$45B Money Manager Says Thai Stocks Face Hurdles Over Worst Virus Outbreak

Other featured stories include: Indonesian Consumer Research Startup Populix Secures $1.2M in Pre-Series A Funding; YC-backed Super Raises $28M to Grow its Social Commerce Platform in Indonesia; and B2B Platform Bizongo Secures $51M in Series C Funding.

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May 6, 2021

$45B Money Manager Says Thai Stocks Face Hurdles Over Worst Virus Outbreak

Thai equities face new hurdles as the country’s worst COVID-19 outbreak will further squeeze corporate earnings and delay an economic recovery, according to Thailand’s second-biggest private money manager, Kasikorn Asset Management Co.

Investor optimism over prospects for a return of foreign tourists has been eroding amid a new wave of the virus that took hold this month, said Vasin Vanichvoranun, Executive Chairman at Kasikorn, which manages about $45 billion. The firm’s current forecast for the benchmark SET Index to reach 1,650 points this year may be out of reach if Thailand can’t contain the spread, he said.

“Peoples’ biggest fear of the country facing a new outbreak has resurfaced,” Vasin explained in an interview. “That’s dampening optimism about the return of tourists and normal business in the near future.”

The appeal of Thailand’s stock market is dwindling with international investors due to a lack of new major listings, especially by foreign companies, Pakorn Peetathawatchai, the President of Thailand’s Stock Exchange, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. The bourse is considering listing special purpose acquisition companies -- so-called SPACs, secondary listings, cross-border listings and depository receipts to lure more foreign companies, he noted.

Indonesian Consumer Research Startup Populix Secures $1.2M in Pre-Series A Funding

While Indonesia is one of the fastest-growing consumer markets in the world, consumer data is still hard to find for many businesses, especially smaller ones. Populix wants to make research easier for companies, through a respondent app that now has 250,000 users in 300 Indonesian cities. 

Tech Crunch reports that the startup recently announced it has raised $1.2 million in an oversubscribed Pre-Series A round led by returning investor Intudo Ventures, with participation from Quest Ventures. Populix has now raised a total of $2.3 million since it was founded in January 2018, including a $1 million seed round also led by Intudo. The company’s revenue grew five times in 2020 and it signed up 52 new enterprise clients in 10 countries, as the COVID-19 pandemic limited traditional forms of consumer surveys, like in-person questionnaires. Its customers range in size from tech startups to multinational conglomerates.

The new capital will be used for product launches, marketing, and hiring. Populix is currently in the process of launching a self-service product called Paket Hemat Populix (PHP) for clients like SMEs or university researchers that want to conduct their own surveys and monitor results in real time.

The founders said Populix will continue focusing on Indonesia with its pre-Series A funding, but plans to look at other developing markets with fragmented consumer data, like the Philippines and Vietnam, after raising its Series A round.

YC-backed Super Raises $28M to Grow its Social Commerce Platform in Indonesia

Super, a social commerce platform serving second- and third-tier cities and rural areas in Indonesia, announced it has completed a $28 million oversubscribed Series B round led by SoftBank Ventures Asia. Returning investors include Amasia, Insignia Ventures Partners, Y-Combinator Continuity Fund, and Stephen Pagliuca (co-chairman of Bain Capital and co-owner of Boston Celtics). Partners of DST Global and TNB Aura also co-invested.

e27 reports that the company will use the fresh round of capital to double down on its presence in East Java and launch in other Indonesian provinces later this year; in addition to developing its white-label products. This announcement follows the company’s previously oversubscribed $7 million Series A led by Amasia. With this round, Super’s total investment raised to date has crossed $36 million.

A graduate of Y Combinator, the social commerce platform offers Superagen, an agent-led commerce that empowers community leaders to become self-made entrepreneurs by enabling them to sell various products to their communities. The startup also builds a logistics network with “the lowest cost” and facilitates communication for social-buying behaviour, so the agents can sell various products through social networks like Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp.

B2B Platform Bizongo Secures $51M In Series C Funding

B2B platform Bizongo announced the completion of its Series C funding round with a total of $51 million. The latest tranche was led by CDC, a development finance institute owned by the UK government, and AddVentures-SCG’s corporate arm that engages with tech startups worldwide.

The first tranche of the round had seen participation from Schroder Adveq- a leading private equity asset manager with over $10 billion under AUM- and Bruno Raschle. The round also saw participation from existing investors such as Accel, Chiratae, and IFC. On the debt front, investments came from Strides, Trifecta Capital, TradeCred, and IDFC First Bank.

According to Entrepreneur, Bizongo has witnessed tremendous growth over the last year, with over 100 clients and 1,000 manufacturing partners. With a clear focus on optimizing supply chains for custom-made products, the company uses its proprietary digital platforms such as Procure Live and Partner Hub to simplify vendor management and supply chain for its business customers.

In an era where SMEs (who are manufacturing packaging, textiles, and apparel) have limited access to unsecured working capital, Bizongo has partnered with over 10 financial institutions to provide access to faster working capital and early payments to its own partner manufacturers.

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