SE Asia Digest: VinaCapital Ventures invests in Dutycast; Spenmo bags $34m

Photo by Kit Suman on Unsplash

Vietnam’s VinaCapital Ventures has acquired a stake in Vietnamese e-commerce tool Dutycast.  In a separate development, Singapore-based fintech firm Spenmo has secured $34 million in a Series A round led by Insight Partners.

VinaCapital Ventures invests into Dutycast

VinaCapital Ventures, the technology investment arm of Vietnamese investment giant VinaCapital Group, has acquired a stake in e-commerce tool Dutycast. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

The funding is expected to go towards accelerating Dutycast’s growth and enhancing the online shopping experience for consumers.

Founded in 2020 by Hoa Nguyen, Thomas Dang, Son Doan, and Dat Tran, Dutycast claims to operate as a Chrome extension that eases the cross-border e-commerce experience for shoppers by providing transparency around final prices, duties, taxes, and related logistics expenses.

Users can shop from multiple stores in different countries and checkout once, they pay in their local currency via trusted payment methods and without having to worry about FX fluctuations.

Vietnam is one of the world’s fastest growing e-commerce markets, thanks to its young, digitally-savvy population and a rapidly expanding middle class. E-commerce was valued at nearly $12 billion, or 5.5% of all retail sales in the country, according to a report from Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of E-commerce and Digital Economy.

Hoang Duc Trung, partner of VinaCapital Ventures said, “E-commerce in Vietnam is rapidly growing, especially as a result of the pandemic. Anyone living here or in other countries knows how difficult and sometimes frustrating it can be to order from online retailers based overseas. Dutycast provides a very simple solution to that. It’s a tool that will be very valuable and useful, not just in Vietnam but potentially in many countries in the region and around the world where online shopping isn’t as easy as it should be.”

Spenmo raises $34m Series A from Insight Partners, others

Singapore-based payments software startup Spenmo has bagged $34 million in a Series A round led by New York-based private equity and venture capital firm Insight Partners, confirming an earlier story done by DealStreetAsia.

Other institutional investors in the round include Lee Fixel’s Addition, Salesforce Ventures, Alpha JWC, Global Founders’ Capital, Broadhaven, Operator Partners, and Commerce Ventures.

The round also saw the participation of angel investors including founder of Plaid William Hockey, Ex-SVP of Sales, Bill.com Andy Cohen, head of Stripe Indonesia Ongki Kurniawan, and founders of Snapdeal Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal.

The new funds will go towards helping Spenmo build market share and gain access to the more than 20 million SMBs and mid-market companies in Southeast Asia who largely do not use any software to manage their payables and instead depend on piecemeal solutions such as spreadsheets, or manpower.

With the new round, Spenmo has raised a total of $36 million to date.

The recent fundraising is a significant jump from their $2 million seed round raised last year from Y Combinator, Rocket Internet, Iterative Capital, and angel investors from XA Network (formerly known as Xoogler Angels), suggesting robust appetite for Southeast Asian companies in the fintech sector.

Founded in 2019 by Mohandass Kalaichelvan, a former Grab executive who had driven the ride-hailing giant’s transport, payments, and financial services verticals, Spenmo’s flagship products—smart corporate cards and automated bill payments—helps businesses and their finance teams to pay bills, track and categorise spend, and close their books on autopilot in 90% less time.

“Our space has typically been thought of as a back-office function, but finance and accounts payables is a critical part of running a business,” said Kalaichelvan. “Finance teams who implement our software gain back man hours. On average, they save over 50 hours and $10,000 every month. Our goal is to give back 10 billion man-hours annually to finance teams across the region.”

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.