XREX Raises $17M to Expand Fiat Currency Portfolio and Partnerships

Editor’s note: We are thrilled to back XREX’s $17M series Pre-A round. XREX is AppWorks Accelerator #17 alumni, and a crypto-fiat FinTech startup driving financial inclusion via blockchain. Looking forward the cooperation with XREX’s outstanding team to build a decentralized future. The press release from XREX as below:

XREX, a crypto-fiat FinTech company driving financial inclusion via blockchain, closed its $17 million Pre-A round, which was oversubscribed by 200%. XREX will use the funding to expand its fiat currency portfolio, acquire additional licenses, and forge partnerships with more financial institutions and digital wallets.

Led by CDIB Capital Group (TWSE: 2883), the consortium of global investors includes publicly-listed companies, major banks, venture capital firms, and top fintech investors from the US, Canada, Germany, Estonia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The strong participation by publicly-listed companies underscores XREX’s commitment to compliance with regulatory bodies.

Other investors in this Pre-A round also include SBI Investment (subsidiary of SBI Holdings, TYO: 8473), Global Founders Capital, ThreeD Capital (CSE: IDK), E.Sun Venture Capital (TWSE: 2884), Systex Corporation (TWSE: 6214), Metaplanet Holdings, AppWorks, Black Marble, New Economy Ventures, and Seraph Group. XREX closed its $7 million seed round in 2019. The investors in that round included AppWorks (lead), Skype’s late-cofounder Toivo Annus, Metaplanet Holdings, Black Marble, CDIB, WI Harper, BitoEx, and the Taiwan government’s National Development Fund.

“CDIB was an early investor in XREX,” said Ryan Kuo, Head of CDIB Capital Innovation Fund. “After witnessing the company’s fast revenue growth and their commitment to compliance, we were determined to double our investment and lead this strategic round.”

“Our mission is to foster global financial inclusion by leveraging blockchain,” said XREX CEO and cofounder Wayne Huang, an internationally-recognized cybersecurity expert. “Many of our team members are from or have lived in the markets where we serve. We keenly understand the struggles faced by many cross-border merchants who lack safe access to US dollar liquidity.”

By working with local regulators and financial institutions, XREX has pioneered tools such as BitCheck and MyXchange to help merchants and SMEs in emerging markets reduce forex loss, gain access to US dollars and seamlessly cross over from informal to formal economy. 

Capitalizing on a successful series of new features including their mandatory User Public Profile as well as their Risk Level Detector features, XREX will roll out a user Reputation Index next year to bolster safety, transparency and accountability while encouraging social networking.

In the last eight months, XREX successfully detected and prevented fraud rings from Russia and Nigeria from using the platform, attesting to XREX as one of the safest crypto-fiat currency platforms in the world.

“Helping entrepreneurs to succeed is a priority for us,” said Yoshitaka Kitao, Representative Director & Chairman of SBI Investment. “We believe XREX solutions open the door for underserved merchants to participate in global commerce on an even playing field.”

Jerry Horng, President of Black Marble Capital Management who serves on XREX’s board, said, “We were an early investor of XREX and we’re excited to continue our support in this round. XREX is uniquely positioned to connect Taiwan’s mature banking industry with the booming cross-border commerce currently seen in emerging markets.”

Recognizing compliance is core to digital currency adoption, XREX partners with several leading compliance and anti-money laundering providers such as CipherTrace, Sum&Substance, and TRISA.

“XREX has shown above-expectation growth since their graduation from our AW#17 accelerator batch in 2018. We are thrilled to back them again,” said Joseph Chan, a Partner at AppWorks who serves on XREX’s board. “This round will accelerate XREX’s capability of combining their unmatched cybersecurity expertise with leading compliance technologies to create a safer and cleaner ecosystem for crypto-enabled merchants, digital asset owners, and entrepreneurs.”

