Asia Digest: Pakistani B2B platform Retailo raises $2.3m; HK’s Talon Esports raises $2m

Pakistani B2B platform Retailo has raised $2.3 million in a pre-seed round led by Shorooq Partners, while Hong Kong-based esports organisation Talon Esports has raised a $2 million seed round led by South Korean investment firm Hana Ventures.

Pakistani B2B platform Retailo raises $2.3m pre-seed

Pakistani B2B retail supply chain platform Retailo has raised $2.3 million in pre-seed funding led by Shorooq Partners and joined by 500 Startups and 92-Ventures, according to an announcement.

This funding round,  in which angel investors also participated, is said to be one of the largest pre-seed round in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region.

Retailo is a mobile app that provides SMEs (including retailers) with a curated and reliable list of suppliers from whom they can order a variety of products that are delivered at their doorstep. The company is led by co-founders Talha Ansari, Mohammad Nowkhaiz, and Wahaj Ahmed.

The MENAP region is home to 700 million people and 10 million SMEs; and its unorganised retail sector presents the perfect opportunity to increase the efficiency of supply chain by utilising technology and real-time data, according to the founders.

“While they operate one of the fastest-scaling business models in the world, their success means millions of SMEs and rural people are more productive and have more stability and food security. Technology can impact the next billion, and we’re already seeing it here with what Retailo has been doing,” said Khailee Ng, managing partner, 500 Startups.

Shorooq Partners, which led the funding round, is a leading seed-stage venture capital fund based in the Middle East. It focuses on identifying and backing early-stage companies and exceptional founders who are building solutions that are transforming their respective sectors.

500 Startups is one of the most active global early-stage venture capital firms. Since its 2010 inception, 500 Startups has invested in over 2,400 companies via five global funds, one annex fund, and 16 thematic funds dedicated to specific geographic markets or verticals.

HK-based Talon Esports raises $2m seed round

Hong Kong-based esports organisation Talon Esports has raised a $2 million seed round, led by South Korean investment firm Hana Ventures, to accelerate growth in Asia Pacific, according to an announcement.

Other participants in the round include Widus Strategic Investments, New Wave Esports Corporation, Sprout Investments, Gavekal Family, EMC Capital, Animoca Brands, HZL Capital, and Felix LaHaye (United Esports) along with various family offices and individuals.

Talon Esports said that it will use the proceeds to expand into new countries, titles and further develop its lifestyle value offering.

Talon Esports was founded in 2017 by Sean Zhang and Jarrold Tham and is headquartered in Hong Kong. The organisation has teams competing in League of Legends, Arena of Valor, Overwatch, Rainbow 6, Clash Royale, Tekken 7, and Street Fighter V.

“We are very excited to embark on this journey with Talon. The team’s strong focus on growth, combined with the rising demand and interest for esports in Asia, will make Talon one of the major leaders. We look forward to supporting Talon by bringing our esports knowledge from Korea as well,” notes Henry Choi, Hana Ventures’ director and head of global investment.

Hana Ventures is the investment arm of Hana Financial Group, one of the largest financial groups in Korea.

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.