Editor’s take: The week that was — June 29-July 3

Here is your weekly selection of top news, trends and exclusive developments from DealStreetAsia this week. We have crossed the half-year mark of 2020 and the COVID-19 global health crisis continues to persist. Predictably, our news headlines were dominated by companies and investors trying to navigate these challenging times.

First, the big picture stories

Chinese internet giant Tencent’s recent acquisition of the assets of Southeast Asian video-on-demand platform iflix has left a trail of ticked off investors, vendors and employees. The transaction appears to be a done deal and iflix shareholders are expected to formally vote on the deal on July 21.
Singapore state-owned investment company Temasek Holdings is leading the shift away from public market investments among large institutional investors. According to data from DealStreetAsia and Refinitiv, Temasek either directly or through related entities, invested in over 40 companies in the first half of the calendar year 2020.
In Vietnam, venture capital investors are eyeing HR-tech startups with increased interest due to their resilient nature and high-margin potential. The sector has already recorded at least half a dozen deals in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Staying with Vietnam, we also had this feature on how, just in a few years, the country’s population could be transformed from one of the most underbanked in Southeast Asia to one spoilt for choice, when it comes to saving and spending their money. The Vietnamese government is in the process of approving a pilot project for local telecom players to launch mobile money services. Local telcos VNPT, Viettel and MobiFone have indicated an interest in launching these services.

In deal news

South Korea’s food delivery giant Woowa Brothers is looking to invest in more Southeast Asia startups this year, as it awaits the green light for its merger with German peer Delivery Hero. It has already made two investments in Southeast Asia in Vietnam’s VeXeRe and Malaysia’s Dahmakan.
Taiwanese live-streaming platform M17 Entertainment is cautiously seeking mergers and acquisitions and market expansion opportunities this year as it weighs its options for an initial public offering in the near future. M17 had raised a $26.5-million Series D funding led by Vertex Growth Fund in May.

We had this exclusive on Mumbai-based edtech startup Lido Learning‘s ongoing talks to raise $20 million from new investors in an extended Series B funding round. The startup, which offers online tutoring, had raised $7.5 million in Series B funding across two tranches earlier this year.

Riding on the back of increased demand for logistics services, Indonesian startups Ritase and Waresix are in advanced talks to raise funding. Waresix is understood to be in the process of finalising a $50-million round while Ritase is said to seek over $15 million.
International Finance Corporation (IFC) is considering proposals to extend financing to several firms severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including up to $100 million to state-owned lender Bank of Maldives, nearly $145 million to support the hotel operations of Shangri-La Asia, two senior loans of up to $75 million to Bangladeshi lenders The City Bank Limited and Prime Bank Limited, and a one-year, renewable senior loan of up to $40 million to Vietnam-based Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank.

Data & reports

In our latest report, we took a deep dive into fund flows and outlook for Southeast Asia’s travel and tourism startups that have been wracked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Southeast Asian travel tech startups raised about $150 million from 10 deals between Jan 1 and June 18, 2020, down almost 70 per cent from the first half of 2019.
Also, check out our weekly China Deal Monitors and India Deal Monitors for a selection of prominent deals from the two top economies in the region.

Fundraising milestones

Venture capital firm B Capital Group has closed its second global fund for B2B growth-stage investments at $820 million, bringing its total assets under management to nearly $1.44 billion.
Beijing-based Richland Capital has reached the first close of its third venture fund as the company targets to up its stake in the Chinese industrial technology field.
Hong Kong and Singapore-based Tor Investment Management has launched its second Asia credit fund. Initial capital commitments for Fund II total approximately $240 million from both new and existing investors in North America, Europe and Asia.
Fubon Life Insurance, the insurance unit of Taiwanese financial conglomerate Fubon, has committed to invest $50 million in KKR Asian Fund IV, the fourth Asia-focused buyout fund of private equity giant KKR & Co. The PE firm is reportedly seeking to raise $12.5 billion for the fund.

Interviews

This week we featured interviews from funds operating in China, Vietnam, Myanmar and Malaysia and got a sense of how they view investment opportunities in the backdrop of the pandemic.
Early-stage VC firm Addor Capital, which invests across a gamut of new technology sectors, is looking to venture beyond China. “We have established an asset investment and management subsidiary in Hong Kong in a bid to buy out valuable assets in foreign countries,” said chairman Wenlu Ying in an interview with DealStreetAsia.
Myanmar-focused private equity firm Ascent Capital Partners, which made its debut with an investment in internet service provider Frontiir, has collected over $80 million for its debut fund, a top executive told DealStreetAsia. LPs in the fund include Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek Holdings and the Asian Development Bank.
Meanwhile, private equity major KKR & Co is looking to increase its pace of investments in Vietnam. “We hope we will be able to invest more and faster (in Vietnam), given the country’s growth trajectory, how the country has managed the pandemic, and the fact that Vietnam may be a long-term beneficiary of supply chain disruptions,” CK Yan, private equity director at KKR, told us.
Malaysia’s private equity firm OSK Ventures International Bhd says it has not stopped looking for opportunities and will continue to invest with a focus on business-to-business (B2B) tech companies.

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.