Author: vivian

Go-Jek’s Series F continues with the latest investment from Siam Commercial Bank

Ride-hailing giant Go-Jek has secured yet another investment in its ongoing late-stage Series F financing that started since October last year.

Its latest investor is Siam Commercial Bank, Thailand’s oldest homegrown lender that sees King Maha Vajiralongkorn as its biggest shareholder. The investment amount, however, has not been disclosed.

In a report from Bloomberg, people familiar with the matter said that the partnership will help this Indonesian tech startup boost is financial service, while Siam Commercial will benefit from the online growth that will help increase company revenue.

Previously, the startup has already raised over US$1 billion in its Series F first close in February from investors including Alphabet’s Google,, Tencent Holdings, and Provident Capital.

In fact, at the same week, Go-Jek has also announced additional investments from Mitsubishi Motors, Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance as part of the Series F financing.

But these financings come with little surprise, as Go-Jek is rivaling competitor Grab.

To date, Grab has already raised up to US$4.5 billion in its ongoing Series H which sees investors such as Softbank, Tokyo Century, and Experian, among some.

As a matter of fact, both ride-hailing giants have moved toward digital payments through partnerships with local banks in Thailand.

Grab, the Singapore ride-hailing giant has also raised funds from a Thai Bank, Kasikornbank which has invested US$50 million and the pair together has introduced a co-branded mobile wallet called GrabPay by Kbank.

It’s a win-win situation for both banks and ride-hailing unicorns as the Thai banks, on one hand, can rely on these startups to offer financial services from digital payments to consumer loans. Meanwhile, the ride-hailing firms can have easier access into the region which the business is not fully-regulated.

Go-Jek, which debuted its app for hailing motorbike taxis in Jakarta in 2015, is expanding beyond Indonesia to cater to consumers across Southeast Asia, aiming to popularize an all-purpose consumer app similar to Tencent’s WeChat in China.

In Thailand, Go-Jek began its operations earlier this year under the name Get. The app offers motorcycle rides and food delivery, as well as GetPay, a wallet function that users can top up through Kasikornbank and Siam Commercial Bank’s apps.

It is valued at US$10 billion according to CB Insights, and hosts more than 20 on-demand services on its platform from food delivery to cab-hailing.

The Full List of Unicorn Startups in Southeast Asia

They might be mythical beasts that exist only in fairytales, but for those in the startup and venture capital scene, unicorns are something very real.

Unicorns exist and are the much-coveted status for startups and investors, as a symbol of having reached or surpassed the US$1 billion valuation mark.

In fact, based on CB Insights, there are currently over 300 unicorns around the world, roughly half of which are based in the United States.

Then again, the spotlight is gradually moving into Asia, with many placing their bets in the region of Southeast Asia for its huge potential and market.

In fact, there are already several unicorns that have succeeded. Here’s a full list of unicorns in Southeast Asia and the industries they are tackling.

Country: Singapore

1. SEA (Formerly known as Garena)


Backers: Tencent Holdings, Cathay Financial Holding, GDP Venture

The first-ever ASEAN startup to IPO in the United States, ecommerce and gaming tech giant SEA has successfully raised US$884 million with its listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2017. The internet company officially entered the unicorn club in 2016 through its US$550 million fundraisings that involved Cathay Financial Holding, placing its valuation at US$3.75 billion. At the time of its IPO, SEA was valued at US$4.9 billion.

2. Razer

Backers: Horizons Ventures, Accel, IDG Capital

Founded in Singapore and relocated to San Francisco, Razer is a popular name among gamers in Southeast Asia. It is the first company to create computer gear for gamers and has conquered 30 percent of the video game mouse and keyboard business on a global scale since 2015. The company went IPO in Hong Kong in 2017 with a valuation of US$4.4 billion.

3. Trax


Backers: Broad Peak Investment, Investec, Warburg Pincus, Boyu Capital

A newly minted unicorn, Singapore startup Trax is in midst of finalizing a deal to raise US$100 million at a pre-money valuation of about US$1.1 billion. The startup serves the retail industry with its image recognition technology being used by global consumer packaged goods companies including Coca-Cola and Nestle to track their products on retail shelves.

4. Grab


Backers: Microsoft, Hyundai Motor Company, Beacon Venture Capital

Founded in 2012, Grab is an all-in-one transportation service providing a platform that is present in nearly every ASEAN country, covering over 500 cities and towns across eight countries.

Having recently raised US$300 million from Invesco as part of its ongoing Series H funding led by Toyota, Grab recent investments values the company at about US$14 billion, according to a report by CNN.

