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Lalamove and Lynx Analytics raise US$10m each (Amended)

VC funding a first for Singapore-based Lynx and said to be largest such round in South-east Asia


STARTUPS Lalamove and Lynx Analytics have each raised US$10 million in venture capital funding. While it is the third round of funding in just 18 months for on-demand delivery service Lalamove, it is the first ever for Lynx, a big data solutions provider which had declined investment and acquisition offers until now.

Six-year-old Lynx, a little-known Singapore-based startup, said on Tuesday that it has bagged just under US$10 million in seed funding, in what is said to be the largest such round in South-east Asia. The investment came from an undisclosed single strategic investor valuing the startup at some US$66 million, The Business Times has learnt.

Co-founder and chief operating officer Sander Swinkels said: "So far we've never needed any external investment to sustain or even grow our business. Over the last five years, we've achieved 50-60 per cent yearly revenue increment and have been profitable from the start."

Lynx accepted the investment to scale the business and accelerate product development, he said. The startup provides enterprise clients with an end-to-end data analytics solution, which has, at its heart, a "graph engine" designed to help understand network dependencies of the clients and their interactions, and how to monetise those insights.

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"Lynx builds its business around the concept that the world is not flat, not even round, but a graph. The way we live in this world is based on who or what we interact with, how communities or societies are organised, and how these organisations and connections constantly change," Lynx's other co-founder Gyorgy Lajtai said.

He added that most of the other big data companies tend to structure their solutions in restrictive rows and columns, in which they try to fit clients. "This means that many client insights are invisible or go unnoticed if some data points do not fit into the designated rows and columns, and literally fall off the flat world."

An alumnus of Insead (from which he has recruited academicians, analysts and developers for Lynx), Mr Lajtai believes that a startup should focus first on building the product or service and generating revenue through real-life, paid engagements with enterprises, before securing third-party funds for scaling.

Mr Swinkels said of him: "While Gyorgy was at a Silicon Valley-based company, he could see how a startup could secure investment commitments for forward-looking but untested models, while having just a few trial engagements and in-principle commitments from customers.

"However, those commitments were hard to translate into real business, especially when economic cycles turned. And when the economy went bad, funding dried up as well, so it was a double hit to the business."

Lynx originated in 2010 as a consultancy firm focusing on graph-related, big data analytics. As the team could not find any third-party technology to support their business needs, they decided to build their own platform solution. As a start, Lynx will focus on the telecommunications, mobile advertising, financial services and technology industries.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based Lalamove has secured US$10 million in pre-Series B funding - last year, it raised US$10 million in a bridge round and another US$10 million in Series A funding - taking total funding to some US$30 million.

Said founder Shing Chow: "We are raising another sum in such a short time as we are looking to use these funds to support strong growth - our model has proven to be scalable regardless of location. This round is just a bridge round as we continue to push for profitability across most of our operational cities this year."

Of the some 24 cities Lalamove operates in, the startup has in Singapore, Taipei and Bangkok begun charging for its van and lorry matching service. In terms of pure platform orders, the Republic continues to see the highest average transaction value - up to two times the average price of Hong Kong orders.

A company spokeswoman said: "We are actually working with the biggest fast-food chain in Singapore for food delivery on a potential integration project; this reflects a strong demand and open-mindedness amongst multinational corporations to experiment with online-to-offline models to manage delivery costs."

She added that Singapore will be deeply involved in the startup's global product and market strategy as it expands across South-east Asia, given a more sophisticated market and strong competition here.

Lalamove's latest funding was led by existing investor MindWorks, with participation from China's Crystal Stream, Taiwan's AppWorks, Hong Kong's Aria Group, as well as new investor, Asia Plus from Thailand.

Amendment note: An earlier version of this story stated that the company was Lynx Capital. It should be Lynx Analytics. The story has been revised to correct this.

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