About XREX:

Founded in Aug 2018 and headquartered in Taipei, XREX Inc. is a crypto-fiat FinTech company with a mission of driving financial inclusion by solving the dollar liquidity shortage issue in emerging economies. Armed with a team of world-leading experts in compliance, cryptocurrency, blockchain, FinTech and cross-border payments, XREX offers innovative solutions to help cross-border SMEs compete on an even playing field. Follow XREX on Twitter, Facebook, Medium, and LinkedIn.

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

Tinvio Banks US$12 Million to Revolutionize B2B Trade Payments and Financing for Merchants and suppliers in Asia

Editor’s note: We are excited to officially announce AppWorks’ investment into Tinvio’s $12M series A round. Looking forward the cooperation with Tinvio’s outstanding team in the future. The press release from Tinvio as below:

・The capital will be primarily used to expand the team’s technology and growth functions, as the company doubles down on B2B real-time payments, credit financing, and other trade services

・Series A round led by AppWorks and backed by MUFG Bank with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital’s Surge, Global Founders Capital, Partech Partners

・Headquartered in Singapore and operating across Asia, Tinvio is a B2B transactions platform that helps merchants and suppliers manage orders, invoices, and payments via a chat-led interface

Tinvio, a B2B transactions platform for merchants and suppliers in Asia, has raised US$12 million in Series A funding led by AppWorks Ventures and backed by strategic investor MUFG Innovation Partners (MUIP), with participation from all existing investors Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, Global Founders Capital, and Partech Partners. The Series A round brings the company’s total raise so far to US$18.5 million. The fresh capital will be used to accelerate product development on its financial technology stack, and fire up growth engines to scale the platform across new segments and markets.

“In Southeast Asia, a lot of startups are going after the 70+ million SMBs across the region. Tinvio’s focus on modernizing B2B trade with a seamless user experience has seen it onboard and digitalize thousands of merchant and supplier teams without disrupting their daily routines or procurement workflows. Despite COVID-19, we still see great growth momentum, led by increasing network effects, leaving Tinvio well positioned to dominate this category.” — Jessica Liu, Partner at AppWorks Ventures

Over 5,000 businesses have already been activated in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and other Asian markets, a 4x growth since the seed round. Despite the recurring COVID-19 operational restrictions on the company’s majority F&B customer base, retention rates have trended exceptionally high and transaction volumes have also quadrupled over the past year.

“We have an ambitious roadmap that reimagines how SMBs transact — how quickly they make or collect payments, how easily they get financed based on a multitude of data points, how effectively they manage their cash cycles to not just survive, but grow faster. B2B trade digitization is ridiculously challenging, but everything we build for these businesses, from our proprietary checkout to real-time fund flows to risk assessment, we’re breaking new ground in user experience and engineering.”  — Ajay, Founder / CEO at Tinvio

Tinvio helps SMBs manage orders with their suppliers through a chat-led interface. Today, these businesses in F&B and other traditional supply chains still process orders over WhatsApp or phone calls, while payments remain outdated – cash, paper cheques, or manual bank transfers. This makes it tedious for the merchants to keep track of orders, invoices, and payables; while suppliers burn a frustrating amount of time on collections, reconciliations, and cash-cycle management. This also makes credit scoring and financing inaccessible, in turn restraining these SMBs from operating more efficiently.

Tinvio’s focus to date has been building a user experience that makes it incredibly easy for merchants and suppliers to transact. The chat-led interface enables SMBs to exchange messages, orders, invoices, and payments in just a few taps. This year, the company also made first strides into modernizing traditionally offline trade payments, by bolting on digital payments collection and reconciliation solutions. For example, merchants receive in-app payment requests and can select one of several local payment methods at checkout, while suppliers can efficiently track all orders and payables in a single dashboard.

Tinvio localizes the payments solutions for its operating markets by building modularized integrations with regional payment gateways. This allows the company to focus on user experience, and scale the payments stack beyond borders in a capital-light model. MUIP’s strategic investment in this round also unlocks new opportunities to offer transaction financing, credit card issuing, and other merchant banking solutions through direct partnerships or special purpose vehicles with subsidiary banks.

