Startups that led in Series A funding in H1 2016

The enthusiasm of venture capitalists over Southeast Asian startups had been growing the recent years. In 2015 alone, the region has recorded 380 deals, the highest number of fundings recorded in the past five years, Tech in Asia’s data shows. From that amount, series A rounds jumped 60% to about $228.94 million, which signifies that the interest in the tech industry has not slowed down just yet.

Now moving towards the halfway of 2016, let’s look at 10 of the highest Series A fundings in the region:


Malaysia | $12M

The Fitness-focused startup Kfit, which promotes people to regularly exercise, scored the highest Series A funding in the Southeast Asian region at US$12 million, which was led by Venturra Capital, together with Susquehanna International Group, and Axiata Digital Innovation Fund. Previous investors Sequoia Capital India and 500 Startups also joined the round.

Launched in 2015 by Groupon Malaysia founder Joel Neoh, together with Chen Chow Yeoh, Kfit promotes fitness through a hyperlocal approach: providing information on available gyms and fitness classes’ schedules in its mobile app for a monthly membership fee.

The Malaysia-based startup has a total of 300,000 wellness activities in 5,000 partners in 10 cities in the Asa-Pacific region, including Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Taipei, Manila, Auckland, and Perth.

KFit has had over 250,000 reservations during the second half of 2015. With its fresh funding in February, the startup intends to improve its business by investing in technology and marketing.



Taiwan | $7M

Foxconn brings the second highest Series A in the region as it invested in Taiwan’s smart location technology Athentek for US$7 million last February.

The funding, which was also joined by Testrite Group, CSVi Capital, and MediaTek Inc.,  follows the startup’s February launch of its first smart wearable device in Hong Kong. Circo, the startup’s new product, provides the ability to locate family, friends, or pets, through the device’s combined technologies of GPS, AGPS, Wi-Fi, and Cell ID. The device has a matching mobile app, which will show the Circo user’s location in a map. Athentek is selling the device through csl Mobile and its physical stores.

With the new funds, the startup plans to expanding its design as well as its research and marketing teams in the U.S. Athentek is co-founded by CN Chen and is led by CEO Yi-Hsiu Wang.



Singapore | $7M

Tied with Athentek is Singapore-based Eyeota, which also received $7 million funding from Global Brain Corp. and joined by Infinity e.Ventures and Project A Ventures.

The adtech startup, which was founded by Kevin Tan, Kristina Prokop and Trent Lloyd  in 2010, uses business intelligence to provide information about the companies and brands’ target audience and their behavior, for a more effective marketing strategy.

With presence in Berlin, Düsseldorf, London, Melbourne, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo, and after more than doubling its staff count since its founding, Eyeota intends to further increase its teams in its international offices and expand to other markets.



Taiwan | $5.6M

iChef, another startup from Taiwan, also joins the highest funded startups in the region, with US$5.6 million in funding from AppWorks, CDIB, and CTBC Venture.

Founded in 2012 by restauranteur Sean Hsu, iChef is dubbed as the startup by the resturanteurs for, for the restuaranteurs, and provides an iPad-based point-of-sale system for food joints. The application allows restaurant owners or managers to record payments, and manage revenues and expenses.

The startup currently has over 1,000 restaurants as clients, with each paying an average of US$80 a month. The startup is focused on adding more customers and to build an analytics tool for its clients.


Cloud Alliance

Singapore | $5M

After only two months of operations, a Singapore-based software developer for gamers has already bagged US$5 million in Series A funding from Aetius Capital last May.

Cloud Alliance has yet to launch its product, which it will call CloudMoolah, and the startup’s funding will be allocated for the development of the product. But even before the flagship product gets launched, the startup has already closed a partnership deal with U.S.-based Unity Technologies for the company to use the software as a payment system. With the partnership, the startup targets to have the 5.5 million Unity game developers to use the platform.

Aetius’ founder and CEO Benjamin Cher also co-founded the software developer system startup for game developers.



Taiwan | $4.5M

KKday founder and CEO Ming Chen founded KKDay after its first-founded startup Eztravel exited in 2000, through CTrip’s acquisition. After connecting travellers to tour operators since its launch in 2015, Taiwan-based KKDay received $4.5 million funding from AppWorks Ventures and 91Capital.

KKDay covers destinations in 53 cities, including New York, Paris, Hong Kong and Bangkok. In January 2016 alone, the travel startup has generated revenues of about US$914,000. Since its start of operations, it has already recorded 5,000 unique travel experiences and put up local offices in Hong Kong.

KKDay intends to further expand its Asian operations and plans to increase local presence by putting up offices in Singapore, South Korea, and Japan.



Malaysia | $3M

Malaysia-based fintech startup Jirnexu has gone through some changes since its 2012 launch before it has solidified its customer acquisition and software management service. Formerly known as Savings Plus, it originally launched as a financial comparison website for Malaysians. Following its pivot, it launched a workflow management and CRM system XpressApply, which provides a simplified application process of financial services.

Its full stack product is currently being used by banks and has said to bring a 200% higher customer conversion rates as compared to the traditional marketing methods of financial institutions.

In May, the startup has nabbed US$3 million in funding from DMP, along with Celebes Capital, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, Nullabor, Tuas Capital Partners, and Anfield Equities. PropertyGuru co-founder and CEO Steve Melhuish also participated in the round.

Following the funding, the startup, which was co-founded by Yuen Tuck Siew, will concentrate on it product development, regional expansions, and growth in workforce.



Indonesia | $3M

Photo-sharing app PicMix joins the list of the top Series A fundings as it has bagged US$3 million in funding. Gobi Partners contributed US$1 million with the funding and the remaining coming from an undisclosed investor.

Since the Indonesian startup’s founding in 2012 until its funding in April, the PicMix app has been downloaded over 100 million times and is being used by about 27 million registered users. 35% of its users come from Indonesia, while 22% and 16% are from South Africa and Nigeria, respectively. Monthly active users comprise about half of the total registered users.

The startup intends to further improve the app’s user experience and add more features, including the creation of a technology that would allow the app to understand and analyze users’ needs and habits.



Singapore | $2.6M

A transformative solution for restaurants and hospitality firms has led for the Singapore-based TabSquare to receive a US$2.6 million round from Walden International, Infocomm Investments, Philip Private Equity, and Raging Bull.

The startup,  formed in 2012 by three INSTEAD graduates, provides tablet-based menus to restaurants, which customers can also use to redeem promotion and to pay. On top of the digital menu format, the same app has a cloud-based data warehouse and analytics engine that can provide restaurants information on its customers’ behavior and spending patterns.

TabSquare charges a monthly subscription fee, which would include the provision of the software, the hardware, internet connectivity, as well as maintenance and consulting. The startup currently has over 200 clients.

Medical Departures

Thailand | $2.5M

Joining the top ten in series A fundings in Southeast Asia is Thailand-based healthcare startup Medical Departures, which has bagged $2.5 million from Digital Media Partners, VC CyberAgent Ventures, Hubert Burda Media, and OPT SEA.

The startup provides a platform for patients to find affordable and quality healthcare abroad.  It has a list of medical professionals in various specializations in medical tourism destinations such as Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

Following the funding, Medical Departures intend to further scale its presence in the Southeast Asian region. Currently, its websites Medical Departures and Dental Departures has listed over 5,000 medical professionals.