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Tag Archives: southeast

Sea seeks $400M raise to develop its e-commerce and payment businesses

Southeast Asia-based internet firm Sea is raising $400 million through the sale of notes in what would be its first fundraising activity since it went public via in an October 2017 IPO that raised over $1 billion . The Singapore-based company, formerly known as Garena, said that the senior note offering will put toward general costs and business expansion. Long-time investor Tencent is expected to buy up $50 million of the notes on offer, and the offering itself could be extended by a further $60 million. Sea’s IPO was a landmark for Southeast Asia, where startup exits are few and far between, but the company hasn’t exactly set Wall Street on fire since making its public bow. Its share price is $16.40 at the time of writing, having debuted at $15. It has risen thanks to gains over the past month following its most recent earnings but initially the company spent a lot of time priced under $15. Sea share price, via Yahoo Finance So what got investors excited? In short, signs of growth. Revenue for Q1 jumped 81 percent year-on-year as its Shopee e-commerce service doubled its GMV and the firm’s AirPay payment unit quadrupled its transaction volume, but ultimately the business remains unprofitable. Losses jumped from $73 million to $216 million and Sea’s cost of revenue more than doubled, indicating that it is still chasing growth for its businesses. While AirPay and Shopee, which competes with the likes of Alibaba-owned Lazada for the attention of Southeast Asia’s 600 million consumers, are growing, the same can’t be said of Sea’s main business. It rose to prominence selling games via its Garena service, with Tencent a particular ally here, but that business is seeing new user growth flatten and and revenue gains slow. It makes sense that Sea is playing up its digital business since the big opportunity in Southeast Asia is e-commerce, as evidenced by Alibaba’s recent double-down on Lazada — which it first bought a majority stake in for $1 billion in 2016 .

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Southeast Asia’s Grab lands $1B from Toyota at a $10B valuation

Grab, the ride-hailing firm that acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia business earlier this year, is raising a new round of funding and it just announced that it will be led by Toyota, which is committing $1 billion in capital. The deal values Grab at over $10 billion, a source close to the company told TechCrunch. In return for its capital, Toyota will also get a board seat and the opportunity to place an executive within Grab’s team. Grab said it plans to work with its new investor “to create a more efficient transport network that will ease traffic congestion in Southeast Asia’s megacities” and help its drivers increase their income. In particular, that will involve close collaboration with the Toyota Mobility Service Platform (MSPF), which is working on areas such as user-based insurance, new types of financial packages and predictive car maintenance. “Going forward, together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia,” said Toyota executive vice president Shigeki Tomoyama in a statement. Toyota put money into Grab via its Next Technology Fund last year , but this time around the capital comes directly from the parent company. Hyundai is another automotive firm that has backed Grab . The new round follows a $2.5 billion investment that was jointly led by SoftBank and China’s Didi, two long-time investors put an initial $2 billion up for the round  last year. That round quietly closed at the start of 2018, Grab has confirmed but so far it hasn’t said who put up the additional money. The company’s valuation had been $6 billion but, unsurprisingly since the Uber deal, it has jumped by a further $4 billion based on Toyota’s investment

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Target expands its Shipt and Drive Up services across the Midwest and Southeast

Target this morning announced it’s expanding its same-day shipping and pickup services, Drive Up and Shipt, across the Midwestern U.S. and the Southeast. The expansion will bring Shipt, its Instacart competitor for same-day grocery delivery and pickup, to more than 135 markets in the U.S. by the end of this month. Meanwhile, Target’s Drive Up curbside pickup service will reach more than 600 stores in 20 states this week, as a result of the expansion. The news follows on Target’s earlier commitment to expand these services to stores nationwide by the 2018 holidays. In total, the retailer says these current expansions will bring the shipping and pickup services to “tens of millions” of Target shoppers. The company also offered a brief update on its other delivery and pickup services, Target Restock, a next-day essentials delivery service, and delivery of store purchases, which is available to select stores in urban markets where hauling home larger purchases without a vehicle is difficult. Restock will reach more than 135 markets by the end of June, allowing Target online customers to stock up on household items like laundry detergent, trash bags, diapers, packaged foods, beauty and health needs, and more, then take delivery the next day. The service competes with Amazon’s Prime Pantry, which quietly introduced a $4.99 monthly subscription fee earlier in 2018 for Prime members who don’t want to pay the otherwise $7.99 flat shipping fee on their orders of $40 or more. Target Restock, however, became free for Target REDcard purchases and $2.99 for all other orders back in May, undercutting Amazon. Meanwhile, Shipt and Drive Up’s availability will often overlap as the two expand to Target stores across the U.S