Tinvio was founded in Singapore in July 2019 by Ajay Gopal, and has expanded to a distributed team of over 60 builders and enablers. Ajay founded Tinvio on the heels of his experience as a fintech investment banker at Credit Suisse in London, where he led IPO and M&A transactions for payment technology companies in Europe. Before that, he held product ownership in Loop Commerce, a PayPal-backed startup in Silicon Valley. He had also co-founded a startup that was acqui-hired while in university.“The first time I ventured into payments was at Loop, where I observed how a brilliant user experience built on Braintree’s payments stack created and dominated a new category in consumer commerce. As a banker, when I covered Mastercard and Visa, I quickly realized there was a shifting focus from consumer cards to B2B real-time payments. I remember being dialed into earnings calls, frantically jotting key points on this massive market opportunity being completely underpenetrated (despite being worth trillions of dollars globally), and questioning how I could make a solid impact in this category. Fast forward to Tinvio, we’re building user experience that makes it incredibly easy for merchants and suppliers in Asia to transact.” — Ajay, Founder / CEO at Tinvio

About Tinvio

Tinvio is a B2B transactions platform that helps merchants manage orders, invoices, and payments with suppliers via a chat-led interface. Tinvio is built around the idea that every merchant and supplier should be able to work smarter together. Through clean design, agile engineering, and genuine support, we unlock capabilities that make them more productive and profitable.

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

NFT 獨角獸再現,AppWorks 參與 Animoca Brands 新一輪 88,888,888 美元募資,總估值達 10 億美元

來自香港的 Animoca Brands 近期宣佈以 10 億美元估值 (Valuation),完成了最新一輪 88,888,888 美元的融資。Animoca Brands 主要業務是透過 NFT (非同質代幣) 向遊戲玩家提供數位資產,旗下遊戲包括:《F1® Delta Time》、《The Sandbox》和《MotoGP™ Ignition》等,是該領域全球領先的企業。

正值疫情升溫的當下,值得台灣新創與創投圈關注的角度與好消息,則是 AppWorks 也參與了本輪融資,並寫下兩個里程碑。第一,這是 AppWorks 繼 2019 年投資 Flow (由知名 NFT 應用《CryptoKitties》、《NBA Top Shot》開發團隊 Dappers Labs 所開發的區塊鏈鏈公鏈) 之後,另一個指標性的 NFT 投資案;第二,這也是 AppWorks 繼投資 Lalamove 與 Dapper Labs / Flow 後,投出的第三隻獨角獸。除了 AppWorks,本輪投資者還包括 Kingsway Capital、RIT Capital Partners、HashKey Fintech Investment Fund 等多家機構。

對 Animoca Brands 來說,本次增資更是一個策略里程碑。Animoca Brands 將利用募得的資金進一步加速成長,持續推廣 NFT 應用,為玩家提供更豐富、基於數位資產的遊戲與服務,更進一步實現 Play-to-Earn 和數位資產跨遊戲互通 (Interoperability) 等次世代遊玩方式。新資本也會用於進一步的購併、開發新產品、繼續進行策略投資,以及獲得更多熱門 IP 授權。這將可鞏固 Animoca Brands 及其各子公司在 NFT 與遊戲領域中的領導地位。

隨著區塊鏈遊戲包括《F1® Delta Time》、《The Sandbox》和《MotoGP™ Ignition》等的成功,以及相關代幣如 REVVSAND 等的推出,並對 Dapper Labs、OpenSea、Bitski、《Axie Infinity》等進行了非常成功的投資,Animoca Brands 已經成為全球在區塊鏈、NFT 和遊戲領域的領導力量。

憑藉最近 GAMEETOWERLMT 代幣的推出,Animoca Brands 正在開拓基於區塊鏈的遊戲內獎勵應用,創造全新的數位遊戲商業模式,而數位遊戲市場在 2020 年的市場規模為 1,797 億美元 (來源:IDC,2020)。

