SE Asia Digest: Vietnam’s Galaxy Media buys Hocmai; Intrepid raises funds

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

Vietnam-based local media group Galaxy Media and Entertainment has acquired edtech firm Hocmai, while e-commerce service provider Intrepid has raised a pre-Series B funding co-led by Singapore’s Thakral Corp and Sun SEA Capital. Singapore-based payment and loyalty player Fave has tied up with DBS Bank and Singtel for payments.

Vietnamese media firm Galaxy acquires Hocmai

Galaxy Media and Entertainment has acquired a majority stake in online education startup Hocmai for an undisclosed sum. The transaction marks Galaxy’s foray into the education sector, the firm said in a statement on Thursday.

“We have been looking for an opportunity in edtech for over a year. Hocmai has the largest market share in the online 1-12 grade education segment in Vietnam. By investing into Hocmai, we believe the company will have more resources to continue to serve the increasing demand for online education in the country,” said Luong Cong Hieu, CEO, Galaxy.

He said Galaxy will continue to look at more edtech businesses to cover from K-12 to vocational training.

Founded 13 years ago, Hocmai claims it has attracted 4 million students to its 1,000 plus courses provided by about 200 teachers.

Galaxy operates in five major verticals: movie production, movie distribution, cinema, digital content, and publishing. Its cinema business was backed by the private equity firm Vietnam Investment Group. In 2013, local media reported that Malaysia’s Golden Screen Cinemas acquired 25 per cent of the cinema operator for $20 million, before doubling down for a 40 per cent stake in 2016.

Galaxy said in the statement that its shareholders include the investors of Vietnamese e-wallet MoMo.

Intrepid bags pre-Series B funding from Thakral, Sun SEA

Singapore-based e-commerce enabler Intrepid Group has raised an undisclosed sum in its pre-Series B round co-led by Thakral Corporation and existing investor Sun SEA Capital, the company said in a statement.

The startup, which has a presence in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia, said it now counts more than 50 international clients including HP, 3M, Colgate, P&G, Kiehl’s, Luxottica, and Xiaomi.

“To enable Thakral to have fuller access to the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia, we are embarking on a modest but strategic initial investment in Intrepid,” said Inderbethal Singh Thakral, group CEO and executive director of SGX-listed real estate investor Thakral. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the enormous growth potential for e-commerce in Asia. Southeast Asian e-commerce, while still small relative to China, is growing very fast.”

Evan Cheah, executive vice president of Malaysian conglomerate Sunway Group and general partner of Sun SEA Capital, added: “Sun SEA Capital is backing the digital transformation of retail in Malaysia and throughout Southeast Asia. We believe that the Intrepid team and its track record show that they are able to boost brands’ e-commerce presence and succeed in this new retail paradigm.”

Fave ties up with DBS PayLah! and Singtel Dash on payments

Payment and loyalty-programme player Fave has entered a deal for DBS Bank and Singtel to include the option to use Fave’s QR codes at retailers for their respective digital payment services — PayLah! and Dash, the company said in a statement Thursday.

Using the Fave payment system allows consumers to collect cashback loyalty rewards at participating retailers, the statement said.

Ng Aik-Phong, regional managing director at Fave Singapore and Malaysia, said in the statement the deal would extend payment options for Singapore’s consumers and for merchants’ loyalty programmes. Ng noted one in four Singapore merchants were active on Fave’s platform.

 

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.