99.co acquires UrbanIndo, an Indonesian property portal with 1.2M listings

Kevin McSpadden, writing for E27;

99.co, a Singapore-based real estate portal, announced today it has acquired UrbanIndo.com, an Indonesian property website with 1.2 million listings. The financial details of the deal were undisclosed.

The thing with these real estate portal or property listings, its more of a recognition brand thing. One property listing website may be very popular in one particular country but to another it’s unknown. That is why we see a lot of acquisition in this space.

One good example is Sulit.com.ph, since sulit is very popular in the Philippines, rather than competing directly with Sulit, Nasper just acquired Sulit and AyosDito.Ph to get to top spot. If they did decide to compete directly with Sulit and other local classified listings, I’m not sure if OLX be able to dominate the market like how they dominate now and probably will just be number 2 or 3 to Sulit.Ph and AyosDito.Ph.

Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing to launch bike-sharing brand

Sainul Abudheen K, writing for e27;

Didi Chuxing, one of the largest ride-sharing companies in the world, today said it will launch a bike-sharing brand.

The company has already launched a bike-sharing feature within its app, which hosts its partner brands such as Ofo.

Didi is an investor in Ofo, which recently raised US$700 million in Series E funding round led by Alibaba.

The ride-hailing giant has also signed a partnership to host Bluegogo, another bike-sharing platform. As per some reports, Didi is also an investor in Bluegogo.

Philippines’s payments solutions firm SALPay partners with Unionbank to develop blockchain wallet; raises US$7M via ICO

Sainul Abudheen K, writing for e27;

Payroll solutions company Salarium Payments (SALPay) has partnered with Unionbank of the Philippines to use the latter’s digital banking platform EON to develop its blockchain wallet SALPay 3.0.

SALPay will create a co-branded Visa card programme connected to the wallet.

And;

SALPay is currently in the process of raising US$20 million via initial coin offering (ICO). With just three days left, the company has already raised around US$7.1 million.

It’s just a matter of time before financial institutions uses blockchain technology with their respective platform. Since blockchain have been proven to be a secured and effective way of recording transactions.

Another corruption scandal hits Huawei with its top executive suspected of bribery

TechNode, contributing to e27;

The executive vice president of Huawei’s consumer business group Greater China, Teng Hongfei, has been taken away by the public security, according to people familiar with the matter. Once a recipient of the highest management honor granted by Huawei, Teng is under investigation for corruption charges, Caijing has reported (in Chinese).

Sogou files for US$600M US IPO

TechNode, contributing for e27;

Sogou, the search engine subsidiary of Sohu, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise up to US$600 million via an IPO on the NYSE on Friday night Beijing time. Shares in Sohu closed up that day on the news. Its stock code will be SOGO.

Taizo Son’s Mistletoe leads US$3.5M funding in venture investment platform Hatcher+

Sainul Abudheen K, writing for e27;

Hatcher+, a Singapore-based data-driven venture investment platform, has raised US$3.5 million in funding, led by Taizo Son’s (brother of SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son) Mistletoe group, ahead of the upcoming launch of its US$125 million data-driven VC fund.

The funds raised will be used to expand Hatcher+’s research and development (R&D) efforts, and further develop its global co-investment network.

VCs-backed Indian foodtech startup Yumist shuts down as it failed to raise follow-on funding

Sainul Abudheen K, writing for e27;

Yumist, a VCs-backed foodtech startup that offered home-style meals to Indian customers, has wounded up operations, as it failed to raise follow-on funding and also due to “a bunch of internal and external factors”.

The development indicates that the turbulent period, which saw many leading startups including foodpanda and TinyOwl either scale down or shut down business in 2015-16, is not over yet.

It’s sad to see a startup to shutdown, they have a great concept but the execution is a bit clunky and just like what they said on their blog post, they were not able to recover fast enough.

Here’s the full text of their farewell blogpost;

It’s been a fabulous journey, but…

When we gave birth to Yumist in 2014, we had a singular vision in mind – to make honest, homely food available conveniently at affordable prices. We wanted to build the go-to food brand for the daily meals market in India, a fragmented market serviced largely by unorganised players offering sub-standard food.

From the very beginning, we knew that our biggest challenge will be finding a business model that’s profitably scalable. We tried multiple iterations across our supply chain to achieve this. There was a time in early 2015 when our bikers had hot meals with them basis a demand prediction algorithm and orders were delivered within 15 mins. We delivered one such order in 2 mins and the customer’s expression was priceless, but our P&L had a different sort of expression.

The one thing going in our favour was we learnt and recovered from our mistakes quickly. By March 2017, we had hit the sweet spot. We were making Rs 65 in margins per order at an average order value of Rs 190 (an avg order for us would serve 2 people), our delivery outlets were breaking even at just 70 orders a day, we were acquiring new customers at Rs 180 and recovering back this money within 45 days. Owing to our product quality and customer experience, we enjoyed good word of mouth (with 50% of our new customers coming through referrals), 70% of our monthly orders were from repeat customers and from March until September we tripled our revenues and gross margins. With these trends, Yumist would have become a profitable company by June 2018.

Yet, we are shutting shop today. We failed to raise the kind of capital that this business required while staying true to the customer problem. In hindsight, there’s a bunch of internal and external factors that led us to this dead end.

