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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - July 5 2021


Singapore-based startup nets $180m in largest series A round in insurtech space

Singapore-based insurtech company Bolttech’s valuation has breached US$1 billion after getting US$180 million in series A funding led by Activant Capital Group. The funding round comes only a year after the firm’s 2020 launch and is reportedly the largest series A ever for an insurtech company.Founded in 2020, Bolttech runs an insurance exchange platform that connects insurers, distributors, and customers to make transactions easier. It currently transacts US$5 billion worth of premiums with 5,000 products and more than 150 providers on its platform.


Singapore Digital Wealth App Scores Money From UBS, Samsung

Digital wealth platform Endowus Pte has secured investments from UBS Group AG, Samsung Ventures and Singtel Innov8 to fuel expansion in Singapore and Hong Kong. Zurich-based UBS is putting an unspecified amount of its own money into Endowus through UBS Next, a $200 million fund that takes direct stakes in early-stage fintech firms, the Singapore-based company said in a statement on Thursday. The additional capital brings the total size of the firm’s Series A funding round to $22 million, including earlier investments from Lightspeed Venture Partners and SoftBank Ventures Asia, according to the startup.

Vietnamese e-wallet MoMo picks up local AI startup in first acquisition deal

Vietnam’s top payment startup MoMo has made its first acquisition with the purchase of local AI startup Pique in a push to better capitalize the data of its 25 million registered users. The company, which is backed by global investors such as Warburg Pincus and Goodwater Capital, announced that the transaction was done through its new fund, MoMo Innovation Ventures. The fund was launched when MoMo completed its series D round earlier this year. In a statement, MoMo said it has bought all of Pique’s intellectual property and hired its data science and engineering team, including Trinh Xuan Tuan, the AI startup’s founder. 


Sequoia Capital India unveils fifth group of startups for Surge

Sequoia Capital India has selected 23 early-stage startups for its fifth cohort of Surge, its accelerator program for India and Southeast Asia, at a time when dealflow activity is at its peak in the region. The new cohort, Surge’s largest to date, have collectively raised $55 million, the storied investment firm said Wednesday. The group also includes 10 women founders, another record for the accelerator program which started its journey in March 2019 and has backed 91 startups to-date. The Surge program has enabled Sequoia Capital India — which has always backed early-stage startups but historically focused more on cutting checks in Series A and beyond rounds — to more aggressively identify promising startups while they are too young and increase the probability of broadening its portfolio with more winners, investors in the industry said.

Southeast Asia’s Tech M&A Deals Reach Record High

Grab, Gojek, and Sea are leading the Southeast Asian surge in technology mergers and acquisitions (M&A), with deals totaling an estimated $19 billion during the first six months of this year, the Financial Times reported (June 30). Compared with last year, M&As went up114 percent, the news outlet reported, citing data from Dealogic. Southeast Asia is considered a hot market for digital growth, with an estimated 400 million people online. The region’s digital economy is forecast to be worth $300,000 billion by 2025, FT reported, citing data compiled by Google, Temasek, the Singapore state investment company and consultancy Bain. With an estimated valuation of over $40 billion, Grab’s merger with the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Altimeter Growth Corp. could send the delivery and payments platform to hit a value of $75 billion, FT reported. The deal is expected to close before the year is over. Grab is Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup so far.

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