FB Pixel no scriptDeals in brief: Dolbomdream, Prefer, and Lapasar secure funding, BlackRock-Temasek partnership leads investment in Antora Energy, six China and India deals, and more | KrASIA

Deals in brief: Dolbomdream, Prefer, and Lapasar secure funding, BlackRock-Temasek partnership leads investment in Antora Energy, six China and India deals, and more

Written by KrASIA Writers Published on   7 mins read

Bringing you the latest updates on funding deals and activities in the Asia Pacific.

Quest Ventures invests in South Korea’s Dolbomdream

Dolbomdream, a South Korean company specializing in the production of a compression garment supporting individuals with special needs, has secured an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Quest Ventures.

Known as Huggy (stylized as “HUGgy”) vests, Dolbomdream’s product is aimed at providing benefits to individuals with special needs, particularly those with conditions like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It utilizes a “Deep Touch Pressure” technology to replicate the comforting sensation of hugs, thereby stimulating the wearer’s parasympathetic nervous system to alleviate heightened stress levels. Each Huggy vest is equipped with non-contact biometric sensors to continuously monitor the wearer’s heart rate and other biometric data, enabling caregivers to stay informed in real-time about the wearer’s psychological state. Additionally, the vests can be remotely activated using a complementary app.

“Our collaboration with Quest Ventures is crucial in solidifying our expansion plans in Southeast Asia, which include building our network with local partners and conducting pilot tests to ensure the successful integration of their products in the regional market,” said Kim Jihun, CEO of Dolbomdream.

“[Dolbomdream’s] high-performance vests elevate the standard of care for special needs individuals and provide peace of mind to their caregivers,” said James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures.

With the World Health Organization estimating ASD prevalence at one in every 100 children, Dolbomdream’s Huggy vests could provide relief to a significant yet underserved demographic. The company also sees potential applications for seniors, sleep disorder patients, and beyond.

Photo of Dolbomdream’s team.
Photo of Dolbomdream’s team. Photo courtesy of Dolbomdream.

Singapore-based startup Prefer wins over investors with bean-free coffee innovation

Prefer, a food tech startup currently operating in Singapore, has raised USD 2 million in a seed funding round led by Forge Ventures. Other investors that took part in this round include 500 Global, A*ccelerate (A*STAR), Better Bite Ventures, Sopoong Ventures, SEEDS Capital, Entrepreneur First, and Pickup Coffee.

Using its own proprietary fermentation technology, Prefer has come up with a way of upcycling surplus bread, soy pulp, and spent grain to create a coffee substitute that offers the same aroma, taste, and brewing experience as traditional coffee. Its product is compatible with standard espresso machines commonly used by cafes, coffee chains, distributors, and flavor houses, and can also be utilized to produce ready-to-drink coffee beverages.

With this investment, Prefer will be able to scale its production capacity and target the broader Asia Pacific region, starting with Singapore and the Philippines.

“With a commitment to revolutionizing the coffee industry by offering affordable and sustainable bean-free coffee, Prefer embodies the spirit of forward-thinking entrepreneurship we actively seek to support. We are excited that Prefer’s vision will pave the way for a brighter, more sustainable future not only in Singapore, but globally,” said Tiang Lim Foo, co-founder and partner at Forge Ventures.

Prefer’s tech showcases the potential to produce food alternatives while reducing the carbon footprint of businesses, crucial as climate change erodes essential resources. For instance, Prefer’s bean-free coffee can ostensibly be produced with around one-tenth the carbon dioxide emissions compared to traditional coffee beans.

Photo source: Prefer.

Lapasar secures MYR 31 million in funding

Lapasar, a Malaysia-based B2B wholesale and procurement platform, has secured MYR 31 million (USD 6.4 million) from a diverse group of investors, including Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP), Creador Conscienta, Gobi Dana Impak Ventures (GDIV), and Adaptive Capital Partners.

According to a statement released by Lapasar, the company plans to allocate the capital toward targeting the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. This move aligns with its overarching goal of becoming one of Malaysia’s premier infrastructure providers for FMCG distribution. Currently serving over 6,000 mom-and-pop stores and restaurants, Lapasar aims to more than triple its revenue by 2026. —The Edge

AlgoGroup raises USD 1 million in seed round

AlgoGroup, a tech-enabled platform catering to pet brands, has raised USD 1 million in a seed funding round. The round was jointly led by FoundFast and Primest Capital, with additional support from angel investors such as Thomas Hill.

The company said it intends to utilize the funds for international expansion, particularly focusing on establishing go-to-market programs in key markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, and the UK. These programs will leverage Algo+, a proprietary trading platform aimed at simplifying access to pet-specific sales channels, to offer new pet brand owners valuable customer and marketing insights to facilitate their market entry.

Indonesia’s Alodokter banks USD 5.2 million for further development

Alodokter, an Indonesian health tech platform, has raised USD 5.2 million, according to Tech in Asia. The investment came from HL Mando and Beacon Venture Capital (Kasikornbank), at a valuation approximating USD 136.1 million, according to Alternatives.pe.

Alodokter told the media outlet that, with this funding, it intends to enhance its digital healthcare ecosystem further. The platform provides various healthcare services, including online doctor consultations, appointment booking for in-person visits, and informative health articles.

