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Durians Daily #47: Singapore-based insurtech startup gets acquired by Asia’s largest independent investment bank

It’s official.

Signed and sealed

  • AMTD Digital, the digital arm of AMTD Group, has acquired 500-backed Singapore-based insurtech company PolicyPal for an undisclosed sum.
  • Established by the CK Hutchison Group, which was founded by business magnate Li Ka-Shing, AMTD is Asia’s largest independent investment banking firm.
  • According to a report by The Business Times, PolicyPal will act as the conglomerate’s “key operating vehicle” to develop and expand in the Singapore insurtech sector, which is expected to become Asia’s largest.
  • Based on recent rankings of top 20 cities for insurtech startups worldwide, while Singapore came in 7th, it’s the only Asian country on the list.
PolicyPal founder Val Yap / Credit: The Straits Times
  • Through the acquisition, AMTD Group’s chairman and CEO and AMTD Digital’s chairman Calvin Choi will become the chairman of PolicyPal, while PolicyPal founder Val Yap will continue to serve as the CEO.
  • Established in 2016, PolicyPal is a licensed digital insurance broker and financial advisor partnering with 30 global insurance carriers to provide personalised insurance coverage from life, health, critical illness, motor to personal accident for consumers.

Smart waste management

  • Traditionally, construction companies use chemicals to treat wastewater. Not only is the method expensive, it’s also detrimental to the environment. 500-backed Hydroleap is changing that age-old practice by replacing expensive chemical treatments with a smart electrical treatment.
  • Its solution is even more relevant today, amidst the pandemic crisis where construction firms are strapped for cash. Hydroleap is said to be two to three times more cost-efficient and takes up less space.
Hydroleap CEO and founder Dr Mohammad Sherafatmand / Credit: SG Innovate
  • The Singapore-based startup has been approaching companies keen to explore this alternative waste management method. “We find distributors or resellers that are smaller construction companies which have a fantastic relationship with the main and sub-contractors,” Hydroleap CEO and founder Dr Mohammad Sherafatmand tells The Business Times.
  • Dr Mohammad has a PhD in environmental engineering from the National University of Singapore, and specializes in using electrochemical methods for the treatment of wastewater and contaminated soil.

25,000 beds and counting

  • 500-backed housing startup Oxfordcaps is partnering with PE firm Cerestra Advisors to run lodging facilities for students off and on-campus. Under the name “CUIB”, the two companies hope to supply over 25,000 beds in six to eight months.
Credit: Oxfordcaps
  • Cerestra will pump in $125 million for the beds and Oxfordcaps will manage these properties.
  • “Joining forces with Cerestra will give both of us an edge to emerge as the most efficient entity to provide educational institutions a one-stop-shop for acquisition, operation, and development of on-campus and near-campus student accommodation,” said CEO and co-founder Annu Talreja.
  • Although rooted in Singapore, Oxfordcaps launched in India last year and is already in 10 cities including Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and Bengaluru.

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500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. In Southeast Asia, 500 Startups invests through the pioneering 500 Durians family of funds. The 500 Durians funds have backed over 200 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology. It continues to connect founders with capital, expertise and powerful regional and global networks to help them succeed.

This post is intended solely for general informational or educational purposes only. 500 Startups Management Company, L.L.C. and its affiliates (collectively “500 Startups”) makes no representation as to the accuracy or information in this post and while reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the information herein is accurate and up-to-date, no liability can be accepted for any error or omissions. All third party links in this post have not been independently verified by 500 Startups and the inclusion of such links should not be interpreted as an endorsement or confirmation of the content within. Information about portfolio companies’ markets, competitors, performance, and fundraising has been provided by those companies’ founders and has not been independently verified. Under no circumstances should any content in this post be construed as investment, legal, tax or accounting advice by 500 Startups, or an offer to provide any investment advisory service with regard to securities by 500 Startups. No content or information in this post should be construed as an offer to sell or solicitation of interest to purchase any securities advised by 500 Startups. Prospective investors considering an investment into any 500 Startups fund should not consider or construe this content as fund marketing material. The views expressed herein are as at the date of this post and are subject to change without notice. One or more 500 Startups fund may have a financial interest in one or more of the companies discussed.



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500 Southeast Asia

500 Southeast Asia

500 Southeast Asia is an early-stage VC firm; The company has backed over 250 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology.