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Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Private equity investor KKR tops up third Asia fund, nearing $7b target

KKR is a private equity investor with stakes in various sectors, including tech. It became widely known in Southeast Asia’s tech scene when it participated in Go-Jek’s $550 million round last year.

A US private pension provider, the New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF), says it’s putting at least $275 million into a new fund by global investment firm KKR, called KKR Asia Fund III.

Parts of the US$7 billion pot could flow into the further funding of Go-Jek, which is said to be in the process of raising another $1 billion to fend off competitors Grab and Uber. The fresh investments into KKR’s fund could mean very positive things for tech companies in Southeast Asia.

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2. TransferWise sets up Singapore office to serve as Asia-Pacific HQ

Online money transfer startup TransferWise announced today it is setting up its Asia-Pacific hub in Singapore.

This gives Transferwise a central location in Asia-Pacific, allowing it to reach more customers in the region.

TransferWise allows its customers to send and receive money across borders for a fraction of the charges imposed on bank transfers. To do that, it uses a peer-to-peer system that matches users according to the currencies they want to send and receive.

The service has been available in Singapore for some time but due to regulations, users had to verify their identity by contacting TransferWise and doing it manually. Now, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has approved online verification for the startup.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: China’s internet giants go global

Western companies usually prefer to focus on a few core areas, whereas Chinese internet firms typically try to do everything from cloud computing to digital payments.

When this works, as with Tencent’s wildly successful app, WeChat, the results can be impressive.

A huge home market has not stopped the trio from fighting bloody turf wars among each other. The outcome to this battle is rapidly becoming clear. Tencent and Alibaba are surging ahead; a series of own goals has left Baidu far behind.

 Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is the world’s second richest person

Jeff Bezos added $1.5 billion to his fortune as Amazon.com Inc. rose $18.32 on Wednesday, the day after the acquisition of middle eastern retailer Souq.com.

Amazon’s founder has added $10.2 billion this year to his wealth and $7 billion since the global equities rally began following the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president.

Bezos remains $10.4 billion behind Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the world’s richest person with $86 billion.

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2. Freightos, an Expedia for the shipping industry raises $25m

Freightos, a Hong Kong-headquartered startup that lets people compare prices and book shipping services, has raised a $25 million funding round led by GE Ventures, the venture capital arm of General Electric.

Freightos’ main product is AcceleRate, a subscription software for carriers and freight forwarders to automate calculating and managing shipping rates. The price comparison feature is a new addition to the platform.

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3. Indonesia’s Go-Jek launches new feature to book Blue Bird taxi

Indonesian ride-hailing startup Go-Jek and taxi company Blue Bird today launched Go-BlueBird, a special feature to book Blue Bird taxis via the Go-Jek app. Under the Go-BlueBird feature, users will be able to pay for taxi fare using the Go-Jek’s cashless payment service Go-Pay. The new partnership establishes Go-Jek as an “industry enabler”.

The new product is launched as Go-Jek, with other ride-hailing startups Grab and Uber, battles an upcoming revision of the land transportation regulation.

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Winding down from work? Here are today’s top stories that you should know

1. LVMH to launch multi-brand ecommerce site for its luxury brands

Leading luxury group LVMH plans to launch a website in May that will be branded as its department store Le Bon Marché. It will offer labels from the group’s own stable as well as distributing non-LVMH brands — putting it head-to-head with online platforms such as Net-A-Porter and Matchesfashion.com.

Customers that buy both online and in-store typically spend 50% more than those who only visit shops, according to Exane BNP Paribas analysts.

While ecommerce is still a relatively small portion of sales in the global luxury goods market at 7%, it will expand to 12% by 2020, according to Boston Consulting Group.

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2. Go-Jek launches important new feature,now lets users transfer e-cash to each other

The startup has introduced a new feature which allows users to send Go-Pay credit to each other at no cost. It’s a big step in Go-Jek’s evolution into an increasingly powerful payments solution that enables users to transact with each other.

Source: Tech in Asia

Go-Jek also confirmed that users will be able to withdraw Go-Pay credit in the form of cash at several partner banks once the feature is fully implemented. The startup has not yet revealed which banks are involved.
Read the rest of the story here.

3. Dymon Asia announces first close of its debut $50M fund for fintech

Dymon Asia Ventures is focused on fintech deals and it is targeting a $50 million raise. Today, its founding partners disclosed a first close of $20 million from a range of LPs that include Thai bank Siam Commercial, which invested an undisclosed sum via its fintech arm, Digital Ventures.

While plenty of funds have sprung up to tackle Series A deals, Dymon Asia is aiming to cater to a very specific category of fintech-led companies where the partners believe their resources and understanding can move the needle.