The startup’s founder, Malaysian-Chinese Anthony Tan who is also Go-Jek’s founder Havard MBA classmate, is going head-to-head with Go-Jek by spending about US$700 million to expand its market share in Indonesia by 2020.

5. Lazada


Backers: Tesco, Temasek Holdings, JPMorgan Chase, Rocket Internet

Since its inception in 2012, Lazada has been a major player of online shopping and selling in Southeast Asia. The ecommerce company serves in six countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. In June 2018, Alibaba Group announced that it will invest almost another US$1 billion in the online retailer, bringing its valuation up to US$3.15 billion.

Country: Indonesia

6. Go-Jek


Backers: Google, Tencent Holdings, Temasek Holdings

Starting out as a motorcycle ride-hailing app in 2015, Go-Jek is one of the most reported startups in Southeast Asia with its aggressive acquisition activity to build its super app and becoming a full-on demand service platform.

The platform currently offers services including logistics, ticket booking, cleaning service, digital payments, and even barber services. Go-Jek currently operates across 50 cities in Indonesia while also in the process of expanding to other nations in Southeast Asia.

7. Traveloka


Backers: East Ventures, Sequoia Capital,

Founded by Ferry Unardi, Traveloka is Southeast Asia’s biggest go-to platform for various traveling needs.

It offers an online platform that allows users to make bookings of services provided by hotels, airlines, train and other transportation operators, events promoters, tourist attraction operators, travel agencies, telecommunication operators, and/or other service providers.

Traveloka was officially a unicorn in 2017 after DealStreetAsia reported a deal that values the startup at around US$2 billion, according to an executive familiar with the company.

8. Tokopedia


Backers: Alibaba Group, East Ventures, SoftBank Ventures Asia

Launched in Jarkata in 2009, Tokopedia is Indonesia’s largest online marketplace. The platform became the country’s most valuable startup after raising US$1 billion from existing investors including Softbank and receiving a valuation of US$7 billion.

9. Bukalapak


Backers: Ant Finacial, 500 Startups, Emtek Group, Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund

Founded by Achmad Zacky, Muhammad Fajrin Rasyid, and Nugroho Herushyono in 2010, Bukalapak is the fourth startup in Indonesia to have received its unicorn status after Go-Jek, Traveloka, and Tokopedia. The ecommerce business is an online marketplace that is currently home to more than 50 million users, processing 2 million transactions a day.

Country: Philippines

10. Revolution Precrafted

revolution precrafted logo

Founded by design and real estate developer Robbie Antonio, Revolution Precrafted is a collection of limited edition, pre-crafted properties, varying from homes to pavilions.

The company sells prefabricated homes created and designed by dozens of internationally known architects and designers including Zaha Hadid, David Salle, Tom Dixon, Marcel Wanders, and Lenny Kravitz.

The startup is reported to have passed the US$1 billion valuations in November 2017 and became the first unicorn from the Philippines.

Country: Vietnam

11. VNG

vng logo

Backers: CyberAgent Capital, Tencent Holdings, IDG Ventures Vietnam

Founded in 2004, VNG is Vietnam’s first ever unicorn startup which specializes in online gaming and ecommerce for the local market. In 2016, the startup reached a US$1 billion valuation after an undisclosed funding round led by CyberAgent Ventures and IDG Ventures.

These are the Southeast Asian unicorns! Which of these unicorns do you think will be the next to IPO? Leave a comment down below.

Southeast Asia sees more exits as unicorns appetite for acquisition grows

Southeast Asia unicorns have emerged as the biggest drivers of exits in the region.

Just last week, Indonesian e-commerce unicorn Tokopedia bought over wedding marketplace Bridestory, as revealed in a romantic video where both parties said I do.

This was followed by Singapore unicorn Trax announcing that it had acquired US-based shopping rewards app Shopkick on June 25.

But it’s not just a surge in June. Reports show that exits have been increasing in the past 3 years.

According to the State of Southeast Asian Tech report compiled by Monk’s Hill Ventures and Singapore’s Slush, the region had seen 66 startups achieve exits as of June 2018.

While the report did not specify the profile of acquirers over the last three years, the period coincided with a rise in acquisitions by the region’s unicorns.

Gojek’s Super App Project is driving exits of regional startups

Unsurprisingly, a bulk of these acquisitions has been made by car-hailing giant Gojek in lieu of its plan to build a super-app.

In fact, Gojek by far has been the most active, having acquired as many as 11 startups since 2016, according to the data by Crunchbase.

The companies include local payments company MVCommerce, ticketing platform LOKET, and its most recent being Indian recruitment platform AirCTO, which are all intended to ramp up its engineering capabilities.

