Issue 3

Vynn Capital leads $340k seed round in Malaysian e-procurement platform Dropee

Vynn Capital, a Southeast Asia-focused venture capital firm founded by former Gobi executive Victor Chua and Singapore’s Darren Chua, has led a MYR1.4 million ($340,424) seed financing round in Malaysia-based B2B e-procurement marketplace Dropee, according to an official release. 

PT Prasetia Dwidharma, which is a telecommunication infrastructure contractor led by twin brothers Arya Setiadharma and his brother Ardi Setiadharma, also participated in the round. 

Founded in June 2016, Dropee platform connects suppliers with small-to-medium enterprise (SME) business owners in real time to streamline the product fulfillment process and facilitate bulk purchases. 

“Dropee offers practical solutions for offline retailers to optimize their businesses and generate growth for local economies. More than just that, the company is also in a good position to serve a wider audience who are interested in cross-border opportunities. 

This fits with our view that the region will eventually converge into a single unit block of economy,” said Victor Chua, Managing Partner, Vynn Capital. The two-year-old startup is led by co-founders Lennise Ng (CEO) and Aizat Rahim (COO), who are experienced entrepreneurs with backgrounds in e-commerce marketplace and FMCG industries. 

The startup is currently operating in Malaysia, with a focus on the metropolitan areas of Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor. This year, the company aims to increase its business coverage across Malaysia with plans to expand operations in neighbouring countries, including Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam in the near-term future. “From the very beginning, our mission has been to build more meaningful relationships between businesses. 

We believe we are able to achieve so by increasing transparency across the supply chain. Our goal is to build an altogether new kind of supply chain network that is both resilient and responsive,” said Lennise Ng, Co-founder and CEO of Dropee. 

Vynn Capital is an early stage venture capital firm founded with the objective of bridging the gap between traditional industries and the new economies through the development of technology. 

Key industries of focus include travel, property, food and FMCG, female economics as well as business enablers (including logistics and fintech). In May, Vynn Capital led Series A financing of $4 million in Indonesian travel platform Travelio. 

PT Prasetia Dwidharma started to invest in technology startups since 2013 mostly in South East Asia with 60+ portfolio companies up to date.

From – Deal Street Asia

Malaysia’s e-commerce startup Signature Market raises $980k Series A

Malaysia-based e-commerce startup Signature Market has raised 4 million ringgit ($980,000) in a Series A round from local investors including venture capital and multi-family private investment firm RHL Ventures and Axiata Digital Innovation Fund, according to a statement on Thursday. 

Founded by Edwin Wang and John Cheng in 2014, Signature Market is a direct-to-consumer retailer of natural and organic snacks. “Nutritious options have typically been priced out of the reach of many Malaysian consumers, thus limiting their accessibility. 

We decided to back Edwin, John and their team as they’re using technology to create a new and innovative way for people to access healthy snacks, helping Malaysians eat more nutritiously and lead a healthier lifestyle,” said RHL Ventures managing partner Rachel Lau. 

Signature Market claims to have grown its revenue from 1 million ringgit ($240,000) in 2016 to 13.5 million ringgit ($3.3 million) in 2018. The startup said it plans to expand to other parts of Southeast Asia in the future but wants to focus on its home market for now. 

“Consumers today want a healthier lifestyle but do not want to relinquish their comfort food. We’re excited to be working with RHL Ventures as they are sharing their regional network expertise with us to help us scale regionally. However, our focus for now is in Malaysia as we see vast opportunities in the local FMCG sector that we can take advantage of,” said Wang. 

Last week, RHL Ventures announced an undisclosed follow-on investment in Malaysia-based healthcare SaaS platform HealthMetrics. Lau had told DEALSTREETASIA that Malaysia remains a priority to the firm, but the VC will keep a constant lookout for strategic deals across the region.

From – Deal Street Asia

Indonesia’s Bukalapak secures fresh funding from Naver-Mirae Asia Growth Fund

Online marketplace Bukalapak has officially announced fresh funding from the Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund. Reuters cited a Mirae Asset statement that its partnership fund with Naver will invest $50 million in Bukalapak. 

DEALSTREETASIA could not independently identify the statement. “This investment is a co-investment fund collaboration between financial companies and one of the most rapidly growing technology companies in Southeast Asia which also has strong characteristics. Through a variety of strategic collaborations, we will support Bukalapak to continue growing,” said Jikwang Chung, head of new growth investment at Mirae Asset Capital. 