“We want to give fintech founders the attention they need, especially the b2b guys who often don’t appeal to traditional VCs,” said Dymon Asia partner, Christiaan Kaptein.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

4. Community Chatter: The Alipay of Indonesia

Source: Sheji Ho, CMO at aCommerce

Go-Jek is moving towards its goal of becoming a leading payments platform for Indonesians.

Here’s what you should today.

1. Walmart makes an acquisition-buys outdoor retailer Moosejaw for $51m

Walmart announced that it has acquired a leading outdoor retailer Moosejaw for approximately $51 million in an all-cash deal. Headquartered in Michigan, the retailer has both a large online presence as well as 10 physical stores across Michigan and the midwest U.S.

Walmart’s interest in the retailer has a lot to do with the category it operates in and the industry relationships it brings to the table. The Moosejaw deal will give Walmart another entry point into apparel, a popular online retail category, as the retailer offers over 120,000 SKUs from more than 400 apparel brands, including Patagonia and The North Face.

85% of Moosejaw’s business is online.

This news comes right after Warren Buffett declares he has sold $900 million of his Walmart shares, signifying an entry into a different kind of retail era.

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2. StockX raises $6M to grow its marketplace for limited-edition products

StockX, a marketplace for sneakers, has announced that they’ve closed a $6M round from a group of high-profile investors like Mark Wahlberg.

How does it work? The startup calls itself a “stock market of things”, meaning that it uses a “bid/ask” market to connect buyers and sellers – just like an actual stock market does. For example, a buyer would place a bid for $650 for a pair of shoes, and a seller may be asking $680 for the same pair that they currently own. And when the bid/ask spread eventually meets, a transaction happens.

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3. China’s Tencent rumored to be eyeing Indonesia’s Go-Jek

Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings is in talks about a possible investment in Go-Jek, Indonesia’s biggest mobile ride-hailing and delivery service.

Why would Tencent be interested?  Go Pay could offer Tencent a way to expand its payments network beyond China, similar to how Ant Financial has backed Indian payment company Paytm. High frequency services such as ride-hailing have proven to be a driver for use of mobile wallets. In China, Tencent grew its mobile payment system by teaming up with Didi.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know.

1. Southeast Asia startup funding at record high in 2016

But it’s mainly because of GO-JEK  and GRAB.

Total funding in the region hit US$2.6 billion, up over 60 percent from the previous year’s US$1.6 billion.

Country breakdown: Singapore and Indonesia continued to figure prominently on investors’ radar, accounting for $1.4 billion and $967 million of the investments, respectively. Malaysia was next with $84.8 million, followed by Thailand at $79.3 million, Vietnam at $60.9 million and finally the Philippines at $14.6 million.

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2.  Vietnamese startup Leflair raises funding

500 Startups-backed ecommerce startup founded by ex Lazada colleagues, Leflair has bagged a $1 million pre-series A investment from a group of investors led by Hong Kong-based Caldera Pacific Ventures.

Leflair’s approach and focus on brands allows it to grow at a fast pace with reasonable marketing expenditures and without compromising on the quality of the products or customer service, and to work on its long-term vision. Based in Ho Chi Minh, LeFlair has around 80 employees and currently operates its own production studio, warehouse and fulfillment centre, where orders are shipped across the country.

 
Why is the company attractive? Vietnam is a high growth and underserved country, while the platform can eventually be expanded to the neighboring countries adding scalability to the model

Read the rest of the story here.

3. The cold war between Wal-Mart and Amazon continues

This is a battle that just keeps on going. Wal-Mart has shaken up its in-house digital team and has begun to cut prices in order to compete with Amazon.

The changes are meant to make Wal-Mart more “customer-centric,” Jet founder Marc Lore, who is now chief executive officer of Wal-Mart’s e-commerce operation, said in a memo.

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Here’s what you should know.

1. Trans Retail Indonesia eyes expansion

Grocery retailer Trans Retail Indonesia plans to open dozens of stores this year in a challenge to the online retail industry. This year it will open 30 stores under the Transmart Carrefour brand.

The retailer says it is determined to be more creative by way of promotional activities, intensive marketing and fresh products to lure customers to its stores.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Recommended reading: Indonesia’s first billion-dollar startup races to kill cash

Now the company is planning a second act in digital payments amid rising competition from local rival Grab and Uber Technologies Inc. Their interest underscores the market opportunity. Indonesia is the world’s fourth most-populous country with a young, tech-savvy citizens raised on smartphones and apps.

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3. Alibaba considering European logistics center in Bulgaria

Chinese ecommerce group Alibaba is considering setting up a European logistics center in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian government and Xinhua said on Wednesday.

Bulgaria has yet to take advantage of China’s plans to expand its presence in central and Eastern Europe under its “One Belt, One Road” strategy to carve out new export markets between Asia and Europe.

Read the rest of the story here.