APAC Digest: Curious Thing raises raises $1.5m led by Qualgro, Reinventure Group; Dating app Sugarbook raises seed round 

The names of various startup companies in which Sinovation Ventures have invested are displayed on a chalk board at the venture's headquarters in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. Photographer: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg

Australian AI startup Curious Thing and Malaysian dating app Sugarbook.com have secured seed rounds.

Australian AI startup Curious Thing raises $1.5m led by Qualgro, Reinventure Group

Sydney-based artificial intelligence startup Curious Thing has raised a $1.5 million seed round led by Qualgro and Reinventure Group.

According to a statement, Curious Thing plans to expand its technology team and improve product development.

Founded in 2018, Curious Thing’s mission is to enable AI to discover and learn new knowledge from humans by asking purposeful questions. Its technology is currently applied in the job interviewing and hiring process, where a digital interviewer conducts voice-based interviews on behalf of hiring managers. Curious Thing’s technology also conducts post-interview analytics on the candidates it speaks with.

David McKeague, Chief Strategist and Co-founder of Curious Thing said: “Enabling machines to naturally converse with people is the next category in AI. The enterprise can now scale its talent acquisition efforts and rethink how it approaches the future of work. We think we can build a world-class company by leveraging Sydney’s exceptional pool of Natural Language Processing talent.”

Malaysian dating app Sugarbook.com raises six-digit seed round 

Malaysia-based “Sugar Daddy” dating app Sugarbook.com has raised a six-digit seed round from an angel investor. The angel investor comes from an investment banking background from a Hong Kong venture capital firm.

According to Sugarbook, the proceeds will be used to scale and develop its product and infrastructure. It aims to attract more sugar babies and daddies on its platform from Hong Kong and Bangkok. It also aims to expand to three or four more countries by 2020.

Founded in 2017, Sugarbook has 300,000 members on its platform, with users spanning across 60 countries including Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and the US. The company generates revenue from monthly subscriptions and packages for sugar babies and daddies. A three-month VIP programme costs $42.95.

Sugarbook was started by Darren Chan, founder of Gigfairy, which allows users to book live music performers. Gigfairy was acquired in early-2016 by AirAsia’s entertainment arm.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.