Beam 募資獲得 2600 萬美元的 A 輪融資

Beam 身為亞太地區領先的新生代共享個人移動載具的租賃業者,宣布該公司已募集了 2,600 萬美元的 A 輪融資。該輪融資由 Sequoia India 與韓國的 Hana Ventures 帶頭,並有著心元資本(Cherubic)與台灣的之初創投(AppWorks)的參與。

與既定的無樁架式、隨處可停放個人移動載具的模型相比,Beam 展望能為各人移動行業開闢一條新的道路。Beam 認為,個人出行行業的未來在於用尖端科技,在城市的運營範圍內創造出虛擬停車系統,並激勵用戶把載具環到設置的停車位。在無需動土搭樁架的情況下,同時正面的規劃共享出行載具的使用行為。

Beam 創辦人和 CEO Alan Jiang(蔣松叡)表示:「投資者對於 Beam 獨特的『虛擬停車理念』充滿信心,且持續的在這國際經貿環境不確定的形勢下提供支持,為此,我們深感謝意。我展望 Beam 的新創科技,有效地降低個人出行載具隨處亂停放的現象,提高載具的保有率,改善在城市運營的規劃。期盼在沒有負面的觀點下,為民眾和社區帶來更多好處。」。

AppWorks 之初創投合夥人 Jessica Liu(劉侊縈)指出:「Beam 團隊出色的執行能力為我們留下了深刻的印象。他們對於提供優異的用戶體驗和卓越的技術執著,特別是以安全為主的理念、成功且持續性的推動亞太地區市場迅速發展。展望未來,我們相信 Beam 團隊已具備優勢條件,為台灣和整個亞太地區的上百萬名出行者重新定義短程間的出行體驗。」。

Beam 的另一位共同創辦人和 CTO Deb Gangopadhyay 補充:「對於任何新創科技的成功,取決於大眾的接受程度。綠色代步共享運具為城市帶來的好處雖然眾所周知,但是因未解決無樁架式所造成的凌亂現象,許多城市和市民對這項新創科技略微排斥。Beam 既要提供用戶出行的便利,又要顧及到城市美觀的考量,因而努力的投入科技研發,提供兩全其美的辦法。我們根據這項洞察來規劃我們的營運和產品設計,這是我們與其他業者眾不同之處。」。

此外,Beam 將使用新資金來擴展業務,為韓國、澳洲、紐西蘭、馬來西亞、台灣等地培育出亞太區最強大、先進的電動代步載具團隊,加速地把 Beam Saturn,Beam 最先進的第三代電動滑板車,推出至所有市場。

Beam Saturn 是亞太地區所經過最嚴格測試與最安全的共享電動滑板車。Beam Saturn 具備可拆卸的電池、創新的航太級鋁框、25 公分無內胎安全輪胎、高抓地力後輪驅動與雙機械式與電子煞車系統。

Beam 的安全理念,在電動代步載具行業裡已經是首屈一指。Beam 也將持續強化其「Beam 安全學院」計畫,導入一系列在線上的培訓工具,並進一步拓展亞太地區唯一的實體世界電動滑板車訓練課程。

Beam 為亞太地區唯一獲得「氣候中和認證」的電動滑板車營運商。Beam與氣候中和組織合作,測量了其2019年的碳排放量,並透過投資於防止碳排放的項目如可再生能源,或透過清除大氣中的碳如種植樹木來沖銷其全部的碳足跡。如同 Beam 所承諾的,將持續在今年與其後大幅減少碳排放量。

有鑑於 Covid-19 新冠肺炎的持續發展,Beam 已採取嚴格的清潔與操作規範,以限縮病毒傳播的可能性。從社區對於 Covid-19 新冠肺炎的反應來看,開放式的共享運具如電動滑板車,仍然是安全且可負擔的交通工具選項。

