Category: Business

Touch ‘n Go eWallet To Expand Its Services To Mainland China And Sees Enhanced Security Features

Touch ‘n Go continues to see improvements and further expansion of its operations. The eWallet company has incorporated new security measures which were imposed on banks by Bank Negara Malaysia to combat malicious financial scams; this is due to the recent rise of security breaches among eWallets and bank transactions.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer said, “Touch ‘n Go eWallet places great emphasis on privacy and security features to safeguard our users’ interests. We believe that the measures we have put in place will give our users peace of mind that the money in their eWallet is protected and every transaction they make is safe and secure.” 

Touch ‘n Go being a part of the National Scam Response Centre, will implement five strategies by the first quarter of 2023: 

  • Enhance security by adding more authentication methods to complement the current methods. 
  • Tighten fraud rules and block suspicious transactions.
  • Verification and cooling-off period for first-time enrolment of services, secure device, or profile document.
  • Restrict authentication of e-transactions to one mobile device or secure device per account holder.
  • Have a dedicated customer service channel/hotline for incident reports and suspicions of scams and fraud. 

Besides tightening its security, the company is also looking to expand its digital payments to Mainland China, which allows for a seamless cashless experience when traveling abroad through its collaboration with Alipay+, which is a global cross-border digital payment and market solution operated by Ant Group. 

Alan Ni, the company’s CEO, said, “we are pleased to continue our partnership with Alipay+ on cross-border payment solutions and expand our services territory beyond Singapore, Japan South Korea. Touch ‘n Go eWallet is the first Malaysian eWallet which can be used for payments in Mainland China. This augurs well for all our users traveling there as they will enjoy the ease of making cashless payments, and in Ringgit Malaysia as well.” 

He added, “We expect our users to experience the same seamless convenience of using Touch ‘n Go eWallet in Mainland China as how they would in Malaysia, and with the assurance that their transactions are safe and secure. We will continue to grow our acceptance to more markets in time to come.” 

Alipay+ has been gaining ground in markets including Southeast Asia, South Korea, and Japan and has connected local and regional merchants through various digital payment methods. Globally, Alipay+ covers over 1,000 online platforms, more than 10 major airports, over 90,000 convenience stores, over 360,000 restaurants, nearly 200,000 taxis, as well as major hotel brands, department stores, duty-free shops, and tourist facilities in Asia and Europe. In total, there are over 2.5 million merchants that support Alipay+.

Indonesian Digital Trust Provider Seeks Series C Funding Round Lead By KKR

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, also known as KKR, the global investment firm, said that it would participate as the lead investor for the Indonesian-based digital trust provider company, Privy. 

The Series C funding round, which will be led by KKR, is set to inject the digital trust provider with $48 million in fresh funding. The funding round, besides participation by KKR, will also see participation from investors such as MDI Ventures, GGV Capital, Telkomsel Mitra Inovasi, and new investors that include Singtel Innov8. 

Privy enables users and enterprises to digitally sign and transfer documents online with an integrated audit trail by using electronic identity verification technology that works across platforms. 

The startup’s success is apparent with more than 30 million verified users and 1,800 enterprise consumers on its digital signature, digital verification, and subscription products, and it processes more than 40 million digital signatures per year. 

The funding will be used to build on Privy’s leading market position as the go-to digital signature and digital identity provider in Indonesia, as well as support the development of new products and services for consumers and businesses to go digital. There are also plans to expand to overseas markets with the new funding round. 

This round of funding comes after Privy raised $17.5 million in a Series B funding round led by GGV Capital in October last year. The round also saw the participation of Endeavour Catalyst, Buana Sejahtera Group, and existing investors MDI Ventures, Telkomsel Mitra Inovasi, Mandiri Capital, and Gunung Sewu Group. 

According to Louis Casey, KKR’s growth technology lead in Southeast Asia, “we look to leverage KKR’s global network and operational expertise to take Privy to its next level of growth and extend its leadership in digital trust for individuals and enterprises in Indonesia and beyond.” 

The investment in Privy comes after KKR’s other recent growth technology investments in the broader Asia-Pacific region, including Education Perfect, an education software platform in New Zealand; dataX (formerly from Scratch), internet software and services company in Japan; NetStars, the operator of Japan’s largest QR code payment gateway; and Livspace, a Direct-to-Consumer home renovation platform with a presence in India and Singapore. 

Saas Unicorn Amagi Receives Fresh Funding From General Atlantic Amounting To $105 Million

Bengaluru-based Saas unicorn Amagi has recently raised a whopping $105 million in a mix of primary and secondary funding from private equity firm General Atlantic. 

The funding round saw participation from Norwest Venture Partners and Avataar Ventures, said the Bengaluru-headquartered startup in a statement. 

This is the second round of investment for the Bengaluru-based company in 2022. In the previous funding round, the startup raised $95 million from General Atlantic via a fresh allotment of preference shares, as per a regulatory disclosure. 

The funding round, which was led by Accel in March this year, provides the company with a complete suite of solutions for the creation, distribution, and monetization. 

The company, which has previously already attained a unicorn status, further bolstered its position in India’s saturated unicorn club. The recent investment gives General Atlantic an 8% stake in the company, with the company’s valuation at around $1.45 billion post-allotment.

