway open to you. Satoshi Studios, a brand-new incubator for Southeast Asia, is seeking startups to whip into shape for its first batch.

Blockchain is not only for Bitcoin but can also be applied to other industries as well and that is probably what Satoshi Studios is looking for startups.

To apply, you can visit https://satoshistudios.typeform.com/to/OtQyzw