關於BEAM

懷抱著發展新型態運輸方式的熱情,Beam 正改變城市中的移動方式,並優化民眾、商品、服務的運輸方式,以改善城市與所有人的生活方式。

Beam 致力於透過更好的第一與最後一哩路的連結,並提供短距離運輸解決方案,來改善城市中的連結性。首先是電動摩托車分享平台,該平台已經服務於澳洲、馬來西亞、紐西蘭、與南韓。

【歡迎所有 AI / IoT、Blockchain、佈局東南亞的創業者,加入專為你們服務的 AppWorks Accelerator

Beam secures US$26 million in Series A funding for Asia Pacific expansion

Beam, Asia-Pacific’s leading micromobility operator, announced that it has raised a Series A funding round of US$26 million. The round was led by Sequoia India and Hana Ventures with participation by Cherubic and AppWorks.

Beam is forging a new path for micromobility in contrast to the established dockless model that allows scooters to be parked anywhere on city streets.  For Beam, the future is docked. Having a “virtual docked” model that ensures riders have to park in predetermined parking spots by being incentivised through the Beam mobile app. 

“We’re grateful to our incredibly supportive investors who believe in our unique ‘virtual dock’ approach to micromobility and continue to support us through a very uncertain macroeconomic environment. I’m really excited about our new technology and its ability to reduce the problems associated with randomly scattered scooters around a city. This helps us to further improve our industry-leading vehicle retention rates, reduce operational costs, and most importantly, benefits communities by keeping city streets neater” said Beam Co-Founder and CEO Alan Jiang.

As the Beam footprint grows the operational and engineering focus will continue to be on city amenity. To do this Beam will be progressively rolling out features that are focused on keeping Beam e-scooters safe for pedestrians when parked on city streets, which also helps to minimize vehicle losses.

“Beam has to work as hard to limit the downsides of e-scooters for non-riders as they do to enhance the upside for riders. The success of any new technology depends on mass acceptance, and the quicker and better we can ensure e-scooters are used and parked where they should be, the more welcoming city residents will be. We have designed our business and our product around that insight, and it is what makes us different,” Deb Gangopadhyay Co-Founder and CTO added.

“We were very impressed with the team’s high calibre of execution. Their rider-centric approach and superior technology have enabled Beam to swiftly deploy e-scooters all across the region in a safe and sustainable manner. Moving forward, we believe the team is well-positioned to completely redefine the micro-mobility experience for millions of riders, across both Taiwan and APAC,” said AppWorks Partner Jessica Liu

In addition, Beam will use the fresh capital to support expansion across all markets with a strong focus on growing APAC’s largest mobility fleet in Korea, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Taiwan. 

Beam will continue to make the safety of riders and pedestrians its top priority by enhancing its industry-leading “Beam Safe Academy” initiative; introducing a number of online training tools, and further expanding the only real-world e-scooter rider training program in the APAC region.

Beam will also accelerate the introduction of its new third-generation e-scooter, the Beam Saturn, to all markets. Rigorously tested with the highest safety standards,  the Beam Saturn is custom-built for sharing. It features swappable batteries, an innovative aviation-grade aluminium frame, 25-centimeter tubeless safety tyres, high grip rear-wheel drive, and a dual mechanical and electronic braking system.

Beam is the only e-scooter operator from the APAC region to be officially Climate Neutral Certified. Beam worked with Climate Neutral, an independent non-profit organization, to measure its 2019 carbon emissions and offset that entire carbon footprint. To do this, Beam has invested in projects that either prevent carbon from being emitted, like renewable energy or helps to remove carbon from the atmosphere, like planting trees. As part of its commitments, Beam will continue to dramatically reduce its emissions in 2020 and beyond.

In light of the ongoing concern of Covid-19 Beam has implemented stringent cleaning and operations practices to limit the possibility of virus transmission. Shared open-air mobility, like e-scooters, remains a safe affordable transportation option as communities emerge from Covid-19 responses. 

About Beam

Beam is Asia-Pacific’s largest and fastest-growing shared micromobility company and the first micromobility company to use virtual docking to reduce city clutter. We’re on a mission to turn little drives into better rides and make cities flow better for everyone.

