Blockchain startup Morpheus Labs and Dreamplus join forces to launch a blockchain academy [Press Release]

Singapore-based Blockchain startup Morpheus Labs announced the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dreamplus, a global startup incubator supported by a South Korean business conglomerate. The MoU will have the two partners promoting blockchain education and the growth of its ecosystem.

The blockchain academy would be a seven-week intensive program that includes a mix of theoretical and practical components focused on the theory behind blockchain and practical coding of a sample decentralized applications (DApps) conducted with Morpheus Labs Blockchain Platform-as-a-Service (BPaaS).

The program is aimed at those who are interested in learning the basics of blockchain technology to budding technology engineers or programmers.

“Companies and governments are just beginning to understand the disruptive capability of blockchain technology. The already high demand for blockchain developers today is only expected to rise for the foreseeable future. Our platform is purposefully designed to create a friendly ecosystem convenient for students to learn the complex environment of blockchain in its current infancy, giving them a head start to blockchain development and propelling them into the talent-hungry blockchain development world,” said Dorel D. Burcea, Chief Information Officer of Morpheus Labs.

Uber launches new office in Singapore for further APAC expansion [TODAYOnline]

Uber announced yesterday that it will reenter Asia by renewing its commitment to business in Asia Pacific region in a new set up office at Frasers Towers in Singapore. The office would be APAC regional hub of the unicorn company, and currently has 165 employees who provide remote operational services to the region in sales, marketing, legal services, and other corporate functions.

Since 2015, Uber has resided in Singapore and has been its APAC headquarter. It was located at Guoco Towers in Tanjong Pagar before the merger with Grab, effectively putting Grab in charge of that location last year.

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Uber then moved to Mapletree Anson before relocating to its new 2,000 sqm office at Frasers Towers on Cecil Street. Uber operates in nine markets in the Asia Pacific: Australia, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Japan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Korea, and Taiwan.

The firm’s representative said that its next move would be growing its team in Singapore and hiring hire specialist and entry-level roles.

Dave McClure reemerges in tech scene after 500 Startups’ #MeToo debacle [Bloomberg]

Two years ago, Dave McClure was reported for alleged sexual misconduct in the VC that he co-founded alongside Christine Tsai, 500 Startups. McClure then decided to step down after helping funding 1,800 early-stage companies in 60 countries as the chief executive officer of the company.

Now, McClure is back in the game by raising a new fund to invest in other venture firms worldwide that would be called Practical Venture Capital, according to two people familiar with the plans.

The new fund is said to be designed to purchase stakes in smaller funds, sometimes called micro-venture capital firms and also buy stakes from those funds’ investors when they’re seeking liquidity. The initial target for the fund would be US$100 million, although the final amount could be larger, according to the sources.

On the other hand, even before McClure’s departure, 500 Startups reportedly had struggled to raise its fourth fund in 2015. Recently, the firm even laid off what Christine Tsai said to be a “handful” of people.

Today, 500 Startups is raising fresh investment for its fifth global fund, expected to be the firm’s largest ever, according to a person familiar with the plans. Abu Dhabi Financial Group is confirmed to be the anchor investor, took a minority stake in 500 Startups and joined the board last year.

Welcoming Google India MD on board, Sequoia India will launch a US$200M startup accelerator [Deal Street Asia]

Sequoia India announced that it brings Google India MD Rajan Anandan on board for its upcoming startup accelerator program called Surge. Surge, that was launched in January, is said to be focussed on India and Southeast Asia-based startups with a potential US$150-200 million raised for the initiative.

“Sequoia has approached limited partners to pitch for a fund independently and onboarding someone like Anandan will make it easier to get in the capital. He is a very well-respected name in the technology and startup ecosystem,” said a source, reported by Deal Street Asia.

Anandan has made a record for himself as an angel investor, having backed more than 60 startups.

Surge will focus on sectors such as consumer internet, technology, enterprise software, healthcare, fintech, among others. Sequoia is expected to invest over US$100 million over the next four-five years under Surge, financing its separate team.

Surge will have five modules, which will be hosted across the globe in China, India, Silicon Valley, and in Singapore. It plans to recruit 10 to 20 early-stage startups in two cohorts in a year and invest Us$1.5 million in each of them at an early stage of the program.

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At the end of Surge, founders will have the opportunity to raise capital during an ‘UpSurge’ week from a curated list of angels, seed funds, and VC’s. So far, confirmed mentors are edtech unicorn BYJU’S founder Byju Raveendran, Carousell’s Siu Rui Quek, credit card bills payment app Cred’s Kunal Shah, SaaS unicorn Freshworks’ Girish Mathrubootham, GOJEK’s Nadiem Makarim, Google’s Rajan Ananadan, hospitality unicorn OYO’s Ritesh Agarwal, Uber’s Amit Jain, chat messaging service WhatsApp’s Neeraj Arora, food delivery Zomato’s Deepinder Goyal, and more.