#Asia Southeast Asia’s 15 blockbuster funding rounds in 2015


(Image by 401K)

Photo credit: 401K

Home to over 600 million people, Southeast Asia is among the 10 largest economies in the world and has the third-largest labor force, next to China and India, according to multinational management consulting firm McKinsey. Growth in the region has been rapid and relatively stable over the past decade, making it attractive for businesses and investors alike. All these factors are fueling Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem.

This year, we’ve seen tons of money poured into the region. In terms of markets, Singapore and Indonesia have figured prominently on investors’ radars (what, with Singapore’s uber wealthy and Indonesia’s huge population, it’s no surprise).

This now begs the question: who are the biggest winners when it comes to raising funds in 2015? We’ve looked into Tech in Asia’s database and here they are in reverse order:

15. DocDoc (Singapore), US$8.5 million


DocDoc, which helps patients book doctor appointments online, raised US$8.5 million in series A funding from Hong Leong Financial Group and SparkLabs Global Ventures in April. Co-founder Cole Sirucek said the funding would be used to ramp up marketing.

The company matches patients looking for care with doctors looking to fill up appointment slots. The company charges a monthly subscription fee for doctors who sign up.

DocDoc’s basic premise borrows from New York-based startup ZocDoc.

Read our full report here.

14. Attune Technologies (Singapore), US$10 million


Photo taken from Attune’s website.

Attune Technologies was founded to give small hospitals and labs an alternative to costly traditional hospital management software.

The cloud-based software company caters to customers in Singapore – its home base – and India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Kenya.

After a US$10 million series B round from Qualcomm Ventures and returning investor Norwest Venture Partners in October, the company said it would bring its business to the Middle East, and more markets in Southeast Asia and Africa, soon.

The company now handles 10 million patient records for various healthcare centers.

13. Zimplistic (Singapore), US$11.5 million

rotimatic zimplistic

The Rotimatic. Photo credit: Hian Goh.

India-born Singaporean Pranoti Nagarkar, a mechanical engineer, came up with a prototype for an automatic roti (a flatbread made from stoneground wholemeal flour) maker, which won a prestigious startup competition in Singapore back in 2009. But her startup Zimplistic and its roti maker only became a commercial proposition after husband Rishi Israni, a software engineer, came on board as co-founder a couple of years later.

With his programming expertise, Israni turned the roti maker into a smart device called Rotimatic and helped the company raise funding from private investors.

Within a week from its launch, Zimplistic sold US$5 million worth of roti makers, priced at US$599 each. Tons of pre-orders followed.

Zimplistic raised US$11.5 million in series B funding from NSI Ventures and Robert Bosch Venture Capital in July. The company said it would use the money to finish the Rotimatic beta, accelerate manufacturing rollout, and set up operations in international markets to fulfil a big demand.

Read our full report here.

12. HappyFresh (Indonesia), US$12 million

HappyFresh Courier

In September, Indonesia’s grocery delivery app HappyFresh raised US$12 million in series A funding from Vertex Ventures and Sinar Mas Digital Ventures as well as Asia Venture Group, Beenext, Ardent Capital, 500 Startups, and Cherry Ventures. CEO and co-founder Markus Bihler said they would use the fresh capital to further expand their footprint in Southeast Asia. Apart from Indonesia, HappyFresh is available in Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan.

The company is an early mover in the food marketplace industry. Established in October 2014, the firm has partnered with well-known supermarkets and rolled out an on-demand logistics network that allows for next-hour delivery.

It faces many competitors in the region, however: Go-Food (of Go-Jek), Black Garlic, and Sukamart in Indonesia; Tesco Lotus and Tops Shop Online in Thailand; and Honestbee and RedMart in Singapore.

Read our full report here.

11. Coc Coc (Vietnam), US$14 million

Already beating Google in Vietnam, this startup just got funding to expand search engine to new countries

Coc Coc’s search engine, pictured on February 4, 2015.

Vietnam is one of the very few markets around the world where Google faces a strong competitor in search – Coc Coc.

In February, Coc Coc secured a US$14 million series B funding from German company Hubert Burda Media to help with its growth and technology.

Co-founder and CEO Victor Lavrenko said the money would be spent for the search engine’s rollout in Southeast Asia, though he didn’t reveal a specific plan.

Read our full report here.

10. Fastacash (Singapore), US$15 million


Fintech company Fastacash raised US$15 million in series B funding in July, which it claimed was one of the largest investments for a fintech company in Singapore ever. That round was led by Rising Dragon Singapore, while participating investors included Russian fintech venture capital firm Life.Sreda and UVM 2 Venture Investments.

Fastacash does mobile payments, but strictly through a B2B approach. The company offers a payment platform that its partners can use to enable value transfers (such as money, mobile credit, or other tokens of value) using mobile and social networks. For example, Fastacash has worked with Singapore bank DBS to allow payment via the DBS Paylah! app. In India, it has worked with Axis Bank for the launch of Ping Pay, which allows users to send money and top-up mobile phone balances through Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, SMS, or email.

Read our full report here.

9. Honestbee (Singapore), US$15 million

An Honestbee shopper in action.

Online grocery delivery service Honestbee raised US$15 million in a Bay Area-flavored series A funding round in October. Silicon Valley investment firm Formation 8 led the round, and Silicon Valley venture fund Pejman Mar Ventures, an investor in Dropbox and Lending Club, as well as Facebook, Amazon, and Google luminaries Gideon Yu, Owen Van Natta, and Steve Chen joined in.

Honestbee uses freelance shoppers to do grocery and deliver the goods to users ordering from the app.

The company is operating in Singapore and Hong Kong, and plans to expand into six major cities in Southeast Asia next year.

