Issue 21

Malaysian cloud kitchen startup dahmakan raises $5m in Series A round

Malaysia-based cloud kitchen and food delivery startup dahmakan has announced raising $5 million in its Series A funding round backed by existing and new investors, including Silicon Valley fund Partech Partners and China’s UpHonest Capital. 

The funding round, which brings the startup’s total funding to close to $10 million, also saw follow-on from Y-Combinator and Atami Capital and private investment from the former CEO of Nestle, the company said in a statement. dahmakan, which is present in Malaysia and Thailand, announced the close of the Series A round after the launch of its distribution “satellite” kitchens in Malaysia. The fresh capital will be used to, among others, launch new distribution channel and expanding its own delivery coverage. 

“We’ve continued to show strong year-on-year growth in Malaysia & Thailand and earlier this year, launched a network of distribution “satellite” hubs that will allow us to increase distribution to customers faster and through other platforms,” Jessica Li, dahmakan’s co-founder, told DEALSTREETASIA. According to a report from Temasek, demand for food delivery has grown rapidly at over 73 per cent YoY in SouthEast Asia. 

Dahmakan said it capitalises on this demand for delivery-only food by servicing multiple satellite kitchen around Kuala Lumpur from one factory-sized cloud kitchen. The Kuala Lumpur-based startup distinguishes itself from rivals – including Foodpanda, GrabFood, and Deliveroo – by delivering meals prepared in-house instead of picking up from restaurants and stalls. 

Dahmakan had raised its pre-Series A round in January 2018 from accelerator Y Combinator, Texas Atlantic Capital, Swiss family office Atami Capital and the former founder of APAX Partners. 

The round was followed by the acquisition of Thailand’s food delivery startup Polpa in March. The deal marked dahmakan’s first regional expansion since its launch in 2015. 

“This new funding round will allow us to drive growth in existing and new markets including launching new distribution channels such as partnering with food delivery marketplaces and retailers as well as expanding our own delivery coverage,” said dahmakan CEO Jonathan Weins. 

The startup also plans to add further talent to its leadership team. In 2018, dahmakan launched a new brand of lower-priced dishes, which it claims are 30 per cent more affordable than their initial starting price point in 2016. 

“This brand has proven popular and has been adopted quickly by over 200 corporate partners in Kuala Lumpur as part of dahmakan’s digital canteen program, a corporate food delivery offering which is set to launch in 1,800 offices across Klang Valley in 2019,” it said. Nicolas El Baze, general partner at Partech Partners said dahmakan has reached a “crucial inflection point” as the system is now ready to expand fast into other markets in Asia.


From – Deal Street Asia


Tencent leads $250m round for Chinese travel site Mafengwo

Tencent Holdings Ltd. is leading a $250 million investment in Chinese travel site Mafengwo, expanding its footprint in a fast-growing online travel and content sphere. 

The Beijing-based company also attracted General Atlantic and Qiming Venture Partners to its latest funding round, Mafengwo said in a statement. Nine-year-old Mafengwo — which means “hornets’ nest” — helps Chinese travelers seeking destination and sight-seeing recommendations from fellow globetrotters. 

Operating a model akin to TripAdvisor, it’s competing for the world’s largest population of tourists, and travel operators who want to reach a fast-growing domestic audience. China’s online travel industry is expected to grow 18% to 988 billion yuan ($143 billion) of transactions this year, according to consultancy iResearch. 

Mafengwo began letting users book hotels via its site in 2015 and has doubled transaction volumes annually over the past four years, it said. This week, the company established a partnership with Hong Kong-listed Tongcheng-Elong Holdings Ltd. to build a one-stop service that helps users book hotels and flights faster after reviewing content on Mafengwo’s platform. 

Officially known as Beijing Mafengwo Network Technology Co., the company counts Temasek Holdings Pte as a backer and raised $133 million during its last round of financing in December 2017. The startup plans to use the new funds to develop artificial intelligence technology and improve user recommendations.

From – Deal Street Asia

Minister confirms GOJEK interest in Malaysia expansion

Indonesian unicorn giant GOJEK has expressed interest in bringing its ride-hailing business into the Malaysian market, according to the country’s Transport Minister as quoted by The Edge. 

