Marketing Featured APAC

TotallyAwesome’s US$10m funding to double down on programmatic offerings

Singapore – TotallyAwesome, a digital advertising network for kids, teens, and families–has recently announced its fundraising efforts amounting to US$10m, which the company will use to expand its proprietary data-driven managed and programmatic offerings.

The funding round was led by San Francisco-based Partners For Growth and Singapore-based boutique investment growth advisory firm Yefira Group.

TotallyAwesome will also use the funding to solidify its position in a space where it has first-mover advantage, while expanding its footprint across key strategic markets such as Indonesia, Philippines, Japan and Australia.

The ad network enables a youth-safe digital ecosystem by curating the largest supply of media inventory for brands to engage with more than 500 million monthly active under 18-users across APAC, safely. 

Will Anstee, CEO of TotallyAwesome, said, “It gives me great confidence that ‘Venture Capital for good’ is gaining greater traction in our world at large and TotallyAwesome met that brief for both institutions. Additionally, the importance of cultural fit was at the top of my list when looking for both equity and debt partners. To this end, both PFG and the Yefira Group are a perfect match. Exciting times ahead.”

The investment marks the company’s second major announcement in recent weeks, having previously unveiled TotallyPlay, the industry’s largest brand safe gaming platform for brands to engage with Asia-Pacific’s 450 million plus under-18 gamers.

Through this new funding round, the company aims to rewrite the current brand value exchange in the APAC region – by investing in product development to evolve its enterprise advertising platform, ramp up hiring across its sales, data science and machine learning teams, as well as exploring strategic mergers and acquisitions to accelerate growth.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

TNG Digital’s RM750m funding round to expand digital financial services

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – TNG Digital, owner and operator of Touch ‘n Go eWallet, has raised RM750m from its latest equity funding, which will be used to expand its digital financial services.

The equity funding was made through an investment by the Lazada Group, as well as from its parent company Touch ‘n Go Group. This new investment solidifies the collaboration between key segment leaders, one in e-commerce and one in digital financial services and payments.

Effendy Shahul Hamid, group chief executive officer at Touch ‘n Go Group, said, “I’m extremely pleased to welcome Lazada to the Touch ‘n Go eWallet family. We feel this collaboration will bring next-level value propositions to users and merchant bases across the Lazada and Touch ‘n Go ecosystem. I look forward to seeing the teams roll out these exciting collaboration opportunities to our users.”

Meanwhile, Alan Chan, chief executive officer at Lazada Malaysia, commented, “We see digital payment services as a critical bolt-on to bring the best customer experience on Lazada. Lazada is fully committed to providing a seamless customer journey, as well as being a catalyst to stimulate capacity building among our sellers, primarily local SMEs and MSMEs.” 

He added, “Our long-standing partnership with Touch ‘n Go eWallet has served our customers well, allowing buyers to check out easily and quickly. Today’s announcement fortifies that partnership and we are excited by the prospects it presents for both our companies.”

Platforms Featured East Asia

AnyMind’s ¥4b funding to strengthen e-commerce enablement 

Singapore – Japan-based end-to-end commerce enablement company AnyMind has raised ¥4b in funding, around US$91.7m, to strengthen the company’s advancement in the e-commerce enablement space and fund future acquisitions.

The Series D funds were raised from new investors including JIC Venture Growth Investments, Japan Post Investment Corporation, Nomura SPARX Investment, and PROTO Ventures Inc., along with existing investor Mitsubishi UFJ Capital.

In addition, the funds raised will be used for future acquisitions both in Japan and internationally. To date, AnyMind Group has acquired seven companies from various parts of the region including Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and India. The reasons to make these acquisitions were either to acqui-hire a company’s leadership, expand into new businesses or regions, acquire additional sales channels, or all three. 

Kosuke Sogo, CEO and co-founder of AnyMind Group, said, “Despite COVID-19 and geopolitical situations impacting the world, we have still been able to achieve solid growth as a business. On the other hand, we are seeing economies across Asia, including our operating markets of ASEAN and India, rapidly regaining growth momentum.” 

He added, “We will continue to grow our business at a pace that matches our ambitions, look towards expanding our capabilities through M&A, and strengthen our investment and profit structure for growth, as we continue to become the next-generation infrastructure for commerce in Asia.”

In March this year, the company launched AnyChat, a conversational commerce platform, and in April, the company launched e-commerce management platform AnyX, which optimises e-commerce operations through central management of multiple e-commerce channels. Funds from this round will be used to further enhance existing platforms and strengthen market share across the company’s operating regions. 

