Active.ai will use funding to accelerate development of its platform’s features
Singapore-based fintech startup Active.ai has raised US$3 million from IDG Ventures India and Kalaari Capital.
It aims to use the newly-raised capital to accelerate the development of more advanced AI features for its platform.
Founded by Ravishankar, Shankar Narayanan and Parikshit Paspulati, Active.ai develops intelligent virtual assistants for financial service institutions. These virtual assistants come in the form of bots, SMS or voice API’s.
Customers who leverage on this automated AI-enabled service can get their queries and businesses handled much quicker than traditional means such as via telephone.
“Conversation is the new UX and with banks opening up APIs, a new era of digital business is emerging. We are moving from ‘Mobile First’ to ‘AI first’ and Active.ai is the platform facilitating banks to achieve that,” said Ravishankar, in a press statement.
“43 per cent of worldwide mobile phone consumers with a bank account use mobile banking today. The new generation of banking customers are looking for easy, secure and seamless interaction with their financial services provider,” said Sanat Rao, IDG Ventures.
Image Credit: Active.ai
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Transferwise, one of the biggest online services in the world for money transfers, is launching in Japan today, said CEO Taavet Hinrikus speaking at Tech in Asia Tokyo 2016. The service’s users, made up of businesses and individuals, transfer US$1 billion in cash each month. With better rates and lower fees than the banks and […]
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MACROKIOSK enables content providers to monetise their digital content across Southeast Asia via a single direct connection to its mobile payment platform
Malaysian mobile technology company MACROKIOSK has secured an undisclosed sum in strategic investment from GMO Payment Gateway, a unit of Japanese conglomerate GMO Internet Group, in return for a substantial stake.
“Having GMO-PG as a strategic stakeholder puts us at a higher level-playing field, extending beyond our leadership in the Southeast Asia regions, and we see that there will be substantial synergies and business leverage arising from this investment. It will significantly accelerate the speed in which we adopt new technologies and innovate solutions to meet the dynamic needs of our diverse clienteles from 18 industries,” the company said in a statement.
MACROKIOSK was founded in 2000 by brothers Goh Chee Ken, Goh Chee Heng and Goh Chee Seng. It is an enterprise mobility and mobile payments services company that enable leading content providers to monetise their digital content across Southeast Asia via a single direct connection to its mobile payment platform.
It serves more than 2,000 clients, reaching out to 37 countries within 18 industry verticals ranging from financial services, aviation to hospitality and leisure, offering complete secure and scalable enterprise mobility solutions in key engagement areas such as interactive, notification, authentication and security.
The company has presence in 12 countries across Asia namely Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and the UAW. It has more than 250 employees.
GMO-PG is one of the largest payment service providers in Japan offering payments and financial-related services to e-commerce merchants, banks and leading companies in Japan and across Southeast Asia.
It has been looking to expand its current provision of e-commerce and payment services to local banks and leading companies in the Southeast Asia region, in which this strategic investment will pave way for the service extension.
GMO-PG currently has five local companies in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Thailand. It also runs GMO Global Payment Fund that invests in capital, creates business alliances and works collectively in advancing the company’s overseas business expansion mainly in the payment sphere.
GMO-PG has also committed further cash investments into the company MACROKIOSK.
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These are the two main motivations behind creating a cardless payments app in Japan
Japanese startup Paidy, ExCo’s online payment service, announced a US$15 million Series B funding round led by SBI Holdings and Eight Roads Ventures Japan on Thursday. Other investors include Itochu and two returning funders: SIG Asia and Arbor Ventures.
Like every country, Japan‘s e-commerce landscape is growing, projected to go from US$89 billion in 2015 to US$122 billion in 2018, according to e-commerce portal PFSweb. Paidy is trying to develop a non-credit card payment network for Japanese e-commerce, already reaching 600,000 stores online that allow shoppers to check out with merely a phone number. That includes clients such as Adidas and Dean & Deluca, according to the company. The reasons to go that route have a lot to do with increasing credit card fraud in the country, which amounted to GBP43.1 million in 2014 according to Accenture.
The company is the brainchild of Canadian investment banker Russell Cummer, who has led ExCo since 2008. With attention being paid to their payments app, it seems the company is undergoing a rebranding, though that wasn’t entirely clear. Other investors in the company have included 500 Startups, Juvo Capital, CyberAgent Ventures, Cherubic Ventures and Recruit Strategic Partners.
