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SG-based Glife raises $2.9m Series A extension led by Heliconia Capital

DealStreetAsia

Singapore-based foodtech company Glife has secured S$4 million ($2.88 million) in a Series A extension round led by Temasek subsidiary Heliconia Capital, according to regulatory filings.

The round was joined by Malaysia’s Hibiscus Fund, Quest Ventures and individual investors, show Glife’s filings with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

Prior to the Series A1 round, Glife had raised $10.34 million in total. Series A1 investor Quest Ventures had previously invested in the startup’s pre-seed round in 2019.

Founded in 2018 by Justin Chou, who is also the executive director of plant-based food supplier Growthwell and co-founder of vegetarian food chain Greendot, Glife runs an app and website that enable food and beverage businesses to buy, manage, and track their orders.

Last month, Glife acquired a controlling stake in Bali-based farm-to-table startup PanenID, and Malaysia’s Yolek, a distributor to hotels, restaurants and catering companies. Earlier this month, it announced an investment in Vietnamese agritech supply chain startup Koina.

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AIFC participant «BILLZ» raised $650,000 with support of VentureRocket Eurasia

Kazinform

The AIFC member, Uzbekistan-based retail startup, «BILLZ», has successfully closed a $650 000 investment round, led by a Singapore-based venture capital (VC) firm Quest Ventures, that invests in innovative projects in the region, and Sturgeon Capital, a London-based VC fund that invests in early-stage innovative projects.

BILLZ (https://billz.uz/) is an easy-to-use retail management software powered with POS, inventory management, CRM, e-commerce, and analytics for small and medium sized businesses. It helps to save time on daily retail operations and sell more by using marketing tools and analytics,

Mr James Tan, Managing Partner of Quest Ventures, said: «BILLZ is a great example of how digitalization and automation in retail can be improved at scale. It empowers employees to focus on more value-added functions, increases efficiency, and uplifts employability». Mr James Tan, in turn, will join the company’s Board of Directors.

The raised funds are planned to be spent on the further development of the product – business model validation, developing new functionality, and the geographical growth of the project, by entering new markets.

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Quest Ventures leads Uzbekistan SaaS firm’s $650k raise

Tech In Asia

Uzbekistan-based Billz, a retail business management software, has raised US$650,000 in a funding round led by Quest Ventures. Sturgeon Capital also returned after making a US$150,000 investment in an earlier round.

This will fund the firm’s expansion plans within the Commonwealth of Independent States as it grows its development team and marketing efforts.

Billz provides point of sale, inventory management, customer relationship management, ecommerce, and analytics services with SMEs as its target users. It also links to social media platforms’ marketplaces.

Billz was founded in 2017 by Rustam Khamdamov, Jakhongir Narzullaev, and Vadim Zakharyan. The company said that it has 800 retail locations across Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

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SoftBank Ventures Asia Leads $5.8 Million Investment In Korean Autonomous Shipping Startup

Forbes

SoftBank Ventures Asia, the venture arm of Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group, led a $5.8 million round in South Korean autonomous navigation startup Seadronix, bringing its total funding to date to $8.3 million.

The autonomous shipping industry in Asia has seen a wave of investment over the past few years, dovetailing with a global push towards “smarter” autonomous transportation. Toyota AI Ventures, for example, launched a $100 million fund in 2019 for autonomous mobility, covering the shipping industry with an investment in Boston-based Sea Machines.

Last August, Boston Consulting Group’s innovation arm, BCG Digital Ventures, invested in three Singapore-based maritime tech startups. Quest Ventures, also based in the city-state, launched a $7.5 million maritime technology fund last year, in collaboration with Singapore-based ShipsFocus.

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Kra-Verse Food Hall combines food delivery with the metaverse

Marketing Interactive

Cloud kitchen operator Kraver’s Canteen, which has been building cloud kitchen facilities for delivery-only restaurants, has recently launched the Kra-Verse Food Hall, which mixes the convenience of ordering online with an immersive metaverse experience.

As Kraver’s Canteen co-founder Eric Dee envisions it, the Kra-Verse Food Hall will elevate the dining-and/or-delivery activity through an online virtual restaurant location that has the potential to offer customers seemingly unlimited opportunities to choose and indulge their food cravings. At the same time, food companies that become part of the Kra-Verse Food Hall could try out new markets and build their brands.

Kraver’s Canteen, which has positioned itself as one of the Philippines’ most successful cloud kitchen businesses since its establishment in 2020, has ten kitchens in Metro Manila in its network.

Meanwhile, the Kra-Verse Food Hall will introduce new food brands to Filipino foodies such as  NBA legend Dwayne Wade’s D.Wade Burgers.

Shortly after launching Kra-Verse Food Hall, Kraver’s Canteen raised US$3 million in a series A round led by Quest Ventures and joined by Foxmont Capital, Oak Drive Ventures, and Kaya Founders.

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Philippine cloud kitchen firm Kraver’s Canteen secures $3M Series A led by Quest Ventures

TechNode Global

The Kraver’s Group has secured $3 million in Series A funding. Best known for its cloud kitchen startup Kraver’s Canteen which runs 11 cloud kitchens in the Philippines. The two-year-old startup’s Series A funding round was led by Quest Ventures Asia Fund II as its first investment in the Philippines.

