Asia Digest: Japan’s GINKAN raises $2.6m; SK Group buys 25% stake in Imexpharm

Table setting in a restaurant.

Japan’s GINKAN Inc has raised a $2.6 million Series A funding round led by MTG Ventures, Inc while South Korean chaebol SK Group has acquired a 25 per cent stake in Vietnam’s Imexpharm Corporation.

Japan’s GINKAN raises $2.6m Series A

Japan’s GINKAN Inc., which manages restaurant discovery platform SynchroLife, has raised $2.6 million in its Series A funding round led by MTG Ventures, according to an announcement.

Other investors participating in the round include giftee, Orient Corporation, Ceres, Sansei Capital Investment, Aucfan, DD Holdings Venture Capital, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital and SLD Entertainment.

GINKAN has now raised $3.7 million in total external funding.

The company plans to use the fresh funding to further develop SynchroLife, to augment restaurant services, and to fund marketing campaigns.

“The sudden appearance of Covid-19 has significantly affected the restaurant industry. As a result, it is no exaggeration to say SynchroLife is the perfect service to solve the restaurant industry issues surrounding the costs of marketing and payment processing. Going forward, our group will work together with GINKAN to connect restaurants with food lovers as we both expand globally,” said MTG Ventures representative director and president Go Fujita.

SynchroLife claims to use AI to offer personalised recommendations. It boasts over 210,000 reviews for over 100,000 restaurants.

SK Group acquires 25% stake in Vietnam’s Imexpharm 

South Korean chaebol SK Group has acquired a 25 per cent stake in Vietnamese pharmaceutical firm Imexpharm Corporation as part of its efforts to expand its presence in the Southeast Asian country, according to an announcement.

The group’s investment arm, SK South East Asia Investment Pte Ltd, acquired a 24.9 per cent stake, or 12.32 million shares, in Imexpharm last week.

The deal value was not disclosed but local media reports pegged it at $28.9 million.

Foreign investors own approximately 49 per cent in Imexpharm. Its other major shareholders include VinaCapital (7%), KWE Beteiligungen AG (14.3%), and Vietnam Pharmaceutical JSC, also known as Vinapharm (22.9%).

SK Group had earlier invested $1 billion in Vingroup and $470 million in Masan Group in Vietnam. In addition, a subsidiary, SK Energy, holds a 5.2 per cent stake in local firm PV Oil.

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.