Uber, a non-traditional asset, has just seen the investment of RM124mil by KWAP, Kuala Lumpur’s second largest pension fund. Following in the footsteps of Khazanah Nasional’s investment in tech start-ups seems to be the fuel behind Retirement Fund, Inc. (KWAP) investment of $30 million (U.S.) into the modern car-hailing Uber app. The recent round of funding, G series, began last year.
Investing in a unique asset is expected to benefit within the low interest rate environment. KWAP sources site technology investments within the firm as a growth sector beneficial to explore.
Currently, KWAP is handling RM123 billion funds and is reviewing its portfolio to include riskier investments as well as doubling investment allocations in private equity firms as well. Presently, 90 percent of KWAP investments are found in traditional assets including fixed income and equity, while 10 percent is invested in alternative investments.
KWAP seems to be following the trends of other conservative managers globally who are seeking to enhance performance in today’s challenging market and technology is particularly appealing.
KWAP joins Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, who invested $3.5 billion (U.S.) in the recent Uber fund-raising round. Uber is among one of the most funded start-ups globally with its lightning fast expansion into 70 countries worldwide.
Since its original launch in 2013 in Malaysia, Uber has successfully completed nine rounds of funding valued at $12.9 billion (U.S.). Presently Uber reports $13 billion (U.S.) in cash and credit available with losses of $1.2 billion (U.S.) in the first half of this year.
The Khazanah investment was performed via private equity funding, along with hundreds of millions of other start-ups including Fractal Analytics and Garena.
SMRT, alongside Cyclect Electrical of JV SMRT Corporation have established a joint venture company in conjunction with Cyclect Electrical Engineering. Cyclect Electrical Engineering is a Singapore-based business which serves the industrial plant building industry including offshore, marine, transport and logistic segments of the industry. The newly formed joint venture, known as SMRT-Cyclect Power, will establish electrical systems for both land transportation as well as supply of rail system solutions including the likes of the Singapore’s own Light Rail Transit System and the Mass Rapid Transit System by subscribing to 60 percent of the joint venture’s cash consideration, approximately S$600,000 all internally funded. The initial targeted focus of the business is Australia, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand with plans for future expansion into China, India, and Africa.
PSL Holdings has raised S$2.96 million in a private placement subscription agreement with three investors in order to issues 7,734,000 new shares at an issuing price of 38.25 cents per share. Representing a discount of 10 percent to the weighted average price of 42.5 percent based on its company shares. Sources at PSL offer that the corporation will utilize 80 percent of proceeds to enhance expansion and growth while 20 percent will be used for working capital.
In related Asia news, wellness and health screening Asiamedic has entered discussion regarding merger and acquisitions in relation to new business opportunities. A source from the firm responded to questions amid unusual trading reported by the Singapore Exchange. With an intraday high of 10.6 cents, an increase of 51 percent prior to the previous day’s close of seven cents. A final closing of 9.1 cents was a result of 27.5 million shares traded. Asiamedic reports to shareholders that no certain agreements have been reached advising shareholders to be cautious in trading as the company explores expansion opportunities hoping to enhance value and increase growth across the board.
Grab, formerly known as GrabTaxi and the largest company rivaling Uber in Southeast Asia has raised an amount of US$750 million in their Series F investment rounds. The oversubscribed funding was said to be led by Japan’s SoftBank and China’s Didi Kuaidi.
This achievement is quite the milestone for the company which has launched in 2012, as with the closure of this new round of funding, the top ride-hailing app is now at a valuation of US$2.3billion, as reported by TechCrunch, making it the second largest tech company in Southeast Asia, after Garena which was reported to be at US$3.75 billion.
The funds collected will be dedicated to several projects promoting market expansion as well as localized service, an insight that Grab founder and chief executive, Anthony Tan says is the key to consolidate and expand their spot in the Southeast Asia region.
“There is a clear advantage of being local which brought us to form global partnerships that include other local players”, said Anthony in a CNBC interview. “It’s about the reliance on their better understanding of local knowledge and also a way in how we make sure that users stay exclusively on our platform, never having the need to move to another app.”
Thus, looking at Grab’s partnerships with China’s Didi Kuaidi, India’s Ola and U.S.-based Lyf, it is a view that covers a broader market paired with local expertise. In this case, Uber will have to step up its game faced with this intense competition, furthermore aided by this dose of cash injection.
But ultimately, for Grab, the funds will not only be able to strengthen their ability to pursue their long-term goals, of continuing market penetration and leadership but also to construct their startup vision as well, and that is “to drive Southeast Asia transportation forward and transform the region’s mobile internet ecosystem”.
Offering car, motorbike and taxi-hailing services in a total of 31 cities in 6 countries, Grab is an online transportation network and technology company that offers ride-sharing services in the Southeast Asia region which includes countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines.
JoJonomic is an Indonesian startup that got their breakthrough when participating in Google’s launch pad accelerator in January 2016. One of just eight Indonesian companies selected, their expense management software stood out.
Originally designed to help everyday people keep track of the day-to-day expenses by using a smartphone app to digitize receipts, tickets and more, offsetting income against expenses, they have now added business functionality that will allow the app to function effectively as software-as-a-service for businesses.
Streamlining Company Expense Management
The app is designed to streamline the process of reimbursing staff for their expenses. Individuals digitize their receipts and tickets as they normally would through the app, then send a request to the relevant department. Someone at the department then receives a notification, reviews the claim and either approves or refuses the request.
Because everything happens inside one app, it means less can be lost or miscommunicated across multiple emails, software, accounting processes and so on.
Business To Business
The company will continue offering its consumer based expense management system, which can track expenditure and income on behalf of users.
Where they’ll make their money is through their business to business offer, which will help small businesses manage expense claims as effectively and quickly as possible. The business to business application is currently aimed at small businesses, but scalability and enterprise features are reportedly in the pipeline to make the app more attractive to businesses of all sizes.
The company’s customers are currently all in Indonesia, and many of them are start-ups. What they lack in prestige clients they more than make up for in volume: more than forty companies now use the app as their standard expense management system, showing what they have built has proven itself in the open market. Of these, Go-Jek, Lazada, and Kudo are the ones you’ve probably heard of.
While they’re heavily invested in Indonesia right now, the opening of a new office in Singapore is making increasingly likely that the company will be looking to larger international markets for users sooner rather than later. This successful investment is also designed to be used for expansion, making now the time to get on board.
Series A Investors
This funding round was led by Maloekoe Ventures, and has attracted investment from Golden Gate Ventures, Fenox Venture Capital, and East Venture among others. This is likely because, with language support, the basic architecture of software as a service can very easily be adapted for multinational use, meaning the sky is the limit for the product if successful.
Maloekoe Ventures have gone on record saying the product has impressed them, and has their faith moving forward. Themselves a fledgling investment fund, they are sure to have wanted a sure thing to back in their first big play, and that should give people cause for confidence.
Bill Maris, who founded GV (Google Ventures) in 2009, recently stepped down to allegedly spend more time with his wife and son as well as consider new ideas. A recent report states that Maris is now in talks to raise $500 Million for his own fund. Confirmation of the reports is still pending.
Bill Maris was succeeded by David Krane, who had previously spent nearly 10 years as Google’s Director of Public Affairs and Global Communications. Today GV employs 70, almost all in the United States, with several partners in London and is exceptionally diversified including interests from the food industry to primary medical care.
Considering Bill Maris education in neuroscience, his interest run the gamut, but life sciences seem to intrigue him, meaning any new fund under his direction would have a broad range of interests involved.