Asia Digest: TNB Aura invests in Prism+; Blackbird backs Sonder; Animoca Brands to buy WePlay Media

Singaporean electronic brand Prism+ has raised $32 million from TNB Aura while Australian venture capital firm Blackbird has invested in health tech startup Sonder’s Series B funding round. In M&A news, Animoca Brands has agreed to acquire WePlay Media, a racing video game developer.  

Prism+ bags $32m from TNB Aura

Singapore-based home appliance startup Prism+ has secured $32 million (S$45 million) in its seed funding round led by Zipmex-backer TNB Aura, according to a release. The milestone marked the startup’s first institutional fundraising.

The online-focused startup will utilise the fresh capital to further expand in Southeast Asia, especially in the Philippines where it expects the operation to kick off in the first quarter of 2023, in addition to Prism+’s existing presence in its home country and Malaysia.

Founded in 2018, Prism+ offers a wide range of homegrown electronic appliances from smart TVs to air conditioners.

“We believe the regional D2C market has reached an inflection point, with digital penetration, payments and fulfilment infrastructure increasingly able to support high-quality D2C offerings across both online and offline formats,” said TNB Aura founding partner Charles Wong. 

“PRISM+ is primed to become the regional champion of a market traditionally dominated by East Asian giants such as Xiaomi, Samsung, and LG. Our investment signals our confidence in supporting PRISM+ as it seeks to grow to new horizons.”

Also headquartered in Singapore, TNB Aura has been actively backing Southeast Asian startups across diverse sectors. In March, the Singapore-based venture capital firm contributed to Thai cryptocurrency exchange Zipmex’s $11-million Series B funding round. 

Blackbird leads $23m Series B for Australia’s Sonder

Sydney-based venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures has led the A$35-million ($23.4 million) Series B funding round in Sonder, a workplace wellness technology startup, per a report by Financial Review.

SEEK Investments, SecondQuarter Ventures and MA Growth Ventures, as well as existing investors also participated in the round.

Following the investment, Blackbird partner Niki Scevak will join Sonder’s board.

Sonder is accredited by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, and has a 24/7 support service staffed by safety, medical, and mental health experts.

Sonder currently supports just under 500,000 employees across Australia and New Zealand. Its clients include Woolworths, Commonwealth Bank, Toll Group and Allianz.

Animoca Brands to buy developer of MotoGP racing game

Blockchain game developer Animoca Brands is looking to acquire WePlay Media, the developer of the official MotoGP racing game, according to an announcement.

WePlay Media was founded in 2014 by Graeme Warring and racing video game veteran Mark DeSimone. It was established to develop MotoGP Championship Quest, a major mobile game for the MotoGP brand.

MotoGP Championship Quest, launched in 2017, has over 50 million downloads on mobile platforms and around 1.2 million monthly active users globally.

The acquisition of WePlay Media will allow Animoca Brands to expand on its existing relationship with Dorna Sports as a sponsor, NFT licensor, collectible cards provider, and blockchain game developer and publisher.

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