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Marketing Featured South Asia

Pakistan-based e-commerce marketplace Dastgyr raises funds to bolster expansion efforts

Amsterdam, Netherlands — Dastgyr, a Pakistan-based B2B e-commerce marketplace platform, has announced it has secured a US$15m investment as part of a series A funding. This investment will contribute to boosting Pakistan’s e-commerce market. The investment was supplied by VEON, a digital operator that provides mobile connectivity and services through its VEON Ventures division.

Dastgyr offers businesses a one-stop-shop application that connects thousands of retailers with suppliers to give them access to real-time visibility on pricing and financing rates. Platform partners have included Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Reckitt.

Dastgyr will remain an independent entity, with a minority position being taken by VEON Ventures. The new investment round will support Dastgyr’s expansion into 15 new cities in Pakistan, alongside its existing network in Karachi, Lahore, Sialkot and Gujranwala.

Zohaib Ali, co-founder of Dastgyr, shared, “We are thrilled to achieve this milestone in the current global economic environment. We welcome the new investors to the Dastgyr family as we continue to work relentlessly toward our vision of building an Alibaba for emerging markets worldwide.”

Ali adds, “We’re lucky to have found strategic partners who believe in our mission and have displayed unwavering faith in our team. Financial inclusion, which is central to the startup’s mission, will uplift and enable Pakistan’s small- and medium-sized retail entrepreneurs, potentially unlocking up to an additional US$10b for the country’s GDP, according to our estimates.”

Meanwhile, Mohd Khairil Abdullah, CEO of VEON Ventures, said, “As part of VEON’s transformation into a digital operator that delivers a growing range of services to our customers we are investing in leading digital companies like Dastgyr in the countries where we operate. These investments are the building blocks of the digital ecosystem that will enable us to deliver on our strategy.”

The deal is VEON Ventures’ largest investment in a Pakistani start-up and reflects the group’s continued commitment to the region and to the growth of Pakistan’s digital economy.

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Marketing Featured South Asia

Pakistani fintech Abhi’s US$17m funding to scale marketing capability

Pakistan — Financial wellness platform Abhi has announced the successful closure of its US$17m Series A funding round, which will be used to meet the massive customer demand, scale the Abhi team and build out marketing capabilities.

The financing round was led by international venture capital firm Speedinvest, supported by VEF, Global Ventures, VentureSouq, and more.

Founded in 2021 by Omair Ansari and Ali Ladhubhai, Abhi’s objective is to tackle financial stress by enabling employees to meet their financial obligations without exposure to negative loan spirals – but also to benefit employers. For employers, the platform has zero costs involved – thus avoiding any impact on the payroll cycle or cash flow.

Omair Ansari, chief executive officer of Abhi, said, “We are delighted to announce this US$17m funding round, especially with the calibre of investors involved. The continued backing of VEF, plus the support from other leading VC firms, is a testament to our platform, business model and the hard work of our team. We have grown rapidly since our inception in July 2021 and our momentum has opened up a significant B2B opportunity. All sizes of companies and their employees want the services we provide. The proceeds will support our exponential growth and help us meet customer demand.”

The company’s strong growth has continued since its inception and the company is cash-flow positive. Its total payment value processed has scaled rapidly, increasing from US$2m in November 2021 to US46m as of February 2022. Abhi works with hundreds of companies, including household names like Hilton Pharma, Soorty, Din Group, among others. The company has partnered with two of the largest banks in Pakistan – United Bank Limited and Bank Alfalah – and has also expanded its offering to business financing, taking the step from a pure B2C company to now being also a B2B company.

Dave Nangle, CEO of VEF, commented, “Our congratulations to Omair, Ali and all the Abhi team. We backed this team from the seed stage and watched all the impressive progress and traction they have achieved in less than a year of existence. It is the reason behind their ability to raise a size Series A round from a deep bench of quality investors.

Nangle adds, “From a capital perspective, In the wake of having placed our debut sustainability linked bonds, it feels appropriate to be able to deploy capital so swiftly into an asset like Abhi, supporting consumers and MSMEs in the vastly under-penetrated financial market of Pakistan. Abhi is a perfect example of how VEF, as a company, can positively contribute to financial wellness across emerging markets, while staying true to our mandate of delivering superior shareholder returns.”

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Marketing Featured East Asia

South Korea-based video-editing solution VideoMonster closes US$2.5m Series A funding

Seoul, South Korea — VideoMonster Inc., the online short-form videomaking solutions provider based in South Korea, has announced that it has secured a Series A round investment worth KR₩3b or approximately US$2.5m. Participants in this round include Innopolis Partners, Smart Study Ventures, ETRI Holdings, and Union Partners.

Through the funding, VideoMonster. plans to accelerate the adoption of AI technology in advancing its services, including the launch of the long-form video editing solution.

Chun Donghyuk, CEO of VideoMonster, said, “Having successfully closed the Series A round, we have gained the momentum to introduce AI technology for the entire solution. With this, we plan to innovate the entire video editing process and focus on the advancement of service for our target users in the global market.”

Established in 2019, Videomonster underwent a global expansion and is now present in more than five other countries and continues to pursue strategic localisation, starting with local language services, including English, Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesian. The company has also leapt forward as a global service by achieving 150,000 monthly average users within six months of expanding overseas.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Esports firm Ampverse secures US$12m in new funding, to expand to PH & ID

Singapore — Singapore-headquartered Esports company Ampverse has announced its US$12m Series A fundraise. The round was led by investment fund Falcon Capital and included follow-on investment from both Singaporean fund Vulpes and Gandel Invest, both of whom participated in prior Ampverse rounds.

The fresh funding will allow Ampverse to expand into the Indonesian and the Philippine markets, further esports team acquisitions and are earmarked to scale Ampverse’s play-to-earn business unit. This includes acquiring play-to-earn guilds as the esports company dynamically moves into the P2E space to complement its existing esports IP pillar.

New Series A investors join a list of distinguished strategic investors from the worlds of gaming, media, sports and esports. These include Rob Gilby, former Disney SEA MD, David NG, CEO GoGame, Michael Patent, CEO Culture Group, Marcus John, former VP Lagadere and Wolfpack Fund—founded by former IMG and Group M executives.

Wil Rondini, CEO of Falcon Capital, said, “Falcon is ecstatic to lead the Ampverse Series A round together with Vulpes and Gandel Invest and to join earlier leading investors from the esports, media and entertainment sectors. The growth that the Ampverse team have delivered in a short period is monumental. With their continued esports M&A strategy and play-to-earn vision, we know that the future is bright for Ampverse.”

Ferdinand Gutierrez, CEO of Ampverse, commented that Ampverse has witnessed tremendous growth over the last twelve months, with 125 per cent revenue growth and expansion into the Vietnamese and Indian markets, while also strengthening our esports assets portfolio.

“We will utilise these funds to move forward to solidify our position within Southeast Asia by continuing our expansion into Indonesia and the Philippines. We are also thrilled to continue scaling our esports and new play-to-earn business unit through further M&A,” Gutierrez said.