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Vijay Shekhar Sharma
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Finance-Focused Deal Street Asia Is Latest Asian Media Startup To Land Funding

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Deal Street Asia, an eighteen-month-old website covering financial investment news, is the latest media outlet in Asia to raise funding as it plans to increase its presence and expand into events and data services.

Deal Street Asia — which claims 300,000 pageviews and 73,000 unique visitors as of October — has an office in Singapore and an editorial staff of 16, most of whom work remotely across India and Southeast Asia.

To date its operations have been self-funded, but it has now taken on an undisclosed round from a range of investors who include Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder of Alibaba-backed payments company PayTM (and a prolific angel investor) and the Singapore Angel Network — the angel investment arm of Singaporean conglomerate Thakral. Beyond those two, it also took money from Indian media group Hindustan Times — the company behind India-based Mint and MintAsia — which already has a partnership to provide India-focused stories for republishing on Deal Street Asia.

Co-founder and editor-in-chief Joji Philip Thomas told TechCrunch that he sees an opportunity to build a site that covers investment in both the tech and non-tech space across Asia Pacific.

“There is no portal that tracks both PEs, VCs, IPOs and business of startups all together in Asia,” he said.

“We are not a full-fledged financial news portal. We will stick to deal-related stories,” he added.

In terms of managing the conflict of writing about companies that are financial investors, Thomas said Deal Street Asia would add a conflicts page and disclose all ties. But, for example, with Sharma making multiple angel investments each month, it remains to be whether merely a disclosure is sufficient. (Deal Street Asia is, of course, not alone in this position — TechCrunch is owned by AOL, which is owned by Verizon.)

Thomas explained that his company is currently putting together a further round of financing, which he described as a bridge to a Series A. In terms of Series A, the company is shooting for a fairly ambitious $5 million which will be used to develop a deal analytics and data platform, however, Thomas said that there are potential joint-ventures on the table for the platform which could mean the target Series A round size may be smaller.

Thomas explained that, unlike products like TechCrunch’s own Crunchbase or Tech In Asia’s Techlist which focus global startups and Asia-based startups respectively, Deal Street Asia envisages a portal covering private investment, public investment, VCs and startups across the board.

Deal Street Asia also plans to invest in growing its editorial staff — it has plans for a Hong Kong office in the first quarter of 2016 — and a move into events, too.

A quick recap of some of the most notable Asia-based blogs to have raised funding of late — Tech In Asia landed $4 million this summer, E27 took a $650,000 bridge round in July, Southeast Asia-based DNA landed $300,000 a year ago, while in India Yourstory recently took funding from a bevvy of investors that include Qualcomm Ventures.

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