Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Startup group of play-to-earn platform PEG, influencer marketing platform raises US$2m

Manila, Philippines – Startup group of Filipino actress and TV personality Yassi Pressman, which manages and owns play-to-earn platform PEG and influencer marketing platform, has announced that they have raised US$2m. The round was led by Sonla, a cryptocurrency exchange and digital asset custodial provider.

The group said the funds will be used to drive the deployment of the proprietary PEGFi interoperable and integrated digital financial infrastructure offering to its target GameFi and Web 3.0 market participants. In addition, the round will also be used to support

Kiran Sharma, senior partner at Sonla, said, “Web3 products are not built through advertising, but through community. Pressman has the influence needed to attract the critical mass of users needed for both PEG and She can lead them toward a more professional, efficient, and digitally enabled industry for both gaming and influencer marketing respectively.”

While Pressman knows she will be highlighted as a celebrity building a tech startup, she is fine with the attention because it can materially help PEG and its two flagship brands. 

“There’s always extra attention when an entertainer launches a startup. This is great because we’ll need all the help we can get. Changing gaming and influencer marketing will not happen overnight, even with this seed funding. We’ll need a strong community to band together, inspired by the vision of what our respective industries can one day be,” said Pressman. 

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Malaysian consumer research startup secures 7-figure RM funding

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Vase Technologies or, a Malaysian consumer research technology company founded in 2015 to answer the lack of flexibility in traditional market research firms, has announced a seven-figure ringgit investment to jump-start their 2022 expansion. The new round of funding was spearheaded by Indelible Ventures, along with their existing investors. is an AI-powered self-service platform that provides companies with fast and reliable insights into consumers, markets, brands, products, and more to reinforce their marketing and product decisions.

Julie Ng, CEO and co-founder of, said, “Our platform helps companies make better and smarter decisions when it comes to marketing and product decisions. The investment and support from a partner like Indelible Ventures will help us significantly as we enter a new phase of growth. We look forward to a long partnership with them as we continue our mission to make consumer and market insights more accessible to the millions of brands in ASEAN.”

As a technology startup, utilises its proficiency in AI to produce swift, high-quality market research at an affordable price.’s ability to bring all digital data points and insights that a company requires to make informed decisions provides their clients with real-time analysis that is not usually available to most brands. The tech startup has worked with leading brands in ASEAN and run over 600 projects for clients, including high-value brands namely Digi, Carsome, IPG Mediabrands, Systema, TNB, and RinggitPlus.

The investment from Indelible Ventures will be allocated towards geographical expansion and enhancing the AI technology behind the platform.

Meanwhile, Kevin Brockland, managing partner of Indelible Ventures, comments on their investment in, saying that provides a high value-add solution in an exciting space that taps into the fact that consumer insights and habits are changing faster than ever before.

“They have the technology, know-how and a great track record in the region, so we know our investment will further accelerate their, already impressive, regional growth. We’re excited to be working with a strong founding team and look forward to seeing them grow the business even further,” Brockland said.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

PayMongo raises US$31m in funding, to serve local SMEs more

Manila, Philippines – Local fintech and online payments company PayMongo has secured US$31m in funding from their series B funding, which they aim to serve local SMEs more. Said investment round participants include Justin Mateen’s JAM Fund, Philippine VC firms ICCP-SBI Venture Partners and Lisa Gokongwei’s Kaya Founders, together with existing investors Global Founders Capital and SOMA Capital. 

In addition, founders of top European fintech unicorns and startups Qonto, Viva Wallet, Billie and Scalable joined the investment round. This then brings the company’s total funding to just under US$46m, following a US$12m Series A round in 2020 and a US$2.7m seed round in 2019.

Through the funding, PayMongo will continue to scale its operations by strengthening its current payments infrastructure and venturing into more financial services. This involves building products such as disbursements, capital lending, ‘buy now, pay later’, subscriptions and recurring payments, among many others. 

It will likewise explore how the Philippines can serve as a springboard for the digital transformation of financial services in other emerging markets.

For Francis Plaza, CEO and co-founder at PayMongo, the investment is a testament to their growth and the continued growth of their merchants. He added that with this Series B, they will invest further in their merchants’ successes by giving them more means to move money seamlessly online.

“While payment acceptance is crucial, it is just one of the many services that entrepreneurs need to build a successful online business. Our goal is to create a one-stop-shop for all these financial needs in the broader Southeast Asian region, starting with the Philippines,” he said.

Technology Featured Global

Hubilo’s US$125m funding to expand dev’t on the ‘future’ of virtual events, engagement

Bengaluru, India – Global virtual events platform Hubilo has announced the conclusion of its US$125m series B seed funding, putting the company’s total funding to US$153m to date in 18 months. Said funding will be used to develop new business functions, advance innovation of its platform, strengthen its product, engineering, and design teams in India, and go-to-market teams in the US, UK, EMEA, and APAC.

The new funding was led by Alkeon Capital and additionally, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Balderton Capital.

Hubilo, which is based in India, was founded in 2015 to build event tech that increased attendee engagement at in-person events. Currently, the company works with some of the globe’s largest brands such as Blackboard, Walmart, United Nations, Roche Pharma, Maersk Shipping, with several others.

