Grab secures funding from Microsoft – [press release]
Southeast Asia ride-hailing giant Grab has added another tech conglomerate in its roster of high profile investors — and it goes by the name of Microsoft.
The deal amount was undisclosed, but besides investment, Grab will integrate the company’s Azure cloud platform and tap into its machine learning and AI capabilities.
With Microsoft’s technology, Grab plans to upgrade its platform with the following tools:
- Authentication mechanisms such as mobile facial recognition with built-in AI for drivers and customers who opt in;
- Fraud detection services to predict and eliminate fraudulent transactions;
- Natural Language Processing tools to provide contextualised real-time translations and chatbots;
- Personalised services and content recommendations;
- Advanced image and computer vision capabilities so passengers can translate photos of locations into actual addresses for drivers, for example.
Google+ to shut down – [The Verge]
Google+, a social media platform that was designed to rival Facebook, is set to be completely shut down in 10 months’ time.
The decision was made following a Wall Street Journal report that said the company covered up a data breach that exposed the information of up to 500,000 users.
Google said that the platform currently has low engagement and usage and 90 per cent of Google+ users sign on for only 5 seconds or less.
Google will, however, still roll out features for enterprise customers who still use the platform to facilitate communications between co-workers.
Gogoprint raises US$7.7 million – [press release]
Thailand online printing startup Gogoprint has raised US$7.7 million in a Series A round led by OPG (Online Printing Group) and other undisclosed investors.
The startup will use the funding to further develop its product and expand into new markets including Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.
Gogoprint’s platform manages and pools together client orders, and distributes the cost of printing via its network of over hundreds of printing partners. This way, printers can maximise usage of their machinery and clients can expect a faster turnaround time.
To date, the company has worked with over 45,000 startups and SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) across Asia Pacific.
MMTutors raises funding – [e27]
Trust Venture Partners Myanmar, a local corporate finance advisory firm, and angel investor Aung Htun also joined the round.
The edtech startup will use the money to aggressively grow the platform with an aim to upgrade Myanmar’s education system. Currently, MMTutors has over 800 registered tutors.
Core Capital launches US$10 million fund – [e27]
Core Capital has entered into a partnership with Malaysian VC Gobi Partners to launch a US$10 million fund for Philippines.
Called the Gobi-Core Philippine Fund (or PH Fund for short), the fund will be managed by Core Capital’s Co-founders Carlo Delantar, Jason Gaisano, and its managing partner Ken Ngo. Gobi will provide fund administration, advisory and support.
PH Fund will focus on a few verticals including healthtech, e-commerce, B2B, PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and other e-services.
It has already “warehoused” four startups and has eight others in the pipeline.