Ecosystem Roundup: Temasek’s US$3.3B investment platform, Open Labs’s US$100M fund; Love, Bonito, Kumu raise funding

Temasek launches US$3.3B investment platform for firms eyeing global expansion
65 Equity Partners will target deals between US$100M and US$200M; It will invest in established companies that have market values between US$1B and US$5B; It will focus on consumer, industrial and business services, logistics, healthcare, and technology.

Ex-Sorabel CEO led brand aggregator Open Labs launches US$100M fund to buy D2C brands
Jeffrey Yuwono-owned Open Labs will provide operational support to brands it invests in and help them grow online and scale operations; It sees regional competition from Jungle Ventures-backed Hypefast and 500 Startups-backed Una Brands.

Omnichannel womenswear brand Love, Bonito raises US$50M Series C
Investors are Primavera Capital (lead), Adastria, and Ondine Capital; Love, Bonito plans to expand into markets, including HK, Japan, the Philippines and the US and explore categories outside of fashion.

Kumu nets Series C to become the ‘Disneyland of social media’; total funding exceeds US$100M
Investors are General Atlantic, Openspace Ventures and SIG; Filipino social entertainment platform Kumu claims it has so far amassed a base of 10M+ registered users across over 55 countries.

How a Muslim female founder is making waves in Indonesia’s male-dominated logistics-tech sector
Anggia Meisesari is building TransTRACK.ID, a next-generation fleet management startup, which already has thousands of paid subscribers; The firm recently raised ~ US$550K seed financing round led by Cocoon Capital.

Kenanga Investors launches frontier fund to connect retail investors with hard-to-reach early-stage startups
The “Kenanga Sustainability Series: Frontier Fund” will invest primarily in equity securities of global cutting-edge, innovative companies with long-term sustainable growth potential, are on the cusp of IPO, and develops products and services linked to technologically-driven innovations.

New climate-tech venture builder Wavemaker Impact targets to raise US$25M for Fund 1
Wavemaker Impact sees high-growth opportunities in land use and carbon sinks, agriculture and food, industrial processes, and energy; It will team up with tech and sustainability entrepreneurs in the region to realise the mission of reducing global carbon emissions by 10% by 2035.

A women-centric dating app developed by an ex-diplomat seeks to end Tinder’s dominance in Vietnam
Fika’s concept reminds people of Bumble, the third most popular dating app globally that only allows women to initiate the first message.

Open banking startup Brankas raises US$16M
Investors include Insignia Ventures, Beenext, and Integra Partners; Brankas is an open banking company that provides financial institutions and e-commerce platforms with tools they can use to run online services such as bank transfers.

Investree attracts US$10M to fund Indonesian MSMEs making social, economic impact
Investor is Swiss asset manager responsAbility Investments; Investree is a B2B lending platform aiming to use technology and data to make loans more affordable and accessible for MSMEs.

Sipher closes US$6.8M seed round to develop metaverse game World of Sipheria
Investors include Arrington Capital, Hashed, Konvoy Ventures, Defiance Capital, Signum Capital, Dragonfly Capital; Sipher aims to create an ecosystem where people can play for fun while earning rewards; it also provides the community with ownership of in-game assets.

Nas Academy apologises to Philippine instructor
Representatives of Nas Academy met with Whang-Od and other members of the Kalinga indigenous community on Oct 24 to make a formal apology after the online learning platform’s much-publicised conflict with the acclaimed tattoo artist over an online course; Nas Academy had halted its operations in the Philippines.

Recommend Group to expand on-demand home, local services across SEA with US$4M Series A
Investors are Morning Crest Capital (lead) and Brain-Too-Free Ventures; Recommend Group, which runs Sejasa.com in Indonesia and Recommend.my in Malaysia, has 40K+ small companies and service professionals in its network.

SME financing platform Validus buys KlearCard’s platform
KlearCard is a business payment and expense management tech platform; It allows businesses to issue corporate cards with spending control features instantly; The deal is part of Validus’s plan to build a credit-led neobank focused on SMEs.

Sentient.io raises Series B funding round by Real Tech Fund to scale into APAC market
Sentient.io has a particular focus on fulfilling demands for digital transformation from Japanese corporations with this funding round; Sentient.io builds an AI and data platform of over 60 functions that software developers can ‘assemble like Lego blocks’.

Asia-focused VC firm Rocket Capital joins UK startup Admix’s US$25M Series B round
Admix uses non-intrusive product ads placements embedded into video games, creating a better experience for players, brands, artists, and marketers; This funding will enable Admix to expand to the APAC, the fastest-growing e-sports and gaming market.

Thailand’s startup ecosystem has a Seattle Problem. And that’s not such a bad thing
An overarching issue that Thailand’s entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, government officials, academics and other stakeholders have struggled with over much of the past decade is how to boost Thailand startup formation, activity, growth, and exit.

Wavemaker Partners invests US$1.5M in data-as-a-service startup QoreNext
The startup will utilise the money to advance the production of its main modules and launch the initial products; QoreNext serves as a virtual data factory, where customers can leverage its interconnected data products with integrations.

Crowdfunding firm Crowdera buys 25% stake in AI startup Monkwish for US$300K
Monkwish has developed AI products for employee skill gap identification, virtual events, and student engagement and career assistance; Crowdera is an AI-assisted writing tool that helps users write contextually relevant and emotionally appealing pitches.

Monde Nissin CEO, Big Idea Ventures inject US$1.2M into Filipino alt-protein startup WTH Foods
WTH Foods intends to use the capital to hone its plant-based products and expand to Singapore, other parts of Southeast Asia and beyond; To date, the startup claims to have developed 60 dishes made by 60 types of plants.

Aquaculture tech company DELOS raises seed funding
Investors are Arise, MDI Ventures, Number Capital, iSeed Asia, Irvan Kolonas of JAPFA, and Hendra Kwik of PayFazz; DELOS plans to use the new funding to scale its shrimp production software which forecasts and recommends actions to improve farm profitability and productivity.

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Image Credit: Kumu

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