Mile a minute: Early Stage

What does an eight-figure early investment in fintech say?

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Mile a minute: Early Stage

This week, KrASIA highlights startups that provide services in emerging verticals like education and healthcare. In fintech, stakes continue to rise. Even early investments can reach staggering amounts.

Philippines-based healthtech firm Maria Health closed a USD 1 million seed round led by the Gobi Core Philippine Fund. The company aggregates listings for services of insurance providers, primary care clinics, and outpatient care facilities. It claims to be the first online marketplace for healthcare in the Philippines. Earlier this year, Maria Health was one of the two startups that Shanghai- and Kuala Lumpur-based Gobi Partners invested in when the venture capitalist firm entered Philippines.

Over in Singapore, test-prep startup Geniebook pulled in USD 1.1 million in pre-Series A funding. Founded by two tutors, the idea behind Geniebook is to generate curated worksheets automatically, targeting each student’s strengths and weaknesses with better test-prep exercises. The company claims that 80% of its subscribers see improvements in their grades within three months.

Another edtech firm, Cialfo, has raised USD 3 million in a Series A round. The Singapore-based company streamlines the application process for university enrollment. It started out with consultation services but has spun off that arm of its business to focus on providing tech-based services to clients in India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Mongolia. Cialfo’s aim is to give more students access to educational opportunities in the United States.

Early-stage rounds are now hitting staggering ticket sizes as the startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia matures, especially in fintech hub Singapore. YouTrip nabbed a whopping USD 25.5 million in pre-Series A funding. The company is a versatile fintech player, also called a challenger bank offering a multi-currency wallet and a prepaid Mastercard for Singaporean travelers to use overseas. This follows on the heels of cross-border B2B payment startup ThunesUSD 10 million in Series A funding.

“Early Stage” is a series where the writers of KrASIA highlight startups that caught our eye for the week, whether they achieved an important milestone, rolled out a truly innovative product, or became embroiled in controversy.