On the company’s various business and product movements, Sogo said, “We will continue to make it exciting for everyone to do business by enhancing and expanding our innovations that form the infrastructure for the next generation of commerce. Over the years we have developed platforms across the end-to-end spectrum of commerce that can be used individually, and can now also be used as part of an integrated suite of tools to deliver more effective and efficient commerce for businesses.” 

He added, “We are just at the start of our journey, as we power some of the most exciting enterprises and forward-thinking publishers and influencers in this part of the world.”

SME Featured Southeast Asia

HitPay to continue building payment gateway service for SEA SMEs through latest funding

Singapore – Small-and-medium enterprise (SME) payments platform HitPay has raised US$15.75m to continue building its payment gateway service for SMEs in Southeast Asia. The funding round was led by Tiger Global and joined by returning investors Global Founders Capital and HOF Capital.

With the capital raised, HitPay will continue to build a leading payments infrastructure platform — with unique SME-friendly features including support for local and international payment methods, best-in-class business software, and integrations with accounting and e-commerce platforms.

HitPay’s range of payment solutions — including local and cross-border payment acceptance and payouts, an online store platform, POS software with card readers, plugins, and payment links — help resource-strapped SMEs improve their payment gateways.

Aditya Haripurkar, CEO and co-founder at HitPay, said, “We are thrilled to have the backing of incredible investors in our mission to empower SMEs with easy, accessible digital payments. SMEs are still underserved, with limited resources and poor access to affordable payment services. With our Series A funding, HitPay can continue to support the unique needs of our merchants, and build the best payment gateway for small businesses.”

HitPay is now available in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, the US, Europe, and the UAE — and is poised to serve new markets in Southeast Asia in the coming months.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Indonesian insurtech Qoala bags US$65m in series B funding to continue growth momentum

Jakarta, Indonesia – Qoala, an Indonesian insurtech startup, has announced that it has successfully raised US$ 65 million in Series B funding with Eurazeo, a European investment firm who led this round and joined by MassMutual Ventures and Sequoia Capital India, to strengthen Qoala’s commitment to make insurance accessible, easy to understand, and help consumers better with their claims.

Having grown 30 times since the Series A round in April 2020, Qoala is the fastest growing insurtech in SEA. Qoala has acquired over 50,000 insurance marketers and provides a platform supported by over 50 insurers for them to sell insurance from multiple insurers, while managing pre-sale and post-sale services. It also provides several innovative micro-insurance products through its partnerships with Traveloka, Redbus, DANA, JD.ID, Shopee, Kredivo and Investree amongs’t others.

Tommy Martin, co-founder and COO of Qoala, said that Qoala is the only insurtech with licenses in three markets in SEA and with this new round they are optimistic in sustaining our growth momentum.

“Our business in Thailand has also already grown by three times since we joined forces with FairDee in February 2021, which gives us confidence in our expansion capability,” said Martin.

Tara Reeves, managing director of Eurazeo, shared, “Qoala stands out amongst the insurtech companies due to its diverse team which has been able to deliver rapid growth with promising unit economics despite the pandemic. With regional presence and fast growth forecasted for the region, we are excited to lead this round and join Qoala in its journey.”

Qoala sets itself apart through a tech stack which enables them to offer industry-leading speed in policy issuance, instant pricing as well as an industry first – instant commissions to insurance marketers. These innovations not only solve very key issues for insurance marketers and consumers but also allow Qoala to acquire and service consumers at a lower cost, leading to superior unit economics. Global insurers like Sompo, AXA, and Chubb have also joined Qoala’s platform due to their focus on retail customers so they can fasten insurance adoption while maintaining healthy loss ratios.

The funding also demonstrates appreciation and trust from both Qoala’s existing and new investors to continue its growth in the insurtech sector. 

Meanwhile, Harshet Lunani, founder and CEO of Qoala, commented, “We will continue to invest towards scaling up Qoala’s reach in our core markets and focus on enhancing our technology and product experience to greatly reduce the hurdles to accessing insurance that are today still very significant,” said Harshet Lunani, Founder and CEO of Qoala.

Furthermore, Qoala aims to add over 250 employees this year focus on building out an engineering and product management hub in Gurugram, India. In parallel, Qoala also plans to grant employees with equity compensation and give them the right to acquire shares in the company to strengthen employee ownership in the company.

