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Indonesian logistics platform Logisly raises $6 million Series A to digitize truck shipments

Indonesia’s logistics industry is very fragmented, with several large providers operating alongside thousands of smaller companies. This means shippers often have to work with a variety of carriers, driving up costs and making supply chains harder to manage. Logisly, a Jakarta-based startup that describes itself as a “B2B tech-enabled logistics platform,” announced today it has raised $6 million in Series A funding to help streamline logistics in Indonesia. The round was led by Monk’s Hill Ventures.

This brings the total Logisly has raised since it was founded last year to $7 million. Its platform digitizes the process of ordering, managing and tracking trucks. First, it verifies carriers before adding them to Logisly’s platform. Then it connects clients to trucking providers, using an algorithm to aggregate supply and demand. This means companies that need to ship goods can find trucks more quickly, while carriers can reduce the number of unused space on their trucks.

Co-founder and chief executive officer Roolin Njotosetiadi told TechCrunch that about “40% of trucks are utilized in Indonesia, and the rest are either sitting idle or coming back from their hauls empty handed. All of these result in high logistics costs and late deliveries.”

She added that Logisly is “laser focused on having the largest trucking network in Indonesia, providing 100% availability of cost-efficient and reliable trucks.”

Logisly now works with more than 1,000 businesses in Indonesia in sectors like e-commerce, fast-moving consumer goods (FCG), chemicals and construction. This number includes 300 corporate shippers. Logisly’s Series A will be used on growing its network of shippers and transporters (which currently covers 40,000 trucks) and on product development.

The startup’s clients include some of the largest corporate shippers in Indonesia, including Unilever, Haier, Grab, Maersk and JD.ID, the Indonesian subsidiary of JD.com, one of China’s largest e-commerce companies.

Other venture capital-backed startups that are focused on Indonesia’s logistics industry include Shipper, which focuses on e-commerce; logistics platform Waresix; and Kargo.

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Marriott International announces partnership with Grab in six Southeast Asian countries

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the hospitality industry especially hard, and hotels around the world are looking for ways to regain revenue. Today, Marriott International and Grab announced a partnership that will cover the hospitality giant’s dining businesses in six Southeast Asian countries: Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.

Instead of room bookings, Marriott International deal with Grab focuses on about 600 restaurants and bars at its properties in the six Southeast Asian countries, which will start being added to GrabFood’s on-demand delivery platform in November. A joint announcement from the companies said the deal represents Marriott International’s “first extensive integration with a super app platform in Southeast Asia and Grab’s most comprehensive agreement with a hospitality group to date.”

Marriott International is the world’s largest hotel company. During the second quarter, as the pandemic curtailed travel and in-person events, it reported a loss of $234 million, compared to the profit of $232 million it had recorded a year earlier. Chief executive Arne Sorenson called it “the worst quarter we have ever seen,” even though business is gradually recovering in China.

The Marriott-Grab integration means the two companies will link their loyalty programs, so GrabRewards points can be converted to Marriott Bonvoy points, or vice versa. Marriott International’s restaurants and bars that accept GrabPay will also have access to Grab’s Merchant Discovery platform, which will allow them to ping users about local deals and includes a marketing campaign platform called GrabAds.

Other hospitality businesses that Grab already partners with include Booking.com and Klook. Klook is among several travel-related companies that have recalibrated to focus on “staycations,” or services for people who can’t travel during the pandemic, but still want a break from their regular routines.

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Hubilo raises $4.5 million, led by Lightspeed, to focus on virtual events

Earlier this year, the founders of event analytics platform Hubilo pivoted to become a virtual events platform to survive the impact of COVID-19. Today, the startup announced it has raised a $4.5 million seed round, led by Lightspeed, and says it expects to exceed $10 million bookings run rate and host over one million attendees over the next few months.

The round also included angel investors Freshworks chief executive officer Girish Mathrubootham; former LinkedIn India CEO Nishant Rao; Slideshare co-founder Jonathan Boutelle; and Helpshift CEO Abinash Tripathy.

