Luckin Coffee files for U.S. IPO, continues its ambition taking on Starbucks [Bloomberg]

Chinese coffee chain startup Luckin Coffee Inc. has filed for U.S. initial public offering and seeks to list on the Nasdaq under the code name LK.

The Beijing-based startup has revealed its plan to raise around US$300 million in the IPO since February. Just last week, the ‘more affordable coffee’ secured US$150 million from BlackRock and other investors at a valuation of US$2.9 billion.

Luckin Coffee first came in scene in June 2017 and has expanded into 2,370 stores in 28 Chinese cities, with Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte and China International Capital Corp as its backers.

Singtel and Go-Jek join forces, offer more privileges to its users [Press Release]

Go-Jek and Singtel have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a strategic partnership that seeks to offer a variety of benefits to their respective customers and driver- partners. From May 2019, both companies will cross-market their offerings, which comprise mobile, ride-hailing, and lifestyle.

Go-Jek driver-partners who subscribe to a Singtel Combo plan will enjoy data-free usage when using their Go-Jek app, allowing them to save up to 2GB of mobile data a month. As for Singtel’s customers, they can enjoy Singtel’s latest all-digital mobile plan, GOMO (Get Out More Often), will each receive Go-Jek ride-hailing credits worth US$3.68, which can be activated using a unique code.

Also Read: Japanese, Malaysian HRtech company Grooves raises US$3M in funding

The partnership is a part of Go-Jek’s mission to lower the operating costs for its driver-partners and provide them with better earnings stability. It also marks the newest benefit under GoalBetter, Go-Jek’s dedicated benefits programme for driver-partners in Singapore, which currently features insurance, medical teleconsultation, and fuel rebates.

Curlec partners HelloGold to make direct debit payment accessible [Press Release]

Curlec, the recurring payment platform with Direct Debit solutions based in Malaysia, has announced a partnership with HelloGold, fellow Malaysian mobile gold savings platform. Both companies join forces to launch a new SmartSaver Programme.

Through the said program, HelloGold integrated Curlec’s Direct Debit solution to automate their customers’ monthly investments to increase investment efficiency and let customers set their desired savings goal to generate longer-term returns.

Both startups are part of the Supercharger Accelerator Program that drives the development of fintechs in Asia and around the world.

“The partnership with HelloGold is an affirmation of our ongoing commitment to revolutionise the way businesses and consumers approach financial services. The importance of having sufficient savings within a tough economic environment is a key driver as to why HelloGold with Curlec’s Direct Debit payment solution will help Malaysians to easily save gold via a secure and disciplined manner,” said Zac Liew, Co-founder and CEO of Curlec.

AI sales assistant Saleswhale secures US$5.3M funding [e27]

Saleswhale, AI-based sales assistant platform, announced today that it has secured a US$5.3 million Series A funding led by Monk’s Hill Ventures., joined by Monk’s Hill Ventures are GREE Ventures, Wavemaker Partners, and Y Combinator.

The company said that it will use the funding to scale and expand its teams in engineering, customer service, sales, and marketing.

The Singapore-based company targets mid-market and large enterprises. Using its proprietary AI technology, Saleswhale describes its service as supporting sales and marketing teams by automating the lead engagement and qualification processes.

Also Read: South Korean media company invests in streaming service iflix

“We believe that AI assistants will become ubiquitous in the near future for global enterprises, as C-suites recognise that automation is essential to scaling. Chief Marketing Officers and Directors today need a scalable and cost-efficient solution that delivers a return on investment, bridges the sales-marketing gap, and supports sales teams in qualifying genuine buyers,” said Saleswhale CEO and Co-Founder Gabriel Lim.