Correction: A previous version of this article said people can leave PopScoot e-scooters anywhere.
This is not the case, they must be returned to charging docks.

e-Scooter sharing service PopScoot launches in Singapore

Bike-sharing is so passé, why ride a hefty bike when you can simply grab a motorised scooter and zoom around Singapore for a few bucks? Today, PopScoot announced it has launched its trial programme around ManuLife Centre, Republic Plaza, Tiong Bahru Plaza and City Square Mall.

PopScoot leverages bluetooth instead of QR-codes to unlock the scooters. Users still can not leave the scooters anywhere (as has become famous with bike-sharing). They will need to use charging docks – which the company plans to turn into data hotspots in the future.

PopScoot is pitching the recreation aspect of e-scooter sharing but also wants their service to become and option for last-mile logistics.

Thai proptech startup Seekster raises seed funding from Digital Ventures, 500 Tuk Tuks and dtac Accelerate

Seekster, an alumni from the dtac Accelerate programme batch 5, announced today it has raised an undisclosed seed funding from Digital Ventures, 500 Tuk Tuks and dtac Accelerate.

The startup is a company that connects properties to cleaning and maintenance service providers. While there are many on-demand cleaning companies, Seekster targets the commercial sector and SMEs. The startup says it facilitates about 5,000 to 6,000 jobs per month in Thailand.

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Furthermore, the startup also announced it has inked a deal with real estate company Ananda Development to provide maids and technicians for its condos.

ofo continues global push, launches in Vienna, Austria

The Chinese bike-sharing giant, ofo, announced today it has launched its service in Vienna, Austria. ofo will begin with a one-month trial period in which the service will be available in the city for free. After the trial period, renting a bike will cost €1.00 (US$1.19) for every hour.

If the trial goes well, ofo plans on deploying 2,000 bikes by the end of September.

Since its launch in 2014, ofo has launched in 170 cities over nine countries. The company claims to have over 100 million users and has deployed 8 million bikes across the world. It facilitates over 25 million daily transactions and people have ridden an ofo bike over 3 billion times.

Taralite gets green light for P2P lending in Indonesia

After raising US$6.3 million in May, the Indonesian fintech company Taralite announced it has registered with the Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (Financial Services Authority), and can now offer its P2P lending service across Indonesia.

Taralite provides loans for SMEs that operate online (Tokopedia merchants, for example) and helps them raise working capital when they need. The company says that merchants on Tokopedia and Lazada make up 40 per cent of its lending base.

Tencent jumps into autonomous driving race

The Chinese internet giant Tencent has jumped into the race to build autonomous vehicles — and the underlying technology — through an alliance with Beijing Automotive Group, according to the South China Morning Post.

“Tencent hopes to make an all-out effort to reinforce the development of AI technologies used in autonomous driving,” said Tencent Vice President Chen Juhong as quoted in the article.

“We want to be a ‘connector’ to help accelerate cooperation, innovation and industry convergence, contributing our humble efforts to the growth of the whole industry.”

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The alliance with Beijing Automotive Group puts Tencent in direct competition with Baidu and Alibaba in yet another vertical. In July, Baidu launched Project Apollo a global alliance that includes the like of Ford and Daimler. Alibaba is working with SAIC Motors to develop smart cars.