Before we dive into today’s news roundup, just a reminder that today marks the beginning of the 12.12 sales period. So, if you have been putting off Christmas shopping, now is a good time to do it. Enjoy!
Funding and funds
Singapore soverign wealth fund GIC has been revealed as the lead investor of a US$200 million fundraising round in US-based fintech startup Affirm.
The startup’s existing investors Khosla Ventures and Spark Capital also participated in the round.
Affirm, which was started by ex-PayPal technology chief Max Levchin, helps consumers acquire loans to pay for goods and services at over 1,200 merchants, including Expedia and Wayfair.
Singapore-based early-stage VC firm NSI Ventures is launching a new fund, focused on investing in consumer apps. The fund will also invest in healthcare, financial services and education.
It is targetting to hit US$125 million for this new fund.
So far, it has closed US$60 million, and is expected to close another US$15 million soon. NSI Ventures plans to raise the full sum by mid-2017.
Japanese telecom conglomerate SoftBank will invest US$500 million more in US-based satellite broadband provider OneWeb. This would bring the firm’s total investment in OneWeb to US$1.5 billion.
OneWeb has an ambitious goal. It wants to launch a fleet of satellites to provide high-speed internet connections all over the world — especially in rural or developing regions.
Singapore-based medtech startup Advent Access today announced that it has raised a US$1.9 million (S$2.6 million) in pre-Series A funding round led by Temasek-backed medical device company Accuron MedTech.
Advent Access plans to use the new funding to support development and commercialisation of its patented av-Guardian technology.
According to a press statement, the product is a “device-guided needling platform that engineers a high-quality tissue track to enable reliable and less-painful vascular access to the arteriovenous fistula (AV fistula) commonly used by dialysis patients.”
Philippines-based human resource and fintech startup VENTENY announced today that it has raised a US$2.3 million in Series A funding round led by SBI Investments.
Launched in 2015, the platform is in form of a mobile and desktop app that enables employees to receive perks such as discounts at restaurants, fitness centers, and resorts & hotels.
It also offers web-based short-term loan services for employees to secure emergency cash.
Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) is commiting US$750,000 to produce a study on the disruptive effects on tech innovation on the Indonesian economy.
ADB’s technical assistance will help to map the impact of disruptive technology on the Indonesian economy, both at the aggregate and on the sectoral levels. ADB is keen to support the government’s efforts to leverage the benefits of technology while mitigating risks,” said ADB country director for Indonesia, Winfried Wicklein,
Petaling Jaya-based startup Adventoro Travel Technologies has come out of beta and announced the official launch of its online platform Adventoro, which aims to help thrill-seekers and travellers from anywhere in the world to discover and book adventure-based tours and activities in Malaysia.
Currently, Adventoro has listed more than 400 tours and activities located at various destinations, such as Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi Island, Sabah and Sarawak. The startup now plans to expand its listings to include tours and activities around Southeast Asia in early 2018.
Razer to launch gaming grade WiFi router [press release]
US- and Singapore-based gaming company Razer has partnered with home networking partner Ignition Design Labs to develop a WiFi router for gamers.
The Portal Wi-Fi router, which will be available on the RazerStore for S$249.90 (US$185), comes with a suite of patented tech that will allow the router’s WiFi channels avoid unreliable & slow WiFi in peak hours, steering devices to uncrowded and fast channels.
The router also allows users to build a Mesh setup (to extend their home’s WiFi reach) to cover 6,000 sqft of space using just two units.
oBike goes to Suwon City [press release]
Singapore bike-sharing platform oBike has signed an MOU with the South Korean city of Suwon City to launch its oBikes there.
Both oBike and Suwon City, supported by the city government, will work closely to encourage the adoption of cycling as a complementary mode of transportation, and improve the cycling infrastructure in the city as part of this agreement.
About 1,000 bikes will be deployed in the city, inititally.
Proptech-focused accelerator launches in Malaysia [press release]
ADAPT Ventures has teamed up wit real estate and investment firm, IQI, and accelerator WatchTower and Friends (WTF) to start their new initiative, ADAPT Accelerator.
The Malaysia-based accelerator will focus on helping PropTech-focused entrepreneurs connect with service providers to consumer groups within the property market.
Apart from that, ADAPT hopes to bring improvements to the real estate industry through tech adoption and local-global partnership with industry leaders in the entire real estate vertical.
Fundnel partners Thirdrock to help mid-stage companies obtain funding
Singapore-based equity crowdfunding platform Fundnel has partnered with investment advisory and wealth management group Thirdrock to help mid-stage, high-growth companies (typically Series B onwards) obtain funding in a more timely and cost-efficient manner.
Fundnel will use its big data and automation platform to assess a company’s funding-worthiness. Thirdrock will then look at each company’s scores and decide if they want to fund them.
This partnership will help speed up the company vetting process for Thirdrock.
“The Fundnel Factor assesses technologies at lightning speed, and gives us access to a constant flow of quality companies to potentially invest in,” said Melvyn Yeo, Executive Partner, Thirdrock Group.