FB Pixel no scriptDeals in brief: Purpose Venture Capital backs Bioworks, Grab injects SGD 145.1 million into GXS Bank, former Twitter CEO raises funding for AI startup, and more | KrASIA

Deals in brief: Purpose Venture Capital backs Bioworks, Grab injects SGD 145.1 million into GXS Bank, former Twitter CEO raises funding for AI startup, and more

Written by KrASIA Writers Published on   5 mins read

Bringing you the latest news briefs on fundraising activities in the Asia Pacific.

Purpose Venture Capital invests in Bioworks

The Singapore-based early-stage venture capital firm has invested in Bioworks through a third-party allotment of new shares. Purpose Venture Capital is one of several investors participating in this investment, alongside Lavender Hill Capital, 18 Salisbury Capital, and Yagi & Co, among others. The firm did not disclose the exact amount it invested in the company.

Bioworks, headquartered in Kyoto, is a new material creation company. The capital infusion will be used for R&D, human resources, and the expansion of its product portfolio. Additionally, funds will be allocated for entering new markets and growing the business both domestically and internationally.

Grab injects SGD 145.1 million into GXS Bank

The Southeast Asian superapp has reportedly injected SGD 145.1 million (USD 108.9 million) into digital bank GXS Bank, as reported by DealStreetAsia and corroborated by regulatory data from Alternatives.pe.

GXS Bank is a joint venture between Grab and Singtel, a Singapore-listed telecommunications company, and was one of the first digital banks to launch offerings in Singapore.

This capital infusion is part of a series of investments by Grab into GXS Bank. Grab had previously invested SGD 75.8 million (USD 56.9 million) in April 2023, followed by a SGD 137 million (USD 102.8 million) injection in July of the same year.

Grab and Singtel are reportedly planning to further invest in GXS Bank, with an additional SGD 229.5 million (USD 172.2 million) earmarked for injection into the digital bank in Q3 2024.

Former Twitter CEO raises USD 30 million for new AI startup

Parag Agrawal, the former CEO of Twitter (now known as X), is establishing a new artificial intelligence startup and has raised around USD 30 million to support this new venture, according to The Information. The investment was reportedly led by Khosla Ventures, with contributions from Index Ventures and First Round Capital.

Agrawal was the CEO of Twitter from November 21 until October 2022, when he was replaced by Elon Musk, who had assumed the role after taking over the company for USD 44 billion.

Agrawal’s new startup will focus on creating software for large language model (LLM) developers, according to unnamed sources.

Parag Agrawal was the CEO of Twitter from November 21 until October 2022 and was replaced by Elon Musk after the latter took over the company. Twitter was subsequently rebranded as X, and Musk served as the interim CEO before passing the position to Linda Yaccarino, the former chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, in June 2023.

SK Networks invests KRW 25 billion in Upstage

SK Networks, a general trading affiliate of South Korean conglomerate SK Group, has announced that it will invest KRW 25 billion (USD 19 million) in Upstage, a startup specializing in the development of generative AI solutions. This investment will position SK Networks as the lead investor in Upstage’s Series B funding round.

In its statement, a representative from SK Networks said that the investor will actively support Upstage to “thrive on the international stage” by leveraging its global network.

Upstage is a prominent startup known for its development of small-scale LLMs. —The Korea Herald

Sprout Solutions acquires JustPayroll’s Philippine operations

The Philippine human resource solution provider has acquired the operations of JustPayroll, a provider of payroll solutions in the Philippines. This acquisition covers all existing local clients and employees of JustPayroll.

In a statement shared by Sprout Solutions, David Bell, CEO of JustPayroll, said that the company agreed to the acquisition in an effort to simplify its operations in Asia, having made the decision to exit from the Philippine market and focus on its business process outsourcing (BPO) and professional employer organization (PEO) offerings.