Founded in 2008, Amagi is a media technology company that provides cloud broadcast and targeted advertising solutions to broadcast TV and streaming TV platforms. The company enables content owners to launch, distribute, and monetize live linear channels on free ad-supported streaming TV and video services platforms. The company also offers 24×7 cloud-managed services bringing simplicity, advanced automation, and transparency to the entire broadcast operations. 

Amagi has been looking to expand its international footprint as well as its product portfolio. The company was also exploring allied and adjunct opportunities in the cloud and video market and evaluating merger and acquisition (M&A) opportunities that can contribute to revenue growth or add technology capabilities to product lines. 

Among the customer’s customers are media conglomerates such as NBCUniversal and Paramount; connected TB majors such as Samsung TV Plus and LG Channels; Content owners like Tastemade, USA Today, and AccuWeather; and streaming companies such as Fubo, STIRR, and Rakuten TV. 

At present, Amagi claims to support 650+ content brands, 800+ playout chains, and over 2,000 channel deliveries on its platform, with a presence in over 40 countries, including cities and regions such as New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, London, Paris, Australia, South Korea, and Singapore.

Verified Accounts On Twitter Sees Major Change, Among Others, Following Elon Musk’s Takeover

After more than half a year of twists and turns, Elon Musk’s $44 billion high-profile buyout of the social media platform Twitter takeover has finally taken place, with many of the company’s previous top executives being axed by Elon which, includes former Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, and Legal Affairs and Policy Chief Vijaya Gadde. 

Now, another major change is coming to the platform, this time around with regards to how Twitter will be implementing verified accounts. 

Elon Musk said in a tweet that the “whole verification process is being revamped right now” without much explanation. 

The social media platform is considering charging for the blue check coveted mark verifying the identity of its account holder. According to reports, Twitter users would have to subscribe to Twitter Blue at US$4.99 a month or lose their “verified” badges if the project moves forward. 

Separately, information reported by The Verge has also indicated that Twitter will be looking to increase the subscription piece for Twitter, which also verifies users, from US$4.99 a month to US$19.99 a month, citing internal correspondence seen by them. 

Additionally, The Verge also reported that Musk has requested that logged-out users visiting Twitter’s site be redirected to Explore page, which shows trending tweets. 

In further changes that may be coming to the social media platform, Musk launched a Twitter pool in April, asking his millions of followers whether they wanted a feature to edit tweets. The pool received an overwhelming response, where over 70% said yes. 

Elon Musk has said that he intends to make drastic changes to Twitter, from relaxing moderation rules to eliminating spam bots. But at the same time, Musk has also said some pretty contradicting things, saying things like the acquisition being “not a way to make money” while telling advertisers that he wants to make Twitter the “most respected advertising platform in the world.” 

Twitter, in recent years, has lagged behind some of the other platforms, with 238 million daily active users on the platform. In comparison, platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook, and Messenger are bringing in numbers near three billion daily users. At the same time, platforms like Pinterest have 445 billion monthly users, and Snapchat, with 363 million daily users. 

Financially, Twitter has not been in the same league as its big rivals either, with the social media platform bringing in revenues of US$1.2 billion from April to June, down one percent year-over-year and nearly 25 times lower than Meta. 

While Musk’s actions may seem harsh to some, the question that we should be asking is whether the decisions taken by the now Twitter owner are a necessary step to prevent the company from continuing on this downward spiral. 

Shift4Good Completes Its First Closing Of Over $98-Milllion In Its Latest Impact VC Fund

Impact investment fund Shift4Good is a Singapore and Paris-based sustainable mobility venture capital (VC) firm. The firm has attracted $98 million in the first close of its latest impact fund. 

The VC firm confirmed the development in a LinkedIn post, which said that investors in the first close include European Investment Fund (EIF), Renault Group, French sovereign fund Bpifrance, MOTUL, some mobility players from MOBILIANS, family offices, and entrepreneur-investors. 

The firm has a fundraising target of US$293 million, which it will invest in approximately thirty start-ups over the next five years in Series A and B, two-thirds in the European Union and one-third in the rest of the world, with a focus on Southeast Asia. 

According to the company, these investments aim to accelerate their development, enable them to become international champions, and thus contribute, through their innovations, to reduce the carbon footprint of the mobility sector. 

The firm said on its website that “we are sector-focused to be more impactful. We only invest in sustainable mobility opportunities or circular economy business when they intersect with mobility.” 

Shift4Good‘s focus materialized given that the transport of people and goods has a carbon impact of eight billion tonnes each year.

The firm is co-founded by Matthieu de Chanville, Sébastien Guillaud, Yann Marteil, and Thierry de Panafieu, four French investors with a background in venture capital and mobility. The firm is an independent French management company with offices in Paris and Singapore and is certified by the AMF. 

Shift4Good brings to entrepreneurs, with the most promising projects in the sustainable mobility sector, a bespoke and global solution to enable them to become world champions. 

Their expertise covers in-depth sector knowledge and financing coupled with tailor-made support and a collaborative ecosystem fully mobilized to respond to the climate emergency. 

According to Yann Marteil, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Shift4Good, “This closing allows us to launch our support programs for entrepreneurs committed to developing sustainable mobility solutions, making it possible to contribute to reversing the climate trend.” 

He also said that “the abundance and quality of the deal flow illustrate that there are bold and profitable solutions to offer sustainable mobility.”

Global impact investing is on an upward trend in more and more regions, and this is no different in Southeast Asia. For instance, ADB Ventures, the impact investment manager of the Asian Development Bank, is planning the first close of its $100 million second fund this year.

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