Kraver’s Canteen is Quest Ventures’ third cloud kitchen investment in the region, having previously invested in Indonesian cloud kitchen operator Yummy Corp.

Founded in 2020, Kraver’s Canteen is led by its Head of Tech and Operations Victor Lim along with Head of Food and Product, Eric Dee, as well as Victor Mapua, Head of Infrastructure and Finance. Kraver’s Canteen raised $1.5 million in April 2021 during its Seed funding round.

Kraver’s technology provides high-end meal experiences for its customers by allowing them to heat food without using a microwave. Moreover, Kraver has a metaverse experience – Kra-Verse Food Hall – to make the ordering experience fun for their customers. An online brand known as Krave is featured on the Kra-verse Food Hall, allowing it to address food trends quickly due to its ability to add and remove items rapidly as a cloud kitchen. Kraver plans to incorporate this technology into many different brands.

“The three Kraver’s founders have demonstrated a granular-level understanding of the cloud kitchen business and its ancillary domains; their unique backgrounds and experiences have added management bench diversity, making them even stronger when they come together.” Said Jeffrey Seah, Partner of Quest Ventures Asia Fund II.

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Gokongwei-backed cloud kitchen startup raises US$3m to fight ‘delivery fatigue’

The Business Times

THE Kraver’s Group, a Philippine cloud kitchen operator backed by Lance Gokongwei and Christopher Po, has gotten a funding boost out of Singapore.

The 2-year-old startup has raised US$3 million in Series A funding led by Singapore’s Quest Ventures, an early-stage investor that has also backed Indonesian cloud kitchen operator Yummy Corp.

The startup also previously bagged US$1.5 million in pre-Series A funding. Investors included Foodee and several corporate titans – Gokongwei, who is chairman at Robinsons Group and chief executive of Philippine conglomerate JG Summit; Po, chairman of canned food giant Century Pacific; and George Pua, president of F&B operator Meat Concepts.

Other early investors include Philippine venture builder Kaya Founders; early-stage venture firm Foxmont Capital; Brian Cu, who set up the Philippine units of Grab and Zalora; and Paulo Campos III, who also set up Zalora Philippines.

Both Cu and Campos, alongside Gokongwei and Po, are on the board of Kraver’s. With the latest round, Jeffrey Seah, partner at Quest Ventures, is also joining the board.

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Hiring made easy: How to survive the talent war against tech behemoths?

As the tech talent war intensifies and more companies chuck large sums of money to poach talents, it is no doubt why 65 per cent of those looking out indicated salary as the primary reason. After all, senior software engineers at the 90 percentile earn US$11,500, according to the Tech Talent Compensation 2021/2022 Report by NodeFlair and Quest Ventures.

However, not all companies are fortunate enough to be armed with a massive war chest to compete with the tech giants like Bytedance, Foodpanda and FAANG. After all, these companies pay at least 25 per cent above the market median on average.

So, how can you survive the talent war against these tech behemoths?

Besides salary, non-compensation benefits play a deciding factor when choosing which company to join.

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Younger entrepreneurs are on the rise, seeking more than stability and security

The Business Times

BENJAMIN Wong was 27 years old when he decided to take things into his own hands and become his own boss.

Together with his friend Hafiz Kasman, the two Singapore Management University (SMU) graduates founded their own business in 2020. The company, Kinobi, is a career guidance service platform that aims to help graduates in Singapore and Indonesia accelerate their careers.

Entrepreneurship is driving its reach out to the younger crowd, enticing university students and fresh graduates to jump on the bandwagon and seek startup success.

Entrepreneurial education has also contributed to a growth of interest in the field of study, said Ng.

He cited the NUS Overseas College’s internship programme as one that has played a role in shaping students’ inclination towards entrepreneurship.

Aside from NUS, other universities such as Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University and Singapore Institute of Management provide courses in entrepreneurship as well, allowing students to pursue second majors or minors in the field of study.

Entering into these programmes in university helps them to crystallise their passion right before they go out to work, and they are presented with the opportunity to found their own startups, said James Tan, founder of Quest Ventures and chairman of ACE (Action Community for Entrepreneurship).

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Into the New World: Pioneers of virtual economy emerge as victors amongst ventures

Singapore Business Review

In an era where mobile phones have replaced wallets, where online commerce has slowly taken over physical retail, and where transactions have become borderless, it is no surprise that fintech startups dominated the eleventh edition of Singapore Business Review’s 20 Hottest Startups, taking over eight of the 20 spots in the list.

Leading the pack in terms of latest funding is Spenmo which has already raised $45.70m, followed by Syfe ($40.33m), Volopay ($39.59m), Endowus ($35m), CyberHash ($26.96m), Xen Capital ($10.08m), Jenfi ($6.3m), and STACS ($4.85m).

What makes these startups—and fintech, in general—attractive to investors is that they are pandemic resilient, and they are taking part in the strengthening of the digital commerce ecosystem, according to Quest Ventures’ head of Environmental, Social & Governance and director of Sustainable Impact Accelerator, Michelle Ng.

Quest Ventures’ Ng urged founders who are just starting to raise funds for their startup to “focus on solving real-world problems and value creation for your users and stakeholders.”

Ng, for her part, said Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) must be on top of startups’ strategy and operations, as VCs also look into this aspect.

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