e-Procurement platform SESAMi merges with financing platform Capital Match Holdings — e27

SESAMi, one of Singapore’s original companies that took traditional businesses online, announced today its merger with Capital Match. Capital Match was originally started as a P2P financing company, but has since developed into a platform for SME invoicing.

The deal was an equity merger, but no further details were not announced.

The goal of the merger is to build an end-to-end supply chain ecosystem that would allow for efficient B2B financing. The initial roll-out will be in Singapore but the new entity plans to expand across Southeast Asia.

As a result of the merger, the company was able to bring on board Dymon Asia Ventures and OSK Ventures International as investors.

Hyundai, Kia, pump US$250 million into Grab’s US$3 billion push — [e27]

Grab has made it clear that it wants to raise US$3 billion by the end of 2018. Today, Hyundai and Kia helped accomplish that goal with a US$250 million funding into the ride-hailing company.

The money will be used to pursue electric vehicle initiatives in 2019. Hyundai had previously invested in Grab in January, which was also aimed at the EV market.

Dr. Youngcho Chi, Hyundai Motor Group’s Chief Innovation Officer and head of Strategy & Technology Division, said:

“Southeast Asia is a huge emerging market for EVs because it is a home to one of the world’s fastest-growing consumer hubs. We chose Grab to be our partner to support the adoption of electric vehicles in Southeast Asia,” said.

German delegation tour Southeast Asia startup ecosystem — [Press Release]

A German non-profit organisation, called enpact, wrapped up a week-long tour of the startup ecosystems in Jakarta and Singapore. The goal of the trip was to tighten the relationship between Southeast Asian and European markets.

The mission of enpact is to strengthen the relationship between entrepreneurs across the world. Previously, it had been focussed on Europe, the Middle East and Africa. For now, the relationship in Asia needs further building, but the delegation was meant to help build bridges.

MassMutual launches US$50 million fund for Southeast Asia — [e27]

Boston-based venture capital fund MassMutual Ventures today announced the establishment of its US$50 million Southeast Asia-focussed fund MassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia (SEA).

“We made the decision just about a year ago to evaluate expanding into SEA and establishing a dedicated fund here. The primary rationale is just the tremendous opportunity that we see in the last several years, of entrepreneurs forming businesses and capital coming into this market to back those businesses,” MassMutual Ventures Managing Director Doug Russell explained to e27 in a phone interview.

Based in Singapore, the fund will be led by Managing Directors Ryan Collins (former Head of Asia at Manulife’s LOFT incubator) and Anvesh Ramineni (former Head of the Investments Team at OpenSpace Ventures).

Tencent starts driverless vehicle operations in Silicon Valley — [Financial Times]

With its gaming industry being hampered by government regulations, Tencent is moving into other avenues to generate business. One of them is starting an autonomous driving team in Silicon Valley, according to the Financial Times.

The company is about one-year into its driverless ambitions after a partnership with Guangzhou Automobile Group in China.

The news was made by the discovery of LinkedIn job advertisements that were recruiting people with machine learning backgrounds to join Tencent in its US Branch.

Alibaba and Baidu have also been partnering with Chinese companies to pursue driverless technology.