Editor's take: The week that was—April 8-13

Editor's take: The week that was—April 8-13

Subscribe to our newsletter

This week, DealStreetAsia released its latest report titled The Great Crossover of Fintech and Digibanks, which analyses the challenges faced by fintech players amid Indonesia’s evolving financial landscape. While traditional lenders have entered the turf of fintech firms by launching services such as BNPL, standalone digital banks have also been taking on fintech lenders. This comes even as pure fintech players, especially P2P lenders, face several headwinds, including a rise in bad loans.

Moving on to the other headlines of the week.

LP-GP updates

In a rare move in the investment landscape, Swiss specialist investment manager SUSI Partners has reopened the SUSI Asia Energy Transition Fund, which closed in May 2023 after raising $120 million, for top-up investments. Separately, it has invested in Alba Renewables, a Singapore-headquartered company that develops, constructs, and operates renewable energy projects across the APAC region.

Amid China jitters, private equity (PE) investors are increasingly turning to other regions to diversify their investment portfolios. Even as India, Japan, and Southeast Asia are markets being considered for new deals in the Asia-Pacific region, many Western investors are also favouring parking their capital back in their home markets, Asante Capital partner Ricardo Felix said.

Singapore’s state investor Temasek Holdings has opened an office in Paris to grow its presence in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa where it has a S$47-billion exposure, amounting to nearly 12% of its total assets.

BP Ventures, the investment arm of global energy giant BP, is actively scouting for investment opportunities in Asia as it looks to invest approximately $1 billion in startups over the next three to four years.

Bangkok-based alternative investment firm 9Basil Group has acquired Singapore-based AlteriQ Global, a boutique Asia-Pacific private credit platform, thereby foraying into the private credit market.

Venture capital (VC) fund Synapses, founded by veteran investors Ruchira Shukla and Karthik Chandrasekar, has launched its maiden investment vehicle, targeting a corpus of $125 million to invest in the climate and healthtech sectors.

Paris-based quantum technologies-focused VC firm Quantonation Ventures has hit a €70-million ($75.3 million) first close for its €200-million Fund II.

Global supermarket chains, including Tesco, Australia’s Woolworths and Africa’s biggest grocery retailer Shoprite, have teamed up to launch a $125-million VC fund to accelerate retail innovation.

Alpha Intelligence Capital, a Luxembourg-based VC firm, has hit a $150 million close for its second artificial intelligence fund which is targeting a corpus of at least $250 million amid a boom in the sector.

Filter Capital, a Mumbai-based investment firm focused on technology-led businesses, has closed its debut fund at Rs 800 crore (about $100 million).

Nippon Life India AIF Management, which has backed VC firms such as 3one4 Capital, Fireside Ventures, and Arkam Ventures, is currently on the road to raise its second fund, targeting a corpus of $150-180 million.

Cornerstone Ventures, a Mumbai-headquartered VC firm, has launched its second vehicle, targeting a corpus of $200 million. The amount includes a green-shoe option.

Prowess Advisors, an advisory firm that took over early-stage VC fund Kalpavriksh from Mumbai-based asset manager Centrum Alternatives last year, is planning to launch separate vehicles for debt and equity investments, with a focus on the food and agriculture sector in India.

Deals counter

Indonesia-focused mid-market PE firm Falcon House is understood to have exited its investment in Brawijaya Hospital & Clinic to IDX-listed investment firm Saratoga and Persada Capital Investama, an investment company run by a local conglomerate.

Vietnam-based hospital chain operator Medical Laboratory and Technology has initiated fundraising talks with a host of PE firms, DealStreetAsia has learnt.

China’s CDH Investments has bought a 5% interest in grocery chain Bach Hoa Xanh, a unit of Vietnamese retail major Mobile World.

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC has doubled down on its investment in Vietnam-based paediatric and maternity clinic chain operator Nhi Dong 315, according to regulatory filings.

Alibaba has injected another $251.7 million into its Singapore unit, according to regulatory filings, as the Chinese tech giant continues to double down on Southeast Asia.

Dutch development bank FMO is mulling a proposal to invest $30 million in Energy Mark, a Singapore holding company set up by Eversource Capital, a joint venture between Indian PE firm Everstone Capital and the UK-based Lightsource BP, according to a disclosure.