DEALSTREETASIA last week reported that the Indonesian company was set to announce this latest round of funding, with Alibaba’s Ant Financial probably participating as its follow-on investment, along with South Korean internet major Naver. Ant Financial is an existing backer of Bukalapak.

The financial services arm of Alibaba has pushed its business in Indonesia since 2017 when it formed a mobile payment joint venture with Emtek, the largest shareholder of Bukalapak. Singapore’s GIC is also an investor in Bukalapak. 

The Singapore sovereign fund joined a 2017 funding round that valued the e-commerce startup at over $1 billion. Bukalapak said there were more than 2 million daily transactions on its platform. Its transaction revenue in the last quarter already exceeded the 2017 annual revenue. 

The company has to date connected its 50 million users to 4 million small businesses, 500,000 kiosks which joined Mitra Bukalapak and 700,000 independent businesses person across Indonesia. 

Mirae Asset and Naver launched their Asia Growth Fund last year at nearly $1 billion. It has joined the recent $2 billion investment in Grab, led by Toyota.


From – Deal Street Asia


Vietnamese tech startups corner $890m investment in 2018

The Vietnamese technology sector has attracted nearly $890 million in funding in 2018, a three-fold increase from the previous year, according to the latest report from Topica Founder Institute (TFI). 

Deal volume remained flat with the tech space recording 92 transactions in 2018, same as the number in 2017. The top 10 deals contributed $734 million to the total tally, including big-ticket funding for Topica Edtech Group, the operator of (TFI), by private equity firm Northstar, e-commerce player Sendo and the $100-million IPO of media company Yeah1, as well as other undisclosed investments. Fintech, e-commerce, travel tech, logistics and edtech attracted the lion’s share of the funding, TFI said. 

In the ride-hailing market, local players including FastGo, Vato and the recently announced Be Group also closed investments to challenge regional companies Grab and Go-Jek. Be is understood to have snapped up a large round, said to be running into hundreds of millions of US dollars. 

While seed to Series A investments still accounted for the majority of the funding landscape, the number of acquisitions and pre-IPO deals slightly increased over the period to 9 transactions. The funding environment has seen an increasing participation from homegrown venture capital firms, which announced their pool of $500 million of late, including Vingroup Ventures (a planned $300 million fund), VinaCapital Ventures ($100 million), VietCapital Ventures, Startup Viet Partners, Teko Ventures and several undisclosed groups of VCs. 

Meanwhile, existing local VC funds like ESP Capital, 500 Startups and VIISA continued to ramp up their activities with 32 deals closed in 2018, representing 60 per cent of the total pre-seed and seed investments. 2018 was also a significant milestone for the Vietnam startup ecosystem as the country had a tech listing which marked the biggest exit in the industry. 

TFI said VinaCapital reaped $127 million on the initial $3 million investment. Vietnamese startups attracted $291 million funding in 2017, up 42 per cent over 2016, per TFI data.

From – Deal Street Asia

SoftBank backs $44m funding in South Korean car-sharing startup SoCar

SoCar, a South Korean car-sharing company, has raised $44 million (about 50 billion won) in a new round of funding from Altos Ventures, KB Investment, Stonebridge Ventures, and SoftBank Ventures, The Investor reported. 

SoCar will use the fresh funding to invest in research and development to offer better mobility services through its platform, the report added. The development comes less than a year after SoCar received an investment of $57 million from local private equity firm IMM Private Equity in April 2018. 

The funds raised then were used for, among other things, acquiring messenger app startup VCNC and launching van-sharing service Tada. The startup’s last publicly known funding was in 2015 when it raised an $18-million round of financing led by Bain Capital. 

It later raised another $56 million in November 2015. The latest funding brings the startup’s total funding to $174.1 million across four rounds till date, according to CrunchBase data. 

Founded in 2012, SoCar offers its services via a website and mobile app. It is the largest car-sharing company in South Korea, boasting approximately 3,200 car rental zones, 8,500 vehicles and 3.6 million registered users. Its closest competitor, Greencar, has around 2,800 rental locations, 6,000 vehicles and 2.5 million registered users. 

In 2018, SoCar launched its services in Malaysia by establishing 120 zones with 240 cars in the country.


From – Deal Street Asia
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