A Recap on What Happened This Week: Asian Startup News Overview (15th January- 20th January)
By: Asia Business Outlook Team
Asia's startups are thriving at an unprecedented rate, thanks to a booming ecosystem, a tech-savvy population, and innovative thinking. Venture Capital (VC) deals in the region reached an all-time high of USD $152.68 billion in 2018, before declining in 2019-2020 and reaching USD $32.62 billion in early 2023.
This week, we saw that Shein, a fashion retailer brand, is in talks to raise funds at a lower valuation of $64 billion, while a Singapore firm Good Meat, a cultivated meat division of food technology company Eat Just, Inc., received approval to commercialize Serum. -Free Media. This week, we saw some Asian startups raising funds, while others were seen getting approval to expand their scalability into A-PAC.
Shein is in talks to raise funds at a lower valuation of $64 billion, according to the Financial Times. According to people familiar with the negotiations, Chinese fashion retailer Shein is in talks to raise up to $3 billion at a reduced valuation of $64 billion, according to the Financial Times on Wednesday.
The new valuation is nearly 36% lower than the $100 billion the company was reportedly valued at in a funding round last year.
Big tech and growth stocks bore the brunt of a prolonged rout last year, worsened by aggressive interest rate hikes that sent the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index down 33% in 2022.
According to reports, a selloff in global markets following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and subsequent Western sanctions was the final straw, prompting companies such as Shein to postpone their plans to list in the United States.
GOOD Meat, the cultivated meat division of Eat Just, Inc., announced today that the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has granted it a new, first-in-the-world regulatory approval for the use of serum-free media in the production of cultivated meat.
This technical and regulatory achievement will result in increased scalability, lower manufacturing costs, and a more sustainable product.
It also paves the way for larger quantities of real, high-quality chicken to be produced from cells rather than slaughtered animals.
App for saving and investing backed by Y Combinator Gullak has raised $3 million in seed funding from YC and Rebel partners, as well as its existing investor Better Capital.
Good water capital, GMO fintech fund, TRTL ventures, and angel investors Kunal Shah (Cred), Akshay Mehrotra and Ashish Goyal (Early salary), Kevin Moore, amongst others, also participated in the round.
The funds will be used by the startup to increase average revenue per unit (ARPU) by offering financial products, strengthening its current product, and expanding its user base. It also intends to make some investments in community development and financial literacy.
According to a January 18 press release, Biogenes Technologies Sdn Bhd (Biogenes), a Malaysian biotech startup, has received US$5.7 million in Series A funding from Pembangunan Ekuiti Sdn Bhd (PESB).
The new PESB funds will be used to expand Biogenes' proprietary technology platforms across Southeast Asia, specifically in the Philippines and Indonesia, where Biogenes has signed collaboration agreements.
"With this support, Biogenes will invest in a medical-grade manufacturing facility, advancing our technology portfolio," Tang KM, Biogenes' co-founder and CEO, said in a press release.
PeopleFund, a South Korean marketplace that connects borrowers and investors to facilitate lending, recently increased its Series C funding to $63.4 million.
The extension was led by existing backer Bain Capital, with participation from previous investors including Access Ventures, CLSA Capital Partners Lending Ark Asia, D3 Jubilee Partners, 500 Global, Kakao Investment, TBT Partners, and IBX Partners.
The additional funding brings PeopleFund's total equity raise to around $100 million. In addition to the capital, PeopleFund has secured $240 million in debt financing from Goldman Sachs, CLSA Lending Ark Asia, and Bain Capital for 2022. When asked, the company refused to disclose its valuation.