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Daily Markup #298: Grab & Hyundai partner to accelerate electric vehicle adoption in Southeast Asia; Grassroots gamers look to ESPL for entertainment & socialization; SPEEDHOME on making a stand against racism

500 Southeast Asia Team



Credit: Paul Tan

Going green

  • 500-backed Southeast Asia super app Grab announced a deeper partnership with Hyundai Motor Group to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the region.
  • The partnership will focus on lowering the barrier of entry for Grab driver and delivery-partners. The companies will work towards lowering the cost of ownership, leasing EVs with a battery-as-a-service model, and EV financing, among others. These pilot programs will start in 2021, beginning in Singapore, and expand to Indonesia and Vietnam.
  • Both companies will also develop a joint EV roadmap to accelerate adoption in Southeast Asia, including an EV feasibility study. The goal is to find practical ways to develop the EV ecosystem further.
  • In addition, Grab and Hyundai will explore further collaborations in new business opportunities and technologies such as smart city solutions.
  • Read the full article on Yahoo! Finance here.
Credit: ESPL

A boom in gaming

  • E-sports is one of the industries that have seen growth amid the pandemic, with people seeking various options for entertainment and socializing while spending more time at home.
  • “User activities kept growing,” said Lau Kin Wai, president and co-founder of 500-backed Esports Players League (ESPL). “At the peak from April to July [2020], we saw the number of users doubling every month.” He added that the user base in Singapore has jumped by 120% since day one, while its fastest-growing markets, such as India and Bangladesh, saw as much as 300% growth.
  • Over the same period, the startup expanded from four to 16 markets across Asia, Europe and America.
  • “Just like any other sport, there is a group of people who are not playing the sport for a living but are serious about it. They want to up their game and want to know how they fare against friends or other people. That’s where we come in,” he explained, adding that ESPL is the only such platform in Singapore.
  • Read the full article on Channel News Asia here.

No room for bias

  • Last week, 500-backed proptech startup SPEEDHOME raised US$1.7 million in funding. Lead investor Gobi Partners said, “We are very impressed with Speedhome‘s strong growth and ability to become a market-leading platform. In addition, its proprietary tenant behaviour data set and AI capabilities enabled a more transparent, more accessible and equal-opportunity compared to the existing perception-biased rental mechanism.”
  • Founder and CEO Wong Whei Meng said that his focus on equal opportunity in real estate is a reflection of the core value of the business. According to him, the rental mechanism in the sector is driven by perceptions where a person is judged by property owners based on race, religion, sexual orientation, and any other form of bias.
  • He counters this by relying on algorithms. As the first layer of screening, tenants are required to provide bank statements, payslip, and consent for SPEEDHOME to access their financial data.
  • “The data is then processed by our proprietary machine learning to make the decision which can happen in less than 10 seconds for approval or not. No human intervention; hence reduced perception-based bias,” he explained.
  • Read the full article on Digital News Asia here.

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500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. In Southeast Asia, 500 Startups invests through the pioneering 500 Southeast Asia family of funds. The 500 Southeast Asia funds have backed over 240 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology. It continues to connect founders with capital, expertise and powerful regional and global networks to help them succeed.

This post is intended solely for general informational or educational purposes only. 500 Startups Management Company, L.L.C. and its affiliates (collectively “500 Startups”) makes no representation as to the accuracy or information in this post and while reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the information herein is accurate and up-to-date, no liability can be accepted for any error or omissions. All third party links in this post have not been independently verified by 500 Startups and the inclusion of such links should not be interpreted as an endorsement or confirmation of the content within. Information about portfolio companies’ markets, competitors, performance, and fundraising has been provided by those companies’ founders and has not been independently verified. Under no circumstances should any content in this post be construed as investment, legal, tax or accounting advice by 500 Startups, or an offer to provide any investment advisory service with regard to securities by 500 Startups. No content or information in this post should be construed as an offer to sell or solicitation of interest to purchase any securities advised by 500 Startups. Prospective investors considering an investment into any 500 Startups fund should not consider or construe this content as fund marketing material. The views expressed herein are as at the date of this post and are subject to change without notice. One or more 500 Startups fund may have a financial interest in one or more of the companies discussed.

500 Southeast Asia Team