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Target expands its Shipt and Drive Up services across the Midwest and Southeast

Target this morning announced it’s expanding its same-day shipping and pickup services, Drive Up and Shipt, across the Midwestern U.S. and the Southeast. The expansion will bring Shipt, its Instacart competitor for same-day grocery delivery and pickup, to more than 135 markets in the U.S. by the end of this month. Meanwhile, Target’s Drive Up curbside pickup service will reach more than 600 stores in 20 states this week, as a result of the expansion. The news follows on Target’s earlier commitment to expand these services to stores nationwide by the 2018 holidays. In total, the retailer says these current expansions will bring the shipping and pickup services to “tens of millions” of Target shoppers. The company also offered a brief update on its other delivery and pickup services, Target Restock, a next-day essentials delivery service, and delivery of store purchases, which is available to select stores in urban markets where hauling home larger purchases without a vehicle is difficult. Restock will reach more than 135 markets by the end of June, allowing Target online customers to stock up on household items like laundry detergent, trash bags, diapers, packaged foods, beauty and health needs, and more, then take delivery the next day. The service competes with Amazon’s Prime Pantry, which quietly introduced a $4.99 monthly subscription fee earlier in 2018 for Prime members who don’t want to pay the otherwise $7.99 flat shipping fee on their orders of $40 or more.

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Ride-hailing firm Grab launches new venture to back startups in Southeast Asia

Grab, the ride-hailing firm that acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia business, is aiming to catalyze the early-stage startup scene in Southeast Asia after it launched an accelerator and investment unit called Grab Ventures. The six-year-old company has already made investments and acquisitions — backing startups like Drive.ai and buying Indonesia’s Kudo and India-based iKaaz  — and Grab Ventures will build on that by making 8-10 investments over the coming 24 month period, but it is also offering different kind of support. The firm will offer an accelerator program for “growth-stage” companies and play a hand incubating new services inside Grab, according to Chris Yeo, Head of Grab Ventures. That accelerator effort — called ‘Velocity’ — will launch its first intake before the end of the year with around four to six companies per batch. “It’s time for us to reflect on the tremendous support we’ve seen over the years and give back to the community,” he told TechCrunch in an interview. “We have a responsibility to empower the next generation of startups in Southeast Asia. We have a strong belief in taking a partnership approach, we know we can’t do it alone.” On the partner side, Grab has recruited Singapore government agencies Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) and Enterprise SG to aid its efforts. Taken together, Grab said it is aiming to help build an ecosystem of companies in Southeast Asia, a region of over 600 million consumers where the internet economy is tipped to grow from $50 billion per year in 2017 to over $200 billion by 2025, according to a recent report authored by Google . Ride-hailing as a segment is forecast to rise to $20 billion by 2025 up from $5 billion last year. Grab believes that now it has reached scale with over 100 million downloads and more than 200 cities, the firm can help other startups rise up. “Our object is to build new startups inside Grab and scale existing promising growth-stage startups

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Go-Jek officially announces Southeast Asia expansion to fill void left by Uber’s exit

