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Editor’s take: The week that was — July 3-8


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This week, DealStreetAsia – DATA VANTAGE released two reports for its premium subscribers. The Women in SE Asia’s VC Ecosystem 2023 report found that women account for only 17.4% of all decision-makers at venture investors headquartered in Southeast Asia. Moreover, about 67% of SE Asian investors still don’t have a woman in an investment decision-making role.

The second report, titled SE Asia’s VC Funds: H1 2023 Review, showed that the slump in fundraising by Southeast Asia-headquartered venture capital firms persisted throughout the first half of this year, as homegrown VCs closed 11 funds during the period, raising $3.72 billion in total proceeds.

There was quite a bit of action in the crypto world as well. Singapore and Thailand unveiled new regulations that will ban crypto exchanges from offering staking and lending services, as watchdogs across the globe step up scrutiny of digital asset trading. And, DealStreetAsia reported that the valuation of Thailand’s largest crypto exchange Bitkub Online fell to 6.5 billion baht ($184 million) in a recent share sale — a writedown of 81% from the $1 billion valuation it commanded in a 2021 deal with SCB X that later fell through.

Now, for the other headlines of the week.

LP-GP news

While global limited partners have shown a rising interest in impact investing, Asia’s wealthy individuals, family offices, and institutions are increasingly stepping up their bets on local opportunities amid accelerated tech adoption in the region, says Andrew Kuper, founder and CEO of LeapFrog Investments.

In its latest leadership changes, global buyout powerhouse KKR has named George Aitken as its new Asia head for global impact strategy to shepherd its ESG-linked funds.

GLP Capital Partners has closed China Income Fund VIII, the latest fund in its flagship onshore income fund series, with equity commitments of about 2.6 billion yuan ($358.8 million).

BlueOrchard Finance, a Switzerland-based impact investment manager, has raised $50 million in the second closing of its latest private equity climate insurance fund, reaching halfway through its fundraising goal.

Private equity investments in India’s real estate tumbled 20% in the first half of 2023 to $2.58 billion from the same period last year as investors have become more cautious, leading to a shift in their investment strategy, according to a report by brokerage firm Knight Frank.

Singapore-based private equity firm Tembusu Partners has launched a multifamily office in partnership with Reuss Private AG, a Zurich-based wealth management company under Reuss Private Group AG.

Scoops and bytes

Atome Financial confirmed that it had begun a planned and orderly pause of Atome Vietnam’s operations in May, after DealStreetAsia reported, citing multiple sources, that the Singapore-based fintech unicorn is shutting down its Vietnamese business. The services of Ree-Pay, a homegrown BNPL provider, are also currently facing glitches, the report added.

Indonesian aquaculture company eFishery has raised $200 million in its Series D funding round led by Abu Dhabi-based global fund manager 42XFund. Earlier this week, DealStreetAsia reported that eFishery bagged $47.7 million more in its Series D funding round, bringing its valuation to about $1.33 billion.

Seoul-headquartered PE-VC firm SV Investment is learnt to have launched an $80-100 million fund to invest in Southeast Asia, according to three persons aware of the development.

KLN, an Indonesian startup set up by former Gojek chief transport officer Raditya Wibowo to build electric motorbikes, is said to be closing a fresh funding round, with early-stage tech investor AC Ventures likely to lead the round.

Jakarta-based PT Nusantara Sejahtera Raya Tbk — which operates the country’s largest cinema chain, Cinema XXI — is planning to raise 2.4 trillion rupiah ($158.48 million) in an initial public offering.

Shares of Indonesian mining firm PT Amman Mineral Internasional Tbk rose by almost 4% on its first day of trading on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) on Friday.

Southeast Asian online fashion retailer ZALORA has raised 30 million euros ($32.6 million) from parent company Global Fashion Group (GFG), according to regulatory filings accessed by DealStreetAsia – DATA VANTAGE.