Recent deals completed in China:

  • Chipfy, a provider of high-end chip IP design services, has raised an undisclosed amount of investment from MiraclePlus. The funds will be used to expedite product development and commercialization. 36Kr
  • EnjoSim, a Shanghai-based medtech company specializing in self-administration systems for biomacromolecule drugs, has raised an eight-figure RMB sum in pre-Series A funding from Lightspeed China Partners. EnjoSim will utilize the funds to scale its production lines and expand into new markets. 36Kr
  • Benflow, a Hefei-based energy storage technology company, has completed its inaugural round of financing, securing an undisclosed amount of investment. The company intends to utilize the funds for the development and implementation of various projects, the establishment of a comprehensive digital platform, and the expansion of its team. 36Kr
  • Summer Farm, a Hangzhou-headquartered food logistics company, has completed a new funding round, bagging an undisclosed amount of investment. The names of the investors have yet to be disclosed. Lighthouse Capital was appointed as the long-term financial advisor. Summer Farm will utilize the funds for business expansion. 36Kr
  • TechnoDerma Medicines, a Chengdu-based biopharmaceutical company, has banked an eight-figure RMB sum in a pre-Series B funding round from Zoo Capital. The funds will be used primarily to advance the company’s pipeline of clinical projects. 36Kr
  • HQ-Nano, a Zhuhai-based provider of high-end chip testing services, has secured close to RMB 100 million (USD 14 million) in a Series A funding round led by SDIC Venture Capital with the support of Guangdong Technology Financial Group. The funds will be allocated toward R&D. 36Kr
  • Keylights Biotechnology, a Shenzhen-based developer of in-vitro diagnostic systems, has completed its Series B funding round, raising nearly RMB 100 million. The round was led by Shandong Luxin High-tech Industry and saw participation from Hanpan Venture Capital. Keylights will utilize the funds to commercialize its products. 36Kr
  • Zuni Technology Group, a HR solution provider headquartered in Guangzhou and Hong Kong, has secured an eight-figure RMB sum in strategic funding from Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing and Xiaoyudian (XYD). 36Kr

Latest deals in India:

  • Varthana, an education-focused lending startup, has raised USD 14 million in a follow-on investment from existing shareholder Blue Earth Capital. The startup is preparing for its Series D funding round and will use the capital to expand financial support to a wider network of private schools in India. —Inc42
  • Yulu, an electric mobility startup, has secured INR 250 million (USD 3 million) in debt financing from Northern Arc Capital. The startup last raised funding in September 2022, when it received USD 82 million from Magna International in a Series B funding round. —Entrackr
  • FlexifyMe, a health tech platform, has completed its seed funding round, securing INR 100 million (USD 1.2 million). The round was led by IvyCap Ventures and Flipkart Ventures, and saw participation from other investors including GSF, Chandigarh Angels, Venture Catalyst, and Ah! Ventures. The final sum secured includes the USD 1 million raised by FlexifyMe in September last year, through its participation in Flipkart Ventures’ Leap Ahead program.

BroilerX, Gmee Biotech, ConveGenius, and more led last Friday’s headlines:

  • BroilerX, a Yogyakarta-headquartered poultry tech startup, reportedly raised IDR 23 billion (USD 1.47 million) following the completion of a pre-Series A funding round. This round saw the participation of Saison Capital, Insignia Ventures Partners, Kopital Ventures, and Orvel Ventures.
  • Gmee Biotech, a Guangzhou-based biotechnology company behind skincare brand Gmeelan, secured an eight-figure RMB sum in a pre-Series A funding round led by AC Ventures with the support of Lightspeed China Partners. Waverider Capital was the financial advisor appointed for this round. 36Kr
  • ConveGenius, an edtech startup specializing in AI-based chatbots and adaptive learning platforms, raised USD 7 million in a funding round from UBS Optimus Foundation, Mount Judi Ventures, as well as its existing investors including the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF), Bace Capital, Heritas Capital, and Gray Matters 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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