FB Pixel no scriptDeals in brief: Hubble secures debt facility from AlteriQ Global, SoftBank invests in Perplexity AI, Etched raises funds to further develop specialized AI chip, and more | KrASIA

Deals in brief: Hubble secures debt facility from AlteriQ Global, SoftBank invests in Perplexity AI, Etched raises funds to further develop specialized AI chip, and more

Written by KrASIA Writers Published on   4 mins read

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

Hubble secures USD 5 million debt facility from AlteriQ Global

Hubble, a technology company serving the built environment sector, has secured a USD 5 million private debt facility from AlteriQ Global, an Asia-focused private credit investment firm. This funding will accelerate the growth of its financial services division.

Hubble has developed a “progress-to-payment” platform that integrates construction management with financial services, enabling property developers and contractors to execute early payments based on verifiable progress data. This platform provides liquidity to the supply chain, enabling subcontractors to request on-demand early payments with streamlined applications, transparent fees, and quick funding.

SoftBank Vision Fund 2 invests in Perplexity AI at USD 3 billion valuation

Perplexity AI, an artificial intelligence company, is finalizing an investment of USD 10–20 million from SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund 2. This deal is expected to value the company at USD 3 billion and forms part of a larger USD 250 million funding round.

Describing itself as an “answer engine,” Perplexity aims to compete with Google in the AI-driven search market, distinguishing itself by providing real-time results in text format instead of links.

SoftBank’s investment underscores its commitment to accelerating AI advancements, aligning with founder Masayoshi Son’s vision for “artificial super intelligence.” Perplexity has also deepened its ties to Japan through a partnership with SoftBank, offering a free one-year subscription to its service for SoftBank’s Japanese wireless customers.

This deal also follows SoftBank’s broader AI initiatives, including a USD 100 billion project focused on AI-related chips and a USD 200 million investment in Tempus AI for medical data analysis. —Bloomberg

Photo of Masayoshi Son, founder of SoftBank Group.
Photo of Masayoshi Son, founder of SoftBank Group. Photo from KrASIA’s archive.

Etched raises USD 120 million to develop specialized AI chip

Etched, an AI chip startup, has raised USD 120 million in a Series A funding round to further develop its specialized chip, Sohu. The company aims to create a processor optimized for transformer models, widely used by OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini. Backers of the round include former PayPal CEO Peter Thiel and Replit CEO Amjad Masad.

Etched’s chip is designed to handle AI inference, the portion of AI computing that generates content and responses. The company has partnered with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for chip fabrication. The funding will cover the costs of sending designs to TSMC and manufacturing the chips, a process known as “taping out,” according to Reuters.

The startup aims to redefine AI hardware by offering a faster and more energy-efficient alternative to general-purpose AI chips like those made by Nvidia.

Dali Stores snags USD 8.4 million investment for expansion

DEG, the investment arm of German state-owned development bank KfW, has committed USD 8.4 million to Dali Stores, a discount grocery chain in the Philippines, according to a disclosure statement accessed by DealStreetAsia.

Founded in 2020, Dali has rapidly grown into a network of over 600 stores spread across the Philippines. It will use the capital to accelerate the rollout of new stores and distribution centers and drive the launch of new private-label brands.

Recent deals completed in China:

  • H-Great Optoelectronic, a Shenzhen-based company developing automotive-grade LED products, has raised RMB 40 million (USD 5.5 million) in a Series A funding round from Dunhong Capital Management and Guoxin Venture Capital. The funds will be used to expand production capacity, develop new products, and enhance market reach. 36Kr
  • Botinkit, a technology company registered in Shenzhen, has secured nearly RMB 100 million (USD 13.7 million) in a Series A+ funding round. The round was led by WestSummit Capital, with participation from existing investors Gao Bingqiang, CWB Capital, and Zhixing No. 1 Fund. Stars Capital served as the exclusive financial advisor. The funds will be used for product development and delivery. 36Kr
  • Mayoo Technology, a company specializing in enzymatic DNA synthesis, has completed an angel round of financing, raising an eight-figure RMB sum. The funding was led by Linear Capital, with participation from MiraclePlus and Danen Capital. Mayoo will utilize the funds to advance its experiments, develop instruments, and build the team. 36Kr
  • Weiyuan Biotechnology, a Hangzhou-based synthetic biology company, has raised tens of millions of RMB in an angel funding round from multiple industrial funds. The funds will be used to develop the company’s pilot platform for chiral compounds and a natural product efficacy evaluation system, as well as to commercialize key projects. 36Kr
  • Aerofugia, an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer, has secured several hundred million RMB in a Series B funding round. The round was led by Orinno Capital, with follow-on investments from Tsinghua Holdings Capital, Casstar, Aoxiang Tianxing, and Quanzhou Hairui. The funds will be used for the R&D and commercialization of Aerofugia’s AE200 product. 36Kr

Samsara Eco, Mekari, Hozon Auto, and more led yesterday’s headlines:

  • Samsara Eco, a climate-focused company harnessing recycling technology to eliminate plastic waste, has raised USD 65 million in its latest funding round. The round was co-led by Temasek and Main Sequence, along with participation from new and existing backers such as Wollemi Capital, lululemon, Hitachi Ventures, Titanium Ventures, and DCVC.
  • Mekari, a software-as-a-service company operating in Indonesia, has announced its acquisition of Jojonomic to expand its business and ecosystem in the archipelagic nation.
  • Hozon Auto, a Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer, has lodged its prospectus with the Hong Kong securities regulators, aiming to become a publicly traded EV maker.

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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