Tech news portal DNA secures $300k funding

Independent technology news portal Digital News Asia (DNA) has secured MYR 1 million ($300,000) for its seed funding from private equity firm IdeaRiverRun.

The funds, DNA said, would be channeled into the portal’s expansion in Southeast Asia, further building its team and to develop new products and channels.

The portal will be expanding to Indonesia in the next few months, and then into Thailand and the Philippines. DNA went live in May 2012 and expanded to Singapore last month. 

(Disclaimer: DEALSTREETASIA competes with DNA in Singapore & Malaysia.)

IdeaRiverRun is wholly-owned by Vincent Lee, a businessman prominent in the local media and advertising industry. From 2011 to April this year, he was the executive deputy chairman of media group Star Publications (M) Bhd, which prints the leading local English daily, The Star newspaper.

While IdeaRiverRun has acquired a substantial stake in the portal through this deal, DNA CEO and founder Karamjit Singh remains it’s largest stakeholder

Karamjit said one of the reasons the deal came through was because IdeaRiverRun had agreed to let DNA retain its editorial independence.

“To DNA, partnering with IdeaRiverRun is about taking ‘smart money’. The IdeaRiverRun group has some companies that we feel, can add value to DNA immediately. Vincent Lee’s overall investments in other digital-related properties will also enhance the delivery of our content to readers,” he said.

The content on DNA will continue to be guided by the founders, namely himself and executive editor A Asohan, he reassured.

The private equity firm and incubator IdeaRiverRun, identifies and works with individuals and companies to create the best possible platforms in the digital space.

Among the ten digital based companies that IdeaRiverRun owns is Cilisos.my.  In 2012, Lee made a MYR 2 million ($650,000) as an angel investor in Soft Space International Sdn Bhd, a mobile payment solutions provider that has now grown regionally.

Lee said DNA is a good strategic partner for the firm, as IdeaRiverRun has the expertise and resources to assist and complement DNA in building its creative content.

Lee said there are other portfolio companies, which the firm will announce in due time. “We live in an age where data is dynamic, and IdeaRiverRun owns equity in a host of companies that can be used to harness this real-time data to create content that can help clients and communities,” he added.

Other competitors in this space, in the region include, TECHINASIA and E2; both the portals have secured Series B and Series A round of funding, respectively,  last year.

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.