Shared micromobility is one of the fastest-growing industries globally, and we are leading the way in Asia-Pacific, with fast-growing operations in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia, with many new city launches underway.  

Learn more @ www.ridebeam.com

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI / Blockchain, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the largest founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】

NBA Stars Join $12M Funding Round for Dapper Labs

・NBA Players Andre Iguodala, Spencer Dinwiddie, JaVale McGee, and Aaron Gordon join Samsung, Coinbase Ventures, and THE A16Z CULTURAL LEADERSHIP FUND in Dapper Labs $12M Investment round for Flow blockchain.

・Dapper Labs’ new funding comes on the heels of the company’s early success with NBA Top Shot, a new flagship application.

・Funds will be used to scale the Flow blockchain and deliver previously announced collaborations with Dr. Seuss, Warner Music, and UFC, among others.

Dapper Labs, the company developing the new Flow blockchain,  announced that it has closed $12M in new funding from investors including NBA players Andre Iguodala (Miami Heat), Spencer Dinwiddie and Garrett Temple (Brooklyn Nets), JaVale McGee (Los Angeles Lakers), and Aaron Gordon (Orlando Magic).

Other new investors in this round include Coinbase Ventures, Distributed Global, Valor Capital Group, A.Capital, BlockTower Capital, Blockchange Ventures, EONXI Ventures, Reed Company, Greenfield One, North Island Ventures, Republic Labs, L1 Digital AG and Pirata Capital.

Existing investors participating include Accomplice, Andreessen Horowitz including their Cultural Leadership Fund, Animoca Brands, AppWorks, Samsung NEXT, Union Square Ventures and Venrock, among others.

“Crypto enables entirely new possibilities for people to create and exchange value on the internet.” said Roham Gharegozlou, founder and CEO of Dapper Labs. “Flow is a new and easy to use blockchain that lowers barriers to entry and lets anyone join this new digital economy. The funding from this round will ensure Flow can scale to the size of projects appealing to fan bases as big as the NBA. Flow lets fans join the economy of their community in a way that wasn’t possible before crypto.”

In conjunction with its new funding, Dapper Labs also announced initial results from its first phase of beta testing for NBA Top Shot, its upcoming flagship title developed for the Flow blockchain. The first 500 players on NBA Top Shot have spent thousands of hours opening packs, trading moments, and completing collections together. NBA Top Shot was designed in partnership with the NBA and NBPA to appeal to mainstream basketball fans’ love of showcasing their knowledge and expressing their fandom. The experience captures the nostalgia of trading cards and the thrill of sneaker trading, but does it within a digital universe.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize consumer ownership on the internet,” said Andre Iguodala, three time NBA champion, tech entrepreneur, and current Miami Heat forward. “Projects like Dapper Labs’ Flow is already driving consumer adoption, with NBA Top Shot proving the experience is not only engaging, but smooth and fan friendly.”

As fans enter into the Top Shot universe, they are instantly immersed into a world where they can discover great plays, open surprise packs of “top shots” or the best plays of the season, show off their epic collections, and trade their assets with their peers to complete sets and win challenges. New invitations to the beta are being released in waves and interested parties may sign up on nbatopshot.com, and then visit discord.gg/nbatopshot to request early access.

“Blockchain is going to fundamentally alter the financial industry and have a major impact on consumers,” said Spencer Dinwiddie, Point Guard on the Brooklyn Nets and avid blockchain enthusiast. “Flow can create the vehicle for consumers to enter the space through products like NBA Top Shot where they have fun, but at the same time create a new self-sovereignty.”

Over the past few months, Dapper Labs has announced major partnerships with Warner Music Group, Dr. Seuss Entertainment, and UFC, to build new gaming and entertainment experiences on Flow. Besides providing the stability and scalability necessary for blockchain products to support mass market adoption, Flow also provides payment rails for credit cards and cryptocurrency for consumers to use with ease.

For more information about Flow, please visit onflow.org. For more information on how to begin playing NBA Top Shot, please visit nbatopshot.com.

