Exclusive: Fintech startup Akulaku bags funding from DCM Ventures, others

Image: Akulaku website

Southeast Asian fintech firm Akulaku is understood to have raised between $5-10 million in funding from a clutch of overseas venture capital investors, according to three people aware of the development.

The round also included an investment from DCM Ventures. The transaction is learnt to have been closed a few months ago.

Akulaku, focused on e-commerce and online financial services in Southeast Asian countries, has presence in five countries including Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. It claims to be the first online mall where users can buy every item on instalment.

DEALSTREETASIA has learnt that another Chinese investor, likely to be Qiming VC, could have invested in a recent fundraising round.

In an email response, however, the company said it does not “want to share any inside information”.

Akulaku also said that the amount quoted by this portal – around $8 million to $10 million – was inaccurate. The company also denied that Qiming VC has invested in the round.

Qiming VC is a leading China venture capital firm managing five US dollar funds and four RMB funds with $2.7 billion under management. It invests in healthcare, IT, intsumer (internet + consumer sector) and cleantech.

DCM Ventures, which has over $3 billion under management having invested in 300 technology companies across the U.S. and Asiaand few other investors participated in the round. DCM Ventures’ investment though is disclosed in its official website.

This deal highlights the rising interest of international investors in the online financial services businesses/fintech in Southeast Asia. According to a CB insights report, Southeast Asia saw the greatest number of fintech deals to the region to-date in 2016. For the first time, fintech also attracted more investor interest than e-commerce in the region.

Singapore accounted for maximum fintech deals (52 per cent) in the period from 2012 to March 1 this year, followed by the Philippines (14 per cent), Thailand (13 per cent) and Indonesia (12 per cent). Southeast Asia is the world’s fastest-growing region in terms of internet users, and its internet economy is predicted to be worth $200 billion by 2025.

According to CB Insights, East Ventures, 500 Startups and Golden Gate Ventures are some of the active investors in Southeast Asia. East Ventures has invested in the likes of StockRadars, a Thai service providing mobile-based analytics and insight for trading, Jurnal, an Indonesian online accounting software, and Omise, a Thai company providing a payment management platform to businesses.

One of the prominent deals in fintech has been the $28 million Series B funding round of Vietnamese mobile payments platform, MoMo, owned by M Services. This round included participation from Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered Private Equity. Some other investments were, a $17.5-million investment to Thailand-based payments enabler Omise; a US$2 million investment to Singapore payments provide Coda Payments; and a US$3 million investment to Malaysian financial comparison platform Jirnexu.

Southeast Asia’s largest market, Indonesia, has been witnessing an emergence of a number of fintech companies such as peer to peer lending company Modalku, mobile recharge platform Sepulsa, e-commerce financing company Kredivo, online micro-lending company UangTeman and many others.

Modalku recently announced a S$10 million investment by venture capital firm Sequoia India. Not long before that, Indonesian P2P marketplace Investree said it had secured a series A funding commitment from venture capital firm Kejora. Transactions through fintech in Indonesia are estimated to be Rp 40 trillion in the past two years, a rapid escalation alongside growth in internet usage in the country, with a third of its 250-million population going online.

Also Read:

Vietnamese fintech app MoMo raises $28m from StanChart PE, Goldman Sachs

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.