Ecosystem Roundup: Fintech investments down in H1 2024 | Ninja Van slashes more jobs | Koo is shutting down

Dear reader,

The first half of 2024 witnessed a significant decline in fintech funding across Southeast Asia, reaching its lowest point in three years, as per a Tracxn report.

Total funding dropped to US$899 million, a 25% decrease from H1 2023. The macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges led to a sharp decline in seed and late-stage investments, with late-stage funding plummeting by 47% and seed-stage investments falling by 53%.

However, early-stage funding saw a 17% increase, indicating sustained investor interest in emerging ventures. Notably, investment tech surged by 666%, raising US$216 million, while banking tech funding grew by 59%.

Singapore remained the dominant hub, attracting over half of the total investments. Despite no fintech IPOs, the number of acquisitions rose to 16, reflecting ongoing industry consolidation.

Top investors like East Ventures and Y Combinator continue to play a crucial role.

Looking ahead, the region’s young population, extensive consumer base, and supportive government initiatives are poised to drive long-term fintech growth despite current setbacks.



Fintech funding in Southeast Asia hits a 3-year-low in H1 2024
The highest half-yearly fintech funding was recorded in H2 2021, after which it significantly dropped, thanks to the current macroeconomic conditions and geopolitical issues.

Ninja Van slashes more tech roles in second round of layoffs
A source said that the headcount in all tech departments would be slashed; This is the Singapore-based logistics startup’s second round of layoffs following an internal review; In April, the company laid off about 10% of its tech division.

Indian social network Koo is shutting down as buyout talks collapse
Despite securing over US$60M in funding from Accel, Tiger Global, etc., Koo faced significant challenges in expanding its user base and generating revenue over the past two years; Koo positioned itself as a competitor to Elon Musk’s X.

Investing GIC funds ‘not the solution’ to boost SG equity market: minister
This would compromise the government’s intention in setting up the sovereign wealth fund, said Chee Hong Tat, Singapore’s second minister for finance; This will not benefit Singapore and Singaporeans.

Meta plans to bring generative AI to metaverse games
According to a job listing, Meta is seeking to research and prototype “new consumer experiences” with new types of gameplay driven by generative AI, like games that “change every time you play them” and follow “non-deterministic” paths.

Bitcoin slides to four-month lows, ether sinks 8%
Bitcoin is on course for its worst weekly performance in a year, hurt by uncertainty over whether Joe Biden will remain the Democrats’s US presidential candidate and by worries about potential increases in crypto supply.

China’s BYD opens EV factory in Thailand, first in Southeast Asia
The BYD plant is part of a wave of investment worth more than $1.44 billion from Chinese EV makers who are setting up factories in Thailand, helped by government subsidies and tax incentives.

Spenmo parent launches new brand after rocky 2023
‘Summit’ offers two products for clients: a vendor invoice management tool and an employee expense management solution; Summit will be another name under Digital Services SG Five, marking the company’s new multibrand approach.

TASConnect acquires B2B marketplace SOLV’s Malaysia, Vietnam units
The deals will enable TASConnect and the SOLVs to provide end-to-end supply chain financing solutions to multinational corporation anchor ecosystems, SMEs, and financing partners. In addition, the mergers will offer synergies in costs and operations.

ESB gets funding from LX Ventures, SAIC Capital to develop EV infrastructure
ESB is a clean energy company focused on providing infrastructure for EVs players in Indonesia; Through its subsidiary PT Volta Indonesia Semesta, ESB manufactures electric motorcycles under the brand name Volta.

Petronas subsidiary partners with Virta to expand EV charging network in SEA
Over 2.4K charging points are already available in the region with a target to onboard another 2K points by the end of 2024.

Singapore, Jakarta continue to climb top startup ecosystem ranking
The Singapore startup ecosystem created US$144 billion in ecosystem value from July 2021 to December 2023, according to the new report.

Google: AI products, solutions to contribute US$146B to Singapore’s economy by 2030
The report also emphasises Singapore’s strategic positioning within the region to harness AI for economic growth.

Agri Sparta partners with national rice agency to empower rice farmers in Indonesia
The agritech firm will provide high-quality inputs and provide modern farming services, such as transplanters, precision input via agricultural drones, and combined harvesters.


