Pula Secures $20 Million in Series B Funding for Agricultural Insurance in Africa, Asia, and Latin America

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Pula, an insurtech based in Kenya, has since 2015 been keen on enhancing the access to agricultural insurance by small-holder farmers across emerging markets, shielding them against losses from pests, diseases and/or extreme weather events like floods and droughts. “Partnering with this group of like-minded investors to boost the growth of Pula globally is a very exciting milestone in driving our triple 100 vision, through which we intend to bring insurance to 100 million smallholder farmers. Pula embeds insurance in partners’ productsInstead of selling insurance directly to farmers, Pula has built a distribution channel of over 100 partners, including charitable organizations, banks, governments and agricultural input companies, to serve even the hard-to-reach farmers, by embedding insurance, for instance, in farm input costs or credit. Each product Pula offers is customized to suit the demands of its clients, and the needs of the beneficiary farmers. Pula, through insurance partners, has been offering rural families in Nigeria comprehensive coverage against banditry, disease and death of animals.

“Expanding Across Asia: TransferGo Secures $10M Funding, Doubles Valuation for Remittance Services”

It last raised a $50M Series C funding round in 2021. TransferGo claims the new investment doubles its valuation to around $600M, from the $200M-$300M Dealroom valued it at back in September 2021. We achieved sustainability of the business and became profitable and we still have proceeds from the last funding round. We don’t need external capital to grow.”However, he saw the opportunity to raise funding from Asia to expand there. “We are still taking customers from incumbents: 75% come from cash, banks, and Western Union — that’s still the gorilla in the room.”He puts TransferGo’s growth down to focusing on the consumer experience.

“SingleInterface Raises $30 Million in Funding to Enhance SaaS Startup and Expand Online Business Reach”

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Some may help businesses build a website, whereas others may just be useful for getting listed on search engines. The startup also uses AI to ease businesses’ journey to digitize thousands of stores in one go. Tarun Sobhani, co-founder and CEO of SingleInterface, told TechCrunch that the startup helps businesses grow their revenues by 15–20% using its products. Sobhani and Harish Bahl, the founder of consumer internet investor and venture-building firm Smile Group, co-founded the startup in 2015. Sobhani said the startup plans to add many people in the Asia-Pacific region to grow its presence.

“Sierra AI for Healthcare in Southeast Asia: HD Secures $5.6M for Development”

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Thailand’s HD is building chatbots aimed at one such industry: healthcare. The company started as a marketplace for third-party healthcare and surgery services, and sees a strong case for developing conversational AI for the healthcare customer journey. Even though each product has a description on HD’s marketplace HD Mall, Ho says people still prefer to ask first. M Venture Partners, FEBE Ventures, Partech Partners, Ratio Ventures, Orvel Ventures, and TA Ventures also participated in the round. AI for Southeast AsiaHo says HD is working on building the “Sierra AI of the Southeast Asian healthcare industry.”Over five years, Ho and his team saw that the faster HD’s representatives responded to inquiries, the higher the conversion rate.

GGV Capital Partners Split, Introducing Two New Brands

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GGV Capital announced last fall that was splitting up its team amid growing tensions between U.S. and China, though it never cited the atmosphere as the explicit driver of the move. The thinking in abandoning the GGV Capital brand, per a source familiar, was that because both teams are operating separately going forward, they felt it was best to develop new brands. Oren Yunger, the newest member of GGV Capital, also remains on team Notable. Another longtime managing director at GGV Capital, Eric Xu, who is based in Shanghai, will continue to oversee the original firm’s independently operated yuan-denominated funds. Roughly 2.5 years ago, GGV Capital announced it has raised $2.5 billion for its new funds, marking its largest family of funds ever.

StealthMole Secures $7 Million in Series A Funding for Revolutionary Dark Web AI Platform

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StealthMole, an AI-powered dark web intelligence startup that specializes in monitoring cyber threats and detecting cybercrime, announced Thursday that it has raised a $7 million Series A funding round. The startup serves over 50 clients across 17 countries in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. One differentiator from its competitors in the cybersecurity industry is its unique expertise in Asia-related threats, Kevin Yoo, chief operating officer (COO) at StealthMole, told TechCrunch. “The high demand for Asia-oriented threat information underscores the uniqueness and value of our dataset for customers worldwide, within and beyond Asia,” Yoo said. Korea Investment Partners led the Series A round with participation from Hibiscus Fund (a joint venture between RHL Ventures, Penjana Kapital and KB Investment) and Smilegate Investment.

“Unveiling Peak XV’s Groundbreaking Perpetual Fund Supported by Exclusive Partners and Industry Titans”

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Peak XV, the venture firm formerly known as India and Southeast Asia arm of Sequoia, didn’t disclose the size of the new fund. The new fund, called Peak XV Anchor Fund, will be funded by an internal balance sheet, the source said, requesting anonymity as the matter is private. The fund will enable Peak XV to “create a global network for learning and collaboration,” the venture firm said, according to the LP source. The fund will enable Peak XV Partners to have broader skin in the game with its own fund and also explore investment in newer areas, the source said. With Peak XV Anchor Fund, the venture firm plans to partner with other “managers across regions, strategies and sectors.”Peak XV didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Zuckerberg’s Persuasive Pitch: Meta’s Push to Elevate AI Chip Presence in Asian Tech Market

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Zuckerberg reportedly met Samsung’s executives, including Samsung executive chairman Jay Y. Lee, Wednesday night to discuss potential collaborations around AI chips, semiconductors, and extended reality. Nvidia continues to dominate the global market for AI chips, leaving a big opportunity for countries that have traditionally been strong in processors or reignite their innovation instincts. To that end, the social media giant has been ramping up its efforts to secure AI chips, and has been working on its own in-house AI chip, Artemis, for its data centers. Big tech companies like Microsoft, OpenAI, Amazon, and Google have equally been scrambling for AI chips to support their AI ambitions. Just yesterday, Zuckerberg met LG Electronics CEO William Cho in Seoul during his tour of Asia.

Southeast Asia’s Vertical AI Bet: Insights from Antler’s Founder

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A growing roster of vertical AI startups is emerging in Southeast Asia to serve sectors ranging from seafood to finance. Within verticalized AI, different trends are emerging in each country. Since funding structures are different in Southeast Asia than the rest of the world, BorderDollar used their own training data to build a credit scoring system. Building a vertical AI startup comes with its own challenges. But once a vertical AI startup comes together, Salovaara says they can build a very deep competitive moat.