For Vaibhav Jain, CEO and founder at Hubilo, the power to engage with massive audiences unlocks the potential for more diverse, geographically dispersed communities to come together for business and consumer events, remote workforces to stay engaged, and organizations to rethink the way they hire and train. 

“The potential ahead of us with this investment is massive. But what we’ve learned over the last 6 years is that an intuitive platform is just table stakes. Our commitment to event organizers is that we will always provide a dedicated event team to ensure flawless execution of every event. This is why so many event organizers make Hubilo their platform of choice,” Jain stated.

Hubilo also plans to set up new sales offices in key regions to expand its operations and reach a greater volume of customers. In addition, Hubilo will also increase the overall employees’ count by 150% to support its rapid growth plans and to respond to the increased customer demand for virtual and hybrid events.

Despite the Asia-Pacific region accounting for 25% of Hubilo’s business, the company still plans to further grow in the APAC region, especially in India. The recent additions to Hubilo’s India clientele are Publicis Sapient (TLG India Pvt Ltd), Nivea, Reliance Jio, Schneider Electric, and George P Johnson.

“While Hubilo started as an events technology platform, its solutions go beyond special occasions. It has successfully supported 10,000 events with more than two million attendees across more than 100 countries. As the new era of events unfolds among the uncertainty, one thing remains steady: Hubilo’s innovation and commitment to foster human connection through the re-imagination of events,” the company said in a press statement.

Platforms Featured Global

Travel tech Vouch’s US$1.1m seed funding to mark EU market entry

Singapore – Vouch, a Singapore-based travel tech startup that offers its guest experience platform to hotels in various markets, has successfully closed its US$1.1m seed funding, to which they aim to target to open European operations, starting off with the setup of their operations in London, United Kingdom.

This marks the company’s third in-country branch along with its presence in Indonesia and South Korea, to which they will be looking to build on its new and existing partnerships with hotel chains in these markets for expansion.

Vouch provides AI-powered technology to the hospitality and travel segment, including attractions and malls, to enhance productivity, boost revenue and elevate the overall guest experience. The company firmly believes that with technology as an enabler, properties now have the freedom and the ability to focus on things that truly matter.

Said funding was led by Forge Ventures, and will be used for expansion and product development for a new category of technology for hotels: the guest experience platform.

The company’s guest experience platform allows guests to check-in, make room requests, order food and beverage and get instant answers to commonly asked questions, just by scanning a QR code on their mobile phones.

Furthermore, Vouch has seen wide adoption of its platform in Asia to improve productivity through the streamlining of hotel operations and providing round the clock services for hotel guests.

According to Joseph Ling, founder and CEO at Vouch, the company has rolled out its services and partnered with noteworthy hospitality brands in Asia and is now looking to expand globally. For instance, they have covered 25% of all rooms in Singapore under international groups such as Frasers Hospitality, Hyatt Hotels, Pan Pacific Hotels Group and the InterContinental Hotels Group.

“There is a genuine need for a solution that helps hotels improve manpower efficiency and the pandemic has accelerated this need. Our plan this year is to expand aggressively into new markets that will benefit most from a productivity platform like ours, namely Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and the United Kingdom,” Ling stated.

While travel and tourism have remained low across the world due to COVID-19, Vouch aims to help businesses and consumers in these sectors cope better in a pandemic.

“By incorporating Vouch into their operations, businesses can better plan for manpower requirements and avoid greater uncertainty associated with fluctuating pandemic intensity and accompanying social distancing requirements,” the company said in a press statement.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

1Export raises US$800k in latest seed funding, targets Indonesia expansion

Manila, Philippines – Local-based export startup 1Export has announced that it has raised US$800k in seed funding, which will be used to scale the company’s operations to Indonesia.

Said funding was led by Foxmont Capital Partners, as well as participation from a consortium from the Manila Angel Investors Network and Kerubin Capital, IdeaSpace Foundation, Singapore-based Iterative and other private investors.

Through the funding, 1Export aims to develop and improve its order handling capabilities, marketing services, financing, and other third-party integrations within its platform. Its lifetime revenue of US$1.5m and service availability in 23 countries warranted interest from the investors.

For Mel Nava, founder and CEO of 1Export, the latest funding will help scale their tech platform and services to ultimately support Filipinos MSMEs, contribute to Philippine exports, and create a distinctly Filipino footprint in other markets.

“Businesses all over the world are evolving at a rapid pace, even amidst a global crisis, thanks to technology. It’s time that businesses in the Philippines, especially micro, small, and medium enterprises, keep up with this digital transformation as well,” Nava stated.

First founded in 2016, 1Export had recently generated around US$500k or ₱25m in export sales, accounting for 0.2% of the total Philippine exports. It currently lists 450 supplier partners on its platform and distributes an overall volume of 4,000 tonnes of products, which are a mix of food and non-food products.

Meanwhile, according to Daniel Remo, chief operating officer of 1Export, with the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ or the Filipino equivalent of helping out one another amid this pandemic crisis, 1Export targets to enable Filipino businesses to go global. 