為紀念成為獨角獸的成就,Animoca Brands 也將向投資人、主要合作夥伴和其他幫助成就此時刻的支持者們發行一個 NFT。

對於選擇與 AppWorks 合作,Animoca Brands 共同創辦人暨董事長蕭逸  (Yat Siu) 說道:「台灣擁有一流的消費科技以及蓬勃的遊戲產業,也是全球遊戲領域的主要市場之一,能為 Animoca Brands 下一波成長挹注重要能量。我們選擇與 AppWorks 合作,因為 AppWorks Accelerator 是大東南亞 (東協加台灣) 最大的創業加速器,除了符合我們的長期策略目標外,也能協助我們參與並連結 AppWorks 龐大的創業社群。我們非常期待透過 AppWorks 的支援,在台灣設立一間辦公室。對於擁有台灣家庭根源的我來說 (我的曾外祖父是博士之父王雲五),這是一個特別的時刻,也是我為這個不斷發展的寶島,做出貢獻的一種方式。」

AppWorks 主導這次投資案的合夥人蔡欣翰指出:「我們與 Animoca Brands 的理念不謀而合,都相信區塊鏈與 NFT,將為科技、商業、娛樂乃至於人們的生活,帶來巨大的典範轉移。Yat (蕭逸) 是這個領域的先行者,多年來一直努力推廣 NFT 更廣泛的應用與潛力,Animoca Brands 連續推出多款結合區塊鏈與 NFT 的熱門遊戲,已充分證明他們是這個領域的世界一流團隊,期待透過這次的合作案,能為 AppWorks 致力打造的大東南亞新創生態系,串接起 Animoca Brands 的經驗、技術以及全球頂級的遊戲開發社群,共同打造出更大的商機與前景。」

同時間,AppWorks 正在積極招募 NFT 新創加入下一期 AppWork Accelerator #23,歡迎所有有興趣與 Dapper Labs / Flow、Animoca Brands 等 AppWorks 投資的 NFT 平台連結、合作的創業者加入。

關於 Animoca Brands

Animoca Brands 是數位娛樂、區塊鏈、遊戲化和人工智慧領域的領導者,名列《金融時報》2021 亞太地區高成長公司。 Animoca Brands 開發並發布了廣泛的產品組合,包括 REVV 代幣SAND 代幣;《The Sandbox》、《Crazy Kings》和《Crazy Defense Heroes》在內的原創遊戲;以及使用熱門知識產權,諸如Formula 1 ®、漫威、美國職業摔角、恐龍戰隊、MotoGP™和多啦 A 夢品牌的產品。 

Animoca Brands 的區塊鏈投資組合和合作夥伴包括 Sky Mavis (《Axie Infinity》)、Dapper Labs (《CryptoKitties》和《NBA Top Shot》)、OpenSea、Harmony、Bitski 以及 Alien Worlds。其子公司包括《The Sandbox》、Quidd、Gamee、nWay、Pixowl 以及 Lympo。欲了解更多信息,請瀏覽 www.animocabrands.com,或通過關注 Animoca Brands 的 FacebookTwitter 以獲取更新的資訊。

【歡迎所有 AI、Blockchain、NFT 與目標東南亞市場的創業者,加入專為你們服務的 AppWorks Accelerator

SoopahGenius Closes Its Pre-seed Round, Aims to Take Video Storytelling to the Next Level

SoopahGenius announces the completion of its pre-seed round with Taiwan’s AppWorks Fund. SoopahGenius joined AppWorks Accelerator #20 in March 2020, and is thrilled to continue their partnership in the next stage of company development. This round of funding will help grow their engineering team and accelerate development of Catapult, their AI-powered platform that smartly navigates video content. 

Catapult’s innovation lies in its ability to chew through giant video files. It helps livestreamers and their community to find key moments 10X faster in a stream through an intelligent combination of high speed scrubbing, audio and text analysis, computer vision, and for select games, all game events. Every stream is stored in the cloud, which eliminates the need to upload and download files and opens the opportunity to collaboratively edit a stream or multiple streams. 

