Ecosystem Roundup: SEA gets 2 new e-commerce brand aggregators + it’s raining startup funding in Indonesia

The Rainforest team

Indonesian beauty-tech company Social Bella snags US$56mn; Investors are L Catterton, Indies Capital, East Ventures and Jungle; The company will use the capital for product innovation and continued expansion across SEA; Social Bella runs 21 omnichannel stores in nine cities in Indonesia and one in Vietnam.

Ex-CEO of Rocket Internet Asia launches new e-commerce venture Una Brands with a US$40mn seed round; Una Brands provides a “fast and fair way” for e-commerce biz owners to sell their firms that have annual revenue between US$300K and US$20mn; It is platform-agnostic and acquires businesses across leading e-commerce platforms, including Amazon, Lazada, Shopee and Shopify.

SCI Ecommerce raises US$38mn led by Asia Partners; The e-commerce enabler plans to set up local teams in Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines, and hire at least 100 people across SEA and China; SCI is planning to pursue an IPO in the US at the end of the year with a target market valuation of US$1bn.

E-commerce brand aggregator Rainforest launches with US$36mn funding; Investors include Nordstar (lead) and Insignia Ventures; Formed by former execs from Carousell and Fave, Rainforest is a serial acquirer of profitable Amazon businesses for a typical purchase price of US$1mn+; The company looks to acquire at least a few more Amazon-native brands from brand owners globally.

Vietnam’s digital entertainment company POPS Worldwide aims to close US$50mn Series D by Q3 2021; The funds to be raised will be used for expansion to Philippines and deepening footprint in Indonesia; It has earlier raised US$30mn in 2019; POPS helps global brands localise their content for Southeast Asian viewers; To date, it claims to have bagged 400mn+ fans and 50bn+ views.

Indonesian P2P lending firm focused on women micro-entrepreneurs Amartha secures US$28mn; Investors are Women’s World Banking Capital Partners II, MDI Ventures, Mandiri Capital and UOB Venture; It is a P2P lending platform; This comes fresh off Amartha’s US$50mn debt financing round from US-based Lendable in February this year.

Hangry swallows US$13mn Series A to scale its cloud kitchen and multi-brand concept in Indonesia; It plans to open 120+ outlets in total, with the aim to launch 20+ dine-in restaurants across Indonesia in 2021; Hangry follows an asset-light business model wherein it produces “quality food at affordable prices” to cater to the urban, mobile-first consumers in the archipelago.

FPT acquires majority stake in SaaS platform; has developed a job application tracking system, a task and project management platform, and internal request management platform; has previously raised US$1.3mn in a pre-Series A funding round, co-led by Alpha JWC Ventures and Beenext.

Indonesian Big Data company Bonza secures US$2mn funding; Investors are East Ventures (lead) and; Bonza is developing its platform offerings to better support the enterprises in deploying data and AI solutions through a no-code platform.

P2P lending platform Modal Rakyat secures OJK licence, funding from Fazz Financial; Modal Rakyat is a working capital enabler for startups and SMEs; Through its B2B2C platform, it unlocks ‘productive pay-later’ feature for various use cases of tech-startups ecosystem, ranging from logistic marketplace, POS, to payment point online banks; It claims to have 12K active lenders.

Joseph Phua’s Turn Capital acquires Dapp Pocket to create SEA-focused retail crypto exchange; The crypto exchange OMO is aimed at being the gateway for SEA new and mainstream adopters to the world of crypto; Dapp Pocket, a blockchain company in Taiwan.

Singapore’s fintech startup Fewcents lands US$1.6mn seed; Investors include M Venture Partners, Hustle Fund and angels; Fewcents helps digital publishers monetise premium content such as articles, video, and podcasts, through a pay-per-content service that sits on the publishers’ sites; It accepts 50 currencies from around the world.

EDB New Ventures launches new Corporate Venture Launchpad programme; It aims to support large and established Singaporean companies in building new ventures in new areas of growth beyond their existing core businesses; Set to run as a one-year pilot, the programme is investing US$7.4mn to undertake 20 concept validation sprints.

Temasek-backed Big Idea Ventures closes US$50mn debut alternative fund; LPs include Le Groupe, AAK, Meiji Co., Buhler, Enterprise Singapore; Fund 1 has backed companies like Shiok Meats; The fund also backs an accelerator programme in NY and Singapore, which identifies and nurtures top talent in the foodtech space in the US and Asia.

Meet the 4 Luminaries startups that made a pivot to tide over COVID-19 crisis; How RewardNation, Greenhouse, Travelhorse and Sqreem Technologies used the pandemic to its advantage and to explore different options.

UN’s WeEmpowerAsia launches accelerator for female entrepreneurs in the care sector; UN Women Care Accelerator will run for 6 months and will provide training, mentorship and funding support to five selected startups; Seedstars and Bopinc will co-lead the training, exchange and mentorship.

500 Startups, Enterprise Singapore launch programme for emerging entrepreneurs to build startups from scratch; 500 Ignition Singapore will help emerging entrepreneurs with product research, MVP development and business plan ideation; Key mentors joining the programme include Leesa Soulodre (General Partner, R31Ventures), Jin Tanaka (co-founder and Managing Partner, Shogun Capital), Jaspreet S Dua (EIR, 500 Startups).

Indonesia’s Cermati Fintech Group raises funding; Investors include MDI Ventures (lead) and Djarum Group; It operates (a financial marketplace in Indonesia), Cermati Protect (a digital insurance brokerage), and Indodana (a digital fintech lending company).

How Singapore’s tech community is helping India in its battle against COVID-19; Several Singaporean investors are running crowdfunding campaigns in partnership with Temasek and Giving.SG to raise money towards this cause.

Facebook launches 2nd edition of Community Accelerator in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand; It also announces expansion into 3 new markets Singapore, Malaysia, India; An 8-month programme, it will connect community leaders to experts, coaches, and a customised curriculum to create a plan to strengthen their community and meet their goals; Up to US$7.5mn will be distributed to participants through a series of grants up to US$50K per participant.

How to create SaaS content for increased acquisition and retention; In this article, you’ll learn how to identify and better understand your potential audience’s needs; You’ll find tips for creating marketing content throughout the SaaS sales cycle and engaging the public and potential investors.

How to retain local talent as global demand for remote tech workers surges; Embracing a strong workplace culture is the key strategic plan for local companies; Companies should follow lean structure, be low in the hierarchy, be open to experimentation, be highly geared to learning, low regulations and roadblocks, and provide healthy and positive collegial environment.

10 surprising things that rely on AI; AI has transformed many aspects of our lives for the better; It even played a role in developing vaccines against COVID-19; But you may be surprised just how many things we take for granted that rely on AI.

Image Credit: Rainforest

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,Ecosystem Roundup: SEA gets 2 new e-commerce brand aggregators + it’s raining startup funding in Indonesia | e27

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