APAC Mining, NiYO, and Leflair were a few of the startups that announced funding in Asia Pacific today, while news emerged of Line’s plans to support cryptocurrencies.
Lendingkart secures US$4.7 million in debt funding (India). The online lender for small businesses netted the capital from FMO, the Netherlands’ development bank. This follows US$3.8 million debt funding from Indian bank SBI in December last year. Lendingkart also got a US$10.9 million investment from Sistema Asia Fund, Bertelsmann India Investment, Mayfield India, Saama Capital, and others in September. It plans to use the new funds to grow its loan book. (Inc42)
New cryptocurrency mining startup gets US$1 million from Fatfish Internet (Malaysia). Australian investor Fatfish will obtain 51 percent of APAC Mining. The startup, which manages, leases, and invests in cryptocurrency mining hardware, will launch in two locations in Malaysia later this month. It plans to take advantage of favorable local electricity prices to mine Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ether. (Fatfish)
Line seeks to integrate cryptocurrencies (Japan). The messaging app is in discussions with multiple potential partners – including South Korean token exchange Upbit – to enable cryptocurrency transactions through its payments platform, Line Pay. It hopes the move can help slow the exodus of users in its key markets: Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Thailand. (Bloomberg)
Paytm launches wealth management unit with US$10 million funding (India). Paytm Money will offer investment and wealth management products to users, and is awaiting approval from the country’s Securities & Exchange Board to act as an investment advisor. “We ultimately want to be the Charles Schwab of India with a zero-fee brokerage,” said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder of Paytm parent One97 Communications. (Livemint)
Court throws out lawsuit targeting cryptocurrency exchanges (China). The Beijing Haidian District Court dismissed a suit brought by a man who wielded Marxist economic theory to argue that cryptocurrency exchanges including Huobi had to repay the US$61,000 he had lost through bitcoin trading. The court ruled that the plaintiff couldn’t provide evidence that the exchange was operating illegally, and was therefore responsible for his own trading behavior. Chinese regulators banned initial coin offerings and suspended some exchanges last year. (Technode)
NiYO nabs US$13.2 million at series A (India). The Bangalore-based startup, which develops software for managing employee benefits and reimbursements, received the funding from investors including Social Capital, JS Capital, Horizon Ventures, and Prime Ventures. It will use the capital to hire new talent and expand its product offering. (Livemint)
Zhangmen closes US$120 million series D fundraise (China). The online tutoring portal received the investment fromWarburg Pincus affiliate Genesis Capital, a VC fund founded by Tencent’s former head of investment Kurt Xu. (China Money Network)
Wantedly quits Indo indefinitely (Indonesia). The Japanese job search platform told users that it has ceased operations and customer support in the country, though it claims it will return with an improved and more localized product at some point in the future. In the meantime, employers that have posted job vacancies on the platform will no longer be able to receive candidates’ applications. (e27)
Alexa to ride shotgun in Toyota cars (Japan). Toyota will provide support for Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa in its vehicles starting later this year, making it one of the first automakers to offer Alexa in-car without the need for additional third-party devices. Rivals Ford and BMW have also announced hardware support for Alexa in their cars. (Techcrunch)
Leflair raises US$3 million (Vietnam). Singapore’s Capital Management Group led the series A round. Leflair – an ecommerce platform offering flash sales of premium brands – previously raised US$2 million from investors including Hong Kong-based Caldera Pacific Ventures, Italy’s AME Ventures, South Korea’s Nextrans, and 500 Startups. It says it has 700,000 members signed up to its service. (Leflair)
Huawei’s American dream turns to dust (China/US). Deals made by the Chinese tech giant to sell its smartphones through US carriers AT&T and Verizon have collapsed, apparently due to US national security concerns. Anxieties about the company’s supposed links to the Chinese government and military have previously scuppered its efforts to partner with US telcos and make acquisitions in the country. (CNET)
Investors, incubators, and accelerators
Global automaker trio want to invest US$1 billion in startups (Japan/France). Reuters earlier this week reported that strategic partners Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors, and Renault were planning a US$200 million VC fund for mobility startups. Today, it emerged that the amount is just the first-year fundraising target – the three firms want to invest up to US$1 billion over the next five years. (Bloomberg)
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