Tech In Asia raises $6.6M led by Korean conglomerate Hanwha

Tech In Asia, the Singapore-based media and events startup, has closed $6.6 million in fresh funding.

The lead investor is a name that may not be too familiar to regular readers (yet) and that’s Hanwha Investment and Securities. The fund is an affiliate of Hanwha, a Korean conglomerate which started out in explosives in 1952 but has since expanded into a range of verticals including (now) a focus on tech in emerging markets.

With $55.5 billion in annual revenue, Hanwha seems on paper your typical gigantic Asian conglomerate, but it has actually ventured into startups prior to this investment having backed Singapore-based fund Golden Gate Ventures as an LP.

TechCrunch understands that Hanwha was keen on this deal because it wants to raise its visibility among Southeast Asia’s tech community, and get access to data and deal flow. Backing one of the region’s most prominent tech blogs, which also runs events, hiring and data businesses, certainly ticks that box in its book.

Other investors in the round include previous backers Eduardo Saverin — the Facebook co-founder — and his wife, Walden International and East Ventures.

We had heard word of the funding — and the curious lead investor — for some time, but it is perhaps fitting that Tech In Asia scooped us to its own news. (TechCrunch did get the earlier story if you want to count points and play insider baseball.)

“It is always humbling to meet individuals and organizations who believe in our mission enough to invest in it. We will continue to serve and build Asia’s tech ecosystem and keep improving our products to better serve the community,” Tech In Asia CEO Willis Wee said in a statement.

Wee declined to add more when we contacted him.

Tech In Asia’s most recent raise was a $4 million Series C that closed in June 2015, previous funding prior to that was undisclosed. The site was one of the first to cover tech and startup news across Asia since its inception in 2009. It entered Y Combinator via its TechList database in 2015.

This new round makes it the best capitalized of a range of new media companies that focus on covering startups in Southeast Asia, China and beyond. Others include E27, which last raised $2.2 million last year, and Deal Street Asia, which hasn’t publicly announced new investment since the end of 2015.