From launching in a second city prematurely, or committing to a high growth, high burn model just because prospective investors wanted to see that back in 2015, or taking a tad bit too long to find the right business model, we made our mistakes. We learnt from these mistakes and recovered fast, but maybe not too fast.

Also, every company has a context in which it operates – the economic climate, investor sentiment, the sector one operates in. Essentially, there are external factors which one can’t really control. 2016 onwards, food tech (in the manner the term is loosely used) had amassed a notoriety with investors and media and became almost a dirty word. We failed in all our attempts to fundraise since then, as investors wanted to wait it out.

At this juncture, some questions haunt us. Had we built Yumist in a different time, would the outcome be different? Would we then have raised enough capital allowing us to build this same business profitably across the Country? Maybe yes, maybe no. We will never know.

What we do know is this. Cloud Kitchens are here to stay. It’s probably the case that the first one through the door gets shot. The problem we were trying to solve is a big one and we are certain someone will pick up from where we left. Our wishes and support are with them.

In hindsight, we have no complaints and, in fact, are proud entrepreneurs today. Building Yumist gave us the opportunity to work with great minds, work at the cutting edge of food science and technology in all its facets, and create frameworks and supply chains we believe will become industry standards in the near future. The thrill and meaningfulness of the journey supersede any destination we might have hoped to reach.

PS. If you have a Wallet balance with us, you will receive an email shortly with the refund process. You can reach us at support@yumist.com anytime.

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!!

Google to buy part of HTC smartphone team – namely the Pixel team — for US$1.1B

Yon Heong Tung, writing for e27;

Google has announced it will spend US$1.1 billion to acquire part of HTC’s smartphone division. This will include many employees who are currently developing Google’s Pixel line of smartphones.

As part of the agreement, Google will get a non-exclusive license to HTC’s intellectual property.

Unlike with the Motorola deal, where Google is more interested in Motorola’s patent portfolio, this appears to more of an “acqui-hire”, for the search giant to get designers and hardware engineers for their own smartphones.

It’s a step closer for Google to be more like Apple, where they control both the hardware and software of their smartphones.

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?

ASUS teams up with Fenox VC to launch US$50M fund, aiming for technologically strong startups

Anisa Menur A. Maulani, writing for e27;

Taiwanese computer hardware and mobile phone giant ASUS today announced a partnership with Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Fenox Venture Capital (Fenox VC) to launch a US$50 million fund for tech companies.

The partnership will serve as a gateway for ASUS to access startups through the VC’s network. In turn, ASUS will collaborate with the startups and provide them with access to the greater Asian and global markets.

The fund will focus on startups in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), internet-of-things (IoT), big data, cloud, and AR/VR.

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.

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.

Uber reportedly picks Expedia CEO as its new CEO

Anisa Menur A. Maulani, writing for e27;

Ride-hailing giant Uber has appointed Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as the company’s new CEO, according to a Reuters report.

Newly appointed Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, on his first day, will have a lot on its plate. Fixing first the sexism culture in the company and second the problem in the Philippines, hopefully!

Whatfix raises US$3.7M Series A to allow businesses to create interactive help guides on websites

Sainul Abudheen K, reporting for E27;

Whatfix, a SaaS startup that allows enterprises to create interactive help guides on their websites, has raised INR 24 crore (US$3.7 million) in Series A round of funding, led by Indian VC firm Stellaris Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors Helion Venture Partners and Powerhouse Ventures.

Marquee angels, including Gokul Rajaram (Product Engineering Lead at Square), Girish Mathrubootham (Freshdesk CEO), Aneesh Reddy (Capillary Technologies CEO) and US-based investor Vispi Daver, have also joined the round.

Grab inks Kudo acquisition agreement, appoints new head of cashless payments solution

Anisa Menur A. Maulani, reporting for E27;

Rumours have been circulating around Indonesian startup communities since February 2017 that Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant Grab has acquired Indonesian O2O e-commerce platform Kudo.

After a period of silence, today Grab finally confirmed that it has signed an agreement to acquire Kudo.

This acquisition will surely help Grab Pay gain more ground.

iflix raises over US$90M to be the Netflix of Asia, Middle East and Africa

Yon Heong Tung, reporting for E27;

Kuala Lumpur-based Internet TV service iflix has raised over US$90 million from Liberty Global, an international TV and broadband company; Zain, a Middle Eastern and Africa telco; and a private consumer business investment management firm in Africa.

iflix had partnered with Zain last month to launch ‘iflix Arabia’ in the MENA region.

iflix appears to be expanding to market where Netflix has little or no presence at all.

Myanmar’s MyPay in serious talks to acquire Singapore’s Fastacash; Co-founder rejoins board after absence

Kevin McSpadden, writing for E27;

Two Southeast Asian payment companies that specialise in using social media to facilitate money transfers are in serious acquisition talks and expect the deal to be done in the coming months.

The Singaporean online payment company fastacash has been approached with an acquisition offer from Myanmar’s MyPay and are moving forward with the deal, fastacash General Manager Mark Carter told e27.

The deal has been approved by Fastacash shareholders and is expected to be completed in the next 60-90 days.

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.