Editor’s take: The week that was – Jan 27-Feb 1

A story on Indonesian aquaculture startup eFishery's fundraising plans was one of our most read articles this week. Photo by Jerry Shen on Unsplash

Here is your weekly roundup of news, views and analysis from the team at DealStreetAsia.

Scoops

Our exclusive stories this week included an article on Indonesia’s logistics company J&T Express, founded by former OPPO executives, nearing the close of an over $100 million financing from investors, including Chinese firms.

Also looking for fresh private funding is Malaysia-based video streaming platform iflix, presumably to extend a rather short operational runway. The firm had taken its first steps towards a proposed IPO on the Australian stock exchange last year but is understood to have relegated a listing to the backburner for now.

Also on the quest for capital is Indonesia-based agritech startup eFishery, which is understood to be in talks with private equity firm Northstar Group and Go-Ventures, the venture capital arm of ride-hailing giant Gojek, to raise fresh funding.

More PE dry powder for Asia 

Blackstone Group is set to hit the market to raise its second Asia-focused private equity fund this year. The buyout major had raised $2.3 billion for its first Asia PE fund in 2018.

New York State Common Retirement Fund, the third-largest public pension plan in the US, recently disclosed having made capital commitments totalling $505 million to Asia-focused private equity and opportunistic funds, including those managed by SSG Capital Partners and MBK Partners, in November.

Seoul-headquartered MBK Partners also secured a commitment of $150 million from the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System for its fifth buyout fund, for which it is reportedly raising between $5 billion and $6 billion.

Private equity firm Excelsior Capital Asia has reached an initial close of $62 million for its debut Vietnam fund. The fund is targeting a corpus of $150 million.

Deals corner

Indonesia’s ZULU, which makes Bluetooth motorcycle helmets and pollution control masks, confirmed securing an unspecified investment from ride-hailing major Gojek.

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte has picked up a 20 per cent stake in Yoma Bank, one of Myanmar’s largest lenders. The bank is backed by International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Embattled delivery startup Honestbee has secured a capital injection of $7 million from LG Group’s scion Brian Koo and associated funds.

NYSE-listed Sea Ltd has fully acquired Vancouver-based independent games development studio Phoenix Labs, the creator of popular cross-platform co-op action role-playing game Dauntless.

Rise of the soonicorns

Singapore-based cross-border payments startup Nium, formerly known as InstaReM, is eyeing a listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) by 2022 and achieve profitability by Q3 next year, its co-founder and CEO Prajit Nanu told us in an interview.

In another Q&ANinja Van‘s Indonesia chief explained how the logistics startup is tackling the various challenges presented by the archipelago and the next opportunity it has spotted.

More cracks appear at SoftBank-backed OYO  

Within weeks of its slashing workforce in India and China, fresh reports of Indian hospitality chain Oyo Hotels and Homes (OYO) retrenching hundreds of employees in the US have emerged. Could this SoftBank-backed company become another cautionary tale for startups worldwide? Only time will tell.

Sunday read

For your weekend read, I recommend this story on the potential of Southeast Asia’s gaming market, which had a landmark 2019 and is now poised for bigger tournaments, increased investments in mobile gaming and the entry of cloud gaming.

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.