Today’s top tech news, July 11: Pony.Ai raises US$214M in Series A | Digital Asia
Digital Asia News Update
Chinese autonomous startup Pony.Ai has announced completion of a US$214 million Series A funding round, according to a report by South China Morning Post.
The investment was led by ClearVue Partners and Eight Roads, a proprietary investment arm of Fidelity International Limited.
Pony.Ai will use the funds for fleet expansion, team growth, and speeding up commercialisation. This funding is the biggest Series A round by a self-driving company in China.
Indonesia overturns ban on Tik Tok – [Reuters]
Indonesia has overturned its ban on Chinese video app Tik Tok after it agreed to censor “negative content”, according to a report by Reuters.
Tik Tok is the most downloaded app globally on Apple Inc’s app store in January-March 2018 but access was blocked by Indonesian authorities on July 3 for featuring content deemed pornographic and blasphemous.
The ban was overturned after Tik Tok agreed to clear “all negative content” from the app and open an office in Indonesia to liaise with the government over content.
Shop101 raises US$5M in Series A funding – [Press release]
India’s leading social commerce platform Shop 101 has raised US$5 million in Series A funding, according to a press release. The round was led by Stellaris Venture Partners and participated in by Vy Capital, Raghunandan G (TaxiForSure co-founder) and Ramakant Sharma (Livspace co-founder).
Shop101 is an online platform that enables entrepreneurs to sell online and on social media without initial costs by providing them with an online storefront in 2 minutes. The platform is used by budding entrepreneurs and established merchants alike, who either sell their own products or resell from an extensive range of products available from the Shop101 supply platform.
“We have grown 25-30% month on month over the last couple of years and empowered more than 3 lakh entrepreneurs across the country with reliable and scalable technology, extensive range of products on supply platform, pan-India logistics and payment solutions,” said Abhinav Jain, Shop101 Founder and CEO. “With an extreme focus on technology and supported by an exceptional team, we have been able to build a very high-quality platform that can help entrepreneurs earn much more as well as save money by operating at really low costs.”
“Social commerce provides a more human touch to an online selling experience and opens up a new set of opportunities by tapping into the next 500 million users by providing a layer of trust, and curation,” said Rahul Chowdhri, Partner at Stellaris Venture Partners. “We are very excited to partner with Abhinav, Aditya and their exceptional team in their journey to build India’s first social selling platform.”
Shop101 will use the funds to strengthen their team, scale their supplier network, and enhance the technology of their platform.
Aspire raises US$9M Seed round – [Dealstreet Asia]
Southeast Asia focussed lending platform Aspire has raised US$9 million in seed fund, according to a report by Dealstreet Asia.
The funding round was led by Insignia Ventures Partners and participated in by Mark 2 Capital, Hummingbird Ventures, and Y Combinator.
Aspire provides small businesses with fast and simple access to funding, which can be repaid between 3 to 6 months.
JD Finance raises US$2B – [Reuters]
JD.com’s finance arm has raised at least 13 billion yuan (US$1.9 billion) in fresh equity from Chinese investors, according to a report by Reuters.
Investors in this round include CICC Capital, a unit of investment bank China International Capital Corp (CICC), brokerage China Securities, private equity firm Citic Capital, and BOCGI, Bank of China’s investment arm.
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