Issue 47

Malaysian travel platform LokaLocal raises
funding from S Korea’s BonAngels

South Korean venture capital firm BonAngels Venture Partners has led an undisclosed investment in Malaysia-based travel startup LokaLocal. 

With this investment, LokaLocal becomes BonAngels’ first Malaysian portfolio company. The venture capital firm has previously invested in around 140 companies in Korea, Japan, the US and Southeast Asia. 

LokaLocal said it will use the proceeds to accelerate its growth through its integrated tech solution, acquisition of meaningful products and regional expansion. The company aims to cover 50 cities, towns and villages within the next year. 

Established in 2016, LokaLocal is an experience-based platform that claims to have managed over 800 tours and workshops. The platform also acts as a marketplace connecting travellers with local experts and local experiences. 

“We can already see the growing interest in off-the-beaten-track experiences over mass tourism. This new funding will enable LokaLocal to further solidify its leading position in Malaysia,” said LokaLocal founder and CEO Chin Yoon Khen. 

Prior to founding LokaLocal, Khen worked as the COO of Malaysia’s first crowdfunding platform Mystartr, a system analyst at Intel and a planning management consultant at Dell. 

In December 2017, LokaLocal had raised RM300,000 in funding under the ‘Cradle Investment Programme 300’ from Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd. In 2017, the company was named as the winner of a social impact award by the Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST). 

Two months ago, BonAngels led an investment in VLeisure, a Vietnamese tech startup operating as a travel and accommodation booking platform.

  From – Deal Street Asia

CIMB partners Ripple, UOB completes POC
as remittances take centre stage

Malaysian lender CIMB Group is joining a cross-border payments network run by blockchain technology firm Ripple, while UOB bank has completed ASEAN’s first cross-border peer-to-peer funds transfer proof-of-concept (POC). 

CIMB partners Ripple for cross-border payments 
Kuala Lumpur-headquartered financial service provider CIMB Group and blockchain-powered payment processor Ripple have entered into a strategic collaboration to enable instant payments across ASEAN. 

CIMB is joining Ripple’s cross-border payments business network, RippleNet, and has deployed the latter’s blockchain-based technology to expand its inbound and outbound remittance network. 

“This innovative blockchain solution will revolutionise international cross-border remittances, and is a testament to CIMB’s ongoing efforts to enhance its digital banking proposition by providing speedy and cost-efficient solutions to our customers across ASEAN,” said Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Aziz, CEO, CIMB Group. 

According to World Bank projections, remittances to Southeast Asia will grow to $120 billion by the end of 2018. “We’re seeing banks and financial institutions from across the world lean into blockchain solutions because it enables a more transparent, quicker and lower cost payments experience,” said Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse. 

UOB showcases cross-border P2P funds transfer POC 
Singapore-headquartered United Overseas Bank (UOB) on Thursday announced the completion of a cross-border peer-to-peer funds transfer proof-of-concept (POC) that it claims is the first in ASEAN. 

As part of the POC at the Singapore Fintech Festival, the bank showed multiple, real-time fund transfers between a UOB Singapore and a UOB Thailand bank account. 

The POC was modelled after P2P funds transfer services that use an account holder’s registered mobile number as a proxy for their bank account number. 

In ASEAN, such funds transfer services are currently available only for intra-country transactions. “Our ability to be agile and swift to test innovative ways of making payments simpler, smarter and safer for customers is possible because of our investments in an integrated real-time payment system built across our network,” said Graeme Greenaway, managing director and head of banking technology, group technology and operations, UOB. 

UOB said it will broaden its POC to key ASEAN markets following the successful POC transactions between Singapore and Thailand bank account. It will also explore other features available through its integrated payments network such as QR capability.

From – Deal Street Asia

Catalist-listed CPH acquires B2B fintech
oCap in $45m reverse takeover

CPH, an SGX Catalist-listed manufacturer of printed circuit boards, on Thursday announced that it has agreed to acquire Singapore fintech startup oCap Management for S$61.8 million ($45 million) in a reverse takeover deal. 

Headquartered in Singapore, oCap specialises in alternative financing solutions for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) locally and abroad. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delphinium Capital.

 The startup said, it applies artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms and smart contracts on the blockchain to provide highly scalable and automated financial solutions. 

Under the agreement, CPH, which is also Singapore-based with operations in Malaysia, will acquire oCap from Delphinium Capital through an issuance and allotment of 5.15 billion new shares at S$0.012 per share. 

As a result, Delphinium will become the single largest shareholder in CPH at 80.34 per cent, according to the announcement. Delphinium, on the other hand, warrants that oCap will achieve a minimum profit before tax of $5 million based on the audited accounts for the financial year ending December 31, 2018. 

