Last week in tech: Softbank makes it rain hard, while Catcha Group wins big
Softbank’s investments overshadow its Q1 losses, while a powerful ransomware virus eats its way through 100 countries. And why are startups now wary of Amazon investments? Welcome to Last Week in Tech, where we look back at what happened in the tech and startup ecosystem in the last seven days. We’ve also collated a list of regional events to look forward to in the week ahead for your convenience.
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Events to look out for this coming week. Want to list your event here? Email us and let us know!
Tech in Asia Singapore
Wed, May 17, 2017 – Thu, May 18, 2017
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM SGT
Suntec City Exhibition & Convention Centre
1 Raffles Boulevard
Tech in Asia Singapore 2017 is a 2-day conference aimed at connecting Asia’s tech ecosystem via networking opportunities and industry updates. This year, there will be 263 unique startups from 30 different tech verticals exhibiting in Bootstrap Alley, and the founders of Reddit, CXA Group and Razer will grace the Main Stage to sharing their entrepreneurial journeys and their two cents on upcoming tech trends. Not to mention the 60 investors taking part in the fast-paced Speed Dating to hear your pitch.
#INFINITILAB LIVE with Singapore’s Favorite Pastry Chef Janice Wong
Thu, 18th May, 2017
6 – 8pm SGT
45 Leng Kee Road
Join us on the 18th May for #INFINITILAB LIVE with Singapore’s favorite pastry chef Janice Wong. Hear from Janice on her experiences as the protégé of Michelin 3-star chef Thomas Keller and prodigious French pastry chef Pierre Hermé, and how she founded her businesses, whilst enjoying her famous desserts. During this fireside chat, Janice will talk about what inspired her to become a pastry chef, the challenges of running a business internationally, as well as reflect on the way ecommerce is changing how she does business.
A snapshot of last weeks’ news in sentences.
Shock and horror
- Hide your designs! Amazon was accused of cloning Echo design from a startup it invested in, raising red flags for other startups to stay away. (Jason Del Rey / Recode)
- A destructive “ransomware” virus dubbed WannaCry slowed late on Friday, after locking up more than 100,000 computers over 100 countries. In Asia, Taiwan has been named a top target. (Jim Finkle and Eric Auchard / Reuters)
Softbank makes it rain hard on tech startups
- Softbank reveals US$1.4 billion loss in Q1 2017, thanks to its super investments in Indian startups Ola and Snapdeal. (Malavika Velayanikal / Tech in Asia)
- But India isn’t the only country the firm has money in. Softbank confirms that it invested US$5 billion into Didi Chuxing’s bumper round last year. That round placed Didi’s valuation at over US$50 billion. (Natasha Lomas / Tech Crunch )
- On a relatively smaller scale, Softbank also led a $502m Series B in London-based VR startup Improbable Worlds. Other investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Horizon Ventures, and Temasek Holdings. (Shiwen Yap / Deal Street Asia)
- These investments all build up to the big guns. The firm may soon close the Softbank Vision Fund with US$95 billion. Their goal: to become one of the biggest technology investors over the next decade. (Dinesh Nair, Giles Turner, and Pavel Alpeyev / Bloomberg)
When giants walk the earth
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise joins forces with Singapore’s Economic Development Board to set up a new innovation program named InnovateNext. (Michael Tegos / Tech in Asia)
- Could Spotify go for the IPO? Some media reports that the music streaming service is eyeing a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange later this year. (Lauren Hirsch and Pallavi Dewan / Reuters)
- The world’s tech giants have emerged from Silicon Valley and China. Their next battle arena: Southeast Asia. (Sheji Ho / Tech in Asia Community)
Only in China
- Stand aside bike-sharing. Portable phone charger sharing is moving in to conquer China. (Steven Millward /Tech in Asia)
- Chinese tourists are known for their ‘explosive buying’, and may be the expansion ticket for payment services WePay and Alipay. (Eva Xiao / Tech in Asia)
This week in funding
- This high school dropout just became a billionaire as founder of South Korea’s largest IPO in years. (Sam Kim / Bloomberg)
- Ahoy Mateys! It’s Sea, the company previously known as Garena. They just splashed out the news of a $550 million funding round with their rebranding. (Yoolim Lee / Bloomberg)
- A win for Patrick Grove, Khailee Ng, and Joel Neoh: Malaysian media giant Media Prima acquired digital media company REV Asia from Catcha Group and Youth Asia for US$24.2 million. (Judith Balea / Tech in Asia)
- Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has agreed to sell its stake in 701Search – a Singapore-based digital media company that screens and aggregates online classified ads – to Norwegian telco Telenor in a deal worth US$109 million. (Ann Williams / Straits Times)
- A match made in heaven: Lunch Actually Group, a Singapore-based company of dating apps, acquired Indonesian online dating service Setipe. (Nadine Freischlad / Tech in Asia)
A collection of meaningful long-form reads.
- Indian founders pile into a bus to visit China’s tech hubs. This is what they learnt. (Sumit Chakraberty / Tech in Asia)
- A coder with 15 years experience: it’s more important to learn how to learn like a developer than learn every programming language and technology. (Saul Costa /Tech in Asia Community)
- Creativity has become a sought-after ideal in many startups. But is it a false god to which we sacrifice beanbags and college degrees? (Eliot Gattegno / Techcrunch)
- A deeper look into Scratch, the computing language that is fast becoming children’s gateway drug for Silicon Valley engineering. (Steven Levy / Backchannel)
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