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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 4 October 2020


Fintech unicorn Airwallex raises US$200 million capital in US expansion plan to compete with Stripe

Fintech unicorn Airwallex has raised US$200 million to finance the roll-out of its payments platform across the United States early next year, a move that could see it clash with San Francisco-headquartered giant Stripe.

Investors such as venture capitalists Square Peg and Skip Capital, the investment firm of Kim Jackson and Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar, crowded into the fundraising once it became clear that Airwallex was growing revenues through the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has inflamed investors’ love affair with financial technology as the shift from traditional banking to digital payments has accelerated. Airwallex’s capital call comes as a rush of fintech companies list this year, including Ant Group in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Lufax in New York and JD Digits in Shanghai.

Stripe is still holding its cards close on the timing of its IPO, but was last valued in a private fundraising round at about US$36 billion.

Taiwan-based travel startup Kkday raises $75M in Series C round to expand in Asia

Travel experiences platform KKday announced it has raised US$$75 million in a series C funding round led by Cool Japan Fund and Taiwan’s National Development Fund.

Existing investors Monk’s Hill Ventures and MindWorks Capital also participated in the round.

The company plans to use the fresh funds to continue its expansion in Asia and globally, as well as to build out a new solution called Rezio for travel operators and activity providers.

KKday piloted Rezio in March (at the start of the pandemic) in Taiwan and Japan Japan to support tour operators and activity providers in the two countries. The all-in-one platform provides a suite of services including a simple setup for a powerful online store, real-time inventory management across different booking channels, customised vouchers for various booking scenarios and integration with local payment gateways.

All features can also be accessed on any mobile device, which allows travel and experience providers to manage bookings on the go.

SoftBank-backed used-car startup Kavak becomes first Mexican unicorn

SoftBank-backed used-car platform Kavak has become Mexico’s first tech “unicorn” after reaching a $1.15 billion valuation in its latest funding round last month, Chief Executive Carlos Garcia told Reuters.

The Mexico City-based startup has raised over $400 million in total funding since its founding four years ago, with Japan’s SoftBank, Hong Kong’s DST Global and U.S.-based Greenoaks Capital leading the recent round, Garcia said in an interview on Wednesday.

The company is SoftBank’s most recent Latin American investment to become a unicorn - lingo for tech startups valued at more than $1 billion - after delivery app Loggi and gym membership app Gympass, both from Brazil, and Colombian delivery app Rappi.

China’s Venture Roundup Volume 2

This covers investment activity from 6 – 13 September 2020.

According to China’s General Administration of Customs, exports in August performed better than expected with a 11.6% increase; narrowing the gap between imports and exports. China’s big 3 telecommunications companies (China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom) also announced that they had built more than 600,000 5G base stations thus far.

Outside of China, the week saw the collapse of LVMH’s acquisition of Tiffany & Co, NVIDIA’s USD 40 billion acquisition of British chipmaker ARM from Softbank and Trump announcing that he would not extend the deadline for Tiktok restructuring, leaving speculation for Tiktok’s next move.

The Venture Capital market warms up this week, with most action in strategic investments and M&A. Healthcare and Enterprise Services continue to be the leading industries for investment.

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