Taiwanese Style Stewed Veego with Basil Leaf


Grab nabs US$700M from Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group to bring financial services to users

Singapore-based ride-hailing startup Grab has announced that it has raised more than US$700 million from Japan’s bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, as reported by Bloomberg. In total, Grab now has about US$9.8 billion in its dispense.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group intends to integrate its financial services to Grab’s users.

Grab last raised an extensive Series H round in 2018 and 2019, worth US$1.5 billion investment from SoftBank Vision Fund. It was then followed by a US$300 million funding led by Invesco.

Facebook participates in Indian edutech startup Unacademy’s US$110M Series E funding

Unacademy, a Bengaluru-based edutech startup, has onboarded Facebook as one of its latest investors in its Series E round of US$110 million funding. Inc42 reports that General Atlantic also joined the Series E round, along with Sequoia India, Nexus Venture Partners, Steadview Capital, Blume Ventures, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart, and Sujeet Kumar, cofounder, Udaan.

Unacademy has said that it plans to use the funds to launch more exam categories, test preparation categories, acquire top educators, and create more learning experiences for the learners through its content and product. In addition to raising the funding, Unacademy also provided exits to some of the angel investors.

Founded in 2010 by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, and Hemesh Singh, Unacademy first began with a free YouTube tutorial to teach students. In 2015, the company began offering free learning in lessons on every possible topic in multiple languages.

Also Read: Unacademy raises US$4.5M, now educators to create free online courses

India clocked a staggering US$2 billion in the edutech industry, with Datalabs by Inc42 recorded around 4450 edutech startups in India with most capital injected into the test preparation and online certification segments.


Singapore’s biotech Life3 Biotech to introduce an agri-food pilot facility

Supported by Singapore Land Authority and Singapore Food Agency, the city-state will have its first plant-based alternative protein production facility to enhance food security developed by biotech startup Life3 Biotech.

Based in Singapore, the startup synergises knowledge in urban agriculture, biotechnology, and food science to develop sustainable functional food and beverages, and it will set up an integrated agri-food pilot facility located at Paya Lebar. The facility will be used to kick-start the production of Veego, Singapore’s first plant-based alternative protein source.

The pilot facility is a testament to ongoing progress in the local alternative protein scene. Life3 Biotech aims to promote health and wellness and reduce the occurrence of chronic diseases through alternative protein food production. The facility will also serve as a showcase that integrates the farm-to-table concept for intensified local production of sustainable alternative protein sources, as well as does test-bed innovative concepts and conduct deep research to achieve eco-circularity and sustainability.

Founded in 2015 by Ricky Lin, their flagship product is a proprietary plant-based protein (Veego) that aims to meet the rising demand for environmentally-friendly and healthy alternatives to meat.

Talent-focussed investor Entrepreneur First shares its newest deep techs cohorts

Entrepreneur First reveals its sixth cohort of 19 deep tech startups coming from Singapore, Bangalore, and Hong Kong. The cohort comprises startups from technologies such as using platforms to monitor the performance of electric-vehicle batteries, and others, according to a report by The Business Times.

Also Read: Foodtech in Singapore through the eyes of startups

However, because of the Covid-19 outbreak, the supposed investor day that was scheduled on February 13 had to be cancelled. The startups were instead pitching to investors directly.

Entrepreneur First’s method is matching individuals with deep expertise in various fields to each other to form a founding team. Each startup formed then pitches to investors at the end of the programme for venture-capital funding.

The new cohort has four companies that are graduates of a joint programme between Entrepreneur First and startup accelerator HAX that focuses on hardware development. Nine startups in the sixth cohort are from Singapore including Quantship, a price-prediction technology startup for freight and charter rates for bulk shipping companies, and TeOra, a startup that programs smart microbes to replace synthetic materials with natural and sustainable products.

Alchemy enters the trial phase in Singapore, integrating Binance into payment service

The CEO of Binance Changpeng Zhao has announced on a Twitter post that its payment service has been integrated into the blockchain startup Alchemy’s system following a trial phase in Singapore, The Coin Republic reported.

Alchemy states the need for a strong infrastructure to enable the utility provided by cryptocurrencies. Alchemy seeks to solve the need for a base system to allow cryptocurrency transactions, smart contracts, apps, and such in the corporate sector that can be easily integrated within existing businesses.

Alchemy’s backers include Coinbase; Alphabet, Inc. Chairman, John Henessy; Samsung; Linkedin co-founder, Reid Hoffman; Yahoo’s co-founder, Jerry Yang; Chris Kelly, former legal chief at Facebook; and Stanford University.

Picture Credit: Life3 Biotech

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