“Insurance penetration in Indonesia is currently only 2%, far behind the global average of 6%, with most consumers just beginning to understand the value of insurance and hence there is plenty of room for growth. Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia are amongst the top 10 fastest growing global markets for insurance in the next decade,” Harshet adds.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Fintech Trusting Social nabs US$65m funding to further offer services in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam – AI-powered fintech Trusting Social has raised US$65m funding from The Sherpa Company, a subsidiary of Masan Group Corporation, to offer customised retail and consumer financial products to serve 27 million families in Vietnam.

In addition, the strategic collaboration between the two entities will provide access to personalised fintech solutions for Masan’s consumers by combining Masan’s offline-to-online vision with Trusting Social’s ability to democratise financial services. 

It will also enable Masan to drive efficiencies in its core business by leveraging Trusting Social’s AI capabilities in areas as diverse as retail store selection, demand and supply planning, as well as product assortment and development.

Nguyen Nguyen, founder and CEO at Trusting Social, said, “I am proud that a Vietnamese team has created an innovative credit scoring artificial intelligence and machine learning platform that financial institutions across Asia are utilising to serve their consumers better. Our partnership with Masan is exciting since we broaden our platform from credit access to a total consumer life solution. Masan and Trusting Social have the same belief that Vietnam can create transformation and disruption on par with global peers.”

Meanwhile, Danny Le, CEO at Masan Group, commented, “Walmart has invested heavily to develop an AI and ML platform and has leveraged it to become the leading offline and online daily, consumer life platform. The Trusting Social partnership provides Masan a similar cutting edge AI and ML platform but tailored for 100 million Vietnamese consumers. Our job together now is to develop it from a pure credit scoring use case to a holistic consumer engine.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Indonesian fintech JULO’s US$80m funding to facilitate lending access

Jakarta, Indonesia – JULO, a local fintech platform, has recently raised US$80m to facilitate access to its lending services for its growing Indonesian user base. The funding is composed of a combination of US$30m equity and US$50m credit facility.

The funding was facilitated by Credit Saison, a Japanese financial services company affiliated to Mizuho Financial Group.

The equity of US$30m will be used by JULO to develop data analysis systems, product development, marketing, and customer acquisition plans by adding human resources (HR) in the development team, data scientists and business intelligence personnel. Meanwhile, the US$50m credit facility will be allocated to facilitate loan funds on the JULO platform.

Adrianus Hitijahubessy, CEO and co-founder at JULO, said, “Until now, JULO Digital Credit has a commitment to empower the people of Indonesia, where 72% of credit applications are used for purposes of improving the quality of life such as business capital, home renovations and education. In collaboration with Credit Saison, we have the opportunity to develop JULO’s commitment further by carrying out a further revolution in the Indonesian fintech lending industry and reaching out to people who are underserved by financial services in every province of Indonesia.”

As an investor, Credit Saison will play an active role – especially in the hyper-growth phase of JULO – by making joint observations for any potential business development in the future. The following investment strategy was developed by Credit Saison through Saison Capital, a venture capital firm focused on startups with opportunities to develop financial capabilities.

Meanwhile, Kosuke Mori, senior managing executive officer and head of global business at Credit Saison, commented, “To improve financial well-being, credit innovation needs to be accompanied by an in-depth understanding of consumer behaviour and needs. As a result, JULO continues to grow in the midst of the COVID pandemic situation with credit disbursement of more than US$300m to date. We look forward to working with JULO to further accelerate access to financial products and to bring about significant changes for economic development in Southeast Asia.”

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Aura Network raises US$2.5m to leverage adoption of NFTs

Hanoi, Vietnam – Aura Network, a Vietnamese non-fungible token (NFT) project, has recently raised US$2.5m in funding to leverage the adoption of NFTs and accelerate its vision of building an interoperable future for Internet users.

The funding round involves multiple blockchain partners, including Coin98 Ventures, GBV Capital, Impossible Finance, Kucoin Labs, Kyber Ventures, GUILDFI, Avatar by Avalanche, MEXC Pioneer, TPX Ventures, Redline Dao and OIG. Other notable business partners include Vanda Capital, Deo Network, Ahamove, Ecomobi and Pencil Group.

This seed funding will allow Aura Network to continue its aim of creating a universal framework for NFTs, maximising interoperability, and bringing Aura Network’s vision to the forefront of users globally. Additionally, building a strong community that supports Aura Network’s vision is imperative for its long-term ambitions.

As part of the funding round, Aura Network will release its Testnet at the end of Quarter 2 of 2022. Aura Network’s Mainnet will be launched in the third quarter of 2022. Aura Network is expected to be the leading layer-1 blockchain to assist users to access NFTs effortlessly.