“The companies looking to be super apps are acquiring smaller startups because they, well, all of us, cannot be an expert in everything,” Teddy Oetomo told Nikkei Asia. “The easiest way to build a new vertical is acquiring it. In addition, acquiring is faster than developing,”

With that said, Go-Jek has been steadily adding new features and services ranging from grocery deliveries, haircuts, and even games for entertainment.

While Gojek is at the forefront of the acquisition activity so far, its competitor Grab is also on an acquisition spree, though more focused on minority stakes.

Though the Singapore ride-hailing giant has only made 2 acquisitions – iKaaz and Kudo – it holds minority stakes in multiple startups including Singapore’s Ninja Van, Vietnam’s Moca, and Indonesia’s Ovo among some.

Besides, Grab is reportedly looking for more acquisition, as it plans to raise US$2 billion more this year to fund an investment of at least six tech startups in 2019.

According to several sources, one of the companies Grab has identified as a potential acquisition target is HappyFresh, in which it already owns a minority stake.

“Whether we invest or acquire will depend on many factors, including, but not limited to, the synergies a company has with Grab’s ecosystem, the growth potential of the company, and the valuation of the company,” Nicholas Anthony, Head of M&A and Investments at Grab said.

Indonesia Unicorn Traveloka is also seeking Faster Growth

Traveloka- in one app

Holding the very same concept of having everything “in one single app”, a bulk of acquisitions are made by Indonesia’s travel unicorn Traveloka.

The travel tech unicorn was reported to have acquired three online travel companies in the past year, which are: Travel Book, Mytour, and Pegipegi.

Just today, it has also lead an investment in Singapore-based event tech platform PouchNation which offers a range of solutions for event organizers.

These acquisitions and partnerships further show Traveloka’s commitment to strengthen itself within the travel vertical to grow beyond its core business of flight and hotel tickets.

Similarly, other Indonesian unicorns have also been flexing their buyout muscles.

Besides its recent acquisition Bridestory, Alibaba-backed ecommerce unicorn Tokopedia is also currently in talks to acquire multiple startups including Sayurbox. While Bukalapak in 2018 has also sealed a deal with second-hand marketplace Prelo to acquihire their talent and technology.

Singapore startups have not been far behind, with NYSE-listed Sea buying three undisclosed companies in 2017 for US$19.875 million, according to an SEC filing.

Razer, before its IPO on the Hong Kong Exchange, has also made several acquisitions such as Nextbit Systems, THX, and Ouya to amp up their tech.

Singapore TRAX

New unicorns like Singapore’s Trax has also gotten into the action, having acquired US-based Quri last year and China’s LenzTech this year, before the latest Shopkick purchase.

Southeast Asia Unicorns have made almost 40 Acquisition

So far, the unicorns in Southeast Asia are responsible for close to 40 acquisitions, including both regional startups and abroad.

It’s not hard to see why. Instead of building things from scratch, it is highly attractive for these unicorns to acquire smaller startups at conservative valuations and gain access to the startup’s technology and/or talent.

Regional unicorns such as Grab and Gojek are even launching their own investment vehicles to become both a source of funding and potential exit point for early-stage startups.

Moving forward, it’s most likely that we will continue to see an uprise trend in these unicorns creating more exits for startups.

Indonesian unicorn Tokopedia enters Indonesian wedding marketplace via Bridestory acquisition

We heard rumors earliest in May from DealStreetAsia, and now the two are finally tying the knot.

Indonesian wedding service marketplace Bridestory has been acquired by Tokopedia, the country’s largest ecommerce marketplace.

The big news was revealed with a short creative Facebook video, showing a romantic couple giving compliments to each other and ending it with the say yes moment.

Founded in 2014, Bridestory lets you plan your wedding on your smartphone.

“It all starts with a web application, then we slowly saw the change in behavior as people became more mobile-centric. We also wanted to help brides to plan their wedding anywhere and anytime with their smartphone,” said Bridestory’s CEO Kevin Mintaraga.

The startup targets the wedding market in Southeast Asia, connecting soon-to-be-wed couples with wedding venues, organizers and all the vendors and service providers that are necessary to plan the big day.

The platform hosts 28 vendor categories from the wedding venue, catering, decoration, dress, photography, and entertainment, up to honeymoon plans and other unique services such as bridesmaids’ dresses, painting, and calligraphy.

To date, the startup claims to have linked more than 3.5 million customers to over 27,000 wedding vendors every year.

Bridestory and Tokopedia

But not just wedding. Bridestory clarified in a press statement that Tokopedia has acquired all assets from Bridestory including its newer Parentstory established in October 2018.

Parentstory, though similar to Bridestory, connects parents and soon-to-be parents to different age-specific activities for their children.