In Singapore, Honestbee competes mainly with RedMart, which has its own warehousing and fleet infrastructure.

Read our full report here.

8. MyRepublic (Singapore), US$16 million


MyRepublic secured in July some US$16 million in funding from Brunei telco DST Communications, among other investors. The company is gunning to be the fourth telecommunications provider in Singapore, after SingTel, Starhub, and M1. It offers broadband internet services and is getting into mobile telephony.

In October, MyRepublic kicked off a mobility trial at the Jurong Lake District area in Singapore, where 1,000 participants were given the opportunity to test the company’s voice and 4G data services.

Read our full report here.

7. Bhinneka (Indonesia), US$22 million


Bhinneka sells branded and all variety of computers, servers, software, photography and accessories, peripherals, computer accessories, and electronics. On the Tech in Asia Jakarta 2015 stage in November, the Indonesian ecommerce firm announced a US$22 million investment from venture capital firm Ideosource.

The VC’s managing partner Andi Boediman told the audience the round was Ideosource’s largest investment to date. He added that his firm doesn’t exactly know what to call the investment in terms of series or stage, as Bhinneka has been completely self-funded since its inception in 1999, and is one of the only profitable big ecommerce businesses in the archipelago.

Andi said Bhinneka would hire some of the region’s top talents for its tech and marketing departments in a bid to cement its market foothold.

Read our full report here.

6. Elevenia (Indonesia), US$23.4 million

James Lee, CEO elevenia

James Lee, CEO of Elevenia.

Indonesia’s ecommerce site welcomed a new player in 2014 – Elevenia, a joint venture project between Indonesian telco XL Axiata and South Korean online and mobile services firm SK Planet.

Backed by US$60 million in investments so far, the company is going head-to-head with robust estore rivals Tokopedia, BukaLapak, and Lazada in Indonesia.

Of the total investment in Elevenia, US$36.6 million served as in initial injection by the joint venture partners, while the rest was follow-on funding (series B) that came in January.

While Elevenia is not the most well-known brand when it comes to ecommerce in Indonesia, it is a quiet but formidable player, and aggressive, too.

Find out more about the company in our report here.

5. RedMart (Singapore), US$26.7 million


Online grocery delivery service RedMart raised a bridge round of US$26.7 million in August this year in preparation for its series C round, which will be used to fund its international expansion. Existing investors Garena, Softbank Ventures Korea, Visionnaire Ventures, and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin joined the round in a show of confidence in the startup.

For years, RedMart has set itself apart from other similar services such as Honestbee by running its own supply chain – from warehousing to delivery. However, in November, it launched an on-demand platform, RedMart Relay, which – similar to Honestbee – hires freelancers whom RedMart calls “runners” to handle the deliveries.

RedMart previously said it was considering Jakarta, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, and Taipei as areas for expansion.

Read our reports on RedMart here and here.

4. iFlix (Malaysia), US$30 million

iFlix CEO Azran Osman-Rani.

iFlix CEO Azran Osman-Rani.

Southeast Asia may soon be able to stream a whole new range of movie and TV content as iFlix successfully secured a US$30 million series A round from parent Catcha Group and telco Philippines Long Distance Telephone Company last April.

iFlix, the counterpart of Netflix (US and Europe), said the funds would be used for its continued rollout in the region, the acquisition of rights to more content, as well as the production of original content.

iFlix is currently available in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Read more about the company’s funding round here.

3. Antuit (Singapore), US$56M


Big data startup Antuit surprised many when it raised US$56 million in January, just 18 months into its operations. US banking giant Goldman Sachs led the series A funding round, while existing investor India-based Zodius Capital participated.

Antuit provides big data analytics and consultancy for various businesses, including some Fortune 500 firms. What sets it apart from others in this space is that it doesn’t just provide clients access to big data, but acts as a partner by working with them in structuring and analyzing it.

2. PropertyGuru (Singapore), US$129.3M


Online property portal PropertyGuru received in June a whopping US$129.3 million series D investment from a “strategic consortium.” The consortium consists of Indonesian media company Emtek (which is already PropertyGuru’s partner in Indonesia), venture capital firm Square Peg Capital, and international private investment company TPG.

The investment will fuel PropertyGuru’s expansion in Southeast Asia, and its marketing and “innovation” efforts, according to a statement.

Co-founder and CEO Steve Melhuish said the region presents a huge opportunity for PropertyGuru – the middle class is emerging and real estate remains the most important investment for most people. Melhuish feels the landscape in more mature real estate markets, like western Europe, is indicative of the opportunity the Southeast Asian markets present.

Read our full report here.

1. Grabtaxi (Singapore), US$350 million

grabtaxi raises $250 million

GrabTaxi, the arch rival of Uber in Southeast Asia, got some big support from China in its US$350 million series E round in August, counting among its investors China’s largest taxi app Didi Kuaidi, and the country’s sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation (CIC).

The investment bolstered speculations that a mega partnership to kill Uber was in the works. CIC is an investor in Didi Kuaidi, which, in turn, invested in Lyft in the US and Ola in India. The companies also share common VC backers, most notably SoftBank.

Indeed, talks about Uber’s worst nightmare came true this month after its rivals inked a global rideshare alliance. The alliance, among others, will allow GrabTaxi, Didi Kuaidi, Lyft, and Ola customers to hail any of the four from their apps when they travel to other markets starting in the first quarter of 2016.

Every one will surely be watching what will happen to this tech transportation world war.

Read our reports about GrabTaxi’s funding round and the global rideshare alliance here and here.

2015 in review, 2015 tech news, 2015 tech highlights, EOY

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