Editor’s take: The week that was — June 7-12

In one of the most significant developments that unfolded last week, Southeast Asian ride-hailing unicorn Grab said its merger with blank-cheque company Altimeter Growth Corp has been delayed. The company can now complete the SPAC merger only by the fourth quarter of this year. It had previously said it was seeking to complete the transaction by July. In another SPAC-related news, B Capital Technology Opportunities has trimmed the size of its upcoming IPO in the US to $200 million from $300 million. The blank-cheque company formed by Singapore-headquartered VC firm B Capital disclosed that it has removed warrants from its offering. Meanwhile, Bridgetown 2 Holdings, a SPAC formed by billionaires Peter Thiel and Richard Li, is understood to be considering a merger with Singapore-based realty portal PropertyGuru. If talks fructify, the deal could be announced as early as July. A SPAC formed by Chinese co-working space provider Ucommune has filed for a $50 million US IPO to pursue prospective targets in Asia with a focus on e-commerce, new energy, enterprise services, education, and biomedical sectors. Deals corner In Malaysia, Creador picked up a 30% stake in Loob Holding, owner of Tealive bubble tea brand. Sources told us that the PE firm has invested 260 million ringgit ($63.1 million) in the company to facilitate its expansion. AirAsia Group injected $53.27 million in its financial services unit Big Pay Pte Ltd. The transaction is part of AirAsia’s three-pronged digital strategy formulated last year to help offset some of the COVID-induced losses. IT services company Nityo Infotech acquired a significant stake in Singapore-based fintech firm MatchMove for $100 million, pegging the latter’s valuation at $600 million. In Indonesia, fintech firm BukuWarung raised $60 million in a funding round led by US-based VCs Valar Ventures and Goodwater Capital, confirming an earlier story done by us. This marked the Series A round for the company. In yet another transaction in the archipelago, logistics startup SiCepat entered the electric vehicle business through a joint venture with NFC Indonesia, a subsidiary of the listed digital company M Cash Integrasi. The JV will pick up a majority stake in EV company Volta Indonesia Semesta. In China, crypto investment platform Kikitrade closed a pre-Series A extension round from British hedge fund billionaire Alan Howard. The startup plans to use the funding to ramp up its efforts to serve the increasingly tech-savvy young generations across largely untapped markets. Among other transactions clocked in the world’s second-largest economy, online car trading group Chehaoduo and home furnishing materials Chubby Bear raked in $300 million and $400 million, respectively. Live streaming app Kumu in the Philippines raised an undisclosed amount in its Series B round co-anchored by ByteDance-backer SIG and Singapore’s Openspace Ventures. The development was first reported by us in March. In Vietnam, South Korea’s STIC Investments has backed menswear brand Coolmate‘s pre-Series A round. Although the deal size was small, it goes on to highlight the firm’s increased interest in the country where its portfolio companies include Tiki, Go2Joy, and Ecotruck. Deep dives While crypto deals in Southeast Asia are up, will the rally last? As the prices of cryptocurrencies remain volatile, institutional investors have seemingly started to embrace them, validating their status as an emerging alternative asset class. Buoyed by these developments, crypto-related startups in Southeast Asia are seeing increased user traction and deal activity. In Malaysia, corporates are increasingly joining institutional VCs to fix funding constraints faced by startups. Big companies — from state-owned oil giant Petronas to the Sunway Group — have set up CVC units. This is even as the impact of corporate venturing is still at a nascent stage. Fundraising by startups in India fell by a sharp 56.7% in May as the country grappled with the deadly second wave of COVID-19 pandemic with several states imposing lockdowns. Startups raised $1.83 billion across 93 VC capital and PE transactions last month, data shows. In Vietnam, startup accelerators such as VIISA, Expara, Zone Startups, and ThinkZone, among others, have adopted different strategies to cater to the changing demands of founders in the burgeoning startup ecosystem in a post-pandemic world. The trend gathered steam as the number of startups applying for business acceleration programmes in the country witnessed a dip over the last year. PE exit value in SE Asia slumped from $18 billion in 2018 to $3 billion in 2020. The number of liquidity events also fell to eight deals last year compared to an average of 26 deals during the 2015-19 period, as the window of exit opportunities narrowed in the aftermath of the pandemic. We captured the reasons investors are increasingly finding it difficult to cash out profitably in the region and the road ahead. Candid chats Indonesia’s BRI Agro is set to raise capital for a digital bank spinoff and enter supply chain financing. Its CEO Kaspar Situmorang told us that the move will allow the bank to build a larger ecosystem of merchants, consumers and business partners as it gears up to facilitate loans for their everyday banking needs. Meanwhile, bookkeeping platform BukuKas co-founder and CEO Krishnan Menon explained to us the rationale behind onboarding angel investors in the startup’s later-stage rounds. “We are building a company for the next 20-30 years, aiming to transform SE Asia’s SME segment… Most of the angels have seen journeys similar or even bigger and there are points where we can leverage their expertise at all stages.” The startup raised $50-million in its Series B round in May. Jojo Malolos, CEO of Philippines-listed JG Summit‘s corporate venture capital arm, said the company is looking to secure a digital banking licence in the Philippines. JG Summit plans to roll out digital banking operations across the country over the next 6-12 months. Finally, in people news We were the first to cover the resignation of Temasek-linked executives from ONE Championship’s board. Fock Wai Hoong, managing director at Temasek Holdings, and Derek Lau, CEO of Heliconia Capital Management, a Temasek unit, were inducted in the mixed martial arts promoter’s board in July last year and in September 2016, respectively. In Indonesia, GoTo Group, the holding entity formed from the merger of the country’s most valuable tech companies Gojek and Tokopedia, appointed former OneConnect executive Jacky Lo as its chief financial officer (CFO). “The mission of empowering the bottom half of the population pyramid in Southeast Asia, it’s so powerful,” Grab’s Ming Maa said in an interview. In this profile, we chart his professional journey from a cautious investor to an optimist president. Maa leads the $12 billion company, along with co-founders Anthony Tan and Hooi Ling Tan.


