Here’s a wrap of today’s top tech news from around the Asia Pacific, including funding for Singapore’s SolarHome and South Korea’s Skelter.
Skelter Labs raises US$9.3 million (South Korea). Founded in 2015 by Google’s former head of tech in Korea Ted Cho, Skelter started out as a software studio, creating a chatbot, a flight booking app, and a point-of-sale system before shifting strategy. Now, it develops its AI-driven speech and image recognition technologies for third-party enterprises. Internet giant Kakao invested in the round through affiliates, with Stonebridge Ventures and Lotte Homeshopping, the TV and internet shopping business owned by conglomerate Lotte, also participating. (TechCrunch)
Delivery and logistics
FourKites closes US$35 million series B round (India). Mumbai-based FourKites provides a predictive supply chain management platform, using GPS technology to give suppliers and their customers accurate time-of-arrival and logistical recommendations. The startup, which claims a 400 percent increase in revenue over the past year, will use the funding for R&D and to strengthen its engineering team. August Capital led the round, with existing investors Bain Capital Ventures and Hyde Park Venture Partners joining in. (FourKites)
Grab (no, not that one) gets US$1.3 million funding (India). The last-mile delivery startup secured investment from SIDBI Venture Capital-managed Maharashtra State Social Venture Fund. Grab claims to work with over 3,300 merchants including Zomato, McDonald’s, Big Bazaar, and Pizza Hut. (Inc42)
Energy and cleantech
SolarHome nets US$1.2 million investment (Singapore). The startup provides pay-as-you-go solar energy to off-grid households throughout Southeast Asia. SolarHome said it will use the fresh funds to expand its distribution networks in Myanmar, as well as for product development and underwriting. Investors in the round include VC firms Beenext and X Capital Ventures, along with former DBS, Singtel, and Singapore Airlines chairman Koh Boon Hwee. (The Business Times)
CarSense raises US$1 million from auto giant (India). The startup has developed a device and app that allow drivers to use their smartphones to conduct diagnostic and safety tests on their car, as well as for GPS tracking, performance and trip data, and fuel economy analysis, among other things. Automaker Mahindra & Mahindra will acquire a 23 percent stake in CarSense as a result of the deal. Earlier this week Mahindra led a US$40 million series C investment in on-demand car rental platform Zoomcar. (VCCircle)
Investors, incubators, and accelerators
German government-backed accelerator to launch next month (Singapore). Three startups have been selected for the inaugural Asian run of the German Accelerator, a program backed by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy which aims to ready German startups for the Asia-Pacific market. The three entrants are company last-mile optimizer tiramazoo, digital asset manager Werthstein, and sensor technologies provider iNDTact. (German Accelerator)
See: Previous Asia news roundups
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