Hubilo’s clients have included the United Nations, Roche, Fortune, GITEX, IPI Singapore, Tech In Asia, Infocomm Asia and Clarion Events. The startup is headquartered in San Francisco, but about 12% of its sales are currently from Southeast Asia, and it plans to further scale in the region. It will also focus on markets in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Vaibhav Jain, Hubilo’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that many of its customers before the pandemic were enterprises and governments that used its platform to help organize large events. Those were also the first to stop hosting in-person events.

In February, “we knew that most, if not all, physical events were getting postponed or cancelled globally. To counter the drop in demand for offline events, we agreed to extend the contracts by six more months at no cost,” Jain said. “However, this was not enough to retain our clients and most of them either cancelled the contracts or put the contract on hold indefinitely.”

As a result, Hubilo’s revenue dropped to zero in February. With about 30 employees and reserves for only three months, Jain said the company had to chose between shutting down or finding an alternative model. Hubilo’s team created a MVP (minimum viable product) virtual event platform in less than a month and started by convincing a client to use it for free. That first virtual event was hosted in March and “since then, we’ve never looked back,” said Jain.

This means Hubilo is now competing with other virtual event platforms, like Cvent and Hopin (which was used to host TechCrunch Disrupt). Jain said his company differentiates by giving organizers more chances to rebrand their virtual spaces; focusing on sponsorship opportunities that include contests, event feeds and virtual lounges to increase attendee engagement; and providing data analytic features that include integration with Salesforce, Marketo and Hubspot.

With so many events going virtual that “Zoom fatigue” and “webinar fatigue” have now become catchphrases, event organizers have to not only convince people to buy tickets, but also keep them engaged during an event.

Hubilo “gamifies” the experience of attending a virtual event with features like its Leaderboard. This enables organizers to assign points for things like watching a session, visiting a virtual booth or messaging someone. Then they can give prizes to the attendees with the most points. Jain said the Leaderboard is Hubilo’s most used feature.

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Lanturn, a Singaporean tech-enabled corporate services provider, raises $3 million seed round

Running a small to medium-sized business means a small staff needs to juggle a plethora of tasks, like bookkeeping, tax records and regulatory filings. Singaporean startup Lanturn streamlines their workload with a combination of corporate services and an internal platform that helps automate administrative work. Lanturn announced today that it has raised a $3 million seed round led by East Ventures and CoCoon Ignite Ventures.

Spun out from Zave, a Singaporean management app (and another startup in East Ventures’ portfolio), two years ago, Lanturn now has almost 400 clients. It focuses on startups and SMEs, acting as a “one-stop online corporate services” solution, and uses its internal tech platform to differentiate from other corporate service providers.

Lanturn’s services include helping companies incorporate in Singapore and handling visa applications for new hires. It is led by chief executive officer Velisarios Kattoulas.

Kattoulas told TechCrunch that Lanturn’s seed funding will be used for hiring and to develop its technology.

In a statement about the investment, East Ventures managing partner and co-founder Batara Eto said, “We are pleased to support solutions that enable agility and adaptability among businesses, especially in the wake of the pandemic, and Lanturn provides that by leveraging technology to streamline corporate services and empower businesses to make more informed data-driven decisions.”

Other participants in the round included individual investors Alex Turnbull; RVP Equity managing partner Saki Georgiadis; Meiyen Tan, the head of Oon & Bazul’s restructuring and insolvency practice; White & Case Asia-Pacific partner Chris Kelly; and Next Billion Ventures venture partner Tiang Foo Lim.

Lanturn’s clients range in size from very early-stage startups with only one person, to small and mid-sized asset managers, SMEs and tech firms that have more than 100 employees spread across several countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic meant there was less demand for Lanturn’s services this year than the company had expected, but on the other hand, “the pandemic has highlighted to clients that because Lanturn has its own cloud-based corporate services platform, we can serve them as well today as we could before the pandemic,” Kattoulas said. “That’s helped us maintain momentum, and it’s one reason we’ll grow more this year than almost any cloud-based or traditional corporate services firm.”

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