By June 25, 2018

Meditation App Calm Raises USD 27 Mn in Series A, Taiwan Debuts The Funding Playground And More…

By June 25, 2018

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Here’s a rundown on startups that made news this week [18-22 June]

ASIA

Taiwan’s news portal The News Lens has raised USD 4 Mn for series C. Interestingly; it started out as a Facebook page, and now has 9 Mn unique readers and bought two websites earlier this year.   

Cathay United Bank has led a USD 10 Mn Series B funding round for Quantifeed, a wealth management and advisory software developer based in Singapore. US-based asset management firm Legg Mason joining in.

 Singapore based aqua-tech firm Umitron that helps fish farms optimize their feeding practices through data and AI has picked USD 8.2 Mn. The financing was a co-investment by Japan’s  Innovation Network Corporation and Design for Ventures. 

South East Asian ride-hailing giant Grab has secured a USD 370 Mn debt funding that had 16 participants, including banks such as HSBC. This comes after a US$1 billion funding round from Japanese carmaker Toyota closed last week.

China’s online learning platform VIPKid has nabbed a staggering USD 500 Mn in series D+, hitting a valuation of over 3 Bn. Heavy hitters including Tencent, Sequoia Capital China, and Yunfeng Capital led the round, which is the world’s largest in the online education space to date. 

VIPKid notes that in the first half of 2018, Chinese K-12 education startups picked no less than USD 1.5 Bn in financing. 

The US tech giant Google is plunking down USD 550 Mn in Chinese e-commerce powerhouse JD.com as part of a strategic partnership between the two. Under which the two will jointly develop a range of online shopping solutions in Southeast Asia, the US, and Europe. JD will start selling products through Google Shopping.

AI chip maker Cambricon has closed series B round of several hundreds of millions at USD 2.5 billion valuation. SDIC Venture Capital led the round. 

Helian Health has raised  USD 75 million in a series B round led by AI unicorn SenseTime, bringing the company’s valuation to USD 900 Mn. Set up in 2013, the firm says it supplies WiFi to over 1,700 hospitals in China. Two of its health recording apps – Xiaohe Yizhu and Hejiankang – have served over 97 Mn patients and 1.4 Mn doctors.

Chinese consumer finance firm VCredit has raised USD 152 Mn in HongKong IPO. The company, which counts TPG Capital among its backers, raised USD 50 Mn in its series C round last October.

Food-delivery startup Swiggy has raked in USD 210 Mn funding from Meituan-Dianping and others along South African Media company Naspers, and Russia’s DST Global, to enter the unicorn club. 

Etailer and digital wallet Paytm snapped up  AI startup Cube26 for an undisclosed amount. The company claims to have 120 million monthly active users on its messaging feature Paytm Inbox.

Online travel agency Cleartrip has bought Saudi Arabian travel startup Flyin, in its first cross-border acquisition, as it looks to expand into West Asia’s travel market. Subject to regulatory approval, the transaction is said to be worth up to USD 70 Mn.

Thailand is the No.1 country in Southeast  Asia for enterprises to explore and implement Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, according to a survey.  

Samsung has announced a new fund for young AI startups in South Korea. The NEXT Q Fund, a vehicle for seed and series A investments into startups working with artificial intelligence in computer science. 

Digital money app Toss has secured a whopping  USD 40 Mn of bridge funding from Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and Sequoia China. Toss claims to have Toss has more than 8 Mn registered users and boasts of USD 10 Bn of monthly transaction volumes.

EUROPE

Silexica, a software development solutions for autonomous driving, raised USD 18 Mn in Series B funding led by EQT Ventures Fund with participation from existing investors. 

Blinkist that squeezes non-fiction books into 15-minute audio and text-based digests, has pulled in a USD 18.5 Mn series B funding round led by Insight Venture Partners with participation from existing investors Greycroft, IBB Bet and e.ventures.

The UK-based startup Tessian, formerly known as Checkrecipient,  has raised USD 13 Mn in a funding round led by Balderton Capital and Accel, with participation from others. 

Sweden’s virtual fitting solution for e-commerce websites known as Virtusize, has been acquired by a group of Japanese investors including Yahoo Japan Capital, Ideos Venture Cap fund, D4V, and others for USD 12.8 Mn. The buyers will also invest an additional USD 817 K in the company.

San Francisco-based mobile marketing startup Leanplum has acquired the Bulgarian startup Connecto, which creates AI-based conversational interfaces. The transaction amount remains undisclosed. 

USA

Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, has bought Brooklyn based content management startup Atavist, which will be integrated into WordPress. It will be interesting to note that 30 percent of the web runs on WordPress. 

Sphero, the maker of connected toys and devices, has acquired another Boulder-based music tech company, Specdrums. The transaction amount remains undisclosed.

In a bid to curb harassment on its platform, Twitter has bought San Francisco-based Smyte, a startup targeting fixes for spam and abuse.

Meditation app Calm has picked up USD 27 Mn Series A round at a USD 250 Mn pre-money valuation led by Insight Venture Partners.

Urban Airship, an advertising technology company, has landed USD 25 Mn in Series F funding. This funding was led by Foundry Group, with participation from True Ventures, August Capital, Intel Capital, and others.

Hired, a San Francisco, CA-based tech recruiting company, raises USD 30 Mn in Series D funding. The Investment Management Corporation of Ontario led the round. 

Nginx Inc., San Francisco’s open source project offering a suite of technologies designed to develop and deliver modern applications, raised USD 43 Mn in Series C funding. The round was led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity (GS Growth), a platform within Goldman Sachs’ Merchant Banking Division.

 

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