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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

SG-based coffee chain Flash Coffee secures US$15M in funding for APAC expansion

Singapore – Flash Coffee, a Singapore-based coffee chain backed by venture capital Rocket Internet, has secured US$15M in its recently concluded Series A funding to drive APAC expansion in 10 markets. The funding round was participated by venture capitals White Star Capital, DX Ventures, Global Founders Capital, and Conny & Co.

Flash Coffee which was launched in January 2020, aims to use the new funding to open three new outlets per week, an already ambitious pace that will be tripled to 10 store launches per week in order to open 300 additional stores across the region by end of this year. 

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The company is founded by CEO David Brunier and COO as well as CFO Sebastian Hannecker to make premium coffee accessible to Asia’s rising middle class. Through Brunier’s experience as foodpanda CMO and Hannecker’s Bain Consulting pedigree, Flash Coffee’s grab-and-go business model was created, allowing for significant cost savings to be passed on to customers.

“Strong investor support for our Series A round enables us to harness untapped potential in the region and replicate our success in seven new markets this year: Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam,” Brunier stated.

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He added, “We will also build a regional headquarters in Singapore and expand our regional tech hub in Jakarta to 50 people to support our vision of fully leveraging technology to improve customer experience, proactively drive growth and significantly increase operational efficiency.”

In addition, the company aims to digitize today’s offline-dominated coffee industry with a newly launched consumer app that boasts a streamlined pick-up feature, sophisticated loyalty program, personalized promotions, and interactive challenges. Its dedicated barista app improves the operational efficiency of its stores and enables performance-based incentives for its baristas, ensuring an unparalleled customer experience.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Klook bags US$200m funding for SaaS-powered merchant solutions

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Travel and leisure booking platform Klook has successfully concluded its Series E round investment, led by investment fund Aspex Management. The recently concluded investment round has raised US$200M in additional funding, which will be used to develop Klook-powered merchant Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions.

Klook’s merchant SaaS solutions power millions of bookings for more than 2,500 merchants worldwide. Doubling down on its SaaS solutions will enable even more merchants who have had a challenging year to transform and accelerate their business by easily creating an online storefront powered by Klook. This is supported by a backend engine that manages ticketing, distribution, inventory management, marketing, and more. 

“Despite a challenging 2020, we have shown our mettle, turning challenges into growth opportunities with agility and constant innovation. We’ve observed over the past year that consumers have a pent-up desire to explore and enjoy themselves, despite international travel being paused. Instead, they are turning inwards – exploring new and unique experiences right in their backyard,” said Ethan Lin, CEO, and co-founder at Klook (center).

He added, “This new capital further strengthens our leading position to take us from defense to offense, as domestic tourism becomes ubiquitous and international travel gradually returns.”

At the height of the pandemic, Klook onboarded 150% more activities compared to the same period in 2019. With this new capital, the company will accelerate the development and roll-out of its merchant SaaS solutions. Designed to bridge the gaps faced by merchants today, these tools will empower any merchant to build, manage, and scale their business with Klook.

“The travel industry has undoubtedly been hit hard by the pandemic, but Klook has shown resilience and adaptability despite the market headwinds. We believe the transition toward digital bookings will only accelerate post-COVID-19, and that Klook’s ability to reinvent itself as a one-stop-shop for experiences and services across the region puts it in prime position to capitalize on this trend,” said Hermes Li, CIO, and founder of Aspex Management.

Meanwhile, Eric Gnock Fah, COO, and co-founder at Klook (left) commented, “We are setting out to reimagine the next digital leap for the experiences sector which has traditionally been fragmented with offline practices or legacy systems that do not truly address the realities of a post-COVID world. Since day one, Klook has been working closely with our merchants, both big and small, to identify common pain points that we can solve together.”

He added, “With this new funding, we have additional ammunition to accelerate our technology innovation, and truly transform and empower this space for future growth.”

Klook has piloted several of its SaaS tools during the second of 2020 namely ‘Contact Tracing System’ which will be used to trace back clients should the need for tracing ensue, ‘Attractions Plus’ which creates an online itinerary for travel in one app, and ‘Klook! Live’ which is an interactive livestream mobile feature for merchants and users alike.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Malaysia-based ad tech company Rodeo eyes raising $120K, opens round of funding

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Rodeo, an ad-tech company specializing in transit advertising mainly on ride-sharing, food delivery, and last-mile delivery has announced that it targets to raise a minimum of $120K (RM500K), and has opened its first round of funding via equity crowdfunding platform pitchIN.

The company is currently live on pitchIN, and it has prepared an exclusive 30% lifetime discount or rebate from all Rodeo media assets to brands, advertisers, and agencies who will be investing.

Inspired by the company’s revenue that hit $1.2M (RM4.4M) in 3 years, Rodeo seeks to increase the bar even higher by setting a new target revenue of $500K (RM1.9M) by end of 2021.

The investments raised will be used to increase workforce, to incorporate AI technology such as Computer Vision and Machine learning, and for marketing to scale the business and capture market share.

Launched three years ago, Rodeo comprises of 10,000 fleets of cars, taxis, motorcycles, and trucks. During the country’s Movement Control Order (MCO) amid the pandemic, it decided to pivot to online by introducing RodeoGO, an influencer marketing gamification app,

Rodeo’s Chief Executive Officer and Founder Valens Subramaniam shared, “Due to the pandemic, we saw that there was a growing demand and trend for RodeoGO especially when users are practically on idle mode; be it at home and glued on their mobiles phones, TVs and computers. This brings us a good mix of Offline and Online.”