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Last Week in Tech: Didi’s ascension, and more funds for the taking

Didi’s president, Jean Liu, onstage at WSJDLive in Laguna, California. Image credit: screen grab from WSJ video.

Didi’s rise to the top, and a new battle arena for Tencent and Alibaba? What did Uber do this time to piss people off? Welcome to Last Week in Tech, where we look back at what happened in the tech and startup ecosystem over the last seven days. We’ve also collated a list of regional events to look forward to in the week ahead for your convenience.

Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments below!

Upcoming Events

Events to look out for this coming week. Want to list your event here? Email us and let us know!

Talk data to me
Tuesday, 2 May
7 – 9 pm SGT
GA Singapore, Spacemob
Level 3, 8 Claymore Hill, Spacemob

“Talk data to me” hosts thought-leaders from the Singapore data community to discuss the possibilities that data brings to life. Data leads from Carat Asia Pacific, Funding Societies, and Honestbee come together to cover how today’s wealth of data drives business and product decisions across industries, and share their visions for the future.

My Startup Journey: What I Need to Know About Tax and Grants
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
12:00 PM – 02:00 PM SGT
ACE Ideation Centre
79 Ayer Rajah Crescent
#01-13, jtc LaunchPad @ one-north
Singapore 139955

You are driving a start-up business, and you have a great idea and plan to scale up. However, finding adequate funding and navigating government assistance schemes can be daunting. At the same time, complying with all tax regulations can also be challenging.

KPMG’s Enterprise Incentive professionals are organising a session to discuss how government financial assistance schemes can help your business, and what tax regulations and incentive opportunities that you should be aware of.

Quick bites

A snapshot of last week’s news.

Photo credit: Ofo Weibo.

Bike-sharing battles

  • Bike-sharing unicorn Ofo raises an undisclosed round of investment funds from Jack Ma’s Ant Financial. (Eva Xiao / Tech in Asia)
  • Ofo’s latest round of funding heats up the Alibaba vs Tencent battle, as they tussle with MoBike. (Eva Xiao / Tech in Asia)

Didi soars

  • Didi confirms a $5.5 billion round of funding from undisclosed investors, to fund their plan of world domination. This investment makes them the most valuable startup in China, beating smartphone maker Xiaomi. (Steven Millward / Tech in Asia)
  • As one of the most valuable startups in China, Didi has big plans to woo the government with its expanding pool of data. (Eva Xiao / Tech in Asia)

What will Uber do next?

  • In 2015, Uber flouted Apple rules by using code to make iPhones trackable. Tim Cook tells Travis Kalanick off personally, a scene many of us wished was livestreamed. (Mike Isaac / New York Times)
  • South Korea wags its finger at Uber, and fined it US$8,863 for using private vehicles for commercial transportation (basically, for being Uber.) (Hyunjoo Jin / Reuters)

Silicon Valley hits and misses

  • Facebook is developing a “brain mouse for AR”. With a team of 60 scientists on the job, the tech giant hopes to enable a non-invasive method to type 100 words a minute with just your thoughts. (Justin Mahboubian-Jones / Popular Mechanics)
  • Spotify sucks at crediting artists for their work. Their acquisition of a blockchain company could solve this problem. (Michael Tegos / Tech in Asia)
  • Rocket’s rocky road may be at an end, as losses at main Rocket Internet companies narrow in 2016. Could three of their businesses become profitable by 2017 as promised? (Judith Balea / Tech in Asia)
  • The tussle against immigrants in Silicon Valley continues, with Palantir made to pay US$1.7 million for discriminating against Asian applicants. (Sam Levin / The Guardian)

Wins in Asia

  • Online money transfer startup TransferWise sets up its Asia-Pacific hub in Singapore after the Monetary Authority of Singapore approved online verification for the startup. (Michael Tegos / Tech in Asia)
  • Singapore’s iFashion Group plans to raise US$10 million in an initial public offering by the end of the year. (Michael Tegos / Tech in Asia)
  • Netflix enters the Chinese market by working with rival iQiYi to license original content. First up: Black Mirror and BoJack Horseman. (Steven Millward / Tech in Asia)
  • Singapore dating app Paktor merges with 17 Media to become M17, a company focused on social entertainment. (Michael Tegos / Tech in Asia)

Photo credit: BoJack Horseman.

New funds to watch

  • The New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF) is putting at least $275 million into a new fund by KKR, a private equity investor who recently invested in Indonesian unicorn Gojek. That’s on top of the US$5.8 billion that have reportedly already been committed to the fund. (Nadine Freischlad / Tech in Asia)
  • There’s a new S$1 billion (US$718 million) fund for Singapore companies with strong intellectual property. Singapore had 10,814 applications for patents in 2015 alone, the largest in Southeast Asia. (David Roman / Bloomberg)

This week in funding

  • An insurtech firm no one was watching just raised an insane US$50 million, one of the largest series A rounds in Singapore and Southeast Asia. (Michael Tegos / Tech in Asia)
  • Korea’s grocery startup Ticket Monster raises $115M to keep up with Korea’s ecommerce boom, giving them a $1.4B valuation. (Ingrid Lunden / Techcrunch)
  • CarPal raises US$2.75 million round led by undisclosed private equity investors to literally be Uber for deliveries. (Terence Lee / Tech in Asia)
  • Hong Kong startup Oddup raises a US$6 million series A round to rate startups’ investability. Maybe they gave themselves 100 points. (Judith Balea / Tech in Asia)

Must Reads

A collection of meaningful long-form reads.

  • China is home to the world’s fastest-growing robotics market, and it has plans to overtake robotics leaders South Korea, Germany, and the US. It also already has the tools to do so: scale, growth momentum and money. (Bloomberg News / Bloomberg)
  • From grief to strength: how Sheryl Sandberg accidentally inspired a new management style at Facebook. (Jessi Hempel / Backchannel)
  • Payments are more integral to a company’s operations that you’d think. (Pearl Lee / Tech in Asia)

This post Last Week in Tech: Didi’s ascension, and more funds for the taking appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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