About Dapper Labs

Dapper Labs is the company behind CryptoKitties and the Flow blockchain as well as upcoming titles like NBA Top Shot. Founded in 2018, Dapper Labs uses blockchain technology to bring new forms of digital engagement to fans around the world. Blockchain-enabled applications can bring fans closer with the brands they love, give people a real stake in the communities they contribute to, and create new ways for consumers to become creators themselves. Publicly-announced Dapper Labs partners include the NBA and NBPA, Warner Music Group, Ubisoft, and UFC. Notable investors in Dapper Labs include Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Venrock, Google Ventures, Samsung, and the founders of Dreamworks, Reddit, Coinbase, Zynga, and AngelList, among others. Vist Dapper Labs.

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI / Blockchain, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the largest founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】

EMQ Announces Close of $20M Series B Funding Round

  • EMQ, Asia’s leading financial settlement network, announced the close of a $20 million Series B funding round.
  • The latest round of funding is led by WI Harper Group, with participation from new and existing investors including Abu Dhabi Capital, AppWorks, DG Ventures, Hard Yaka, Intudo Ventures, January Capital, Quest Venture Partners, SparkLabs Taipei, Vectr Fintech Partners, and VS Partners.
  • EMQ will use the investment to further accelerate its international growth, product development and licensing activities across Asia, Europe and the Americas.

EMQ, Asia’s leading financial settlement network, announced today the issuance of $20 million Series B Preferred Shares, led by WI Harper Group, with participation from new and existing investors including Abu Dhabi Capital, AppWorks, DG Ventures, Hard Yaka, Intudo Ventures, January Capital, Quest Venture Partners, SparkLabs Taipei, Vectr Fintech Partners, and VS Partners. EMQ will use the investment to further accelerate its international growth, product development and licensing activities across Asia, Europe and the Americas.

“At EMQ, we are building a global settlement network that enables everyone to send money anywhere in the world and to any end point with a simple one-stop integration,”  said Max Liu, co-founder and CEO of EMQ. “This new funding marks a significant milestone in our next phase of strategic growth as we continue to innovate and deliver a network infrastructure that complies with regulatory requirements and streamlines the complexities in processing real-time international payments across the whole payment ecosystem. We are excited to partner with WI Harper as well as our new and existing VCs, who share our passion to make infrastructure a competitive advantage for next-generation enterprises.”

With a network footprint touching billions of people, EMQ’s flexible and scalable infrastructure eliminates unnecessary intermediaries and directly integrates to all the end-points, facilitating seamless, real-time and cost-effective cross-border settlements. Currently, EMQ ‘s network spans across Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe and North America, with access to over 80 key global markets and millions of digital endpoints. The company is currently licensed in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and registered as a Money Service Business in Canada. EMQ was also accepted into Taiwan’s Regulatory Sandbox by the Financial Supervisory Commission in Taiwan.

“As digital transformation intensifies globally, enterprises today are increasingly international in scale and they will require a network infrastructure like EMQ with greater speed, more certainty, increased flexibility and transparency, to expand their business in Asia and beyond. We are excited to partner with the EMQ team to expand its market-leading position in cross-border business payments globally,” said Edward Liu, Partner at WI Harper Group.

“As we look to the future, we will continue to invest significantly towards constant innovation of our cross-border solutions and compliance capabilities, to deliver additional value to the global payments ecosystem and capitalize on the explosive growth of cross-border B2B payments market – valued to exceed US$218 trillion by 2022,” Max Liu added.

About EMQ

EMQ operates a global financial settlement network that provides a faster, more affordable and transparent cross-border settlement solution for businesses around the world, while adhering to complex regulations and compliance standards in different markets. The company’s flexible network infrastructure has been built to effectively settle any cross-border movement of capital and can be deployed across multiple vertical industries for a broad range of services, including e-commerce, merchant settlement, procurement, remittance, payroll, etc. .