“In the ever-changing landscape of e-commerce, we hope to be able to provide solutions that not only fit the needs of the here and now but to radically transform how Filipino businesses think of exporting,” Remo stated.

Nava added, “Our goal is to help Filipinos all over the world start and run a business, selling products that they’re proud of without having to go through the complexities of exporting. We’re glad we’re able to do so through our tech platforms over the past five years. We’re ready to accelerate our operations and improve our solutions so that we can aid more Filipino entrepreneurs, even during a global pandemic.”

1Export vets Filipino products to be cross-border compliant, allowing local businesses to follow the regulations of the market they want to explore or expand to. The company also offers all-around exporting services such as compliance documentation, product labeling, logistics, export facilitation, and intensive business matching.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

PH’s ‘Eve’s Drop’ podcast producer afoot on SEA expansion after US$750k seed funding

Manila, Philippines – Podcast Network Asia (PNA), a Philippine-based media and technology company, has recently concluded its seed funding round, valued at around US$750k.

The funding round has seen participation from Lisa Gokongwei, president of Summit Publications, multi-focus venture capital firm Foxmont Capital, and Jakarta-based VC firm Venturra Discovery, as well as Filipino live-streaming platform Kumu.

Commenting on her participation, Gokongwei said, “I think podcasting is still in the early stages of growth in the country, and that PNA has put a stake in the ground ahead with a scalable business model. The team knows the industry well and they are quite passionate.”

Funds collected from the investment round will be used to expand the company’s presence in the Southeast Asia region, particularly in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Since its establishment in August 2019, PNA has helped podcast creators have access to production support and monetization opportunities. Over the course of the pandemic, PNA has since grown its roster to 93 shows. With four Spotify-exclusive shows, PNA is also home to the top podcasts in the Philippines, including ‘Boiling Waters’, ‘Eve’s Drop’, ‘Kool Pals’, and ‘Walwal Sesh’.

For Ron Baetiong, CEO and co-founder of Podcast Network Asia, podcasting is already entering its ‘golden age’, as statistics from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and consulting firm PwC, podcast advertising has grown exponentially along with the increase of podcast shows which is estimated to be at 1M. From 2015 to 2020, podcast ad revenue grew exponentially from US$69M to US$659M and is forecasted to reach a value of US$1B in 2021.

“We are very excited with what this investment allows us to do – with the Philippines as the sixth fastest-growing country in terms of listenership plus our own listenership, which already stands at 10M; we can scale up and continue the momentum we’ve built in the Philippine podcasting industry and replicate it across the region,” Baetiong said.

PNA will also leverage its data analytics and ad marketplace platform, which allows monetization opportunities to the global podcast market. With the new funding, PNA hopes to grow its client network, which currently has 415 podcasts signed to Podmetrics. 

As the client numbers of Podmetrics Marketplace, a feature within the platform, is slated to grow, users will now be able to take advantage of viewing total podcast analytics, applying to affiliate marketing campaigns, brand collaboration for episode sponsorships, and viewing campaign impressions, conversions, and other podcast metrics.

“Podcasting is still in its nascent stage in Southeast Asia. When we look at top-charting podcasts, [a] majority of them launched within the past year. The industry has strong momentum, as audio streaming platforms are doubling down on this segment. We believe we can empower creators to improve and commercialize their content through data analytics and production support,” said Raditya Pramanay, partner at Venturra Discovery

SME Featured Southeast Asia

MY commerce platform Poptron bags US$1M funding to connect microbrands to global users

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Local-based lifestyle e-commerce platform Poptron has secured US$1M investment from its recent seed funding, which will be used to further connect its partner micro and emerging brands to global users.

The platform aims to extend its operations to Singapore by the first quarter of 2021. The investment will be put into developing and releasing a second version of the platform, projected to be finished by January this year.

Established in September 2020, Poptron offers microbrands selling high-quality, natural, and eco-friendly products or artisanal goods, a platform to be connected with global users. Since then, 100 microbrands with more than 700 different types of product listings have since come on board, ranging from personal care, fashion items, arts and crafts, to pets necessities and home & living products.

“Before the Movement Control Order (MCO), I used to frequent local arts bazaars and discovered a lot of interesting, high-quality products from small brands and businesses. Due to the pandemic, bazaars came to a halt, so these brands are depending on online sales, usually gathered from various social media platforms like Facebook & Instagram. Online demand generation became a critical area of focus, and it became quite evident that securing new customers online isn’t as easy as it seems,” said Brian Johnson Lowe, founder of Poptron.

Poptron’s main proposition is helping sellers overcome key pain points in customer acquisition, business management, and regional growth by using a single platform to handle everything from inquiries to shipping. Users can also discover, follow, and shop through a practical and intuitive user interface while tracking each delivery straight to their doorstep.

“With Poptron, we hope to gather all these brands in one place for consumers to discover, our idea is to prove the value of this unique platform and increase the business returns of our merchants first. Being able to make the strides that we have during the course of this year is a testament to the drive and passion of the team,” Lowe added.