Singapore-based media company E27 has closed a SG$3 million (US$2.2 million) Series A round as it looks to redevelop its tech-focused news website and events business following some tough times.
The company previously raised seed rounds, the most recent being a $650,000 raise last summer, and there had been talk of new financing for the past month or so. Now the company has confirmed its raise from a bevy of new investors each of whom is involved in early-stage tech. The round was led by China-based TechTemple Group with participation from Linear Venture (also China), Indonesia’s Convergence Ventures and Singapore-based duo Venturecraft and venture builder Spacemob.
E27 is best known in Southeast Asia for its news site — e27.co — and its long-running Echelon events business. First founded in 2007, it has endured a rough past year which included making layoffs and general restructuring. With new money in the bank, though, E27 CEO and co-founder Mohan Belani plans to make new hires across the company to grow the editorial and events teams, as well as strengthen newer businesses which include a job listings service, Crunchbase-style database and ‘marketplace’ where third-parties offer bundled deals.
“The objective here is to be an ecosystem player not just media,” he told me in a phone interview. “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, and you get a nice online-to-offine mix.”
Belani said that E27 will work with its new investors in a fairly direct manner. He hinted that could mean events in China in sync with TechTemple Group, which provides a range of services to help startups including co-working spaces and incubation services, or Convergence Ventures, which is focused on early-stage investments in Indonesia. Likewise, the other investors have a dedicated early-stage presence which could also mean more potential for tie-ins.
“A lot of the focus will go to events and online, we’re looking at being more heavily focused on the Southeast Asia market [because it is] the area we know best and work we know best,” Belani added, noting that the tech communities in China and India are increasingly looking at Southeast Asia’s potential.
Tech In Asia is E27’s big rival in terms of editorial and the events business. Tech In Asia has raised nearly $7 million to date, including a $4 million round last year, and it has more than 70 staff working on its business, which also includes Techlist, another Crunchbase-esque analytics service for Asia which graduated Y Combinator. Those two aside, other blogs that focus on tech news across Southeast Asia include Digital News Asia and Deal Street Asia.