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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Platforms Featured South Asia

Fintech wagely bags fresh funding to extend service in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh – Indonesia-based financial wellness platform wagely has announced that it has added up US$8.3m in funding from their oversubscribed pre-series A funding, which will be used to help workers access their earned salaries on demand in Bangladesh, in addition to their local Indonesian market.

The funding round was led by East Ventures (Growth Fund) with participation from existing backers, including Integra Partners, the Asian Development Bank, Global Founders Capital, Trihill Capital, Blauwpark Partners, and 1982 Ventures.

Wagely’s funding follows their latest expansion to Bangladesh, to which CEO and co-founder Tobias Fischer said that they are honoured to offer their financial wellness platform to leading apparel manufacturers in Bangladesh, including SQ Group, Classic Composite, and Vision Garment.

“We are proud to be successfully operating in two of the largest markets in Asia, employing more than 150 million workers. Instant access to salary plays a pivotal role in reducing costs for employers and increasing the productivity and well-being of workers,” Fischer said.

The platform also disclosed that it secured the backing of Central Capital Ventura, the VC arm of Indonesia’s largest private bank, Bank Central Asia (BCA). The investment into wagely underpins the commitment to expand the digital financial ecosystem and drive financial wellness solutions across Indonesia.

Launched in 2020, wagely is building a holistic financial wellness platform with earned wage access (EWA) at its core that lets workers of partner employers access their earned wages in real-time.

In addition, the new capital will enable the company to accelerate its market-leading position in Indonesia and Bangladesh and spur the development of its holistic financial wellness platform, which the company plans to start rolling out later this year.

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Platforms Featured APAC

Web3 community platform Metasky secures US$1.8m funding from Sequoia Capital-led token sale

Singapore — Web3 community platform Metasky has raised US$1.8m in a pre-seed token sale round led by Sequoia Capital India and Woodstock Fund. Metasky, founded in 2021 by Ankit Arora and Prakhar Sharma, positions itself as a bridge to Web3 and aims to elevate NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

Metasky’s platform aims to convert people from being social media followers into engaged members of a brand’s digital world. The platform’s strategy is to work with influencers, creators, and brands closely to form a Web3 strategy for their followers with the help of its user-friendly tools for buying, storing, and using NFTs.

Metasky is launching a user-friendly Web3 Wallet that democratises access to the decentralised world by making it easy for anybody to buy and securely hold Crypto Assets such as NFTs and crypto tokens. Metasky’s wallet can seamlessly integrate inside an existing website or application, converting an existing app to a Web3 app. These assets can then be used to provide exclusive benefits to token holders. These benefits range from unlockable digital content of popular creators, exclusive chat rooms and live streams, to backstage access into their offline events.

Ankit Arora, co-founder at Metasky, said that Metasky itself is organised as a decentralised community, explaining that it is the most efficient way of aligning a group of people towards a shared goal.

“We want to walk the talk that decentralisation is important, but it is a means to an end. Concepts like NFTs only make sense if they are accompanied by a strong set of utilities, a passionate community, and real governance rights. We are building Web3 tools to serve this purpose,” Arora said.

Meanwhile, Shailesh Lakhani, managing director of Sequoia India, comments on Metasky’s potential, saying, “Ankit and Prakhar are accomplished company builders, and we are excited to work alongside them as they create a holistic platform for NFT communities.”

Metasky recently launched its first community-led project called “Tanukibles” – a play-to-earn game that has started its journey as an NFT collection. Tanukis are animals native to Japan, deeply embedded in Japanese mythology. Anyone can be a part of the production team of Tanukibles by getting one of 9999 limited edition Tanukis. Some Tanukis are rewarded to community participants on merit, others are scheduled to be up for public sale in April.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

SariSuki bags US$7.1m funding, to expand to quick commerce

Manila, Philippines – Local social commerce startup SariSuki has successfully raised US$7.1m, aimed at driving the startup’s expansion into the quick commerce scene. The funding round was led by Openspace, Susquehanna International Group (SIG), Global Founders Capital (GFC), Saison Capital, JG Digital Equity Ventures, and Foxmont Capital Partners.

In total, SariSuki has earned a total of US$10.5m in funding. Furthermore, the new funding will be used to increase the business’ product assortment, dark warehouses, and geographic expansion.

The startup is founded by Bam Mejia as chief commercial officer, Philippe Lorenzo as chief operating officer, Angelo Lee as head of strategy and fundraising and Brian Cu as chief executive officer. For SariSuki, hyper-convenience is a key strategy in breaking down more barriers to e-commerce adoption and creating an end-to-end e-grocery platform.

Cu said, “We are a set of founders that grew up in the Philippines and have an understanding of our market. This, combined with our background in scaling up large tech companies in the region, made us realise that we can do more with the supply chain infrastructure we have built. Quick commerce is a way for us to expand into serving the segment of our market that seeks hyper-convenience for a hyper-local product mix for their daily needs.”

SariSuki started in 2021 with a mission to empower communities with more options to shop for high quality groceries online – which it achieves by buying fresh produce in bulk from local farmers and offering them to the local community at a discounted price.

To address long-existing supply chain inefficiencies, SariSuki adopts an agent-assisted model, servicing its consumers through ‘Community Leaders’. Members of communities who set up their business as a ‘Community Leader’ see meaningful income expansion as they profit from selling produce whilst performing the last mile fulfilment. This model has enabled SariSuki to offer supermarket quality products at wet market prices.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

SG-based fintech Volopay raises US$29m in funding to expand in PH

Manila, Philippines – Singapore-based fintech Volopay has successfully raised US$29m in its latest series A funding, which they aim to fuel their expansion into the Philippines. Said investment round was made possible by JAM Fund, the Winklevoss Capital Management, Rapyd Ventures, Accial Capital, fintech veteran and angel investor Jeffrey Cruttenden, CEO of Acorns. 

Other investors present include Access Ventures, Antler Global, and VentureSouq.

Volopay’s foray into the Philippine market aims to tackle two of the most pressing problems that SMEs and startups face: high Forex (FX) charges incurred for international payments and the lack of a uniform platform to access all spend data. 

Through the market expansion, Volopay provides companies with multi-currency wallets to hold money in PHP and any major currency – USD, SGD, EUR, GBP – and subsequently use it for payouts, eliminating exorbitant amounts of FX charges levied on international payments.

Rajith Shaji, co-founder and CEO at Volopay, said, “Volopay is an ambitious project. To build an alternative to Volopay, you would have to launch five different startups. We are building the control centre for modern companies for all their financial management needs. Our platform is as easy and seamless to use for a five-person company, as it is for a 500-person company. We want to take our vision of a unified spend management platform to all companies across the world after our initial markets of APAC and MENA.”

Through constructing their own infrastructure, Volopay will enable their global clients to eliminate the need for integration with multiple third-party financial services platforms, delivering a consistent and delightful customer experience regardless of the region they are operating in.

Meanwhile, Rajesh Raikwar, co-founder and CTO at Volopay, commented, “With APAC & MENA making a big wave on the global stage by churning out several unicorn level enterprises every year, accelerating their growth requires an efficient expense management tool that is simple yet scalable, something that Volopay has always aimed for.”

Part of Volopay’s Series A funds will be put towards their forthcoming market launches, building and innovating new technologies to complement their existing product, in addition to enhancing integrations with leading enterprise software and project management applications. The company is also hiring aggressively for key positions in each of its markets. 

Volopay aims to disrupt traditional business banking and aims to be adopted as the single and only solution growing, global businesses need for their cards, invoice automation, and bill payments along with the added bonus of a multi-currency business account without the hassle and limitations of a traditional bank.