In an interview, Minister Anthony Loke said that he would welcome GOJEK into the county as it would inject more competition in the e-hailing market. While he declined to confirm whether the Jakarta-based company has formally applied for requisite approvals, Loke said he did not foresee any problem with its plan to open up an operation in Malaysia. 

This marks a change in stance from Loke who had told the parliament in July last year that he felt the country was not ready to introduce two-wheeled ride hailing services due to the high rate of road accidents involving motorcycles. GOJEK had previously identified Malaysia as one of its next expansion destinations, as well as Myanmar and Cambodia. 

The company has already launched its services in Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore. The company has also made serious efforts to expand into the Philippines, but has been hampered by restrictive local regulations. In March, GOJEK lost an appeal against the Philippines’ decision to refuse to grant it a licence due to its failure to meet local ownership criteria. 

Last year, it announced that it would invest $500 million into overseas expansion into Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. Currently, the company is known to close to closing a new round of funding of $2 billion to further boost its international expansion. 

Among the investors known to have contributed to this Series F round are as Mitsubishi Corp. and Provident Capital, along with Google, and Tencent Holdings Ltd. GOJEK’s regional expansion will challenge the domination of rivals Grab, which is known to be Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing player. The company has raised over $3 billion of an ongoing $5-billion Series H round from investors including Tokyo Century, Yamaha, Hyundai and Microsoft.

From – Deal Street Asia

Siam Cement Group picks majority stake in Indonesian paper firm Fajar for $665m

Thai industrial conglomerate Siam Cement Group (SCG) has acquired a 55 per cent stake in Indonesia-listed paper packaging firm PT Fajar Surya Wisesa Tbk (Fajar) for 9.6 trillion rupiah ($665 million), according to a statement on Friday. 

The investment is expected to help foster the growth of SCG’s packaging business in the long run as Fajar has built a production capacity to serve the Indonesian market, which is almost three times the size of Thailand. 

“The major shareholding in Fajar will allow SCG to enhance its ASEAN growth, especially in Indonesia that provides tremendous future growth opportunity for packaging business,” said SCG’s president and CEO Roongrote Rangsiyopash. 

The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year. The company will fund the acquisition through internal accruals, he said. 

He added that SCG is in the process of exploring the feasibility of raising equity at the SCG Packaging level. This process is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. 

SCG’s packaging business reported sales revenue of 87.26 billion baht ($2.76 billion) and a profit of 6.32 billion baht ($200.27 million) in the fiscal year 2018. Meanwhile, Fajar registered sales revenue of 9.94 trillion rupiah ($693.98 million) and clocked profit of 1.41 trillion rupiah ($98.23 million).

From – Deal Street Asia

Thailand: Kasikornbank unit KVision sets aside $245m to fund startups

KASIKORN Vision (KVision), an investment holding company of KASIKORNBANK (KBank), has set aside a budget of $245 million to invest in tech startups in ASEAN, China, Japan and Korea that can help the bank expand regionally. 

KVision chairman Pattarapong Kanhasuwan told DEALSTREETASIA that about $190 million of the total budget will be directly invested by KVision and the remaining $55 million will be routed through Beacon, the corporate venture capital arm of KBank. KVision will prioritise investments in fintech and e-commerce startups, he said. 

Earlier this week, KVision announced that it had signed a cooperation agreement with the Vietnam government’s Business Startup Support Centre (BSSC) to support Thai startups’ entry into the Vietnamese market. “To invest in Thai startups that will penetrate the Vietnamese market, we are not expecting investment returns. 

We would rather consider it in the long-term [perspective] for future business partners as we plan to eventually become a regional bank in Asean,” said Pattarapong. Hang Nyugen, deputy director of BSSC, told local media that she expects 20 Thai startups to have presence in Vietnam in the coming year. 

Founded in August 2018 with a total investment from KBank worth 8 billion baht ($253.41 million), KVision aims to engage in forging joint ventures with technology and financial firms globally to enhance its digital technology capabilities and strengthen its resources.

From – Deal Street Asia
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