Start@SG: WeWork, iflix, Sansan

WeWork eyes Southeast Asia expansion

Co-working space start-up WeWork is pouring US$500 million (S$681 million) into Southeast Asia and South Korea, as the New York-based company steps up its global expansion.

As part of that effort, the firm has also spent an undisclosed sum to buy Singapore-based co-working company Spacemob.

Spacemob founder and chief executive Turochas Fuad will become managing director of South-east Asia for WeWork and will oversee the firm's expansion in the region. WeWork will absorb Spacemob's team of about 20 people.

The firm already has locations in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Bangalore.

The announcement follows a US$500 million round of funds raised from SoftBank Group and Hony Capital to expand its business in China. The firm is also planning a joint venture with SoftBank to set up in Japan.

"We are amazed and humbled by the response to WeWork so far, and look forward to continuing to build our vibrant and diverse community in the rapidly evolving region," said Mr Miguel McKelvey, its co-founder.


Iflix raises $181m to invest in content

Kuala Lumpur-based iflix, which offers a subscription video-on-demand service, has raised US$133 million (S$181 million) from new and existing investors, including EDBI, the investment arm of the Economic Development Board. The funding round was led by United States media, information and services company Hearst.

Other new investors include clients of DBS Private Bank, while existing shareholders Evolution Media, Sky PLC, Catcha Group, Liberty Global, Jungle Ventures and PLDT also increased their investments.

Proceeds will be used to invest in its local content strategy. iflix recently unveiled its first exclusive original production, Oi Jaga Mulut, a stand-up comedy series.

Over the last 12 months, iflix has expanded from four markets to 19 across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The company has additionally built integrated distribution partnerships with 27 telecommunications operators to bundle the iflix service with customers' mobile and data subscriptions. The firm said revenue soared 230 per cent year on year during this period.


Japan firm in largest funding round

Sansan, a Japanese provider of cloud-based business card management services, has raised US$38 million (S$52 million) in Series D funding, with participation from new investor Future Creation Fund, which is backed by leading corporations such as Toyota Motor Corp and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

The funding round also saw continued investment from venture capital firm DCM Ventures and cloud-based customer relationship management platform, Salesforce.com. This is the largest sum raised in the company's history.

Sansan expanded into Singapore in October 2015, its first overseas office.

The new round of funding will support the company's "aggressive growth into new cities in Asia including India", it said.