APAC’s public sector sees crypto as a vehicle for cybercrimes: Chainalysis
The rise in cybercrimes contributed to a more pessimistic outlook on cryptocurrency in Southeast Asia, says Chainalysis exec.

How HELF uses AI to tackle the severe shortage of healthcare manpower
As a medical doctor, HELF AI founder Dr Reid Lim saw how the pandemic and subsequent human burnout led to a healthcare manpower shortage.

Top 10 startup investment deals in June in Southeast Asia
With 11 deals, seed-stage rounds dominated the overall startup funding scene in June, followed by 10 early-stage deals and four late-stage ones.


Otoklix CEO on Indonesia’s upcoming EV aftermarket
Indonesia’s ambitious EV adoption plan underscores the critical need for robust nationwide charging and battery-swapping infrastructure.

Halfway through 2024: Reflections and insights
As we navigate the remainder of 2024, these insights and lessons will guide my efforts to contribute positively to my industry and society.

AI at work: Moving forward with employee engagement
While AI can revolutionise employee engagement, it requires thoughtful implementation, ethics, and a human-centric approach.

Asia’s climate tech: Communicating solutions and avoiding greenwashing
Examining the role of effective communication in bolstering climate tech solutions and critically unpacking cross-industry greenwashing.

Revolutionising domestic payments: MAS’s pilot program for wholesale CBDCs
MAS’s pilot of wholesale CBDCs reflects global central banks’ shift to digital currencies, balancing benefits and mitigating cryptocurrency risks.

Funding your startup journey: A step-by-step guide to VC rounds
By aligning goals with investor expectations at each stage, startups can improve their chances of securing the funding for long-term success.


Tokens 101: How they work and where they provide value
Crypto tokens can be fungible and non-fungible and understanding the difference is crucial to navigating the blockchain.

Experts advocate thoughtful regulation for the rapid rise of Generative AI
Southeast Asia’s AI leaders discuss Generative AI’s rise, emphasising responsible innovation, ethical governance, and the urgent need for thoughtful regulation.

How Futurise supports tech innovation in Malaysia through policy-making
Futurise has been mandated to drive the National Regulatory Sandbox, facilitating collaboration to develop progressive regulatory frameworks.

‘GovTech Edu wants to become a thinking partner of Indonesian government, not a feature factory’
GovTech Edu prioritises user needs, conducts in-depth research, and focuses on teacher training to build tech solutions and make an impact.

Superlative Secret Society, the community behind Indonesia’s first offline NFT gallery
Superlative Secret Society launches an offline gallery to educate the wider public and local artists community about the advantages of NFTs.

Book Excerpt: How I survived an elevator pitch session with Tim Draper
In this book, Zopim Founder Royston Tay shares his experience pitching his startup idea to legendary investor Tim Draper.

Women as a focus of impact investment: Does it bring more harm than good?
One panellist argues that putting women at the centre of impact investment is counterproductive to the goal of promoting gender equality.

3 things I have learned about the SEA startup ecosystem in the last 8 years
One of them includes refraining from doing harm. Because, in this close-knit startup ecosystem, someone will always find out.

Can free-to-play models ignite new player interest in Web3 gaming?
As opposed to only playing for fun, Web3 gaming via P2E takes it one step further through rewards that can be converted into local currency.

7 trends changing the reality of immersive gaming
Immersive gaming is now a profession for competitive e-sports organisations and players of all backgrounds.

From zero to 90M downloads: Strategies for growing an audience in global markets
We talk about Zenhom’s strategies for entering new markets and why there’s no such thing as “over-communication” in a remote workplace.

Book Excerpt: In this digital age, customer journey as we know it may no longer exist
In his upcoming new book, JC Sum stresses why changes are inevitable –and that they do not discriminate between small or big firms.

Pivoting beyond product: You need to look at your company/work culture, too
During a crisis, getting the team on board with new plans amidst a very palpable crisis requires shifts in culture.

The post Ecosystem Roundup: Fintech investments down in H1 2024 | Ninja Van slashes more jobs | Koo is shutting down appeared first on e27.

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