500 Global closes US$143M across early-stage & growth vehicles for Southeast Asia; ropes in Khazanah, KWAP & EPF as LP

Venture capital firm 500 Global announced the successful close of $143 million across its largest Southeast Asian early-stage fund to date, 500 Southeast Asia III, L.P. (500 SEA III), and its growth investment vehicle for Southeast Asia. The new early-stage and growth vehicles demonstrate the team’s commitment to supporting founders in Southeast Asia from pre-seed to pre-IPO.

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Australian graphic design platform, Desygner, prepares to challenge Canva

September 7, 2023

Launched in 2016, Desygner has a base of 32 million users worldwide. It is growing rapidly with a million new users a month and has also attracted major corporations, including Oracle, Microsoft, and Shutterstock. Now, the self-funded company is prepared to go after Melbourne-based and heavily funded Canva, which is estimated to be worth AU$39 billion (US$26.5 billion).

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Grab and Singtel’s digital bank get approval from Bank Negara Malaysia to begin operations

September 7, 2023

GX Bank Berhad (GXBank) announced that it is the first of the five digital bank licence applicants to obtain approval to commence operations in Malaysia. GXBank is a subsidiary of GXS Bank – the digital bank joint venture between Grab and Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel), as well as a consortium of Malaysian investors including Kuok Group.

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Salesforce Buys for Automated Customer Service

September 22, 2023

Salesforce is buying, which builds low-code, AI-powered e-commerce customer service agents.  You might have thought Salesforce could already do that, but presumably Airkit does it better.  It doesn’t hurt that the company founders sold a previous business to Salesforce, the company was partly funded by Salesforce Ventures, and the product is already listed on AppExchange.  Price was not announced.

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