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