Aptar Digital Health acquires Healint

Aptar Digital Health, a provider of patient-focused digital health solutions, has acquired Healint, the developer of Migraine Buddy, a migraine tracking app that utilizes sensor readings to help users comprehend their condition. Healint also offers various other digital health solutions.

According to a statement from Aptar, this acquisition is in line with its strategy to diversify its portfolio in neurology and enhance its global presence in digital health deployment. The incorporation of Healint will facilitate the acceleration of clinical studies on a global scale, delivering added value to its clientele.

Following the completion of the deal, Healint will be integrated into Aptar, with immediate plans to expand its platform to cover related therapeutic areas in neurology and immunology. Additionally, there are intentions to augment its current offerings by introducing new services such as tools for managing clinical trials.

Decarbonization Partners leads Series B investment in Antora Energy

Decarbonization Partners, a partnership between BlackRock and Temasek, is spearheading the USD 150 million Series B funding round for Antora Energy, a California-based startup focused on developing sustainable heat and power solutions.

Emerson Collective, GS Futures, The Nature Conservancy, and a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources are also contributing to this funding round, joining existing investors Trust Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, BHP Ventures, Overture VC, and Grok Ventures.

Antora Energy specializes in developing what it terms “thermal batteries,” designed to store energy as heat rather than through chemical reactions like conventional batteries. Renewable energy is employed to heat solid carbon blocks in insulated containers, with the stored heat available for subsequent use at the scale and temperatures typically required by large industrial operations. Additionally, Antora has developed a thermophotovoltaic (TPV) technology to convert stored heat without the limitations associated with traditional heat engines.

Antora’s energy storage tech has the potential to enhance the efficiency of clean energy utilization for companies and utilities, while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions. This could prove crucial amidst global calls for stronger climate action.

Recent deals completed in China:

  • JR Talent Technology (also known as Jinrirencai), a Shenzhen-based human resource technology firm, has secured nearly RMB 100 million in a Series C funding round. The round was jointly led by Peakview Capital and Keywise Capital. The company will utilize the funds to drive product development, enhance platform operations, expand market reach, and boost brand awareness. 36Kr
  • Unitree Robotics, a Hangzhou-registered robotics company, has completed a RMB 1 billion Series B2 funding round. The round saw participation from investors including Meituan, Goldstone Investment, Source Code Capital, SCGC, China Internet Investment Fund, Winreal Investment, Dunhong Capital Management, Mida Investment Management, and Jones Capital. The company intends to allocate the capital towards product development, business expansion, and team building. 36Kr
  • Zhongji Micromaterial, a Shenzhen-registered producer of high-performance grinding and polishing materials, recently wrapped up a RMB 100 million Series A funding round. Oriza Hua and Addor Capital jointly led the round, with participation from CICC Capital, Oriza Holdings, Shenzhen Xiaodan Innovation Management (Shenzhen Credit Guarantee Group), and Liwan Capital. The company plans to use the proceeds for production line upgrades, talent acquisition, and market promotion. 36Kr

Latest deals in India:

  • Ghost Kitchens, an Ahmedabad-registered provider of cloud kitchen solutions, has secured USD 5 million in a Series A funding round led by GVFL. The round saw participation from NB Ventures, LetsVenture, Lead Angels, and Rana Daggubati, along with existing investors Yuj Ventures and Dholakia Ventures. The funds will be utilized to scale business operations and venture into the retail space. The company will also use the capital to upgrade its partner program and expand its footprint of cloud kitchens and quick service restaurants. —VCCircle
  • Kusho, a software development company simplifying API testing using artificial intelligence, has raised USD 600,000 in a pre-seed funding round led by Antler. The round also saw participation from Blume Founders Fund, UpSparks Capital, as well as angel investors Mohit Kumar, Vatsal Singhal (Ultrahuman), and Ashok Hariharan (IDfy), among others. —VCCircle
  • Indic Wisdom, an agriculture startup specializing in the production of wood-pressed oils and other staple foods, has raised INR 40 million (USD 482,600) in a pre-Series A funding round led by Inflection Point Ventures, with support from Mahendra Sankhe, Launch Capital, Bifco Finance, and undisclosed high-net-worth individuals. The funds will be utilized to improve the brand’s visibility, expand its distribution network, and scale its production capacity. —VCCircle

Novosol, Tsubame BHB, InnoCSR, and more led yesterday’s headlines:

  • Novosol, a Singapore-based mobile advertising platform, closed its Series B funding round at USD 10 million, securing investments from family offices in Singapore and the UK.
  • Tsubame BHB, a Japanese ammonia synthesis systems developer, bagged around JPY 5.3 billion (USD 35.2 million) in a Series C funding round through third-party allocation of shares to both new and existing investors, including Heraeus Group and Yokogawa Electric Corporation.
  • InnoCSR, an Asia-focused consulting firm specializing in social responsibility strategies, secured an undisclosed amount of funding in a Series A funding round. The round saw participation from ADB Ventures, Garden Impact Fund, and Clarion Newlife Capital.

If there are any news or updates you’d like us to feature, get in touch with us at: [email protected].


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