Editor’s take: The week that was — July 19-24

Indian food delivery and restaurant aggregator Zomato made a stellar market debut this week with its stock surging 65%, giving the startup a valuation of about $14 billion. The successful outing of the homegrown company is a milestone event for India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem as several others queue up to list. Berkshire Hathaway Inc-backed Paytm, hospitality company Oyo Hotels and ride-hailing firm Ola, both backed by SoftBank, are among other Indian startups set to test public market waters.

Zomato’s IPO outing shows that public markets can be more enthusiastic than private equity players in driving up valuations. Zomato’s close competitor Swiggy was recently valued at less than two-fifths those levels, or $5.5 billion, after a $1.25-billion fundraising in the private markets.

In a letter to shareholders, Zomato founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal said the tremendous response to the IPO gives the firm the confidence that the world is full of investors who appreciate the magnitude of investments it is making, and take a long-term view of its business.

From unicorn quarters

In yet another milestone development, SE Asian online realty company PropertyGuru agreed to go public through a merger with a blank-cheque firm backed by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel, giving the combined company an equity value of about $1.78 billion.

The deal with Bridgetown 2 Holdings is expected to fetch proceeds of $431 million, including a private investment of $100 million from Baillie Gifford, Naya, REA Group and Akaris Global Partners. 

As Indonesian marketplace Bukalapak’s IPO opens for subscription next week, we took an in-depth look at its pricing based on various valuation parameters. The Emtek group-backed marketplace — which will be the first among Indonesian unicorns to go public — plans to raise up to $1.5 billion by issuing 25.76 billion new shares at an offer price of 750-850 rupiah per share. At that range, many traditional parameters suggest the shares are in an overpriced zone.

Meanwhile, from the Philippines, fintech player Mynt says it is looking to more than double its valuation to $2 billion in its future fundraising, Nikkei Asia reported. Mynt, the firm behind the popular GCash app, closed a $175 million funding round in January that valued the company at nearly $1 billion.

From India, online trucking platform BlackBuck became the latest entrant in the country’s growing unicorn club, raising $67 million as part of its latest Series E round of equity financing at a valuation of $1.02 billion. The round was led by Tribe Capital, IFC Emerging Asia Fund and VEF.

Omnichannel eyewear brand Lenskart raised an additional $220 million in funding led by Temasek and Falcon Edge Capital. The current fundraise values the startup at $2.5 billion.

Byju’s made its second major acquisition in the US with the purchase of Epic, an online reading platform, for $500 million in a cash-and-stock deal. Byju’s had bought educational gaming startup Osmo in 2019.

Fundraising trail

Vertex Venture Holdings is raising about $330 million through the issuance of seven-year senior unsecured Singapore dollar bonds at a coupon rate of 3.3%. The issuance, the first SGD corporate bond issuance by a global VC firm, was upsized due to “overwhelming investor demand.”

Singapore-based Good Startup has so far raised $26.5 million for its debut fund, exceeding its original target of $25 million ahead of its final close in August. The VC firm has so far built a portfolio of 10 startups.

Japan-based Sasakawa Peace Foundation has committed to invest in Beacon Fund, a gender lens investing fund focusing on Southeast Asia. Beacon Fund has raised almost half of its initial target of $50 million.

Wealth manager Paragon Capital Management Singapore has announced the launch of its new early-stage venture capital fund that will invest in productivity and efficiency enabling startups.

US retirement fund manager LACERA has approved an investment of up to $500 million in the KKR Diversified Core Infrastructure Fund.

Deal news

Indonesian e-commerce brand acquirer Hypefast has raised $13.99 million in new funding, per filings accessed by DealStreetAsia – DATA VANTAGE. New investor Monk’s Hill Ventures led the round.

Three Indonesian companies are moving ahead with plans for a public listing on the domestic stock exchange. Primaya Hospital Group, dairy firm Cimory group, best known for its yoghurt drinks, and Tempo Inti Media Tbk are understood to have initiated share sale plans.

Indonesian social commerce enabling platform Desty is said to have closed pre-Series A funding of over $3 million in a round led by Chinese venture capital firm 5Y Capital. Fosun RZ Capital, East Ventures, January Capital and InCapital have also joined the round. The deal would mark the first investment for 5Y Capital in Indonesia.

Interviews and analysis

Multiples Alternate Asset Management has closed its third fund at $680 million to invest in mid-market companies in India. The PE giant has so far made two investments from the vehicle including a $192-million funding that it co-led with Singapore state investor Temasek in Indian fresh meat and seafood e-tailer Licious. “We have added some marquee new domestic and global investors which is a big win for Multiples. Our focus is to find good opportunities to deploy this capital and come back for Fund 4 in the next 18 months,” said founder & CEO Renuka Ramnath in an exclusive interview.

Canadian pension fund OMERS is seeking to tap opportunities in the areas of energy transition, digital infrastructure and transportation as it steps up its infrastructure investments in the Asia Pacific. “Energy transition is a theme we focus on globally and I think is a theme which is going to be very strong in Asia, as it tries to decarbonise,” OMERS Infrastructure managing director and Asia head Prateek Maheshwari said in an interview.

This week, we analysed deal data from China and looked at growing investor interest in Vietnam’s edtech and Singapore’s wealth management space.

Investments in privately-held companies in Greater China showed robust growth in June with PE and VC firms pouring a total of over $6.2 billion into 154 startups. June’s aggregate deal value was a 22.8% increase over May, according to proprietary data compiled by DealStreetAsia. However, the country’s tightening grip on the tech sector could cast a shadow over the dealmaking landscape in the months to come.

The raging COVID-19 pandemic has led to a revival in investor interest in Vietnam’s edtech sector. So far this year, six players in the sector have announced fundraisings amassing at least $22 million. In comparison, there were only three announced deals in the entire 2020 and six deals in the entire 2019.

Flush with capital from recent fundraisings, Singapore’s digital wealth management platforms are now busy charting a new growth path — expansion to new geographies, thinking up new products and features, and hiring top talent. Players in the sector closed five funding rounds between late March and early July compared to only one deal in the same period last year.

Lastly, we had this analytical piece on Vietnam’s growing tribe of seasoned professionals setting up new funds to support the startup ecosystem that is now entering a mature phase.

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.