Content has always been the king and this has never been more true, as in this digital age. Investors are also gravitating towards new-age content based digital media platforms. In another such instance, Asia focussed media company e27 has secured $2.2 million in Series A round for expanding its offerings and develop itself into an ecosystem.
China-based TechTemple Group led the funding round with participation from another Chinese fund Linear Venture, Indonesia’s Convergence Ventures, and Singapore-based Venturecraft and Spacemob. Malaysian angel investor Douglas Khoo and Founder of Spacemob Turochas Fuad also invested in the round .
Founded in 2007, e27 started off as a tech and startup focussed blog. Over the time, it ventured into organizing events for entrepreneurs and also introduced other services. However, things have not gone too well over the past few years.
After it had raised $650K in a bridge round last year, the company planned to raise $3 million towards the end of last year only. However, the company had to restructure its business and lay off more than 50% of its workforce.
Now, e27 plans to use the fresh funding to grow its editorial and events team by hiring new people. It also wants to strengthen its new business areas like job listing service, marketplace for third parties to offer deals and a Crunchbase-style database.
The company also organizes offline events in the form of its Echelon conference series and it wants to integrate these online and offline offerings into the same.
Talking about the funding round, e27 CEO and co-founder, Mohan Belani said,
The objective here is to be an ecosystem player not just media. Media was our first foray but we realized that, as the company grows, challenges evolve. Our database and marketplace come together to serve the greater community — pair them with events, an you get a nice online-to-offine mix.
He further added that a mix of investors from prominent regions like China, Indonesia, and Singapore will help the company in accessing the digital ecosystem in these regions. This in turn will help it learn from a developed ecosystem like that of China.
Agreeing on same, investor Douglas Khoo said,
I strongly believe in the need to train and nurture tech professionals in Southeast Asia. Working with China will accelerate the growth opportunities in this region by working with, instead of against, worthy competition. It is time to get ready for the next generation of ecosystem drivers.
The leading investor TechTemple wants to build the largest Tech Startup Ecosystem in Asia. It offers coworking spaces, incubation services, O2O community, events and financial services. Currently, it is present in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzen.
It aims to expand into the US and Southeast Asia by the end of next year. And investment in e27 will help in its expansion in SouthEast Asia. Commenting on investment in e27, TechTemple founder Jerry Wang said,
China’s rapid development of the internet industry brings important lessons and experience to Southeast Asian entrepreneurs, as well as opportunities for cross-border investment and collaboration.
However localisation is also very important hence investing in a platform such as e27 that brings a wealth of local knowledge and connections will be extremely valuable for all stages of entrepreneurs and investors from China.