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI / Blockchain, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the largest founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】

First Half of 2020 Ecosystem Update: Taiwan’s Blockchain industry Shakes off Global Lockdowns and Exhibits Stronger Corporate interest

Jun Wakabayashi, Analyst (若林純 / 分析師)

Jun is an Analyst covering both AppWorks Accelerator and Greater Southeast Asia. Born and bred in America, Jun brings a wealth of international experience to AppWorks. He spent the last several years before joining AppWorks working for Focus Reports, where he conducted sector-based market research and interviewed high-level government leaders and industry executives across the globe. He’s now lived in 7 countries outside US and Taiwan, while traveling to upwards of 50 for leisure, collectively highlighting his unique propensity for cross-cultural immersion and international business. Jun received his Bachelors in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

As the world came to a standstill from COVID19, the first half of 2020 proved to be a challenging time for industries across the board. With all its promises and potential, even the nascent blockchain industry was not immune to worldwide lockdown and social distancing measures. A handful of established players certainly benefited from the accelerated shift to online consumption and digital living. But, those projects without solid foundations, compelling use cases, and sustainable business models quickly found themselves at the end of their runways.

With only 447 confirmed cases and 0 local transmissions in the last two months, Taiwan has garnered worldwide adoration for its handling of the novel coronavirus. The local blockchain industry, however, did not go completely unscathed. Compared to 19H2, 21 projects have since ceased operations and been taken off the map. This is the largest number of removals since AppWorks Accelerator started producing the ecosystem map two years ago. With only 16 additions, there were also a fewer number of new organizations entering the ecosystem compared to any other half. Collectively, there was a total of 112 projects noted on the map, down from 115 in the last update.

(Welcome to download map here: Taiwan’s Blockchain Ecosystem Map First Half 2020)

2020 is clearly shaping up to be a year of reckoning. Financial markets are in disarray, global supply chains have been crippled, and economies across the globe are struggling with unprecedented productivity loss. That said, if 2008 was any indication, heroes are often born in the midst of a crisis. The pandemic has highlighted glaring efficiency and reliability gaps in our current processes and systems, forcing upon us new ways of working and thinking. “The new normal” may very well serve as the necessary accelerant to convert blockchain’s perception of cautious skepticism into widespread pragmatism, which we’re already starting to see early signals of.

Enterprise adoption picks up

There’s been a lot of talk about how and when to potentially use blockchain. Now, it seems like enterprise adoption is starting to pick up steam. As many of them lack the capabilities in house, we’ve seen several corporates in the last six months announce their latest initiatives in partnership with local blockchain startups.  

Taiwan’s leading financial conglomerate with over US$335B AUM Cathay Financial Holdings announced that it’s developing an electric vehicle IoT financing platform in conjunction with EV charging service provide ChargeSmith (AW#16) and supply chain-focused blockchain startup BSOS. The new platform collects and stores EV owners’ driving behavior, which will then be used to provide real-time personalized financial services ranging from insurance to banking products. In another example of enterprise partnerships, longstanding email security provider Openfind unveiled its collaboration with BlockChain Security to launch an intellectual property protection solution, which aims to help enterprises store and transmit confidential information more securely. 

It’s no secret that banks have been some of the earliest adopters of blockchain technology in Taiwan, as seen by Cathay and CTBC, the latter of which runs its own blockchain incubator and is a part of international blockchain consortium R3. Taiwan Business Bank was the latest to hop on the bandwagon. They recently unveiled their intentions to implement blockchain technology into the process of issuing confirmation letters in order to lower the risk of falsification.

Meanwhile, crypto asset management platform Bincentive recently disclosed its partnership with Japan-based Rakuten. Users of the international e-commerce site will now be able to purchase crypto investments using their loyalty points. Along the same lines, BitoEx (AW#6) which operates one of Taiwan’s largest crypto exchanges now allows FamilyMart members to redeem their loyalty points for bitcoin purchases.

Thus far, Tawianese corporations are clearly displaying a positive embrace of blockchain technology. However, due to their traditional management structure, implementation of the technology is still veered towards a centralized model, inhibiting some of the touted benefits of blockchain such as autonomy, no single point of failure, and overall the democratization of data and authority. Moving forward, it’ll be worth observing how enterprises might adjust their cultures and governance models as decentralization increasingly transitions from fringe to mainstream adoption. 