Hence, the acquisition will cover all assets of Bridestory and Parentstory, including intellectual property, human resources, and its physical & digital assets.

Tokopedia specified that the acquisition will not change the business strategy of Bridestory and Parentstory, the site will continue to operate independently.

However, Kevin Mintaraga will become part of Tokopedia’s management as vice president.

Doni Hanafi, Bridestory’s Co-Founder & CTO said following the collaboration, Bridestory will continue to expand its business so that it can reach more partners and wedding customers.

At the moment, Bridestory is launching Bridestorypay to facilitate offline transactions to move online so that every prospective bride facilitate better payment experience.

Indonesia 4 unicorns

Indonesia’s four tech unicorns – Traveloka, Tokopedia, Bukalapak, and Go-Jek have been acquiring smaller startups for a while now.

Another recent acquisition is Go-Jek’s acquisition of Indian AI recruitment startup AirCTO.

These acquisitions are usually done for various reasons – sometimes to accelerate their entry into new verticals or to acquire teams and technologies.

For the deal between Tokopedia and Bridestory, it seems to be both.

With that, Tokopedia has officially entered into the wedding marketplace.

William Tanuwijaya, the Co-founder and CEO of Tokopedia said the company is trying to connect with startups that have new innovations and products that will disrupt the ecosystem.

“As a tech company, in the first ten years, Tokopedia has been dedicated to helping business owners become ecommerce based business. For the next ten years, Tokopedia strives to help every business in Indonesia evolve into a technology-based business.”

William added, looking at Bridestory and Parentstory, Tokopedia sees a ready ecosystem where the company has the connections of makeup artist, photographer, hotel, restaurant, as if they were a technology company.

“Through this acquisition, Tokopedia is committed to becoming a partner for these vendors to help them grow and evolve through technology, in favor to provide every bride and groom in Indonesia the best experience for one of the best moments of their lives. It is also the same with Parentstory in providing parents the best solutions and activities for their children,” said William.

Besides Bridestory, Tokopedia has invested in a number of other startups, including Sayurbox, Laku6, and AnterAja.

Although the value of the acquisition was not disclosed, it’s most likely that the fund was drawn from the US$2.5 billion funds raised from investors like Sequoia, Alibaba, and Softbank.

With this huge sum, it’s most likely the acquisition spree will continue. So, let’s stay tuned to what other acquisitions Tokopedia will make?

Bukalapak to become the Alibaba or Amazon for Middle East’s Muslims

Indonesian unicorn, Bukalapak has been really aggressive in expanding its footprint.

It launched its platform to international users via BukaGlobal, the startup has extended its reach outside of Indonesia to Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Brunei Darussalam.

Now, through an interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Bukalapak has disclosed its plans to target Muslims in the Middle East, with a goal of becoming the Alibaba or Amazon in the Middle East.

According to Bukalapak’s co-founder and president Fajrin Rasyid, the company hopes to kick start its expansion plans as soon as possible, starting off with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

There are currently 1.8 billion Muslims, which make up one-quarter of the world’s population. The Muslim population also currently ranks as the world’s fastest growing population, with a projection to hit 3 billion by 2060.
This therefore presents Muslim-related businesses with huge growth opportunities.

“If we just sell common products, then probably people will just buy from Amazon or Alibaba,” Rasyid told the Nikkei Asian Review. “So we want to provide differentiated products.”

While Muslim-focused business have typically focused on the finance sector, with local and international financial institutions offering products such as sukuk Islamic bonds, the rise of e-commerce is set to drive the rapid expansion of the Islamic economy.

Based on the latest State of the Global Islamic Economy report by Thomson Reuters, the world’s Islamic economy is forecast to grow to over US$3 trillion by 2023.

The Islamic economy’s leading sectors are currently food and fashion. The market for halal food set to expand from US$1.3 trillion in 2017 to US$1.8 trillion in 2023, while the market for clothing and apparel are expected to grow from US$270 billion to US$361 billion during the same period.

According to Rasyid, the ecommerce platform offers a lot of Islamic fashion and halal food options, which are quite popular among the Middle East or Islamic countries.

Regarding its Middle East expansion, the company plans to start cross-border sales first by building local partnerships with logistics companies, just as the company has done with the launch of BukaGlobal across Asia.

This means that Bukalapak would not need huge investments to fund the expansion, however the company will still face challenges like shipping costs and customer fees.

Back in its home market, competition in Indonesia’s e-commerce market is also intensifying, with other platforms such as Tokopedia and Singapore-based Lazada investing a lot to acquire new merchants and customers.

Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Jakarta, Bukalapak is an ecommerce platform with 4 million merchant partners in Indonesia. Its major investors include 500 Startups, Ant Financial as well as Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC.

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