Editor's take: The week that was — June 27 - July 2

The funding winter did not stop startups and investment firms from announcing significant fundraising milestones this week. Meanwhile, the foot soldiers continue to stagger under the brunt of the ongoing “market correction.”

In our coverage, we hope to present you with both sides of the story. Here are the top picks from the week that went by.

Scoops

Gojek’s corporate venture arm Go-Ventures is understood to be on track to close its $200-million second fund by the third quarter of this year. It had closed its similar-sized debut fund three years ago.

FAZZ Financial Group, the parent company of Indonesian fintech firm PAYFAZZ and Singapore-based payments infrastructure provider Xfers, has secured $60 million so far in an ongoing Series C funding round. Investors in the latest round include Tiger Global Management, Insignia Ventures Partners and B Capital.

Bangladesh-based B2B commerce startup ShopUp confirmed it has raised $65 million in a follow-on round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures. DealStreetAsia was the first to report the round based on the company’s regulatory filings.

TurnKey Lender, a global fintech firm which has offices in Singapore and Malaysia besides the US and Europe, has raised $8.4 million in new funding as part of its Series A round.

Qoala, an Indonesia-based insurtech startup that recently raised $65 million in Series B funding, is buying back shares worth $4.46 million from its co-founders and other executives, according to regulatory filings.

Consumer insights platform Populix raised $7.7 million in a Series A funding round led by Indonesia-focused venture capital firm Intudo Ventures and Acrew Capital. DealStreetAsia had reported the round hours ahead of a company announcement, citing regulatory filings.

On the other hand, Vietnam-based quick commerce startup Loship is understood to be seeking debt financing after the current frosty climate forced it to shelve plans to secure equity funding.

LP-GP news

US pension fund Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) of Illinois committed a total of $275 million to funds managed by Hong Kong-based Gateway Capital and Dignari Capital Partners, and India’s Edelweiss Alternative Asset Advisors.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund committed a total of $405 million to funds managed by Singapore and US-based venture capital firm B Capital and Israeli venture investor S Capital.

Meanwhile, the $35.5-billion Employees Retirement System of Texas made a $50 million commitment to buyout major KKR’s latest Asia infrastructure fund.

Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Trust approved a commitment of up to $150 million to four funds managed by Sequoia Capital China.

Taiwan Life Insurance made new commitments totalling around $16.4 million to three venture funds in the US and Europe. Cathay Life, the insurance subsidiary of Taiwanese conglomerate Cathay Financial Holdings, announced the disposal of its interest in 12 PE funds, including at least one managed by Blackstone.

US-based real estate investment manager LaSalle Investment Management held another close for its latest Asia-focused, closed-end private equity real estate fund at $1.29 billion.

Chinese financial advisory firm Lighthouse Capital, which has invested in companies including online short-video giant Kuaishou Technology, secured the first close for its second USD-denominated growth fund at $75 million.

Singapore-based Panthera Growth Partners hit the first close for its $250-million second fund after securing capital commitments worth over 50% of its target corpus.

Venture capital firm Ascend Vietnam Ventures (AVV) closed its latest early-stage venture capital fund at over $50 million.

Bertelsmann India Investments, the venture capital arm of German media firm Bertelsmann, raised $500 million to back more startups in the South Asian country. The growing dry powder for India bets – investment firms have either raised or are in talks to secure at least $5 billion for the Asian market – offers a glimmer of hope in the current climate.

Belgian family-controlled diversified group Ackermans & van Haaren opened its first international office in Singapore to increase its exposure to India and Southeast Asia.

Startups that made headlines

SoftBank-backed Indian eyewear retailer Lenskart bought an approximately 75% stake in Owndays, a Japanese eyewear chain, from investors including L Catterton Asia. The development was first reported by Nikkei.

Thai logistics company Deliveree raised $70 million in Series C funding led by Gobi Partners and Indonesia’s SPIL Ventures. The company plans to solidify its presence in Indonesia, a market that is expected to account for 50-60% of its gross transaction volume (GTV) by the end of 2023.

Indonesian fintech startup Mapan raised $15 million in its Series A round led by VC firm Patamar Capital and Astra Digital, a subsidiary of local conglomerate Astra.

Online lending platform Funding Societies, known as Modalku in Indonesia, has acquired online card payments startup CardUp for an undisclosed amount to expand its payment services.

Indian real estate investment startup PropShare raised $47 million from WestBridge Capital and Pravega Ventures, while B2B marketplace Solv bagged $40 million in a Series A round led by SBI Holdings.

UK-based data and analytics company Ascential has acquired Singapore-headquartered Intrepid Group Asia for an initial cash consideration of $57 million and a deferred consideration payable over four years.

Deep dives and interviews

We delved into the buy now, pay later (BNPL) market in Southeast Asia with a two-part series this week. Our first story looked at how and why the sector continues to remain in demand in the region even as the business model is under strain in mature markets.

The second part focused on the various contenders in a market where standalone apps are taking on larger rivals such as banks and super apps.

As part of our ongoing coverage of the gender disparity in startup and investment ecosystems, we published interviews with Pinn Lawjindakul, a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Rishika Chandan, a managing director at Venturi Partners, to understand where the gaps stem from.

The casualties

The job cuts won’t stop. This week, news emerged that two subsidiaries of Indian decacorn BYJU’S – coding platform WhiteHat Jr and learning app Toppr – eliminated hundreds of jobs. They were not the only ones; B2B marketplace Udaan, too, fired 180 employees.

If that is not sobering enough, Nikkei looked at India’s gig workers left to bake on the streets amid a punishing heat wave as companies join the mindless race to become the quickest of them all.

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