Berry Kitchen, an online catering service in Indonesia, announced today that it received seed funding in the amount of IDR 500 million ($43,700) from ANGIN, the female-oriented angel network fund run by Global Entrepreneurship Program Indonesia (GEPI). Berry Kitchen offers daily catering services as well as bentos for people to order online. (See: GEPI Sets Up Angel Investor Network in Indonesia with Female Entrepreneurs in Mind) The head of Berry Kitchen is former Groupon Indonesia team member Cynthia Tenggara. She has received guidance from Groupon Indonesia co-founders Ferry Tenka and Jason Lamuda in the new venture.
Just a month back, Vietnamese Dong Nguyen created Flappy Bird, which became a global hit. Following its success, two Filipino developers created Pugo, the now-famous Philippine version of Flappy Bird. Pugo was developed by a Filipino couple, Patrick and Camy Cabral, with a simple desire to release their first mobile game. It just so happened that Pugo was placed on the App Store right after Nguyen removed Flappy Bird. This led to a good number of downloads for the game. In an Instagram post by Patrick two weeks ago, it showed that Pugo hit the top spot in the Philippine App Store only 48 hours after the game was published. At the moment, the developers are still unable to track the daily unique users of the app, but according to its in-app leaderboard, there are already more than 107,000 players that has a recorded score on Pugo.
Popular Japanese news reader app Gunosy has closed a funding round led by local telco KDDI, according to The Bridge. The amount was not disclosed, but The Bridge estimates somewhere between US$12 million and US$14 million. A chunk of the new investment will go toward TV advertisements, which have a proven track record in Japan of attracting users. The most notable example is social chat app Line, whose famous sticker characters even have their own TV show. Other apps advertising on TV there include KakaoTalk, DeNA’s Comm, and several mobile games. Gunosy’s main revenue stream comes from display advertisements, which are highly targeted depending on the content of the article. The ad technology is likely the real attraction for investors, as the advertisements on the app have performed well since launching last November.
Jason Lamuda is one of those people who rarely goes to networking events in Indonesia, but everybody knows him for the successful ventures he co-founded: daily deals site Disdus, which was acquired by Groupon in 2011, and the female fashion ecommerce site BerryBenka 1 which successfully raised its series B funding round late last year. Lamuda was one of many Indonesians who fled his home due to the riots in 1998. He continued his studies in Singapore and then followed in the footsteps of his brothers to study abroad in the US. Lamuda took courses in chemical engineering at Purdue University because according to his research, chemical engineering graduates tend to have good salaries. He hadn’t thought about running his own business at the time. During his time in the US he grew amazed at how technology was helping shape people’s lives. He used internet services like Amazon regularly. Lamuda was also impressed with the people who created these life-changing companies. “The founders were people of various backgrounds; whether they were rich or poor, or did not understand tech that much, but they could make it and change the world for the better,” says Lamuda. It is from this experience that Lamuda developed an eagerness to start something in the tech industry on his own.
Speech recognition experts Uniphore have secured an undisclosed amount of funding, reports the Economic Times. The investment comes from the Indian Angel Network, YourNest Angel Fund, and Stata Venture Partners’ founder Ray Stata. Uniphore make speech recognition tools for five international languages, but the Chennai startup’s speciality area is India’s numerous native languages – it has 14 of those covered. Like with Apple’s Siri or Google Now, the software understands natural human speech.