e27 gets US$614,000 worth of funding, to expand regionally
By A. Asohan February 14, 2013
- New funds to fuel regional expansion, grow editorial team and expand flagship Echelon event
- Founded by NUS undergrads who had returned from work stint in Silicon Valley, seeking to fill a gap in ecosystem
SINGAPORE-based media outfit e27 has secured a S$760,000 (US$614,000) round of funding with B Dash Ventures and regional investors Pinehurst Advisors (Taiwan), Ardent Capital (Thailand), Dan Neary (Singapore) as well as angel investors.
With this investment, e27 said it will expand its operations in South-East Asia, including via partnerships/ joint ventures, grow its editorial teams and expand the influence of the Echelon (pic) tech start-up event into more cities around Asia, the company said in a statement.
It said it would increase its focus and operations in South-East Asia. With editorial teams and contributors around the region, it aims to expand its editorial presence in key cities. The news site has also adopted the e27.co domain to mark this regional focus and direction, in lieu of its previous domain, e27.sg.
In an email response to Digital News Asia (DNA), e27 chief executive officer and co-founder Mohan Belani said the company would be focusing on “every market in South-East Asia, though the obvious markets will be Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.”
“We currently have a team of 10 people across the region working on editorial, events, marketing and business development. Our editorial team (of seven) is currently writing from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
“Most of the core business is based in Singapore. The majority of our team is made up of editorial, with a handful in marketing and other areas,” he said.
As a company, e27 was profitable in 2012 with year on year revenue growth of over 20%, it said in a statement.
“We raised funding in 2013 through our angel 8Capita, and just closed our second round with B Dash Ventures (Japan), Pinehurst Advisors (Taiwan), Ardent Capital (Thailand), Dan Neary (Singapore) and other investors,” Mohan said.
e27 said it would also be increasing its offering of products and services in 2013. Echelon, its flagship conference, will feature a much higher caliber of start-ups, speakers and investors and more satellite events around the region. e27 will also widen its Founders Drinks Networks and Echelon Ignites in major cities around Asia.
e27 born to fill gap
e27 was actually founded in 2006 by National University of Singapore undergraduates who had returned from a work stint in Silicon Valley through the NUS Overseas College program (NOC), Mohan (pic) told DNA.
“I'm actually an engineering graduate, but after spending time in Silicon Valley, I too became impassioned by the start-up industry, culture and innovation, and wanted to raise the profile of innovation and business in South-East Asia with other like-minded people,” he said.
“We started a blog covering technology start-up and business news in Singapore because there was no other media available.
“We also constantly ask ourselves and start-ups/ investors in the ecosystem, what resources and information they need and how e27 can be such a platform for them, through our content and events.
“In 2010, we organized Echelon as a conference for the technology and start-up industry and now we're organizing our fourth one in 2013. It's been a huge success and platform for the regional start-ups,” he added.
The investment in e27 sees an increasing interest in South-East Asia's tech industry as a growing market.
"B Dash Ventures is very pleased to invest in e27, with its track record of stimulating start-up ecosystems across Asia. We are excited to contribute from Japan to help grow e27 into becoming Asia's largest and most influential media company,” said B Dash Ventures chief executive officer Hiroyuki Watanabe.
“With e27's involvement in various Asian start-up ecosystems, it should also become easier for Japanese start-ups to expand their businesses to Asia, as well as facilitate a greater flow of information between Japan and other regions," he added.
B Dash Ventures manages an early- to late-stage venture capital fund. The fund invests in Internet and mobile ventures both locally in Japan and in South-East Asia and the United States. Its LPs include Japan's largest technology companies and financial institutions including NTT, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, GREE, NEC BIGLOBE, and the Japanese government's small business agency.
Watanabe joins the board together with existing members Nic Lim (8Capita) and founders Mohan and Thaddeus Koh.