FB Pixel no scriptDeals in brief: Paywatch secures USD 30 million, Ai Palette snags additional funding, Blibli operator acquires home decor startup Dekoruma, and more | KrASIA

Deals in brief: Paywatch secures USD 30 million, Ai Palette snags additional funding, Blibli operator acquires home decor startup Dekoruma, and more

Written by KrASIA Writers Published on   5 mins read

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

Paywatch secures USD 30 million in funding

Paywatch, an earned wage access (EWA) service provider, has secured USD 30 million from a mix of equity and credit facilities to bolster its growth.

Paywatch received over USD 14 million in Series A funding, in a round co-led by Third Prime and a consortium of US investors, including Vanderbilt University and University of Illinois Foundation, with participation from new investors Octagon Venture Partners and Wooshin Venture Investment. Additionally, Paywatch secured USD 16 million in credit facilities from global banks, including Citi, to fund its product expansion. This is the largest funding round closed by an EWA player in Southeast Asia.

Paywatch offers a debt-free EWA solution that allows workers to instantly access a part of their accumulated salary in real time. The company said this service decreases employees’ dependence on loans, alleviates household debt, and enhances financial management while boosting companies’ employee retention and productivity. Lotus, Jaya Grocer, and QSR Brands are among the brands to have partnered with Paywatch, collectively supporting the region’s financial well-being and economic growth.

Ai Palette snags USD 1.45 Million in Series A1 funding from InnoVen Capital

Ai Palette, a Singapore-headquartered tech startup specializing in using artificial intelligence and machine learning to enable consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies in product creation, has snagged an additional USD 1.45 million in its Series A1 funding round from InnoVen Capital.

The funds will deepen Ai Palette’s generative AI product stack for the CPG sector and strengthen its presence in the Americas.

According to Ai Palette, its platform utilizes advanced AI technologies, including text analytics, natural language processing, image recognition, predictive analytics, and reinforcement learning, to help brands track real-time trends, predict market changes, and quickly adapt. The company is said to specialize in aiding concept generation, portfolio optimization, localization, and credibility enhancement.

Photo of Himanshu Upreti (left) and Somsubhra GanChoudhuri, co-founders of Ai Palette.
Photo of Himanshu Upreti (left) and Somsubhra GanChoudhuri, co-founders of Ai Palette. Photo from KrASIA’s archive.

Blibli operator acquires Dekoruma for IDR 1.16 trillion

PT Global Digital Niaga, which operates the e-commerce player Blibli, online travel agency Tiket.com, and supermarket chain Ranch Market, has acquired a 99.83% stake in the home decor startup Dekoruma for IDR 1.16 trillion (USD 70.7 million) with the backing of the local conglomerate Djarum Group.

Completed on June 20, this acquisition is expected to bolster Blibli’s home and living vertical and enable an integrated approach to online and offline trade. Dekoruma, established in 2015, connects consumers with home furnishing merchants, interior designers, contractors, and property developers. It has ostensibly served over one million customers and partnered with more than 5,000 designers and contractors. —DealStreetAsia

Okapi Technologies closes funding round and launches in Malaysia

Okapi Technologies, a fintech startup in the solar financing space, has closed its funding round and officially launched in Malaysia, starting with the residential solar vertical. The round was led by The Radical Fund with participation from angel investors including Lai Chang Wen and Shaun Chong, co-founders of regional logistics unicorn Ninja Van.

The funds will be used to develop solutions to democratize access to affordable solar energy and create a new asset class for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investors globally. —TechNode Global

Carro secures SGD 75 million loan from HSBC

Carro, a Singapore-based used car marketplace, has signed a SGD 75 million (USD 55.4 million) multicurrency loan with HSBC to fund its fintech arm, Genie Financial Services.

Genie Financial Services currently operates in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, leveraging data-driven lending to support its customers.

Carro is said to be the first client to tap into HSBC’s recently launched USD 1 billion ASEAN Growth Fund. —TechNode Global

Photo of Carro’s team in 2021.
Photo of Carro’s team in 2021. Photo from KrASIA’s archive.

Zepto bags USD 665 million at multibillion valuation

Zepto, an Indian quick commerce platform specializing in grocery deliveries, has raised USD 665 million in an investment round, increasing its valuation to USD 3.6 billion. The round saw participation from Avenir Growth Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Avra Capital.

Zepto, competing with Zomato’s Blinkit and Swiggy’s Instamart, plans to use the funds to double its dark stores to over 700 by March 2025. —Reuters

Recent deals completed in China:

  • Metis Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company, has raised USD 100 million in a Series C funding round. The round was led by CICC Capital, with participation from the Taiping HK I&T Fund under China Taiping Insurance Holdings. The funds will be used to advance the development of its AI-driven drug delivery platform and proprietary pipeline, supporting ongoing innovations in the drug delivery sector. Established in 2020, Metis focuses on leveraging AI for precise targeted drug delivery and drug discovery, aiming to develop innovative nanomaterials. 36Kr
  • TalentSec, a Shanghai-based cybersecurity firm, has raised tens of millions of RMB in a Series A funding round. The round was led by Eminence Ventures, with participation from existing investor Shunwei Capital and financial advisory by Cipher Capital. The new funds will be used to strengthen the company’s product capabilities and core competitiveness by creating value for more customers. Since its establishment in 2020, TalentSec has been specializing in solutions combining altered state machine (ASM) and AI technology. 36Kr
  • Tengyu Technology, a real-time interactive cloud service provider, has raised an undisclosed amount in a Series B funding round jointly led by Sealand Innovation and Fosun RZ Capital. The round also saw participation from Cornerstone Venture Capital, Zhongxiang Venture Capital, Guolian Shixun Information Technology, SCCI, 37 Interactive Entertainment, and Jiangxin Investment, with I&R Capital acting as the sole financial advisor. The funds will be used to further develop its solutions. 36Kr

Homa2u, Robo Co-op, VITG, and more led last Friday’s headlines:

  • Homa2u, a Malaysian platform for overstocked renovation and interior design materials, secured an additional USD 625,000 in its pre-Series A funding round from Asia Fund X (AFX), which is backed by MSW Ventures and Pavilion Capital.
  • Robo Co-op, a social enterprise focused on empowering refugees through digital learning, received a USD 700,000 investment from Ritsumeikan University’s Social Impact Fund (RSIF).
  • Virtual IT Group (VITG), an Australian IT services provider, signed a definitive agreement to secure investment from global mid-market private equity firm The Riverside Company. The financial details of this deal were not disclosed.

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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