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INVESTMENT STARTUP

REBATEMANGO Acquires DEEDEE Cashback In Thailand

RebateMango.com, the online cashback and loyalty platform, announced the signing of an agreement on the acquisition of large local competitor DeeDee Cashback.  The deal will catapult RebateMango to the top of cashback and loyalty sites in Thailand, having launched in Thailand less than a year ago.

DeeDee Cashback was launched in 2015 and was the first cashback site in Thailand. Users have been benefitting from significant savings when shopping online and being part of the RebateMango eco-system will allow additional benefits plus further choice on how they want their rewards to be paid.

RebateMango has a regional presence in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. The key difference between RebateMango and other cashback sites across the globe is its ability to provide different rewards to consumers doing online shopping, with a choice of cashback, air miles or loyalty points. This deal will bring their total user base to well over 1m across all 3 markets. In Thailand, the strengthened position will allow RebateMango to cover almost 10% of active e-commerce shoppers in the country.

This is the first significant deal of this type in this region within the loyalty space and will help to support the positive growth of e-commerce in the region, which in Thailand is expected to be worth US $5.3bn by 2021 with e-commerce shoppers representing 24.5% of the total population.

Jesper Kauth, Co-Founder of RebateMango and Managing Director of RebateMango Thailand said this is an opportunity for us to significantly expand our user base and push forward with our growth and development plans. DeeDee Cashback has done a fantastic job of growing their business since launch and we look forward to giving their users access to our many deals, offers and choice of rewards available through RebateMango’s web and mobile platforms.

Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, founder and CEO of Tarad.com and advisor for DeeDee Cashback, said this cooperation between the two former rivals will create extraordinary opportunities for both the consolidated company and their many users in Thailand. E-commerce in Thailand continues to experience dramatic growth and RebateMango is in the perfect position to take advantage of that growth to become a very important player in the industry.

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INVESTMENT

BUDGET AIRLINE AIRASIA IS GETTING INTO THE VC

BUDGET AIRLINE AIRASIA IS GETTING INTO THE VC GAME AFTER IT UNVEILED A VENTURE CAPITAL FUND THAT AIMS TO INVEST IN STARTUPS ACROSS THE WORLD.

AIRASIA

The airline announced Redbeat Capital, a $60 million fund that it says will operate independently and seek deals with startups worldwide in areas such as travel, lifestyle, fintech and logistics. The big selling point to prospective companies is the opportunity to tap into AirAsia’s business in Southeast Asia, which claims to cater to 90 million flyers each year.

The fund is targeting a $60 million close, although AirAsia didn’t reveal how much it has secured so far. It will be run out of San Francisco and Southeast Asia, and is working with 500 Startups to source deal flow and exchange ideas.

AirAsia has suffered a stock tumble on financial concerns, but is still valued at more than $2 billion. Redbeat Capital is part of an ambitious strategy to widen AirAsia’s focus and take it beyond simply being an airline, according to group CEO Tony Fernandes.

“I’m determined to change AirAsia from just moving people into something different in five years time. This is a serious step in the whole transformation piece [that’s] no different to when I set up the airline,” Fernandes told TechCrunch in an interview.

“Our first transformation was being a low-cost carrier that uses the web, so our culture has always been in tech,” he added.” We’re now going for our second stage with our platforms,” — those include its BigPay payment service, BigLife app and logistics business.

But a corporate fund this isn’t, at least according to Fernandes.

Redbeat Capital has raised its money from LPs — though it declined to provide details on them — and Fernandes said it will balance both making investments for financial return and boosting AirAsia, too.

The company already has a corporate vehicle — Redbeat Ventures — but that will switch to being an incubator and company-aligned investment vehicle, while its portfolio will transition to Redbeat Capital, Fernandes said.

“We wanted to give it a bit more independence, as opposed to just being an arm of AirAsia… it’s to be seen whether we can execute,” he added.

In terms of deals, Fernandes was fairly coy about precise details other than that it is “post-seed.” He said the fund could write checks as high as $5 million or around $1 million, as needed.

Silicon Valley is a tough market to break into for any first-time investor, and AirAsia doesn’t operate in the U.S. and is relatively unknown in California. But the AirAsia chief believes Redbeat Capital can offer a unique gateway into Southeast Asia, which he believes is frequently overlooked in favor of India or China.

“Competing in India and China is expensive but Southeast Asia is just starting,” he said. “We are looking for companies that want to be strategic with us and use our database and platforms for mutual benefit.”

By that, he explained that AirAsia can use its platform and customer base to help companies acquire users and do marketing, typically two of the largest expenses, in the region.

There’s plenty of optimism around Southeast Asia — a recent report co-authored by Google forecast that the region’s digital economy will triple to reach $240 billion by 2025.

That’s echoed by 500 Startups, which operates funds in Southeast Asia and is currently raising a new global fund.

“[Southeast Asia] has more internet users than the U.S., which presents a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs. To have an industry titan like AirAsia building a bridge with Silicon Valley through its partnership with 500 is exciting for our startups, many of which have ambitions for global scale,” added Christine Tsai, CEO of 500 Startups, in a statement.

Still, it remains to be seen if Redbeat Capital can balance the very different demands of corporate investing with financial-driven deals. Large company funds tend to have less focus on financial, with ROI typically focused on encouraging “innovation” within the parent company or enabling deals to help the bottom line. Profession funds, of course, exist to return the fund and more to their LPs.

Still, Fernandes — whose diverse business interests have included music, British soccer and Formula One racing — is characteristically up for the challenge. He won’t directly be involved, though. The venture will be led by Aireen Omar — deputy group CEO who leads AirAsia’s digital strategy — but her boss is looking on eagerly.

Reference : TechCrunch.com