India gets another unicorn, while CashShield, Common Ground, and SigTuple bag fresh funds.
Policybazaar becomes India’s latest unicorn after US$200 million-plus capital injection (India). The online financial services firm, which helps consumers to compare, buy, and manage their insurance plans, secured the investment in a round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund. It’s the third largest fundraise by an Indian tech startup this year, following the US$300 million and US$210 million raised by online grocer BigBasket and food-delivery firm Swiggy, respectively. (Livemint)
Sqrrl cracks US$1 million nut (India). The pre-series A investment came from Equanimity Venture Fund. Sqrrl, an app for investing in mutual funds, will put the funding towards tech and product development. (Inc42)
AISpeech bags US$76 million (China). The Suzhou-based speech recognition startup will use the funding for tech development, hiring new team members, and pushing production of its new chip which is due for release later this year. Oriza Holdings and China Minsheng Investment Group led the round, with participation from Taiwanese companies Foxconn and Mediatek, and Shenzhen Venture Capital. (China Money Network)
Enterprise software and services
CashShield nets US$20 million in fresh capital (Singapore). Temasek and GGV Capital co-led the series C round. Wavemaker Partners, Tao Zhang, and Nest co-founder Tony Fadell also invested. CashShield is an online fraud detection startup that counts Alibaba, Razer, and Vodafone among its clients. (TechCrunch)
Property and real estate
Common Ground gets US$20 million funding (Malaysia). The co-working space operator will invest the capital in regional expansion, including tripling its number of locations in Malaysia from the current seven. Thailand and the Philippines are the next target markets for the startup, which is backed by Catcha Group and Masteron Group.
Health and well-being
SigTuple series B nets US$19 million (India). Accel Partners and IDG Ventures co-led the round, with Endiya Partners, VH Capital, Axilor Ventures, Trifecta Capital, Pi Ventures, and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal joining in. SigTuple develops hardware and software to digitize pathological tests, and will use the fresh funds for research and development, conducting clinical trials, and moving into new markets. (Livemint)
Drinks giant pours US$4 million into HipBar (India). The startup runs an online store and delivery service for alcoholic beverages, as well as a digital payments platform named HipBar Pay. The investment came from United Spirits, part of the global Diageo beverages group, which has picked up a 26 percent stake in HipBar as a result. (VCCircle)
Delivery and logistics
Zomato adds tips feature (India). The on-demand food delivery service has introduced a tipping option into its app, allowing users to reward their delivery driver (referred to as a “delivery executive” by the company). Users can tip between INR 5 and INR 50 (about US$0.07 – US$0.73), and the feature provides details about the executive such as their educational background, hometown, and their language capabilities. into new markets. Zomato has claimed its driver base grew from 2,200 to 40,000 over the past four months. (Inc42)
Picostone nabs US$803,000 to automate smart homes (India). The startup develops IoT technologies and devices aimed at making home automation affordable and cost-effective to all sections of society. The funding – which Picostone will use for tech development and hiring – came from US VC firms Arise Ventures and Metaform Ventures, as well as several Indian angel investors. (Inc42)
Media and entertainment
Pixerf launches with US$1.47 million seed funding (Singapore). The startup is building a digital marketplace to distribute stock photos and videos for Asian creatives. It said it will use the capital to enhance its platform and support its user acquisition effort. (Pixerf)
Singapore Exchange (SGX) to begin dual-share listings (Singapore). The country’s bourse has introduced rules to allow for the public listing of companies offering dual-class shares, following in the footsteps of its counterparts in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, and elsewhere. The system essentially allows a single business to issue separate groups of shares that have differing features, such as different voting rights, and could prove useful for foreign tech companies and startups looking to list in the city-state. (SGX)
See: Previous Asia tech news roundups
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