Asia Digest: Australian insurtech Open raises $31m; Japan’s Shiseido sells three brands

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Australian insurtech firm Open has raised $31 million in a Series B round led by New Zealand-based VC Movac, while Japanese health and beauty group Shiseido will sell three cosmetics brands to Advent International.

Australian insurtech company Open raises $31m Series B

Sydney-based insurance technology startup Open has raised $31 million in a Series B round led by New Zealand-based VC Movac and the Britain-based Latitude (part of the LocalGlobe group), the Financial Review reported.

The funding round was joined by Open’s seed investor and underwriter in Australia, The Hollard Insurance Group, and returning investor AirTree Ventures.

This new fund brings the company’s total funding, since its 2016 launch, to $53 million.

Open was founded by Jason Wilby and Jonathan Buck, the founders of innovation consultancy Auxilio Ventures. It is famous for its Huddle brand and insurance products, which are driven by artificial intelligence (AI). Open already has more than 70,000 customers in Australia.

The proceeds will be used to enter the New Zealand market later this year, with Tower Insurance as its underwriter.

Movac is a VC firm that invests in early-stage technology companies. The company was founded in 1998 and is based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Japan’s Shiseido sells three brands to Advent for $700m

Japanese health and beauty group Shiseido last week reported that it will sell three high-end US cosmetics brands to American private equity firm Advent International for $700 million. The three brands are bareMinerals, Buxom, and Laura Mercier, which will be transferred to Advent later this year.

The move is part of Shiseido’s plan to narrow its focus and channel resources to its growing skincare business.

Shiseido plans to allocate the proceeds from the sale to R&D in skincare, as well as new acquisitions in the growth market of China and elsewhere in Asia, according to Nikkei Asia.

In July, Shiseido sold its personal care business to European private equity firm CVC Capital Partners. The sale included the shampoo brand Tsubaki.

Set up in 1984, Advent focuses on investments in five areas — business and financial services; healthcare; industrial retail; consumer and leisure; and technology. With $75 billion in assets under management, the firm has made 380 investments across 42 countries.

In August, Advent International announced the sale of its controlling stake in AI Dream, which operates mattress brands Serta Simmons and King Koil in China, to Hillhouse Capital.

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.