There’s good news for consumers in Southeast Asia who are feeling the void after Uber left the region. That’s because Go-Jek, the Indonesia-based ride-hailing company backed by Google, Tencent and others , has officially announced plans to move into four new markets. Go-Jek said today it will move into Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines initially offering ride-hailing but with plans to additional services, including on-demand shopping and services, over time. The company began offering a bike taxi service in Indonesia but has moved to taxis, private cars, mobile payments, food delivery and services like massages on-demand. The firm said it will invest $500 million on the expansion plans, which have been rumored for some months. In a slight twist to the likes of Uber and Grab, Go-Jek said it plans to operate via a partner-led approach that will allow its local entities to “determine their own brands and identities to ensure good traction in each new market.” “We believe the best way for us to expand internationally is by partnering with talented local teams who share our vision and know exactly what will work best in their home countries,” Go-Jek CEO and founder Nadiem Makarim said in a statement. “Our role will be to act as advisors, giving the new companies the benefit of our operational and development experience so they can take the spirit with which we created Go-Jek and find the best way to achieve that locally,” Makarim added. Go-Jek’s expansion plans have been ongoing in various forms since early 2018, TechCrunch understands, but they began to take shape and were expedited when rival Grab announced the acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia business  in March. As TechCrunch reported last month , Go-Jek has managed to take advantage of uncertainties around that deal to hire a number of former Uber staff, who were supposed to transition over to Grab as part of the deal but were either not comfortable making the move or were uncertain after communications broke down following Uber’s departure. Go-Jek has also been in talks with Comfort Del Gro , Singapore’s largest taxi operator which had previously partnered with Uber, but it isn’t clear whether those talks have born fruit just yet.

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Jirnexu pulls in $11M for its financial comparison service in Southeast Asia

It’s been a busy week for startup funding in Southeast Asia. Following big deals for Carro and Carousell , financial comparison startup Jirnexu is the latest to announce new capital after it closed an $11 million Series B round. The new investment comes courtesy of Japan’s SBI Group — a returning investor which led the round having co-led Carro’s $60 million raise — alongside new backer SIG Asia Investments. The deal takes  Jirnexu to $17 million from investors to date. The startup was founded in 2012 and it is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It operates financial comparison services in its native Malaysia (‘ RinggitPlus ‘) and in Indonesia, under the ‘ KreditGoGo ‘ brand, that aggregate offerings from banks and financial companies that include Citibank, HSBC, Standard Chartered, and UOB. In short, the company acts as a user acquisition channel for financial organizations that want to reach consumers and maintain a dialogue with them. In recent years, Jirnexu has gone beyond basic banking products to offer insurance and e-policies, while it has introduced chatbots in conjunction with five financial organizations to help ease the process of sign-up and selection for their customers. “Our core focus is to  become the only band of services a consumer needs for their personal finance and money,” Jirnexu CEO Yuen Tuck Siew, who founded the company after returning home from a decade in the UK,  told TechCrunch in an interview. “Two years ago, it was all about banking, particularly secure credit, now we’ve announced live quotes for insurance and we’ll be adding more insurance products.” In particular, the startup is focused on consumer digital identification and eKYC that will help it to tailor suggested packages more accurately for consumers. Jirnexu has raised new funding in 2016 and 2017, but Siew said this newest round gives significant runway that will allow it to focus on longer-term strategies with more clarity than before. “We can now plan multiple years ahead which is absolutely essential with what we can do. No matter how longterm you want to think, when you need to raise money regularly you’re always looking at KPIs. Now we can plan and invest in projects that can really have a huge impact for customers,” he explained.

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Southeast Asia e-commerce startup iPrice raises $4M led by chat app Line’s VC arm

iPrice , a service that aggregates Southeast Asia’s e-commerce websites in a single destination, has pulled in new funding led by messaging app Line’s VC arm, Line Ventures. The round is officially undisclosed, but TechCrunch understands from a source close to negotiations that it is worth around $4 million. Existing iPrice backers Cento Ventures  (formerly known as Digital Media Partners) and Venturra Capital also took part in this round. iPrice, which has its HQ in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, previously raised a $4 million Series A in late 2016 . Today’s investment takes the startup to $9.7 million raised overall. The company was started in 2015 in response to the growing number of e-commerce companies in Southeast Asia, and in particular the increasing number of vertical-specific options. Even though there are some giants, such as Alibaba’s Lazada , the region has a number of smaller players that can struggle for visibility. iPrice was initially a coupon site, before pivoting into an aggregation model which essentially acts as a destination for shoppers to then go on and purchase items from e-commerce retailers. In a way, it is much like flight booking sites — such as Skyscanner — which ask a customer where they want to go before scouring the web for the best travel deals. iPrice does this for e-commerce in Southeast Asia. It hopes that simplifying things through a single destination portal can make it the go-to online buying site for the region, which now has over 330 million internet users — more than the population of the U.S

