Emddi app’s interface

The Vietnamese ride-hailing platform Emddi developed by experts at Vietnam National University Hanoi (VNU-HN) has raised $2 million at the online financing and fundraising event Virtual Investment Day held on May 28th by venture capitalist ThinkZone Ventures.. Emddi is used by about 30,000 taxis in more than 40 provinces and cities. The funds raised will be used to invest in human resources and expand its market share. The company had completed in September 2020 its Series A funding round, led by ThinkZone Venture. The amount of investment raised was undisclosed. It also reached a cooperation agreement with ride-hailing firm Be Group and Vietnam Taxi Alliance in April 2021 as part of efforts to increase its market share. Emddi is a vehicle dispatch platform for transportation companies that handle taxis and home delivery services, but it is characterized by not being directly involved in fare determination or transportation business. Each transportation company will have an independent vehicle allocation system, and the transportation company will own and manage the system. Transportation companies can organize, set their own prices, and customize the types of transportation services such as taxis, chartered vehicles, motorcycles and courier services through the system. The platform receives ride requests from both ride-hailing orders on the application and phone calls to the transporting firms’ switchboard. It allows customers to access the services of various transporting firms with one application. Emddi also plans to expand to motorbike-hailing service once its car-hailing has developed its market position.

Vietnamese farmers use Facebook, too.

Vietnam’s rural areas are becoming a potential market for Facebook as more and more retailers use chat and video features to sell, while Facebook’s advertising business is increasingly struggling. With revenue largely dependent on advertising, Facebook said rural Vietnamese are increasingly adapting to smartphone use, especially chat and video features. To drive growth, rural markets are part of the plan for the next phase of this social network. A survey from Facebook shows that 92% of rural residents in Vietnam have smartphones. They use them to play games, shop and watch TV with sophisticated manipulations, and are able to exploit all the tools at hand. For this reason, Facebook is looking to focus on several areas related to the growing video viewing habits of rural users, including live streaming, watching videos on Facebook Watch, video clips in News Feed, posts on Instagram,… To develop e-commerce on these services, they will be added with a chat function, helping sellers answer questions directly. Facebook hopes these tools will keep retailers connected with Facebook users, especially after Apple’s policy went into effect this past April with iOS 14.6, requiring apps to be compatible with the iPhone owner to track them. The policy change means it will be harder for companies to send targeted ads to their customer base. Currently, advertisers are still figuring out how to adapt to Apple’s stricter tracking policy. Custom ads are still the most effective, while the type of social commerce that Facebook has implemented before is not really effective. Facebook’s difficulty now is to face competition from popular video services with YouTube and TikTok. Businesses targeting online commerce are also concerned about rural areas when the cost of shopping is still too expensive for people to access. The reason is that there is little infrastructure outside the cities, while logistics costs outside the city are so high, making people aware, despite businesses still promoting advertising activities. 

Locus is a logistics optimisation and management startup.

Locus, a logistics optimisation and management startup based in India and the US, has raised $50 million in its latest round of Series C funding led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC. Qualcomm Ventures, existing investors Tiger Global and Falcon Edge, and angel investors including Amrish Rau and Kunal Shah also participated in the round. The new funds will be used to expand Locus’ reach and build its research and development team to boost its product line. The company has raised $30 million in funding to date. Locus uses deep machine learning and proprietary algorithms to offer smart supply chain solutions to customers. It offers services such as route optimization, real-time order tracking, dynamic sales plans among others and works with firms operating in FMCG, logistics and e-commerce spaces like Myntra, BigBasket, Licious, Lenskart and Bluedart. Locus said it will recruit employees who have a doctorate in philosophy for its data science team. It is also looking to double its patents by 2022. The startup works with clients across North America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and India. It has offices in the US, UK, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Germany. Locus says that its products have saved businesses over $150 million in logistics costs, along with a reduction of 70 million kilometers in the distance traveled. It also said its solutions have cut over 17 million kilograms in greenhouse gas emissions for clients across sectors like ecommerce, retail, and e-grocery, among others.

Representatives of Intrepid offices at the online funding

Intrepid Group, a Singapore-headquartered omni-channel e-commerce solutions and service provider, announced it has raised $11 million in its latest round of oversubscribed Series B funding. Local VC firm Vulpes Investment Management, a group of global private investors, as well as existing investors including SGX-listed Thakral Corporation, also joined the round. The fresh funds will be invested in Intrepid’s technology suite to continue fueling the growth of its clients’ businesses across Southeast Asia. The company said it has hit profitability in two of its markets, though it did not specify them. It’s also on track for regional profitability. Intrepid was established in 2017 by Charles Debonneuil, a co-founder and former chief marketing officer of Lazada Group. The company helps brands as well as small and medium-sized enterprises accelerate their growth on Southeast Asia’s ecommerce platforms, such as Lazada and Shopee. Currently, Intrepid has a team of over 250 employees including industry specialists in ecommerce, marketing, and technology across its offices in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The startup has also partnered with over 60 international brands to expand their omnichannel ecommerce businesses in Southeast Asia. In August 2020, Intrepid raised an undisclosed amount in its pre-series B funding round led by Thakral Corporation and Sun SEA Capital, an existing investor backed by Sunway Group.

List of the representatives of the eight competing nations

The e-sport arena has a new unlikely contender, Microsoft Excel. For the first time ever, Microsoft Excel, the software used for crunching numbers around the globe, is being considered an e-sport and Microsoft is even organising a Microsoft Excel Financial Modeling World Cup. The global competition featured 8 participating countries: India, Malaysia, Canada, Poland, Australia, South Africa, the USA and the UK, whose representatives would be given 40 minutes to solve a financial problem by creating a model in Microsoft Excel, followed by questions from the judges regarding the same. Essentially, a financial model is a strategic tool that is created using a spreadsheet. It involves the arrangement of data in a manner that can be used to predict the financial performance of a business. However, it requires an in-depth understanding of software such as Microsoft Excel, and a set hand on all the features and controls in the software. 8 champions represented the 8 countries in the Multiplayer Battle Tournament, called ‘888 Battle’, which was streamed live on the official YouTube channel of the Financial Modeling World Cup on June 8th, 2021. Michael Jarman, representative of Canada, has emerged victorious from the World Cup with an accumulated 700 points, equivalent to 13 correct answers. In second place was Andrew Ngai with 640 points or 14 correct answers and 4 errors. The third position went to John Lim from Australia with 625 or 12 correct answers and 1 error. Perhaps it is time to hone our skills, exercise typing speed and learn to use Excel like experts, because it is convenient to be ready for future editions of the Financial Modeling World Cup.

Sources of information include VNExpress, Nikkei Asia, Tech In Asia, Entrepreneur.