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500 Southeast Asia

Durians Daily #51: BukuKas hires world-class talent to drive growth; MyCash surpasses S$1.2M in remittance volume; Trends VCs are watching post-pandemic

Lots to catch up in today’s Durians Daily.

A strong talent pool to match strong growth

  • 500-backed financial management platform BuKuKas has hired John Mathew as SVP of Product and Gurteshwar Singh as SVP of Engineering. Both are experts in their respective fields and have held successful tenures across a diverse range of multinational companies.
  • Formerly a Lead Product Manager at social game developer Zynga (famous for titles like FarmVille and Zynga Poker), Mathew then became VP of Product at Hansel.io for three years before joining BuKuKas.
  • “Adoption and retention dynamics in our digital-first Product very much mirror those observed in gaming. It’s a game of deep user understanding and hyper-granular quantitative experimentation. John is simply the perfect guy for the job,” says BuKuKas co-founder Krishnan Menon.
BuKuKas founders Lorenzo Peracchione and Krishnan Menon / Credit: BuKuKas
  • For Gurteshwar, he derived his expertise in solving complex technical problems from his time at leading mobile communications provider Karix, where he served as the Director of New Product Development, and before that, as Engineering Lead at online supermarket Grofers.
  • Gurteshwar is also one of the first few engineers to join “10x Engineer”, part of Sequoia Capital’s Surge scale-up program for startups in Southeast Asia and India.
  • “Building a highly scalable Product and implementing emerging technologies ahead of the market are critical requirements for the long term success of BukuKas. Guru has these elements ingrained in his DNA and we can’t think of a better person to drive our engineering efforts.” says BuKuKas co-founder Lorenzo Peracchione.
  • Since launching in December 2019, BuKuKas, which helps Indonesian MSMEs manage their bookkeeping via a user-friendly mobile app, has onboarded 500,000 merchants from 700 cities as of June 2020.
The BuKuKas team / Credit: BuKuKas
  • It has also recorded 60x growth in monthly transactions within its first six months of operations alone whereas its merchant base has grown 41x over the same period of time.
  • BuKuKas was also part of Sequoia Capital’s third Surge cohort. The startup is currently closing a Pre-Series A round.

All in a month’s work

  • 500-backed MyCash Online received its Standard Payment Institutes (SPI) license in Singapore on 20th May, allowing the fintech startup to start offering remittance services to migrant workers in the island-nation.
  • Once the license was awarded, the MyCash team got to work. They started visiting migrant workers living in isolated dormitories scattered across Singapore.
MyCash Online founder and CEO Mehedi Hasan / Credit: Cradle Fund
  • Within a month and after visiting four dormitories, MyCash acquired 5,000 users and processed over S$1.2 million in remittance volume.
  • Visitations to four more dormitories have been approved through which the startup hopes to secure 30,000 users and reach S$15 million in monthly remittance volume by the end of this year.
Credit: Mehedi Hasan/MyCash
  • In addition to those developments, the company is in talks with global credit players like Western Union and Visa for possible partnership opportunities.
  • To date, MyCash Online has 125,000 customers spread across Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia.
  • The company is currently raising US$1 million in a Series A round to further grow their presence in Malaysia and Singapore.

Tech surge amidst Covid-19

  • The era of Covid-19 is highlighting the importance of tech-based solutions and how they have transitioned from novelty to necessity in the span of a few months. On-demand food and grocery deliveries, telemedicine services, and e-wallets are now essential tools of living in the “new normal”.
  • At 500 Durians, we’re always on the lookout for emerging technologies and have been investing in them before and even after the pandemic crisis happened. Since the end of February, five investments were made out of the 500 Durians II fund.
  • Speaking to The Edge Malaysia, Husain Albar from our Capital Formation team believes the accelerated adoption of technologies is paving the way for more opportunities for startups.
Credit: Personal Wealth, The Edge Malaysia
  • Husain observed that the pandemic has not affected all industries equally, with some experiencing slowdowns while others showing growth. To that, he said having a diverse portfolio helps mitigate these challenges.
  • The pandemic has also spurred interest in online communications and entertainment as well as remote working solutions, Husain added.
  • “For instance, we recently invested in Esports Players League, a global e-sports tournament and media network… There is also a surge in enterprise spending as corporations of all sizes start investing in more tech due to cost-cutting measures, mass-sampling from widespread work-from-home movements or top-down use of new technologies by CEOs.”
  • Check out the full interview here.

Missed out the last Durians Daily? Go here to check it out.

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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

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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.