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Daily Briefing

In Brief

Oct 5, 2018 by The Passage Team
In Brief

KKR, Tencent to invest in Philippine fintech firm

Source: Reuters

Private equity firm KKR & Co Inc and Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd are acquiring a minority stake in the fintech arm of Philippine telecom major PLDT Inc, the companies said on Thursday.

In a statement, PLDT said KKR and Tencent will turn into minority shareholders in Voyager Innovations Inc by separately acquiring a total of up to USD 175 million worth of new shares.

The deal is the largest investment to date in a Philippine technology company, said PLDT, which will retain a majority stake in Voyager. Last year, Jack Ma‘s Ant Financial Services Group invested in Globe Fintech Innovations Inc, the main Philippine competitor of Voyager. Philippine consumers, given the proliferation of smartphones, are increasingly subscribing to digital services like e-payments and online shopping.

Apple, Amazon deny hardware attack report

Source: Reuters

Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc denied a Bloomberg Businessweek report on Thursday that said their systems had been infiltrated by malicious computer chips inserted by Chinese intelligence agents.

Bloomberg cited 17 unidentified sources from intelligence agencies and business to support claims that Chinese spies had placed computer chips inside equipment used by about 30 companies and multiple U.S. government agencies, which would give Beijing secret access to internal networks.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to a written request for comment. Beijing has previously denied allegations of orchestrating cyber attacks against Western companies.

Omidyar to pump $250 mn in India

Source: Livemint

Omidyar Network India Advisors, the Indian arm of the Silicon Valley-based impact investor, plans to invest roughly USD 250 million in Indian ventures and organisations over the next four-to-five years, as it looks to bet big on the country’s booming internet ecosystem, a top company executive said.

In an interview, Omidyar India partner and managing director Roopa Kudva said the firm will look to enter new areas and sectors such as citizen-focused legal services, property rights and public platforms.

Omidyar, which has been in India for about 10 years, has already invested roughly USD 250 million in the country, backing about 73 organizations and start-ups, with 70% of those being equity investments and the rest being grants.

IronPillar closes $90 mn fund

Source: Livemint

Iron Pillar, a mid-stage-focused venture capital (VC) firm, has made the final close of its USD 90 million maiden fund, senior company executives said.

The company, founded by former Morgan Creek director Anand Prasanna, former Citigroup India investment banking head Sameer Nath and former DFJ India head Mohanjit Jolly, announced the first close at USD 20 million in May 2017.

The fund was primarily raised from overseas investors, with US entities contributing the most, managing partner Nath told Mint. “The US represents the largest limited partner (LP) base, followed by a diversified group of investors from Europe, the Middle East, Singapore and China. We have an India fund, too. Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC), the US government’s development finance institution, is our largest investor.

*UPI leaping ahead *

Source: The Economic Times

For small-value peer-to-peer transactions, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) that allows for instant bank-to-bank fund transfers is gradually taking the lead over mobile wallets.

A large chunk of peer-to-peer remittance payments that were happening through digital wallets is moving to UPI, said Naveen Surya, chairman emeritus of industry body Payments Council of India. He attributed this to the Reserve Bank of India’s mandatory KYC (know-your-customer) rules for digital wallet companies and the goods and services tax imposed on business transactions.

UPI transactions surged to about 405 million in September, up nearly 70% from about 235.65 million in July and 165% from about 151 million at the beginning of this year, show data shared by the RBI and the National Payments Corporation of India, which runs UPI.

SoftBank to invest $500 mn in Grab

Source: The Straits Times

SoftBank Group is nearing a deal to invest about USD 500 million (SGD 690.3 million) in Grab, South Asia's largest ride-hailing platform. The Singapore-headquartered Grab is seeking to raise USD 1 billion in its latest funding, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The six-year-old Grab has garnered more than USD 6 billion in total funding, led by SoftBank, Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing and Toyota Motor Corp. After its last funding a few months ago, Grab was valued at around USD 11 billion.

SoftBank first bought a stake worth USD 250 million in Grab in 2014 just as the two-year-old startup began competing with Uber Technologies in South-east Asia. Toyota and financial firms led the fundings earlier this year.

The Passage Team

The Passage is committed to creating in-depth content over technology industry across Asia with a focus on emerging startups in the technology, healthcare, education, food, tech, travel & mobility segments.

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