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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 8 March 2020


Female social entrepreneurs in Asia can tap new accelerator by Deutsche Bank, Ashoka 

Female social entrepreneurs in Asia will receive greater support, with a new accelerator programme launched by global social enterprise enabler Ashoka, in partnership with Deutsche Bank.

The Made for Good Accelerator for Women is "Asia's first social investment accelerator programme that aims to build a thriving ecosystem for female social entrepreneurship", both companies said in a press statement on Monday (March 2).

Each social entrepreneur will be supported by mentors within Ashoka and Deutsche Bank networks, two of whom are Singapore-based female managing directors from Deutsche Bank - head of information security Sunila Shivpuri as well as head of corporate and investment bank operations Caroline Liow.

Deutsche Bank will also provide financial resources for the programme, the bank said, without disclosing the amount.

The accelerator will support three female social entrepreneurs through a nine-month-long bootcamp, as they prepare to expand their operations and impact, with a view to becoming investment-ready, said Ashoka and Deutsche Bank.

Fintech, data science company Oriente secures US$20M from Silverhorn Group

Oriente, a tech and data science startup that seeks to create opportunity through financial access for Southeast Asia, announced today it has secured US$20 million debt funding from Silverhorn Group, a Hong Kong-based multi-asset investment firm.

The funding, which can increase up to US$50 million, will be used to grow Oriente’s loan book and extend the reach of its inclusive and affordable digital-credit and Pay Later solutions to the undervalued and credit-starved consumers and micro-enterprises in the Philippines.

Commenting on the deal, Geoffrey Prentice, Co-founder of Oriente, said: “As we enter the next stage of growth on our mission to helping ignite economic opportunity for tens of millions of consumers and micro-enterprises, the support we receive from our debt partners is critical.”

Headquartered in Hong Kong, Oriente is building solutions that provide real-time credit scoring, digital and O2O lending and other tailored financial services to millions in Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing economies. The company has two app-based ventures, Cashalo in the Philippines and Finmas in Indonesia.

Oriente is equity-funded by its founders and a group of family offices including members of the Berjaya Group, JG Summit Holdings, Inc., and Sinar Mas. To date, the company has raised over US$105 million in equity.

Hillhouse Capital sets up VC unit to raise $1.42b for early-stage investments

Hong Kong-based private equity major Hillhouse Capital has launched a dual-currency venture capital unit, GL Ventures, to raise its stakes in early-stage investments, the company said in a WeChat post. GL Ventures will focus on companies producing biomedical and medical  devices, software services, consumer technology, and emerging consumer  brands.  

The new fund will invest in both U.S. dollars and yuan in chunks ranging from 3 million yuan to $30 million, according to an announcement by Hillhouse. The team of more than 20 people at GL Ventures is made up entirely of staff from the original Hillhouse VC unit, a source familiar with Hillhouse told Caixin. The new fund will operate independently under the new brand, though it will remain part of the private equity firm.

The spinoff aims to help Hillhouse focus its venture capital business, the source said. Its private equity investment unit might also end up merged into GL Ventures, according to the source.

Tencent-Backed WeDoctor Is Hiring New CFO to Lead Hong Kong IPO

WeDoctor, one of China’s biggest online health-care startups, is hiring a new chief financial officer to spearhead a Hong Kong initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter.

John Cai, formerly chief executive for AIA Group Ltd.’s operations in key markets including China, Malaysia and Vietnam, will join as CFO in a few weeks, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. Cai will oversee the company’s listing and potentially a pre-IPO financing round, the people said. WeDoctor has reached out to investment banks and is expected to pick underwriters over the next few months, they said.

WeDoctor, backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., joins a growing contingent of tech giants hoping to revolutionize a traditional health-care industry after the novel coronavirus underscored its shortcomings. The startup, whose business spans insurance policies and medical supplies to online appointment-booking and physical clinics, is aiming for a $10 billion valuation when it eventually goes public, one of the people said, almost double its last price tag of around $5.5 billion. The startup is currently targeting an IPO in late 2020 or 2021, another person said.

A WeDoctor representative declined to comment in an emailed statement. An AIA representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hong Kong bourse wants IPO hopefuls to disclose virus impact

Hong Kong's stock exchange has told companies looking to list in Asia's biggest initial public offering (IPO) centre to disclose the impact of the coronavirus on their businesses and detailed plans to mitigate the effects, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. Eighteen companies have filed for an IPO since the start of last month when the Hong Kong authorities and companies began taking steps to limit the spread of the virus.

IPOs are big business in Hong Kong. The city saw US$25 billion (S$35 billion) raised through them last year, without including the US$12.9 billion from Alibaba's secondary listing, placing the exchange third globally behind New York's Nasdaq and the Saudi Exchange, according to Refintiv data. However, the number of deals completed in the past five weeks has slowed sharply. Three sources told Reuters the stock exchange has asked five questions of companies looking to go public. These centre on detailing any supply chain disruptions, business contingency plans and the burn rate of existing cash balances in a worst-case scenario where the group's operations are also suspended.

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