Singapore: Wavecell closes $8.15m Series B round led by Qualgro & MDI Ventures

Singapore Dollars | Photo: Reuters

Wavecell, a Singapore-based cloud communications platform, today announced that it has secured $8.15 million (S$11.3 million) in a Series B funding round led by VC firm Qualgro and MDI Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Telkom Indonesia.

Previous backer Wavemaker Partners and other new investors also joined this round. The valuation at which the round was raised is confidential. 

“With this latest round of funding in place, Wavecell is well-positioned to further expand its leadership position and become one of the most trusted service providers to banks, insurance, e-commerce and other corporate clients in the region,” said Heang Chhor, Founder and Managing Partner of Qualgro.

The funding comes as the company is experiencing hyper-growth since closing a $1.6 million Series A round in February 2016, also led by Qualgro. Proceeds from this round will strengthen the company’s Asia Pacific presence and reinforce the company’s relations with both local and global mobile carriers.

Founded in 2010 by Olivier Gerhardt, its CEO and Co-Founder, Wavecell creates APIs for communication tools which let developers integrate SMS, voice, chat, and video calling into their applications. Since its last funding round, Wavecell claims to have significantly increased its enterprise customer base by over 300 per cent.

Its solution permits enterprises and application developers to communicate efficiently and enhance customer experience via its messaging and live video interaction solutions, which can easily be integrated into existing website, applications and services.

Some enterprise clients of Wavecell include Grab, Lazada, Redmart, and various wholesalers and app developers, as well as Telkomsel. 

Reflecting on the city-state’s venture ecosystem and its maturation since 2010, one inefficiency that Gerhardt observed was that “the pool of talent in Singapore sometimes can be limited, depending on the scope,” which he noted Wavecell worked around by recruiting local and international talents.

In an official statement, Gerhardt, said, “This is a very exciting time for all of us at Wavecell. As we continue to serve our customers, along with product excellence, delivered with constant innovation and passion, we are now ready to continue scaling up our sales and marketing activities as well as growing our engineering team. “

Recognising Indonesia as one of our key markets, Wavecell will also work together with the Telkom Group of companies to develop synergies and collaborations with various business units,” he adds, 

Asked about the exit strategy of Wavecell, Gerhardt told this portal: “Our exit strategy will be inclining more towards either trade sale or IPO.”

According to Gerhardt, the geographies which are the greatest business drivers are Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, with Indonesia a particularly crucial market for the startup.

Despite the regional Series B gap, Gerhardt shared with DEALSTREETASIA: “Being an entrepreneur is never working alone but working with the right people within your team to make things happen. An entrepreneur also means that you have to constantly be out there in the industry and be on the ground to really understand what’s truly going on.”

“I’ve had experiences pitching to so many investors back then that I’ve learnt that finding the right group of investors is more important and with a lot of hard work especially to build mutual trust and maintain long-term relationships with investors to potentially work on strategic business opportunities together. In my case, I met MDI for the first time in March 2016 after completing our Series A and at the same time, we were building business relationships with Telkom Group.”

“With trust and firm relationships from all sides and tonnes of time and efforts, MDI Ventures is now leading our Series B this time round. It takes two hands to clap, both entrepreneurs and investors. Both parties need to believe in the product and to share the passion for growing the company. It’s the people that make the product work, so work with the right people” he adds.

Also Read:

Singapore: Wavecell raises $1.6m Series A from Qualgro Asean Fund, Wavemaker Pacific

Thailand’s Ardent Capital sells SE Asia venture portfolio to Wavemaker Partners

Exclusive: MDI Ventures to invest $100m in startups, set to close 3 more deals by year-end

Telkom’s MDI Ventures leads 8-figure round for aCommerce

India: Mobikon gets funding from Qualgro, Life.SREDA

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.