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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 10 January 2021


Hopin buys livestreaming startup StreamYard for $250M as it looks to expand its product lineup

This morning Hopin, a quickly growing startup that sells a technology platform for hosting digital events, announced that it has acquired StreamYard. The acquired company, which bootstrapped itself to material revenue scale, will retain its brand and in-market product.

The deal is worth $250 million, paid in a mix of cash and stock. Hopin  raised a $40 million Series A in late June of 2020, and a $125 million Series B last November at a valuation of $2.125 billion.

At the time of its most recent round, Hopin told TechCrunch that it had grown its annual recurring revenue (ARR) from zero to $20 million in around nine months. In an email Hopin told TechCrunch that StreamYard  had itself scaled to $30 million ARR without external capital. And during a conversation regarding the StreamYard deal, Hopin CEO Johnny Boufarhat said that the combined entity would sport around $65 million in ARR.

You can infer from the numbers that Hopin has continued to grow rapidly since its Series B.


Hong Kong fintech startup Neat rolls out first Visa cards

Neat, a Hong Kong based fintech company, announced today it has become a member of the Visa network and will issue its own Neat Visa card for businesses incorporated in Hong Kong.

As a member of Visa, Neat is able to issue its own payment products, tapping into Visa’s global network and offering an enhanced customer experience.

For entrepreneurs, corporate cards, though a crucial business tool, can be difficult to obtain. Small businesses are often restricted by unreasonably low spending limits, poor visibility of their spending data and hefty monthly fees. Neat wants to bring a better experience to this underserved segment.

With the new Neat Visa card, customers have more control over their business finances. They are able to set their own monthly spending limits, view enhanced expense tracking and set up instant transaction notifications. The Neat Visa card also gives customers 1% cashback on all purchases.

Trump signs executive order blocking transactions with Alipay, WeChat Pay, and six other Chinese apps

President Trump has signed a new executive order prohibiting transactions with the companies behind eight Chinese apps, including Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent’s QQ and WeChat Pay. Transactions will be prohibited in 45 days. Reuters was the first to report the news.

The full list of apps includes: Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office.

“The pace and pervasiveness of the spread in the United States of certain connected mobile and desktop applications and other software developed or controlled by persons in the People’s Republic of China... continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” the order reads.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed that the Commerce Department will “begin implementing the E.O.’s directives, including identifying prohibited transactions.” Reuters reports that the Commerce Department will do so before Trump leaves office on January 20th, citing an unnamed official.

SoFi to go public through merger with Palihapitiya-backed SPAC

Online lending startup Social Finance Inc (SoFi) said on Thursday it has agreed to go public through a merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp V IPOE.N, a blank-check acquisition company led by venture capital investor Chamath Palihapitiya.

The deal values SoFi at around $8.65 billion and is expected to provide up to $2.4 billion in cash proceeds to San Francisco-based SoFi.

Reuters had reported earlier on Thursday that SoFi and Social Capital were nearing a deal to merge. Units of Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp V had jumped as much as 47.9% following the report and were trading up 29.7% at $15.72 before the stock was halted.

"The new investments and our partnership with Social Capital Hedosophia signify the confidence in our strategy, the momentum in our business, as well as the significant growth opportunity ahead of us," SoFi Chief Executive Anthony Noto said in a statement.


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