International Finance Corporation (IFC) has proposed a $15-million investment in PT Tawada Healthcare, an Indonesian medical equipment distributor backed by private equity firm Capsquare Asia Partners.

Lion TCR, a Singapore-headquartered clinical-stage biotech company, reported significantly higher losses for the year ended December 31, 2021, on zero revenues as it continued to work on clinical trials of its chronic Hepatitis B treatments.

US-based debt investor Muzinich & Co has closed its first private credit fund for Asia Pacific at $500 million. DBS Bank contributed $200 million as its anchor limited partner.

Akulaku-backed Indonesian digital lender Bank Neo Commerce plans to increase its core capital through a rights issue.

Indonesian peer-to-peer lending firm PT Akseleran Usaha Indonesia Tbk (Akseleran) is planning to raise 358.62 billion rupiah ($23.84 million) in an initial public offering (IPO) next month.

Fuelled by fresh funding from venture investors, Singapore-based education firm Zenith Learning Group is looking to combine the best of online and offline education models.

Ento Industries, a yellow biotechnology startup based in Singapore, has raised an undisclosed amount in fresh funding from a pair of ESG-focused private investors.

Former executives of fintech firm Fave, Audra Pakalnyte and Joel Neoh, have launched a new early-stage venture capital fund called First Move that will invest in consumer-focused startups in Southeast Asia.

Giselle Makarachvili has stepped down from her post as the CEO of Singapore-based co-living platform Hmlet, according to a LinkedIn post.

Global consultancy firm Bain & Company has announced its move to acquire Rainmaking APAC, the Asia-Pacific arm of venture-building and startup development studio Rainmaking, for an undisclosed amount.

Singapore-based nami, an ‘Artificial Intelligence Internet of Things’ platform, has raised $10.5 million in a Series A funding round.

Long reads

Growing consciousness about physical appearance and a rise in disposable incomes have led to the birth of a host of beauty and personal care brands in Indonesia and spurred significant investor activity in direct-to-consumer beauty startups in the country.

The Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) has initiated talks with foreign bourses to explore the possibility of dual listings for companies that are listed on it–a move that will benefit big tech companies looking to tap funds and markets abroad.

Vietnam’s fledgling agritech startups are seeking to build a tech-enabled agriculture ecosystem in the country, by disintermediating the fragmented sector. However, the new entrants are grappling with inefficiencies in the upstream and downstream parts of the supply chain, execution challenges, lack of a validated model, and scarce funding.

US development bank International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has approved at least $191 million worth of investments in companies based in, or focused on, Asia, including India.

Delays in filing annual financial reports, legal wrangling with lenders, and the resignations of board members and its auditor have raised questions not only about BYJU’S ability to attract fresh capital and pay back its debts but about the quality of corporate governance in India itself, Nikkei reported.

Singapore aims to make climate-related disclosures mandatory for privately held companies in a move that would bring the city-state in line with global standards and make it one of the first markets in Asia to extend such requirements to unlisted companies.

Companies in Southeast Asia raised more than $3.3 billion from IPOs in the first half of this year, the highest since 2019 for an H1 IPO raise. The volume of primary listings in the region also hit a five-year H1 high of 85, according to data compiled by accounting firm Deloitte.

Indonesia is planning IPOs for three nationally held companies over the next year that could potentially raise a combined $3 billion, Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Erick Thohir told Nikkei Asia.

India updates

After rebounding to touch a high of $1.5 billion in May this year, private equity and venture capital investments in India plunged to $652 million in June, hitting a 34-month low, according to proprietary data compiled by DealStreetAsia.

There were just 18 megadeals worth $3.3 billion closed in India in the first six months of this year as against 52 mega deals worth $11.1 billion in the corresponding period last year, according to proprietary data compiled by DealStreetAsia.

Private equity giants Kedaara Capital and Warburg Pincus are said to be in talks to invest in medical equipment manufacturing company Appasamy Associates as its promoters are seeking to divest a majority stake in the company.