The new normal

Blockchain has been in development for well over a decade now, and the crypto market has correspondingly undergone its fair share of cycles. In the process, investors have become increasingly more sophisticated in terms of their understanding and approach to the market, as well as the instruments and structures they use to finance deals. Nevertheless, crippled economies across the globe have led investors to reel back their money for the time being, allocating their attention to existing portfolios or waiting for brighter horizons.

With the current circumstances, the development of early stage startups has become polarized. The market will be unrelenting for those relying on projects to generate ad hoc cash flow, as the downturn has caused a tightening of the belt for customers across the board. On the other hand, those teams that have found product-market fit and solve a real world pain point for clients at scale will have greater commercial prospects, ultimately contributing to a stronger and more sustainable ecosystem that’s driven by a project’s actual value rather than market hype and speculation.

There were a few bold blockchain entrepreneurs, for example, with innovative technology and solid business models that were highly favored by investors. CoolBitX successfully closed a US$16.75M series B round of financing, led by SBI Holdings. The newly raised funds will be used to continue development and rollout of its messaging-based KYC/AML solution for virtual asset providers. In addition, BSOS also completed a million-dollar seed round in the first half of 2020—including NT$20M (US$678K) from Taiwan’s National Development Fund—to advance its blockchain-based supply chain financing solution for enterprises. 

Digitalization vs decentralization

Looking back in the first half of 2020, it was a rather harrowing time for the blockchain industry. Right at the onset of COVID19 in March, cryptocurrency prices dropped by 40%. A few months later in May, Telegram—which in 2018 raised the second largest ICO in history at US$1.7B— announced the suspension of its blockchain project the Telegram Open Network (TON) shortly after the SEC won a preliminary injunction, citing a plausible case that Telegram had sold unregistered securities in its coin offering.

Crypto prices have since more or less recovered to pre-COVID19 levels, especially as people increasingly sought out alternative stores of value like bitcoin as a hedge against inflationary currencies. The halving of bitcoin this past May and the added supply scarcity will likely continue to drive up its value, as it’s done so consistently in the past. Since TON was officially abandoned, there have been many communities around the globe that have been rallying to keep it alive, including the Chinese TON community which claimed that it would launch its own version of the blockchain. 

At this point, what are the next growth opportunities for blockchain? Everyone has different interpretations and expectations. However, currently, conversations are mostly centered around the pandemic, with criticisms mainly targeted at the limitations and failures of centralization. Whether it’s in terms of tracing vaccination records, tracking medical supplies, eliminating fake news, or disbursing economic aid, decentralization has been thrown in as a prominent solution to many use cases. However, as impactful as these use cases may be, the reality is that boilerplate digitalization is still higher on the pecking order for most people. The age of remote work catapulted people into a new normal, forcing everyone to figure out how to do everything over the worldwide web, from basic necessities like ordering food or groceries to lifestyle needs like exercise and socialization to work needs like conducting meetings or business presentations. 

Digitalization and decentralization are not mutually exclusive, however. If anything they are complementary. Novel thinking often calls for novel solutions. Decentralization can provide the perfect combination of efficiency, transparency, and autonomy that people didn’t even know they wanted or needed. For now, aside from decentralized finance (DeFi), games and entertainment-related services will likely dominate the majority of use cases, both of which  benefited tremendously from the pandemic in terms of adoption and usage. 

Existing entrepreneurs in this space would be wise to continue building their experience in this area, acquiring users, and strengthening their positioning. For aspiring entrepreneurs, realize that the world has hit reset and undergone a rude awakening; consequently, there’s never been a better time to explore and introduce radical new ideas.

Taiwan’s Blockchain Ecosystem Map First Half 2020 is produced by AppWorks and updated every six months. If you have any comments or suggestions, please send us an email at a@appworks.tw.

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI / Blockchain, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the largest founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】

Photo by Robert Pastryk on Pixabay