Editor’s take: The week that was — Jan 11-16

We are back with the weekly wrap bringing you a mix of our exclusives, data-led stories and analytical pieces.

Southeast Asia’s startups put up a resilient front in 2020 notwithstanding the unprecedented healthcare crisis that caused market dislocation around the world.  Fundraising by privately-held companies in the region during the year stood at $8.6 billion, according to DealStreetAsia’s latest report SE Asia Deal Review: Q4 2020.

Gojek and Grab, the region’s two most valued startups, raised at least $1.6 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively, to emerge as 2020’s largest fundraisers. Do check out the full report to know more about top dealmakers, hot sectors, deal value and volume trends.

Top deals this week

Singapore-based internet major Sea Ltd has acquired Indonesia’s Bank Kesejahteraan Ekonomi with the objective of ultimately transforming the local lender into a digital bank. The deal can be seen as part of NYSE-listed Sea’s ongoing plan to increase customer retention on its e-commerce platform Shopee by doubling down on its payments app ShopeePay.

The week saw a spate of deals related to fintech startups. In Vietnam, e-wallet MoMo raised over $100 million in a Series D co-led by Silicon Valley investor Goodwater Capital and existing backer Warburg Pincus.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s sharia-compliant, P2P lending startup ALAMI Technologies raised over $20 million in equity and debt funding.

In other major deals, Indonesia’s investment platform Ajaib Group secured as much as $25 million in a Series A round led by Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures and Alpha JWC.

And, Pintek landed a $21-million debt facility from US-based impact-focused private debt investor Accial Capital.

From unicorn land

Unicorns from across the Asian markets continued to make headlines.

Grab’s financial services arm Grab Financial Group raised over $300 million led by South Korea’s Hanwha Asset Management in its Series A round.

Indonesia’s Bukalapak has landed funding from Standard Chartered as it makes progress toward raising $200 million to finance its expansion in the country, Bloomberg reported.

In news from Indian unicorns, Byju’s has signed a deal to acquire brick & mortar test prep leader Aakash Educational Services Ltd for $1 billion, Bloomberg reported. Byju’s is valued at $12 billion.

Staying with edtech, Unacademy concluded a new secondary transaction in which investors Tiger Global, Dragoneer Investment Group, Steadview Capital, and General Atlantic have increased their stake in the company by buying more shares worth $50 million.

Meanwhile, UBS Group is in talks to invest $400 million in Paytm, the most valuable Indian startup, Bloomberg reported. UBS is negotiating the purchase of Paytm stock from a group of the Indian fintech company’s employees.

In a unicorn deal from China, SoftBank Vision Fund led a $360-million funding in workout app Keep, which is now valued at about $2 billion.

On the fundraising trail

We tracked nearly a dozen fundraising updates from PE and VC funds readying dry powder to deploy in the region.

Singapore-based SilkRoad Property Partners has reached the final close of its second pan-Asia value-add real estate fund at $549 million. The fund has already made six investments.

Dutch development bank FMO has proposed a $15-million investment in the second private equity fund managed by Singapore-based buyout firm Archipelago Capital Partners. The fund seeks to tap buyout opportunities in consumer goods, financial services, and industrials and logistics.

KKR has closed its first fund targeting real estate investments in the Asia Pacific at $1.7 billion. During the week, KKR also announced raising $3.9 billion for its first Asia-Pacific infrastructure fund, the largest in the region that focuses on infrastructure-related investments.

Ivanhoe Cambridge, a subsidiary of Canada’s second-largest pension fund, has teamed up with Hong Kong-based PAG to launch a new Japan logistics venture with a $400 million investment capacity.

Cathay Innovation, affiliated to Chinese cross-border investment firm Cathay Capital, has closed its second global fund at $791.81 million, exceeding its initial target.

HM Capital, a healthcare-focused investment firm affiliated with Hillhouse Capitalclosed its debut RMB-denominated fund at $310 million.

GenBridge Capital, a Chinese PE firm that invests in next-generation consumer brands, has set out to raise $600 million for its second investment vehicle.

CICC Capital, the PE fund management platform of HK-listed investment bank CICC, has reached the second close of its biomedicine fund at over $648.7 million.

Motilal Oswal Real Estate is looking to raise up to $109 million for its fifth real estate fund, India Realty Excellence Fund V.

In SPAC updatesSVF Investment Corporation, sponsored by SoftBank Investment Advisers, and Provident Acquisition Corp, a Southeast Asia-focused blank cheque company, have raised a combined $725 million in IPOs in the US.

From our Greater China desk

Fundraising activity in China ended on a high note in 2020 as investors rushed to wrap up transactions before the holiday season, propelling the final month of December to set new records in both monthly deal volume and deal value for the year. Chinese startups raised nearly $9.1 billion in December, according to proprietary data compiled by DealStreetAsia.

Three Chinese technology companies — Tencent Music Entertainment Group, online retailer Vipshop Holdings, and live streaming platform Joyy — are seeking secondary listings in Hong Kong, joining a slew of US-listed mainland companies establishing fallback positions amid moves by Washington to push them out, Nikkei Asia reported.

Nasdaq-listed Chinese luxury retailer Secoo may join the exodus of US-listed Chinese companies from US stock exchanges. Secoo’s board has received an offer from its founder to take the company private.

Interviews & Analysis

Despite the COVID-led fog of uncertainty, PE and VC firms are rushing the IPO plans of their portfolio firms in India, encouraged by stellar listing gains of several companies in 2020. As many as 12 PE/VC-backed companies have already received the market regulator’s approval to launch their IPOs this year. Together, they could raise $1.53 billion and provide an exit to their existing backers.

Indonesia and Vietnam are emerging as key highlights among Silicon Valley and European investors, said Pegasus Tech Ventures’s general partner and CEO Anis Uzzaman. “Investors are eyeing their growth rate, how much they can do, and how far they can expand. It’s an opportunity,” he said. The VC firm’s SE Asia portfolio includes Gojek, Bukalapak, Alodokter, and Ritase.

Singapore-based private equity firm Kendall Court Capital Partners is scouting for investment opportunities in the high-growth technology sector in Southeast Asia, with Malaysia being its focal market. “These opportunities (tech) are now becoming your brick and mortar,” said Kendall Court managing partner Chris Chia.

Indonesian VC firm SMDV, an affiliate of diversified conglomerate Sinarmas Group, is targeting later-stage investments as it prepares to put together a second fund in the early part of this year. In an interaction with DealStreetAsia, SMDV managing partner Roderick Purwana said the fund will be “sizable enough to do larger deals, Series B or beyond.”

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.