This tiny fitness tracker slips into your T-shirt and helps prevent running injuries

If you’ve been thinking of picking up a new running watch, there’s an alternative that you might want to consider first. The Incus Nova is a small device that, unlike ... Read more »

AI Invention Gets Patent In a World First; Sets Precedent for IP Laws Everywhere

In the world’s first intellectual property (IP), officials in South Africa awarded a patent to an invention made by an artificial intelligence (AI) system – creating a landmark decision that ... Read more »

Oppo Reno 6 goes on sale today: Price, offers, availability and more

Oppo’s recently launched Reno 6 Pro 5G smartphone went on sale today. The smartphone will be available via Flipkart and other retail stores. Those interested can now head to Flipkart ... Read more »

Steam Deck kills Total War Saga: Troy Linux port – but what does this mean for other games?

Total War Saga: Troy won’t be ported to Linux, with the potential native version of the game having been officially canned by Feral Interactive – and doubt being cast on ... Read more »

5 takeaways from recent agile and devops reports

Many organizations have shifted to agile planning and delivery methodologies to improve consistency, reliability, and customer satisfaction in building and enhancing applications. They embrace devops cultures, principles, and automations to ... Read more »

You have a choice: China's top court empowers people to say ‘no' to facial recognition use by private businesses

China’s top court has made a key judgment related to facial recognition technology, empowering individuals to reject unauthorised facial recognition data collection by commercial entities such as hotels, banks and ... Read more »

Huge deal: Apple's M1 MacBook Air just dropped to its lowest price ever

We’re rounding up today’s best back to school deals, and we’ve just spotted Apple’s powerful M1 MacBook Air on sale at a new record-low price. Right now, Amazon has the ... Read more »

SoftBank leads USD 56.4 million investment in sneaker e-commerce platform Soda

Soda has also acquired Monokabu, Japan’s second largest operator in the sneaker market. Read more »

Hawkeye on Disney Plus: release date cast, story and what we know so far

Hawkeye on Disney Plus has a release date of November 24, 2021. The show, which will feature Jeremy Renner reprising his role as Clint Barton from the Avengers movies, sees ... Read more »

Xcellerate wins Dynamics 365 integration deals with Telstra Health and G8 Education

Sydney-based managed service provider Xcellerate IT has won two contracts to integrate accounts payable solutions with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Telstra Health and G8 Education.  The business process management specialist ... Read more »

PS5 beta firmware: M.2 SSD support, 3D audio, TV updates – here's what's new

Some of the PS5‘s major pain points have finally been addressed in the console’s latest update, with Sony announcing the addition of a host of changes designed to make gaming ... Read more »

One of Netflix's biggest movies won't get a sequel – for a surprising reason

6 Underground, the 2019 action-adventure film that launched exclusively on Netflix, isn’t getting a follow-up, according to the studio’s Head of Original Movies. In a lengthy profile piece published by ... Read more »

Huawei P50 release date, price, what you need to know and how the P50 Pro differs

We thought we’d be writing this much earlier in the year, but the Huawei P50 series is here: the new flagship line of Huawei phones has been unveiled at an ... Read more »

SoftBank leads USD 200 million investment round in fabless IoT startup Wiliot

Wiliot’s vision is to expand the internet of things to include everyday products, such as plastic crates, pharmaceuticals, packaging, clothes, and other products. Read more »

How to watch Fencing at Olympics 2020: key dates, 2021 free live stream and more

Fencing athletes move fast – really fast. Lightning fast may even be an understatement. Tracking their agile movements as they compete in high-speed swordplay feels like a skill in itself, ... Read more »

Aussie network infrastructure market hits US$230B

The Australian networking infrastructure market is showing signs of a comeback following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with revenue growing year-on-year by 16.9 per cent, to US$230.7 million during ... Read more »

Car recalls for July 22-29

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued recalls for July 22 through 29, including a Ford recall involving 644,055 units and a Lincoln recall involving 33,298 units. See ... Read more »

How to watch Badminton at Olympics 2020: key 2021 dates, free live stream and more

The Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020 will witness 172 world-class badminton players clash against each other in one of the most watchable events at the global sports showcase. Feeling the pressure ... Read more »

