A List of Major Temasek Tech Investments in 2019
By Monika Ghosh
Temasek is a Singapore government-owned investment firm with a portfolio value of $230 billion as of March 31, 2019. According to their 2019 overview report, although the company invests globally, two-thirds of its underlying exposure is in Asia, with more than 50% of its investments going to Singapore and China.
The telecommunications, media, and technology (TMT) sector is the second most heavily invested in, with 20% of Temasek’s investments going to technology companies with long term trends. Some of the technology companies Temasek has invested in are Ola Cabs, Ant Financial, Alipay, DoorDash, Aerogen, Flywire, and WeWork.
“Southeast Asia is a growing area of interest in part from its expanding middle income population and thriving Internet economy. We remain invested in Indonesia, ranging from consumer and real estate, to emerging opportunities in technology and financial services,” reads the report.
Below, listed in chronological order, are the technology investments made by Temasek in 2019. At the time of writing, all amounts below indicate the total funding raised by the startups and not Temasek’s investment amount.
In January 2019, Temasek and Sequoia India put US$6 million in seed money into Singapore-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup BasisAI. Generally, Temasek is known to invest in later-stage companies, and rarely at the very early seed stage such as in the case of BasisAI.
According to BasisAI’s website, their AI platform ‘helps organizations to deploy models seamlessly and securely, track data provenance, monitor algorithmic integrity, and ensure AI explainability.’ The startup aims to build machine-learning products for fintech and Internet firms.
Temasek participated in Singapore-based startup Zilingo’s Series D funding round along with Sequoia Capital and others in February 2019. The cumulative investment raised by Zilingo in this round was US$226 million, bringing the company’s valuation within a hair of tech unicorn status. Zilingo initially started out as a fashion Business-to-Customer (B2C) ecommerce platform but later changed tack and started leaning deeper into supply chain tech.
3. Gracell Biotechnologies
In February 2019, Temasek led the consortium that invested US$85 million in the Series B funding round of China-based Gracell Biotechnologies. Other investors who participated in the round were Lilly Asia Ventures, Kington Capital, King Star Capital, and Chengdu Miaoji.
Gracell says it is committed to developing high-quality, low-cost cellular drugs and solving many of the technical difficulties in the cellular gene therapy field, including complex manufacture, lack of off-the-shelf products, and short duration efficacy. The startup said at the time that it planned to use the funds to begin clinical trials.
In September, Temasek, along with EV Growth, led the Series D funding round of Indonesia-based Sociolla that raised US$40 million. Sociolla is an online beauty products marketplace owned by Social Bella. It planned to use its funds to recruit talent and develop its community platform, Social Connect or Soco, which was launched in 2018 when the startup secured $12 million in a fundraise that was also led by EV Growth. The company aims to reach more than 100 million unique followers for its platforms by 2021.
China-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) startup Xforceplus raised $100 million in a Series C round led by Temasek in October 2019. Xforceplus aims to accelerate the strategic expansion of enterprise services in China and upgrade the product, technology and service across the board, according to a company press release at the time.
Taiwan-based Appier leverages AI to help clients make marketing and advertising decisions. It closed its Series D funding round with an US$80 million investment from investors including Temasek’s Pavilion Capital. Appier’s total funding till date is $162 million.
Temasek led a group of investors who invested US$220 million in online pharma startup PharmEasy’s Series D funding round in November 2019. The startup was then valued at $700 million. The startup says that is serves over a million customers, and was in talks with Softbank for a funding deal that at the time of writing, has not come to fruition.
8. Kuaishou Technology
Temasek invested in Kuasishou Technology, a video sharing social media platform, along with Tencent and other investors, in a Series F funding round that raised a total of US$3 billion, in December 2019. The startup said that this was the last round of financing before it goes public. The decacorn is valued at $28.6 billion.