Newsletter | February 2024

4 March 2024

F E B R U A R Y   2 0 2 4
Currently serving over 6,000 small retailers and restaurants, Malaysia-based Lapasar focuses on tech-enabled Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) distribution. The investment will be crucial for the company's growth, allowing it to establish a significant tech-enabled infrastructure for FMCG distribution in Malaysia, overcoming challenges associated with small order sizes. 
Indonesian Neobank KOMUNAL Gears Up for Expansion with US$5.5 Million Funding
The funding will fuel KOMUNAL's expansion plans, focusing on diversifying product offerings and fostering partnerships with rural banks outside Java and Bali, following its robust operational profitability in the second half of last year.
ProCredit Secures US$4.1 Million in Pre-Seed Funding to Propel Tech-Enabled SME Lending in the Philippines
Leveraging deep domain expertise, the Philippines-based FinTech startup employs credit-first client engagements, rules-based underwriting, and a technology-driven backend to reduce operating costs. 
Funding Frontiers: Gobi GBA Announced Investments in Orcauboat and Yueshi Robot
In January, Gobi GBA's Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund Greater Bay Area (AEF GBA Fund) invested in Series B of the two pioneering companies, propelling their vision to revolutionise maritime solutions with AI and robotics.
T O P   S T O R I E S
Airwallex, as an Official Partner, elevates McLaren's global financial operations, spanning treasury management and cross-border transactions, with a visible presence in McLaren's livery, driver overalls, and branded materials throughout the 2024 season and beyond.
Muslim-centric Streaming App Qalbox Gaining Popularity in the Middle East
Boasting a remarkable 268% expansion in its content library, Qalbox continues to captivate audiences of all ages, reaffirming its position at the forefront of the streaming realm for Islamic viewers.
Bitsmedia to Focus on Muslim Pro App Content Localisation
With 1.5 million monthly active users in Malaysia and funding support of US$20 million from Gobi Partners, CMIA, Capital Partners, and Bintang Capital Partners in the previous Series A round, the streaming platform company plans to utilise funds for advancing AI capabilities, enriching Qalbox's content, expanding educational features, and a focus on cultural adaptation for Malaysian audiences.
Introducing the first-ever intimate wellness brand by Sara Jane Ho and Annie Ho, inspired by the rich heritage of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Building on the success of Sara Jane's Netflix show, Mind Your Manners - the duo created a gynecologist-approved brand that seamlessly blends Eastern and Western medicine.
Thomas G. Tsao: First-Generation Immigrant to Founding Gobi Partners
Gobi Co-founder and Chairperson, Thomas G. Tsao shared his journey as a first-generation immigrant, navigating Harvard and choosing a banking career for financial independence.
C O U N T R Y   A N D   I N D U S T R Y   F O C U S
In a world still adapting to the changes brought by a global pandemic, Thomas’s insights into HealthTech are not just timely but critical for understanding where this sector is headed in Southeast Asia.
In a world still adapting to the changes brought by a global pandemic, Thomas’s insights into HealthTech are not just timely but critical for understanding where this sector is headed in Southeast Asia.
Iron Triangle in Emerging Markets
"It's brave to embrace uncertainty, inviting the right communities. Without them, we wouldn't progress. Sometimes, with no clear path, bravery is paving one. Trust your instincts; if a path doesn't feel right, redirect. It's like fixing a compass, sometimes requiring a recalibration for a new direction." - Gobi-Core Philippine Fund Partner and Gobi Head of ESG and Circular Economy, Carlo Chen-Delantar
E V E N T   R E C A P
The Greater Bay Area (GBA) International Sports Business Summit, held on February 23 and 24, 2024, at the Galaxy International Convention Centre (GICC) in Macau, brought together industry leaders for a two-day exploration of the future.

Esteemed speakers, including Joseph C. Tsai (Chairman of Alibaba Group and Owner of Brooklyn Nets), Li Ning (Founder of LI-NING brand and Executive Chairman of LI-NING Group), and Dwyane Wade (Basketball Legend Hall of Famer), joined Gobi GBA Managing Partner, Chibo Tang, in envisioning the industry's future. Emphasis was placed on the pivotal role the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) can play in connecting China with the wider Asian and global sports landscape.
The success of Gobi's inaugural #EmpowerHER2024 event marks the beginning of Gobi's month-long celebration dedicated to honouring women founders and like-minded entrepreneurs in the ecosystem. Throughout March, Gobi will host two more empowering events and share articles and videos highlighting selected Gobi women founders.

The event featured a welcoming note from Gobi Co-founder and Chairperson, Thomas G. Tsao, insights from Gobi GBA Executive Director Cindy Zhang, and a dynamic panel discussion with inspirational Gobi women founders moderated by 
Sienna Design CEO and Founder of the Malaysian Association of ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs (MAAYEDeborah Melissa Bottreau. GUIDE Chief Financial Officer Alvin Chin provided valuable insights for upcoming entrepreneurs.

The event highlight was the 'Rapid Fire Pitching' session, giving participated women startup founders a platform to pitch their ideas. Special thanks to event partners, MYStartup, GUIDE, Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad, Asia School of Business, and Nestspace for contributing to the event's success.
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