Tesla's new update includes Disney+ and I AM SWEATING WITH JOY

Tesla started pushing a new 2021.24 software update to its fleet and it’s one of the ‘big’ ones, giving a handful of extra perks to its customers.  The update was ... Read more »

Ride-sharing startup Swvl is going public via SPAC at a valuation of USD 1.5 billion

The Cairo-born startup has raised over USD 100 million to date and aims to grow its annual gross revenue to USD 1 billion by 2025. Read more »

NBN Co offers one month COVID-19 relief to RSPs

NBN Co has put $5.2 million in “relief credit” on the table for retail service providers to mitigate the increasing bandwidth costs of recent COVID-19 lockdowns.  The broadband builder will ... Read more »

The Google Play Store may need a serious security upgrade

Google’s Play Protect security service has fared poorly in an endurance test of Android security apps. With the number of malware-laden malicious apps on the rise, AV-Test pitted 15 security ... Read more »

How Instagram Reels may be ‘impacting' your Facebook account

Instagram Reels seems to have really taken off. The head of Instagram recently said that videos — mainly Reels — is what Instagram will be focusing on. Now, Facebook CEO ... Read more »

Citrix Endpoint Management MDM review

Formerly known as Xenmobile, Citrix Endpoint Manager is a unified device management system that provides a simplified platform for IT departments to monitor and administer hardware of all types. With ... Read more »

The Witcher: Monster Slayer hit a million downloads already, but it's no Pokémon Go

On July 21, The Witcher: Monster Slayer launched as another mobile game to take on the huge Pokémon Go in the traveling-ARG genre. It suffered from server issues on launch ... Read more »

How to watch Track Athletics at Olympics 2020: key dates, free live stream and more

14 track athletics events are available to watch at the 2020 Olympics. The events, that range in distance from 100m to 10,000m, are set to give 10 days of record ... Read more »

CMD Solutions offers training for IT professionals to sharpen cloud skills

Amazon Web Services (AWS) consulting partner CMD Solutions has launched an intensive employment pathway program targeted at experienced IT professionals looking to gain cloud skills. The program, called learnCMD, will ... Read more »

F1 live stream: how to watch every 2021 Grand Prix online from anywhere

At Silverstone, Hamilton topped the podium for the first time in six races, but the first-lap incident between him and Verstappen left viewers shocked and Max feeling cheated, but thankfully ... Read more »

Micromax to launch two TWS earbuds along with Micromax IN 2b on July 30

Domestic smartphone brand Micromax is set to expand its smartphone lineup tomorrow, July 30 with the launch of Micromax In 2b. However, the company’s co-founder Rahul Sharma has revealed that ... Read more »

Best Samsung TV: our top QLED picks for 2021

On the hunt for the best Samsung TV of 2021? This guide is for you. Although we might only be halfway through the year, we’d bet that the best TV ... Read more »

Bring your idea to life with Namecheap's exclusive summer sale

Namecheap has been around for the past two decades, delivering the components of a competitive website: a domain registry, web hosting service, and SSL certificate. At present, there Namecheap has ... Read more »

Best streaming device for your TV in 2021

When it comes to finding the best streaming device for you – be it a streaming stick, dongle or dedicated media player – there’s more choice than ever. What’s more, ... Read more »

Here's why Nasscom has partnered with UK government, UK India Business Council

IT industry body Nasscom on Thursday said it has collaborated with the UK Government‘s Department for International Trade (DIT) and the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) to address the digital ... Read more »

Climate change: Huawei and ZTE dial into China's carbon neutrality call with low-emission technology using renewable energy

As China aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, telecoms giants Huawei Technologies and ZTE are leveraging technologies to help customers and suppliers cut their carbon footprint and embrace renewable ... Read more »

The best Android games 2021

We’ve tested and rated all the best games for Android, covering all genres, and rounded them all up right here. No more botched console ports or dreary puzzles – here ... Read more »

From Facebook to Twitter, Big Tech sees social commerce driving sales growth

Led by Facebook, social media platforms from Alphabet’s YouTube to Snap Inc and Twitter are investing heavily in shopping features to drive revenue growth, a major theme that emerged during ... Read more »

Indian founders say yes to no-code tools

With the growing pace of digitization, low-code, no-code platforms are allowing businesses and brands to quickly create and deploy new products. Read more »

An Indian firm facing 1,738 cyber attacks a week on average, claims report

An organisation in India faced cyber attack 1,738 times on average per week in the last six months compared to 757 attacks per organisation globally, a report showed on Thursday.The ... Read more »

NextDC snaps up $124M Western Sydney DC site

Data centre operator NextDC has secured a new data centre site in Western Sydney worth approximately $124 million.  Viewed as a long-term expansion opportunity by the operator, the proposed facility ... Read more »

Lenovo ThinkEdge SE30 and SE50 with Intel Core vPro processors, up to 32GB RAM launched in India

Lenovo has launched its new portfolio of embedded computers in India. The new computers belong to the ThinkEdge series and it now has two new members — ThinkEdge SE30 and ... Read more »