Captain’s Log, July 19: Indonesian fintech startup Julo raises seed funding led by Skystar Capital

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ObEN and Nauto are also closing deals from Asia-based investors, while Whatsapp just got banned in China

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Julo raises seed funding round

 

Indonesian fintech startup Julo raised an undisclosed seed funding round led by Skystar Capital, with participation from East Ventures, Convergence Ventures, and a few undisclosed angel investors.

Co-founded by Adrianus Hitijahubessy, Hans Sebastian, and Victor Darmadi, Julo is a personal Android-based loan financing app aimed at working adults, particularly those of the unbanked society.

The startup said in a press statement that the investment will be used to “accelerate its mission of financial inclusions for all Indonesians.”

“The idea for JULO started when I was building AI-based credit scoring solutions in emerging countries in my prior company. As successful as it was, I realised that instead of helping consumers in Latin America and African countries gain access to credit, I should be helping people in my home country,” said Hitijahubessy.

“Indonesia is the perfect seedbed for the right-minded fintech lending company to flourish. The country has a large segment of the population at the base of the financial pyramid and low consumer credit liquidity, catalysed by rapid technological and infrastructural transformation in the past few years. After living abroad for 20 years, I decided to move back to Indonesia and build JULO with my co-founders,” he explained.

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Left to right: Victor Darmadi, Adrianus Hitjahubessy, Hans Sebastian

Also Read: Captain’s Log, July 18: Microsoft lays off Singapore-based consumer team

Nauto raises US$159 million Series B

 

California-based autonomous vehicle company Nauto has raised a US$159 million Series B round led by a subsidiary of SoftBank Group and Greylock Partners.

BMW iVentures, General Motors Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures and the venture unit of Allianz Group, and the startup’s Series A investors Playground Global and Draper Nexus also participated in the current round.

“The funds will fuel Nauto’s growth and the deployment of its retrofit safety and networking system into more vehicles around the globe, as well as support the expansion of the Nauto data platform in autonomous vehicle research and development across multiple automakers,” the company explained in a press statement.

Greylock Partner Reid Hoffman and SoftBank Investment Adviser Shu Nyatta will take board seats at Nauto, joining existing members including Nauto Founder and CEO Stefan Heck, automotive industry veteran Karen C. Francis (Ford, GM) and Playground Global Co-Founder Bruce Leak.

Nauto builds artificial intelligence-powered system and data platform to help improve fleet safety and informing the development of self-driving technology.

Fleets equipped with Nauto can automatically capture and upload video of significant events and insights in real time to help fleet managers improve overall driver performance and enhance the safety and efficiency of an entire fleet.

ObEN raises US$5 million led by Tencent

 

California-based artificial intelligence (AI) company ObEN announced that it has raised US$5 million in strategic funding led by Tencent Holdings, with participation from Li Ruigang, Chairman of CMC and Fengshion Capital.

The investment brings ObEN’s total funding to date to more than US$13.7 million.

The funding will be used to accelerate product development and grow its AI platform for future use in a wide range of digital platforms.

ObEN is said to be the world’s first celebrity AI platform. It empowers celebrities to “quickly create, securely store, and efficiently distribute” a virtual copy of themselves that looks, sounds and behaves like its human counterpart.

It combines speech, computer vision and natural language processing technology to construct a person’s virtual voice, 3D image and personality to create a full-stack virtual celebrity.

ObEN has recently launched a joint venture with South Korean entertainment giant S.M. Entertainment to launch AI Stars, a platform that merges ObEN’s Personal AI technology with S.M. Entertainment’s artists and content, which includes EXO, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, NCT 127, and TVXQ!.

Also Read: Captain’s Log, July 17: Ride-hailing is killing Singapore’s taxi industry

Whatsapp has been partially banned in China

 

Messenger app Whatsapp has been partially banned in China, according to several media reports.

Since Monday night, users on social media platforms such as Twitter reported to have experience “intermittent outages,” with photos and audio clips not being delivered.

While Whatsapp has declined to comment, an anonymous source close to the company said it it not responsible for the blockade.

The ban is believed to be related to the upcoming 19th Communist Party Congress. The country has also started banning the use of VPN services in order to further prevent internet users from discussing about the government.

Image Credit: konstantynov / 123RF Stock Photo

The post Captain’s Log, July 19: Indonesian fintech startup Julo raises seed funding led by Skystar Capital appeared first on e27.

Source: e27