While fraud might be one motivation, Japanese consumers prefer cash in general. The same Accenture report points out only 60 per cent of payments in Japan are done by card.
“It isn’t because people don’t have a credit card,” Cummer told TechCrunch. “People just don’t use them when shopping online. That’s because the majority of purchases are made on a mobile device, that form factor plus the fact they are probably on the go, means paying without a credit card is easier.”
The payments subsector is getting noticed across Asia. Last week, Bangkok-based Omise raised US$17.5 million in Series B with investors from fintech-awash Singapore and Jakarta. Unlike fintech hubs Singapore and Hong Kong, Japan’s scene is still nascent, having seen only US$44 million in venture investments in the sector in the first three quarters of 2015.
The article Paying online without a credit card? Japanese startup Paidy just raised $15 million to push the effort first appeared on Geektime.
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Paidy – a non-credit card payment network for Japanese e-commerce, already reaching 600,000 stores online
Paidy – paying online without a credit card
This funding will allow MakeLeaps to accelerate plans to build a wider range of functionality for Japanese businesses and make significant progress on the goal of eliminating paper from offices in Japan
Rakuten Ventures is the latest prominent investor to back MakeLeaps, following 500 Startups and Naval Ravikant (Founder, AngelList), who invested in the previous seed round.
Rakuten Ventures Japan Fund, a US$100 million fund, was launched early this year to target the next generation of early-stage innovators in Japan. Make Leaps and Rakuten Ventures Japan Fund are completely aligned on the goal of improving efficiency of the business operations in Japan with advanced cloud technology.
MakeLeaps will expand from a fully featured business invoicing system to a comprehensive fintech business platform, targeting various vertical markets. Further, Make Leaps will continue seeking partnerships with system integrators and business platforms to enable additional growth.
“Today, we couldnʼt be happier to announce Rakuten Ventures as our lead investor for our Series A. Moving forwards, the business partnership between Make Leaps and Rakuten will provide significant benefits for all existing and future MakeLeaps customers,” said Jay Winder, Make Leaps CEO, in a press statement.
Founded in 2009, the cloud business management platform for Japan enables businesses to create, manage and send quotes, delivery slips, order sheets, invoices, and receipts.
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Make Leaps, a Japan-based cloud fintech service company, has recently announced that Rakuten Ventures, the venture capital arm of Rakuten Group, is leading the MakeLeaps Series A round of financing.
Shares in Cambridge UK technology company Bango have rocketed more than 30 per cent in 24 hours as the new mobile game Pokemon Go hit the UK and caused a stir in the industry globally.
Bango CEO Ray Anderson speculated that it could prove a “tens of billions of dollars” game.
What is certain is that, even taking the most conservative estimates for Pokemon Go sales, they will add many millions to Bango’s bottom line according to seasoned industry observers.
That’s because Bango’s platform is used by the world’s major players to deliver direct carrier billing (DCB) for services such as games and music downloads.
One observer blogged: “Tens of billions seems a bit far fetched. Anyway let’s take $10 billion. If Direct Carrier Bill is 10 per cent and Bango takes 40 per cent of that market that’s $400m – not far off triple Bango existing end user spend.”
Bango’s platform is being used by all the world leaders in the space – chiefly Google, Amazon, Samsung and Microsoft – and is in mass-saturation territories such as Indonesia – where it has the DCB monopoly – the US, Australia, India, Canada and others – all prime territories for Pokemon Go.
While Google is banned in China, that country is another massive market which Bango can exploit through other partners. I also understand that Bango is about to conquer the huge Mexican market.
Once children start signing up for the game under pre-paid and secured licences under strict parental guidance, Anderson’s estimate of a tens of billion dollars revenue haul for Pokemon Go creator, American corporation Niantic, might move centre screen.
Pokemon Go was available in the States, Australia and some areas of Europe and gamers found a way of opening up the UK market. Now – according to information received by Business Weekly today – the enormous Chinese marketplace has caught the bug and young people are already using it there.
Bango’s share price has gone from 60p at the time it acquired American business BilltoMobile in May to 77p a share at the time of writing. It shot up 30.69 per cent to 75.80 yesterday and continued heading north to 77p today.
Anderson has previously told Business Weekly that it has created big-name partnerships with world leaders that will massively increase revenues.
The acquisition of BilltoMobile, the US-based carrier billing services of Danal Inc, for an initial consideration of $3.5m, could add as much as $80m to the bottom line.
That will be dwarfed if Pokemon Go sales evolve the way Anderson believes they will.
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