Alibaba founder Jack Ma makes first public appearance in three months; Ma has been out of public sight since he criticised China’s financial regulatory system in the Shanghai speech; Following those remarks, Ma was summoned by China’s regulators and an IPO offering by Ant Group was suspended at the last minute. More here

Tesla to scale its team in Singapore with 11 new hires; In July last year, the electric car giant had filled up three positions across different verticals in the island nation; Tesla ranks among the top-10 biggest companies in the US; It runs a variety of cutting-edge projects such as Superchargers and Tesla Network, with a great salary for its employees. More here

Spacemob founder Turochas Fuad launches buy-now-pay-later startup ‘Pace’, raises high 7-figure seed funding led by Vertex; Pace is available in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, HK; Pace claims to have added 300+ PoS from 200+ merchant partners; Pace will compete with the likes of Hoolah and highly-funded Rely. More here

Competition heats up in SEA’s BNPL market; In Singapore, an October 2020 consumer survey by Finder found that an estimated 1.1M people, or 38% of the population, have used a BNPL service; It suggests that the trend is gathering steam in Asia amid COVID-19 uncertainties, an accelerated shift to e-commerce, and rising mobile payments adoption. More here

Grab considering US IPO this year; The public offering could see Grab raising at least US$2B, which would likely make it the largest overseas share offering by a SEA company after Sea’s US$1B IPO in 2017; To date, Grab has raised US$10.1B and is valued at US$15B. More here

How Tencent is expanding its Singpore footprint to drive SEA growth; Tencent is said to be the biggest rival of Alibaba Group; In contrast to Alibaba, Tencent has had a smaller footprint in SEA; Last September, it was reported that Tencent will have almost 200 seats at JustCo’s co-working space in Raffles Place; Last July, it signed an MoU with Asia Digital Bank Corporation in Singapore. More here

How Kopi Kenangan achieves its goal of opening one new store per day; Kopi Kenangan does it by doing something that their competitors avoid; It adopts what co-founder James Prananto describes as “cheesy” and cringe-worthy themes into their company’s brand, down to the names of the beverages on the menu. More here

Razer to announce its breakeven for FY2020 v/s US$83.5M loss the year before; The improvement is mainly due to “the higher than expected” revenue growth, the increase in the company’s gross profit margin, and the enhancement of its operating expenses management; The co. claimed its revenue is expected to have grown by at least 40% y-o-y during the report period. More here

SGX-backed digital securities platform iSTOX closes US$50M Series A; Investors include Japan Investment Corporation, JIC Venture Growth Investments, Development Bank of Japan; The financing will be utilised to bankroll the expansion of iSTOX’s geographical footprint and investment offerings. More here

Enterprise HR-tech platform DarwinBox bags US$15M led by Salesforce Ventures for SEA expansion; It claims to have grown by 300%+ since its US$15M Series B in Sept 2019; The Indian firm says it serves 500+ corporates across 60+ countries, which include Tokopedia, Alodokter, More here

Legal-tech startup Lupl raises US$14M, signs MoU with Singapore’s Ministry of Law; Investors are international law firms CMS, Cooley and Rajah & Tann Asia; This is in addition to the US$10M+ raised prior to its beta launch; Lupl is an open platform whose features include a Knowledge Hub, which provides a global repository of matters and workflow templates, designed to help users operationalise legal knowledge and repeatable process. More here

Singapore’s Antler to pour US$100M into Indian startups within the next 4 years; It will support founders from the idea stage, all the way to their series A and B raises; Antler also announced the appointment of Nitin Sharma as a partner and co-lead for all of its initiatives in India. More here

Ant-backed Mynt eyes more funds for Philippines fintech fight; Mynt’s GCash app is the largest mobile wallet by number of registered users in a market that is drawing investor interest from around the world; The company recently closed a US$175M funding round. More here

Vietnamese live-streaming platform GoStream lands 7-figure USD from VinaCapital; Gostream claims it facilitates 100K+ live-streaming sessions daily and serves multiple corporate clients; According to a Statista report, revenue in the video-streaming segment in Vietnam is poised to reach US$162 million in 2021. More here

Vietnamese e-wallet firm Gpay raises Series A from KB Financial; Its parent G-Group Technology also joined hands with KBF to launch a US$13M fintech JV; Last week, Gpay’s rival MoMo raised Series D of about US$100M. More here

Moneythor nets undisclosed amount of investment form Navis Capital; Moneythor provides financial institutions and fintech firms with solutions to enhance their digital banking services; Headquartered in Singapore with offices in London, Paris, and Tokyo, Moneythor also looks to working closely Navis’ affiliate, DZ Card which is a Thailand-based smart cards manufacturer. More here

Thai robo-advisor Robowealth raises Series A from Beacon VC; Its Odini product suite targets everyday people looking for simple ways to invest and grow their money via automated ready-made mutual funds portfolios; The  startup allows HNIs as well as novices to invest in both Thai and global funds, starting from US$33. More here

Expense tracking startup Volopay raises US$2.1M led by Tinder co-founder; Volopay is an all-in-one platform that combines expense approvals, corporate cards, bill payments, expense reimbursements, credit, cashback and accounting automation; The company calms it has 100+ Singaporean companies on its platform, which include InVideo, Dathena, Medline, Sensorflow and Beam. More here

SBI Ven Capital, Beenext, Heritas join Indian teleheath startup MFine’s US$16M financing round; MFine is an AI-driven, on-demand healthcare platform that provides its users access to virtual consultations and connected care programmes from India’s hospitals; It claims it has more than 1M users with over 4K doctors from 600 hospitals in India. More here

SEA’s women-focused startup fund SWEEF receives US$16.2M from Danish pension fund; SWEEF targets women-led startups in Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines; It will also invest in sectors where women comprise a large portion of labour and in companies that demonstrate a commitment to gender equality. More here

How ASEAN is shaping up to be a blockchain frontrunner; There are hundreds of blockchain startups in SEA; From the fintech system Vauld of Singapore to the agri data exchange platform Hara of Indonesia, many ASEAN businesses are already harnessing blockchain to explore novel biz models or new facets of conventional businesses. More here

3 top trends to impact e-commerce startups in ASEAN in 2021; SEA has been the playground of B2C e-commerce giants for a while, but starting from 2020, it is looking more and more like a dreamland for B2B and B2B2C e-commerce as well; Social commerce and cross-border e-commerce are also gaining momentum. More here

Malaysia and Sweden partner on innovation challenge; The Innovation Challenge invites startups registered in Malaysia to identify solutions in solving healthcare challenges, especially related to non-communicable diseases (NCD); Startups selected to participate will get access to incubation programmes, global innovation networks, mentorship and funding. More here

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The post Ecosystem Roundup: Grab considering US IPO this year; Turochas Fuad unveils his new BNPL venture; Tesla scaling its S’pore team appeared first on e27.

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