Indian government-backed investment platform National Investment and Infrastructure Fund has invested $200 million for a majority stake in iBUS Network and Infrastructure.

PE firm Warburg Pincus has acquired a stake in Appasamy Associates, an Indian manufacturer of ophthalmic equipment and devices.

US-based Invesco has marked up the valuation of food delivery startup Swiggy by 19% to $12.7 billion ahead of its initial public offering.

Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is buying a 20% stake in HDFC Bank’s non-banking unit, HDB Financial Services, valuing the IPO-bound subsidiary at $9-10 billion, per a media report.

Emergency medical response company RED.Health (formerly StanPlus) is in talks to raise around $27 million in its Series B round from a host of investors, DealStreetAsia has learnt.

HashKey Group, the operator of Hong Kong’s biggest licensed cryptocurrency exchange, has launched a new global trading platform in the first step of its ambitious global business expansion.

Chinese communications baseband chip developer Cygnusemi has closed a Series B funding round at over 500 million yuan ($69.1 million) at a valuation of almost $500 million.

D3 Bio, a clinical-stage biotech company backed by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and Boyu Capital, has closed a $62-million Series A+ round of financing to advance its pipeline of cancer drugs.

Terminus Group, which leverages artificial intelligence and Internet of Things to provide smart city solutions, has pocketed 2 billion yuan ($276.4 million) in a Series D round co-led by AL Capital, a single-family office backed by Australian luxury property developer Aqualand Group.

TDHX Industrial Network Security, a Chinese provider of industrial cybersecurity solutions, has raised 800 million yuan ($110.6 million) in a Series E round co-led by Svolt Capital, the investment arm of Great Wall Holdings, which is the biggest stakeholder in Great Wall Motor.

Chinese electric heavy-duty truck developer Windrose Technology has completed the second phase of its Series B round to bring the overall fundraising in this round to $110 million.

Deep dives

March was a record-breaking month for startup fundraising in Greater China after a cautious start to the year in January and muted dealmaking amid the Lunar New Year holidays in February. Last month, 177 privately-held firms headquartered in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan raised almost $13.9 billion—the largest monthly deal value since DealStreetAsia started tracking deals in the market in April 2020.

Hong Kong’s stock exchange has experienced its quietest first quarter since 2009, with only 12 new listings raising a mere HK$4.7 billion ($600 million), marking a significant downturn in the city’s IPO activity.

Japan’s data centres are a hot target for Singapore’s real estate investment trusts, with the city-state’s asset managers raising exposure to information technology infrastructure and potentially setting the tone for more property investors in Asia to follow suit.

Indonesia’s tech talent market is undergoing a major churn amid market corrections and layoffs, as well as the threat of AI looming large. Tech professionals, who commanded hefty pay cheques in the pre-pandemic era, are not only under the constant fear of losing jobs but also toning down their salary expectations as the market is flooded with laid-off workers.

Jakarta-based fintech firm KoinWorks saw its losses widen by 585% in 2022 from a year earlier even as its revenue increased by about 68%, according to regulatory filings by its Singapore-registered parent company.

Indonesian VC firm Indogen Capital is advising startups to go public in Tokyo as shares traded on the Japanese market are surging this year. “Now, in 2024, suddenly the JPX is becoming prime, even better than the Nasdaq or even the [New York Stock Exchange],” managing partner Chandra Firmanto said, referring to the Japan Exchange Group, which operates the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

At least two Chinese fund managers have applied to launch bitcoin exchange-traded funds in Hong Kong, as the city looks to burnish its financial hub credentials by following the US in allowing widely accessible products tied to cryptocurrency assets.

Even as the crypto venture sector was grappling with one of the chilliest fundraising winters in 2023, venture investors have been increasingly drawn to the solutions, protocols, and applications that are dedicated to improving the efficiency and capabilities of the Bitcoin blockchain network.

Malaysia has emerged, or rather re-emerged, as a major destination for chip investment as companies like Intel and Infineon Technologies seek to diversify their production footprints.

Bring stories like this into your inbox every day.

Sign up for our newsletter - The Daily Brief
Subscribe to Newsletter

This is your last free story for the month. Register to continue reading our content