“We knew from our own experience that one of the things storytellers get very little help with is dealing with the vast amounts of footage and material they create as the story is taking shape. What we found with livestreamers was that this problem is so bad for them, it often proves itself to be insurmountable, and is really the key reason why they don’t create as much as they want.” said Mike Calcagno, CEO of SoopahGenius. “Bringing the power of AI, and, quite simply, just more computing firepower to the problem, we think that’s a great start towards making visual storytelling easier for everyone.”

With shared interests in AI/ML supported visual storytelling, SoopahGenius was founded by Cortana architect Mike Calcagno, Dropbox technical lead Constance Duong and video artist, and second- time founder Susie Lee. “AppWorks invests in founders, full-stop,” said Joseph Chan, Partner of AppWorks. “We know from experience that an interesting business idea is never enough; a great team is always necessary to overcome the enormous challenges to build something visionary. As we watched the SoopahGenius team work strategically with maturity and steadiness, we were confident they could tackle this very interesting and difficult problem.” 

Catapult is currently in beta with flexible and powerful product features in development for V1,  where they will expand their customer base. For now, interested streamers can request to be part of the beta or sign up via their waiting list.

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

Docosan Raises over $1 Million in Record Round for Vietnam Health Tech

Docosan, a Ho Chi Minh City health tech startup which is getting Vietnam’s digitally savvy masses to skip crowded waiting rooms by booking doctors on its mobile app, has raised over $1 million in one of Vietnam’s largest health tech seed rounds ever.

The oversubscribed round was led by top Taiwanese tech venture capital firm AppWorks, one of the most active early-stage investors in the region and whose prior investments include Lalamove, Carousell, ShopBack, and KKday. The round was joined by biotech entrepreneur David Ma and Singapore-based investors Huat Ventures. 

“Docosan is bringing the digital revolution to healthcare in Vietnam thanks to its determined team and innovative platform,” said AppWorks partner Andy Tsai. “We noticed Docosan’s potential early on because of its participation in the AppWorks Accelerator. Docosan Founders demonstrated strong experience and dedication to the healthcare issues in the region. We are proud to be supporting Docosan’s vision of better healthcare access for all.“

In less than a year of operations, Docosan has helped over 50,000 patients discover and book appointments with hundreds of vetted doctors across 35 specialties. Docosan’s CEO and co-founder Beth Ann Lopez chalked up the rapid growth to vast untapped demand for a convenient and intuitive way to find the top healthcare options.

“It’s so easy to use your smartphone to order a banh mi or a motorbike taxi but finding the right doctor is still a frustrating experience for many. Many rely on word of mouth recommendations from family members and sit for hours in crowded waiting rooms hoping for an appointment instead of booking in advance,” Lopez said. “Docosan’s mobile platform, which includes transparent pricing information, verified customer reviews, and 24/7 booking, makes finding the right doctor as easy an opening our app.” 

Docosan’s platform works by allowing patients to book and filter doctors based on price, location, specialty, reviews, and more. Key to the platform’s success has been quick adoption by the many healthcare providers who struggle to expand their customer base and manage appointments.

“Many clinics are frustrated after spending large amounts on social media marketing because these networks’ vast, opaque user bases are difficult to harness to reach new patients. Docosan gives providers a far better, more tailored user base to expand,” Lopez said. “Meanwhile, Docosan’s proprietary booking software provides doctors an easier way to manage bookings compared to the crowded waiting rooms, which people are increasingly wary of amid the pandemic.”

Docosan has already integrated e-payments and insurance into its platform, with future plans to add telehealth and pharmacy services. The startup’s ambitious vision has been featured in the British Medical Journal and NASDAQ.com.

“Southeast Asia has been transformed by mass smartphone adoption and the rise of tech platforms, but in many places healthcare has yet to catch up with this trend. We’re very excited to make this happen thanks to our investors,” Lopez said.

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