Tran Hoang Giang, founder at Aura Network, said, “Aura Network is delighted that our strategic partners recognize our infrastructure capability. We believe in the potential growth of NFTs and the future of interoperability, as well as the strength of our community and ecosystem.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

PayMaya’s parent firm bags new funding to hit unicorn status

Manila, Philippines – Voyager Innovations, the local technology company behind end-to-end money platform PayMaya and neobank Maya Bank, has recently raised US$210m in funding, bringing its total valuation to unicorn plus status, at nearly US$1.4b.

Through the funding, the company will use the new funds to launch Maya Bank services, such as savings and credit, which will be offered seamlessly across PayMaya’s platforms for consumers and enterprises, including micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises or MSMEs. It will also continue to expand PayMaya’s offering with new products like cryptocurrency, micro-investments, insurance, and more, as the all-in-one money app of the Philippines.

The funding round was led by SIG Venture Capital, the Asian venture capital arm of Susquehanna International Group. Other new investors include Singapore-based global investor EDBI and investment holding company First Pacific Company Ltd.

Other partners include Voyager’s existing shareholders, namely telecom PLDT, global investment firm KKR, tech giant Tencent, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the IFC Emerging Asia Fund and IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund, two funds managed by the IFC Asset Management Company (IFC AMC), a division of IFC.

Orlando B. Vea, Voyager and PayMaya CEO/Founder, said, “Our strong record of execution and innovation is a testament to our world-class team’s hard work and talent. With this milestone, we are excited to leap forward and bring the best of PayMaya and Maya Bank to help unlock the digital economy for the underserved and unbanked Filipinos.”

Meanwhile, Shailesh Baidwan, president at Voyager and PayMaya, commented, “The strong endorsement from our new shareholders and participation of our existing investors in this fundraising validates the company’s ability to expand into neobanking and add new cutting-edge financial products and services. We are excited to bring more game-changing innovations to millions of consumers and MSMEs with our integrated ecosystem as we address the pent-up demand for financial services.”

The integrated ecosystem approach by Voyager Innovations uniquely positions it among e-wallets, banks, and fintech players in the Philippines. PayMaya serves all segments of consumers and enterprises with a widely used consumer e-wallet app, the leading enterprise payment processing business, and the most extensive on-ground agent network, Smart Padala.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

ChannelEngine’s US$50m funding to boost e-commerce management suite operations in SEA

Singapore – Marketplace integration and operating platform ChannelEngine has raised US$50m in funding, which will be used by the platform to bolster its e-commerce and marketplace management suite in Southeast Asia. They first opened their office in Singapore in 2021 and subsequently opened in the Philippines in the latter part of the year. In addition, the funding will boost a large number of new e-commerce and tech jobs in both offices.

The funding is led by Atomico, with participation from General Catalyst, and existing backers Inkef and Airbridge Equity Partners. In addition, notable serial e-commerce founder Stephan Schambach – founder of Demandware, Intershop and NewStore – also joined this round as an angel investor.

In total, this raise brings the company’s total investment to US$57m, with Atomico Principal Luca Eisenstecken joining the ChannelEngine board, alongside General Catalyst Managing Director and BigCommerce investor Larry Bohn and Max Rimpel.

Jorrit Steinz, CEO and founder at ChannelEngine, said, “Over 60% of e-commerce sales globally are already taking place on marketplaces, with this figure estimated to grow to over 75% in the coming years, representing a total revenue of US$4.4t in 2023. Brands, wholesalers, and retailers are looking to capture the e-commerce opportunity by delivering a seamless experience demanded by the modern customer. By acting as the e-commerce control centre, we enable brands, retailers and wholesalers to sell on marketplaces globally.”

ChannelEngine is an e-commerce operating platform that connects the systems of brands, wholesalers and retailers to these global marketplaces providing a powerful management suite to boost their international sales with tools such as automated repricing, content, stock and order management.

Steinz also added that their customers are easily able to create, enrich, organise and manage their product listings and content as well as their e-commerce operations on marketplaces worldwide.

“Brands have gone from being online in one store – theirs or one big marketplace where the rules are made by others – to being everywhere their customers are, and being everywhere means you need control to offer consistent brand experience, e-commerce operations and availability. One of the biggest marketing challenges most brands and retailers face, as e-commerce business owners, when it comes to selling on marketplaces, is keeping their branding and messaging consistent across different channels,” he concluded.