Issue 15
 

Malaysia’s fintech startup MoneyMatch raises pre-Series A investment


Malaysia’s fintech startup MoneyMatch on Tuesday announced that it has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-Series A funding led by Cradle Seed Ventures, the VC arm of Malaysia’s early stage financier Cradle Fund. 

The fundraising coincided with MoneyMatch receiving in-principle approval for a Class B remittance license from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to offer digital remittance services to businesses and individuals. 

MoneyMatch was part of the first batch of participants in BNM’s Regulatory Sandbox back in May 2017 and is vying to become the first fintech startup to successfully graduate from the Sandbox by the middle of this year. 

It also was the first startup approved by BNM’s Financial Technology Enabler Group (FTEG) to offer a complete digital experience from customer onboarding (eKYC) to executing transactions online. 

MoneyMatch claims that it has crossed over 450 million ringgit in transaction value servicing thousands of individuals and business customers since beginning operations in June 2017. 

The fintech startup said it is looking to raise more investments to fund its aggressive expansion in the Asia Pacific region. 

Established in 2017, MoneyMatch provides a remittance and currency exchange solution for cheaper currency exchange. It boasts over 10,000 users on its proprietary platform.

 

From – Deal Street Asia

 

Digital Ventures backs Israeli fintech startup Pagaya’s $25m Series C


Digital Ventures, the venture capital arm of Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank, has made a return investment in Israel-based artificial intelligence (AI) driven asset management firm Pagaya, backing its $25-million Series C round. 

According to an announcement on Wednesday, the round was led by US-based venture fund Oak HC/FT and joined by seed investor Viola Ventures, Israel’s biggest insurance firm Clal Insurance Ltd, New York-based GF Investments and former American Express chairman and CEO Harvey Golub. All the Series C investors had participated in Pagaya’s Series B round in August 2018 that saw it raise $14 million. 

The deal marks the first Series C investment by Digital Ventures. The Israeli fintech company said it plans to use the fresh funding to further develop its technology and pursue new asset classes such as real estate and other fixed-income assets including auto loans, mortgages and corporate credit. 

Pagaya uses machine learning and big data to manage institutional money, with a focus on fixed income and alternative credit. It offers a variety of discretionary funds to institutional investors, including pension funds, insurance companies and banks. 

It claims to manage $450 million for banks, insurance firms, pension funds, asset managers and sovereign wealth funds. Its investment team has also expanded from 20 data scientists and AI specialists last year to 30 currently. In February this year, the company announced $100 million in actively managed asset-backed securities (ABS). 

It had said that it will use AI to select and purchase individual loans for the ABS, instead of the traditional ABS mechanics of securitizing a pool of previously assembled assets.

 
From – Deal Street Asia
 


Carousell bags Naspers funding, confirms acquisition of OLX Philippines

Online marketplace Carousell on Wednesday announced that it has raised around $56 million from Naspers through its classifieds arm OLX Group. As part of the deal, the Singapore firm will acquire the Philippines operations of OLX. DEALSTREETASIA had earlier in the day reported that Carousell had acquired the Philippines business of OLX as part of an unspecified investment from Naspers. 

According to a Carousell statement, the deal values it at over $550 million and gives OLX around 10 per cent stake in it. This is the first investment by Naspers in a Singapore startup. TechCrunch first reported the talks between Naspers and Carousell in June last year and said the Singapore company was seeking a valuation of $500 million. 

“Naspers’ investment will enable us to accelerate the cementing of our leadership in Southeast Asia and our pace of innovation. We will continue deepening our expertise in technology and AI to bring greater value, trust and convenience to our users,” said OLX co-founder and CEO Quek Siu Rui. 

Carousell said that OLX Philippines is currently the largest online classifieds site in the country, with more than 6 million monthly unique users. Its acquisition will make the Singapore-based firm the largest mobile classifieds marketplace in Southeast Asia. 

“We are excited to increase our presence in Asia via a fast-growing company such as Carousell, which has deep knowledge across the region. We look forward to learning from them and sharing our own experience of operating in high-growth markets across five continents. Together, we believe we can offer the very best classifieds experience to the local market,” said OLX Group CEO Martin Scheepbouwer. 

Carousell expects to integrate OLX’s operations and subsidiaries in the Philippines by the second half of 2019. Raffy Montemayor, General Manager of OLX Philippines, will manage Carousell’s operations in the market and lead the transition. 

Earlier this month, OLX sold its businesses in Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania to African classifieds marketplace Jiji. Commenting on the sale of the businesses in Africa, OLX Africa, Middle East and Asia general manager Sjoerd Nikkelen had said, “We continually evaluate our portfolio of classifieds businesses to ensure a disciplined approach to how and where we allocate capital and management time. 

With our focus on accelerating the growth of other markets, now is an opportune time to sell our interests in these markets.” Carousell had last raised an $85-million Series C round in May, led by Rakuten Ventures and EDBI. The round was joined by existing investors 500 Startups, Golden Gate Ventures and Sequoia India, as well as new investor, Asian financial services group DBS.

From – Deal Street Asia
 


Amazon buys warehouse robotics startup Canvas Technology

Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday said it had acquired Canvas Technology, a robotics startup in Boulder, Colorado, that has built autonomous carts that can move goods around warehouses. 

An Amazon spokeswoman did not comment on the deal’s price tag but said the companies “share a common vision for a future where people work alongside robotics to further improve safety and the workplace experience. We look forward to working with Canvas Technology’s fantastic team to keep inventing for customers.” 

The world’s largest online retailer has increasingly automated its fulfillment centers with robots, originally from Kiva Systems which it agreed to buy for $775 million in 2012, that transport shelves of inventory to workers to pick customer orders. Amazon has also shown growing interest in self-driving technology more broadly, recently participating in a $530 million funding round in driverless car startup Aurora Innovation Inc. 

The deal was earlier reported by TechCrunch.

 
From – Reuters
 


GOJEK’s Vietnamese arm launches Go-FOOD in Hanoi

GOJEK’s Vietnam subsidiary GO-VIET has launched food delivery service GO-FOOD in Hanoi, adding a feather to its cap as it looks to expand its food delivery service in the country. 

The ride hailing service firm first launched the service in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) a few months ago. GO-FOOD has been piloting in Hanoi over the past three months and has tied up with food vendors to bring a plethora of options and attractive promotions to the locals. 

With the service on the go, people can now savour options ranging from fast food to casual and fine dining restaurants. “People in Hanoi are very passionate about food, whether it’s local street food or high-end cuisine and we believe they will love our food offering just as much as the people of HCMC,” said Phung Tuan Duc, GO-VIET Chief Operations Officer. 

“With GO-FOOD now fully live in Hanoi, consumers will enjoy top-level service, competitive prices and the best food the city has to offer.” GOJEK entered Vietnam, its first market outside Indonesia, in August 2018. It offers bike-hailing, delivery and food services in the country and has plans to tap the car-hailing segment soon. 

The company did not charge drivers in the country any fee for the first few months of its operation. It declared a 35 per cent marketshare in HCMC nearly two months after launch. Recently, DEALSTREETASIA reported that the CEO and chief growth officer (CGO) of GOJEK’s Vietnam affiliate stepped down from their positions to take on new advisory roles. 

The Vietnam-based unit of the ride-hailing major did not reveal who would be taking over the CEO and CGO positions and indicated that the existing management will continue to be responsible for the day-to-day operations.

From – Deal Street Asia
 
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