Subscription-based lifestyle startup WisePass raises funding

WisePass, a subscription-based lifestyle startup, has raised $400,000 in seed funding led by Expara Ventures.

The Singapore-based startup will use the latest investment to expand to additional cities throughout Southeast Asia, and increase its membership base to drive 10,000 monthly visits across 500 venues.

WisePass was founded by an ex-Googler to tackle the difficult challenge of how to effectively apply performance marketing for food and beverage brands selling offline in the hotel, restaurant, cafe (HORECA) segment.

WisePass launched its membership based service in Ho Chi Minh City on August 17th 2016, and later expanded to Hanoi on May 18th 2017, where its members receive a complimentary bottle of wine or spirits, or lunch, or dinner on a daily basis at almost 100 restaurants, 5-star hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs.

WisePass selects its restaurants via a comprehensive 30-point matrix in order to provide the best consumer experience for its members. It then negotiates with the venue to secure lunch and/or dinner for the program.

For liquor brands, WisePass purchases directly from the brands, and uses a proprietary Artificial Intelligent (AI) algorithm to analyse real time consumer behaviour by age, gender, and preferred spirit to optimize the procurement and supply chain management process.

Bluzelle adds Gil Penchina, Brian Fox, Prashant Malik to Advisory Board

In advance of its upcoming token sale, decentralised database services provider Bluzelle has added investment and technology pioneers Gil Penchina, Brian Fox and Prashant Malik to its advisory board.

The addition of the respected advisors in the fields of software programming, database development and technology investment followed Singapore-based Bluzelle’s closing of its Series A funding round from Global Brain, LUN Partners Capital and True Global Ventures.

Penchina is best known as the founder of Flight Ventures and the builder of the largest investment syndicate on AngelList. Some of the key investments that he has made throughout his career as an angel investor include LinkedIn, PayPal, Indiegogo and Couchsurfing. Penchina is also an active investor in blockchain and crypto currencies with investments in Ripple, Brave and hedge fund Polychain Capital.

An advocate of free software, Fox was the man behind the GNU Bash shell, a free software replacement that has been widely used as the default login shell for a majority of Linux distribution software and Apple’s macOS since being released in 1989. He has also been a champion for the use of open-source election systems, having co-written an op-ed for the New York Times this year with former CIA Director Robert James Woolsey Jr. to discuss how open-source voting systems can reduce the risk of electoral fraud.

During his time at Facebook, Malik co-developed with Avinash Lakshman the Apache Cassandra opensource
database management system to power the social media service’s inbox search feature. The system has since been recognized for its robust support and high performance amongst NoSQL systems. Malik’s experMse is valuable for Bluzelle’s decentralized NoSQL database.

Smartphone re-commerce startup Yaantra secures US$3.1 million

Smartphone refurbishing and resale platform Yaantra has raised US$3.1 million in its fresh funding from existing investors Carpediem Capital Partners and Duane Park. 

This brings the firm’s total investment raised to date to US$10 million.

 The startup will use the fresh funds to strengthen its relationship with network partners and boost its customer offerings during the festive sale season.

Delhi-based Yaantra was launched in 2013. It sells refurbished smartphones with warranty and provides on-demand repair services. It currently has operations in New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad. The company claims to have a capacity to repair and refurbish over 100,000 smartphones a month.