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India’s Jugnoo adopts a unique take on ride-hailing to help fill Singapore’s Uber void

Another contender is throwing its hat into the ring to replace Uber in Southeast Asia after India’s Jugnoo, a startup that specializes in offering autorickshaws on-demand in India, revealed it plans to enter Singapore. Uber announced its exit from Southeast Asia last month in a deal that sees Grab buy its regional business, and since then a number of companies have stepped into the void. Those include $4 billion-valued heavyweight Go-Jek, which has held talks with top taxi operator ComfortDelGro , and newer names like  Ryde  and U.S.-based  Arcade City , but Jugnoo is perhaps even less expected. Away from the main stage fight between Ola and Uber in India, Jugnoo has quietly buckled down and built a business that founder and CEO Samar Singla told TechCrunch is profitable with around 10 percent of the country’s e-hailing volumes. Key to that, he said, has been a focus on more rural areas of the country and its B2B logistics service. Uber briefly ran a competing service in 2015 , while Ola is pushing its rickshaw offerings towards electric vehicles . Jugnoo plans to take a unique approach in Singapore, where it will launch a car-on-demand service that uses a “reverse-bidding” model. That’s a play on bidding systems — which incentivize passengers to offer a tip to land a driver for their requested journey — that instead lets drivers jostle to ‘win’ a passenger’s journey. So a user makes a request to go from A to B, and then picks the driver with the price — or perhaps car, or driver rating — that they prefer. “Drivers will bid so we hope it will be beneficial to consumers,” Singla said in an interview, admitting that the system may need to be fine-tuned further down the line. “Singapore customers are open, educated and understanding of startup models.” Jugnoo founder and CEO Samar Singla The company was lured to Singapore as part of a government initiative to contact potential ride-hailing services post Uber- Grab . Jugnoo claims to have signed up over 100 drivers in the past two days, and it is aiming to grow that number to at least 500 before the service launches. “If we say we will go and compete with Uber, Grab, Didi and others on their home turf and with their money, that would be quite stupid,” the Jugnoo CEO explained. “We think this could be a decent niche. Our goal is around 10 percent market share and to be a sustainable company.” The opportunistic move will be Jugnoo’s first expansion outside of India.

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Insurance giant Allianz confirms $35M investment in Asian ride-sharing unicorn Go-Jek

German insurance giant Allianz is following Google and Tencent by backing Go-Jek , the Indonesia-based ride-hailing and local services company valued at over $4.5 billion, after it announced an investment. The money comes from Allianz X , the firm’s digital investment arm, which confirmed it put in $35 million in what is its first deal in Southeast Asia. The group has previously backed startups like European challenger bank N26 (alongside Tencent) , and emerging market micro-insurance service provider Bima . Allianz participated in an estimated $1.5 billion Go-Jek funding round that includes participation from the likes of Google, Tencent, Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, China-based delivery service Meituan and others. The round opened last year when Tencent , the $500 billion Chinese firm, made an investment, but we understand that it is now closed at a valuation that exceeds $4.5 billion. Go-Jek has yet to officially announce or confirm the funding, however. Go-Jek and Allianz have had a relationship for the past two years, with Allianz Indonesia supporting the company by offering health insurance for Go-Jek drivers and their families. The insurance company said it has plans to “increase access to insurance products and services” for Go-Jek partners and customers. That makes sense given that Go-Jek is moving into financial services products in Indonesia. “Go-Jek has demonstrated a track record of success within the transportation, logistics and payment sectors and we look forward to supporting their continued growth,” Nazim Cetin, CEO of Allianz X, said in a statement. Hot on the heels of Grab’s acquisition of Uber Southeast Asia , Go-Jek is working to move into four new marks during April.

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