In a presentation disclosed to the SGX, CPH said, the transaction will allow it to diversify from its loss-making printed circuit board business, which faced “increasing operational and financial challenges” in the past few financial years. 

The deal will also allow CPH to “penetrate the fast-growing fintech industry with an operating business that has a profitable track record and high growth potential”. “We will be working closely with the dynamic and experienced management team of oCap, to ensure a seamless transition for all our stakeholders. As we diversify our business with this acquisition, we look forward to a new era of financial growth for the Group,” said Lee Teong Sang, independent non-executive chairman of CPH. 

CPH expects to complete the transaction by the second quarter of 2019. In operation since 2016, oCap has helped facilitate financial transactions worth over $100 million last year. 

That amount highlights a huge market potential for players as the unmet trade financing demand in Asia is pegged at $5.2 trillion, according to a report by the International Finance Corporation. “Singapore’s vibrant fintech landscape and supportive regulatory framework provide us with a springboard into the region, which will help us realise our ambition of becoming a leading player in Asia. 

Our proprietary products address the needs of a largely underserved market,” said oCap chief executive officer Carlos Haeuser.

From – Deal Street Asia


Temasek sets up new groups to focus on AI, blockchain investments

Temasek Holdings Pte, Singapore’s state investment firm, is setting up new groups to explore opportunities in artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies. 

Temasek is creating so-called “experimental pods” to focus on these two areas, which it sees as long-term trends impacting multiple industries and geographies, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg. 

Chia Song Hwee, the chief operating officer of key management arm Temasek International Pte, will oversee the new groups. The strategy was announced alongside other organizational changes that took effect Oct. 1, the memo shows. 

A spokesman for Temasek, which manages S$308 billion ($224 billion), confirmed the contents. Temasek participated in a $600 million series C funding round in April for China’s SenseTime Group Ltd., now the world’s most valuable AI startup. 

Temasek helped lead a series A round in June for London-based Eigen Technologies, which automates the extraction of unstructured data. In blockchain, Temasek invested in R3, backed by a group of banks seeking to bring distributed ledger technology to their operations. 

Greater Agility 
“We have been expanding our business coverage and geographic footprint over the past few years,” the Temasek spokesman said in an emailed response to Bloomberg queries. “As our operating environment evolves, our focus is on remaining nimble and well-positioned to capture opportunities that deliver sustainable value over the long term.” 

Temasek is also setting up a new Strategic Initiatives unit, seeking greater agility for opportunistic deals requiring fast turnaround and senior-level assessment, according to the memo. The unit, which can pull in resources from other parts of Temasek, will be led by Tan Chong Lee, who is head of Europe, Middle East and Africa as well as Southeast Asia. 

“As the investment landscape becomes more competitive and complex, we are now seeing more situations where we would benefit from collaboration and specialized capabilities wider than our traditional sector and market team approach,” Temasek wrote in the memo. 

Chia will work with Lee Theng Kiat, Temasek International’s deputy chairman and chief executive officer, and deputy CEO Dilhan Pillay as the firm’s collective leadership, according to the memo. Temasek said it has identified the Americas, China, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, India and Southeast Asia as “investment markets” where it’s actively doing deals and allocating capital. 

The firm sees Japan, Korea, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand as “engagement markets” where it will primarily focus on institutional network building, the memo shows.

From –Deal Street Asia

Thai property developer Chaopraya
Mahanakorn eyes $22.74m via IPO

Chaopraya Mahanakorn (CMC), a Thai property developer, is targeting to raise 750 million baht ($22.74 million) by selling 250 million shares, equivalent to 25 per cent of its registered capital, in an initial public offering (IPO). 

The IPO share price is set at 3 baht apiece while CMC has a registered capital of 1 billion baht ($30.33 million) with par value of 1 baht apiece. 

Wichian Pattayanunt, managing director and CEO of CMC, the firm intends to use 250 million baht ($7.6 million) of the IPO proceeds for new condominium projects and acquiring land plots while 400 million baht ($12.13 million) will go toward loan repayment and the rest will be used as working capital. 

Post-IPO, the Pattayanunt Group will hold a 75-per cent stake and other investors will own the rest. Currently, it has developed 25 condominium projects, worth 4.14 billion baht ($125.6 million), ready for transfer and sale and two more projects under construction worth 1.9 billion baht ($57.63 million). 

In 2019, it plans to launch 10 new projects with a combined value of 10 billion baht ($303.3 million). The company reported a total revenue of 976 million baht ($29.33 million) and a net profit of 123 million baht ($3.73 million) in the first half of this year, up 23 per cent and 130 per cent from the same period in 2017, respectively.

From – Deal Street Asia

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