Investcorp, a global investment manager specialising in alternative investments, has made a follow-on investment of Rs 500 crore (approximately $60.8 million) in NDR Warehousing, one of India’s largest warehouse development and operating platforms.

LeverageEdu, an edtech platform that caters to students looking to study overseas, has raised as much as $40 million in funding in its Series C round from a slew of investors to expand its business.

International Finance Corporation (IFC) has proposed to invest $40 million in Napino Auto and Electronics Limited, a manufacturer of automotive electronic products in India.

KaarTech, a digital transformation consulting company headquartered in Chennai has raised $30 million in fresh funding from growth-stage investor A91 Partners.

Indiejewel Fashions, which operates the new-age Indian omnichannel jewellery company Giva, has raised around $33 million in its Series B round as it looks to expand in the country.

World Bank Group member International Finance Corporation (IFC) has proposed to extend a $75-million loan to Double Negative Ltd, a provider of visual effects, feature animation, and other production services.

Financial services group JM Financial has raised $73 million in commitments and hit the first close of its maiden performing credit fund.

Veritas Finance, a non-banking financial company that focuses on lending to MSMEs in India, has raised around $146 million in funding led by Multiples Alternate Asset Management Multiples Private Equity along with its co-investor International Finance Corporation.

GIC-backed pharmaceutical firm Syngene has acquired biotech firm Stelis Biopharma’s biologics manufacturing facility in Bangalore for $86 million.

Battery-swapping network for electric vehicles Battery Smart has raised $33 million in a pre-Series B funding round from existing investors Tiger Global and Blume Ventures as well as new investors.

Researchers at AI4Bharat are raising $12 million from venture capital firms Peak XV and Lightspeed Venture for an artificial intelligence startup, Reuters reported.

Chinese whispers

Fabrica, the innovation arm of The Mills, encompasses a startup incubator, an investment fund, a co-working space, an event space, a prototyping lab, the FabricaX retail store, and community-building initiatives in Hong Kong and London. Cintia Nunes, general manager and head of Asia at The Mills Fabrica, spoke exclusively to DealStreetAsia.

Vertex Ventures China, the China branch of Singapore’s Temasek Holdings-backed Vertex Ventures, has reportedly closed its fifth flagship fund with $390 million in commitments at a size slightly below its initial target of $400 million.

Black Sesame International Holding Ltd, a Xiaomi-backed designer of artificial intelligence-based self-driving computing chips, has filed for a Hong Kong IPO in pursuit of new funding as the global auto industry accelerates its transition toward electrification and automated driving.

Beijing Sinotau International Pharmaceutical Technology (Sinotau) has secured over 1.1 billion yuan ($151.8 million) in a new funding round to advance the R&D and clinical trials of its radiopharmaceutical pipeline

Alternative assets advisory firm MVision Private Equity Advisers is exiting Hong Kong and will instead serve Asia Pacific from its Sydney and San Francisco offices, according to a Private Equity International report.

Beijing Fourth Paradigm Technology, an AI startup, has completed procedural work for a Hong Kong initial public offering, becoming only one of a handful of companies to get the nod from China’s securities regulator since new rules became effective this year.

Xiamen Hithium Energy Storage Technology, a Chinese energy storage firm that is expanding in the US, Europe, and South Asia, has secured yet another big-sized funding round a few days after its plan of a domestic listing came to light.

Shenzhen-headquartered Cornerstone Robotics has recently snagged 800 million yuan ($110.3 million) in a fresh funding round to advance the R&D, clinical trial, and regulatory approval its robotics products.

Chinese AI-powered robot developer CloudMinds has raised over 1 billion yuan ($138.1 million) in a Series C round of financing as the firm is said to be weighing an IPO in Hong Kong.

And finally…

Meta‘s Mark Zuckerberg delivered a big blow to Elon Musk, as the tech billionaires’ rivalry went live with the launch of Instagram’s much-anticipated Threads platform. The Twitter clone notched up logged more than 30 million sign ups upon launch.

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