Ecosystem Roundup: Pace raises US$40M Series A, Jokowi to launch VC fund, Mavcap to invest US$38M in SEA startups

Pace raises US$40M Series A as it aims to increase user base by 25x over next 12 months
Investors include UOB Venture Management, Marubeni Ventures, Atinum Partners and AppWorks; Pace, which has more than 3,000 points of sale across the region, looks to hit a gross merchandise value run rate of US$1B in 2022.

Indonesia’s Jokowi to launch VC fund backed by state-owned enterprises (SOEs)
Telkom Group, Bank Mandiri, and Bank BRI seem to be the initial investors of the fund, which was also backed by other big SOEs; The agreement has yet to be finalised, but the fund will invest in startups established by Indonesian founders and operate in the country.

Malaysia’s Mavcap to invest US$38M in SEA startups via two new funds
Orbit Malaysia Fund I and Ficus SEA Fund will back startups in the verticals such as AI, fintech, healthtech, greentech, industrialtech, IoT, and edutech; The Orbit fund I will be managed by Kejora Capital; Ficus SEA has a Shariah-compliant investment structure.

Ascendo Ventures launches US$33M fund for early-stage ESG-themed startups
New Horizon Fund will focus on sustainable and renewable energy, foodtech, digital technologies impacting carbon emissions, and innovative businesses with blockchain-driven decentralised governance structures; It will opportunistically make follow-on investments in the portfolio companies of its first fund.

SoftBank-backed Ajaib pours US$52M into Indonesian bank Bank Bumi Arta
Ajaib seems to be following in the footsteps of other tech companies such as Gojek, Sea Group, Akulaku, and FinAccel, which have invested in small local banks to turn them into digital banks; Last month, Ajaib entered the unicorn club after raising US$153 million in a round led by DST Global.

ARC Group launches US$20M SPAC opportunity fund, hits first close
The ARC Opportunity Fund can invest in 10-12 SPACs across varied sectors, geography, and sizes with each fund; It will target Asian sponsors who want to create SPACs; It is exploring options to work with sponsors looking to create SPACs in Singapore.

Wavemaker-backed agritech firm gets US$4M in pre-series A
Other investors are 3one4 Capital, Omnivore, The Yield Lab Asia Pacific, and Antares Capital; Fasal runs a SaaS platform powered by AI and IoT; Its solution gathers data from sensors installed on farms, creating crop-specific analytics.

Indonesian home cleaning firm bags US$3M in Series A round
Investors include Posco Venture Capital, A Ventures, ES Investor, Honest Ventures, and Enlight Ventures; Okhome offers various kinds of home care services, including general cleaning, disinfection, and air conditioner maintenance.

Banks and fintech: An arranged marriage built on trust, but does it last long?
Some banks tout happy engagements with tech startups, but how does the “marriage” go when trust, legacy system and security hurdles come into play?

Payroll services startup GIMO raises US$1.9M
Investors are Integra Partners, Resolution Ventures, Blauwpark Ventures, and TNB Aura AN Scout; GIMO allows employees to access their earned salary almost instantly via a mobile app integrated with the company’s payroll system.

Vietnamese HRtech firm nets seed money from CyberAgent Capital
Recruitery allows companies connect with headhunters to make new hires; The firm has helped over 1,000 businesses expand regionally and has operations in countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines.

SG-based OCBC mulls setting up crypto exchange
OCBC’s CEO Helen Wong said crypto technology is worth studying but the bank won’t rush into the space; Goldman Sachs Group and JPMorgan Chase already offer futures trading in cryptocurrencies.

F10 Singapore names 9 startups in third incubator cohort
The participants specialise in areas such as buy now, pay later, NFTs, data analytics, the gig economy, financial literacy, and regulatory tech; Selected startups will receive coaching and gain access to F10’s network of mentors, experts, and investors.

Could China’s CBDC threaten decentralised cryptocurrencies?
As China continues to make advances in developing its CBDC, it’s worth asking how the arrival of currencies like the eYuan will impact the world of cryptocurrencies.

How to tackle employee mental health to build a resilient workforce
A proactive approach to building resilience, wherein businesses can anticipate and react to future events swiftly and decisively, will better equip them with ways to tackle the next wave of health concerns- be it a real issue like influenza or a silent one like mental health.

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