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EPIC TV Announces Expansion and New Ventures

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EPIC TV – India ka apna infotainment channel; has divulged strategic expansion plans through diversification across various media verticals. A pioneer in it’s genre as the country’s only Hindi-language, India-centric infotainment channel; the company has revealed a vision of organizing and building itself as a media network, with new ventures across every touch-point of the content life-cycle; that would consolidate under the banner of ‘IN10 Media’.

As part of its expansion plans, the company also announced the launch of two new television channels to go on air later this year – EPIC Plus, an HD offering; and ShowBox, a Free-To-Air channel.

EPIC Plus would be a separate feed and the content offering would strengthen EPIC’s positioning, and further its brand promise of showcasing high quality, premium, India-centric content. ShowBox is slated to be a regional youth and music channel, high on appeal and energy that will push the boundaries of quality entertainment in the regional space.

IN10 will also house under it’s umbrella, LatestLY – India’s fastest growing digital news portal; which is well on its way to becoming a digital-only, 24/7 multi-lingual news network. LatestLY, in less than a year of its inception, beat popular news media portals to be among the top 15 biggest news portals (comScore India data).

The company also operates an OTT platform – EPIC On – a freemium app available across all devices and several platforms including Amazon Fire TV, Android & Apple TV. It provides both catch-up opportunity, and selectively curated acquired content that has high affinity to its loyal audience base. EPIC On too would sit under the IN10 umbrella.

While the EPIC brand aligns under the headline of ‘India’s Storytellers’; IN10 Media also disclosed the upcoming release of a worldwide OTT offering in the niche of global documentaries. Named ‘DocuBay’, the premium SVOD service is scheduled for an exclusive first look of its beta release for the documentary community at Cannes, France, later this month.

The company hinted at announcements of other upcoming verticals in the near future, including its ambitions of being a platform-agnostic content creator, for which it intends to set up a production house catering to the every rising demand for content, especially in the booming digital market, while also servicing other broadcasters.

Aditya Pittie, MD, EPIC TV would be spearheading the expansion as Managing Director of IN10 Media. Speaking on his plans, he said, “We are very confident that the media space, and the business opportunities in it are set to explode in the near future, and our vision is to bite into a significant portion of that pie. Content, we believe, will play a pivotal role within the media universe and our mission is to create a content hub that identifies, seeds, nurtures, and delivers quality content to viewers.”

With deeply entrenched roots in the creative community, and a long association with premium content; IN10 Media is all set to be a network with distinct offerings in the media and entertainment landscape.

 

SOURCE IN10 Media

Fintech

Digital wealth manager Kristal.AI raises 6 million in Series A funding

Vlad Poptamas

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Kristal.AI Founders & Co-founders

 

Kristal.AI is a 4-year old invest-tech startup which uses a bionic approach to personalize investments. The company started its business in Hong Kong since 2016 and now it is planning to use its Series A funding, to bring its AI-driven personalized wealth platform to more countries in APAC regions.

Artificial Intelligence has long been hailed as the future of fintech, and Singapore-based digital wealth management platform Kristal.AI is proving that maxim true. The company, started by Indian entrepreneurs, has offices in Hong KongSingapore, and India. Kristal.AI is celebrating its 4-year anniversary in January 2020, after closing last year with a sizable Series A round of USD 6 million (upsized from an initial target of USD 4 million).

The funding round is led by long-term partners Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures India) and influential names such as Desai Family Office, which has interests ranging from fintech to boutique investments. Other investors include HNWI names well known in the financial industry. This round brings the total Kristal.AI has raised till date to USD 11 million.

Financial technology has been evolving rapidly over the past decade. Despite the relatively small Hong Kong market, innovative technology companies have continued to emerge with the vigorous promotion of the government. Kristal.AI has also benefitted from the support provided by the Cyberport Incubation program and SFC Fintech Unit when commencing business here.

Hong Kong-based Co-founder of Kristal.AI Vivek Mohindra said, “Kristal.AI fulfils a much-needed gap in the HK market for the beginner and smaller investors who really don’t have much choices at present. We provide a digital mobile friendly solution that is educational and free of cost till HKD 400,000.” Hong Kong customers are now looking for smart investment platforms with higher transparency, lower fees, and other value-added services. The HKMA has recently released a report on the application of artificial intelligence in the banking industry, showing that nearly 90% of retail banks have used or plan to use artificial intelligence in their businesses.

Kristal.AI’s CEO and founder Asheesh Chanda added, “The aspirational class today does not live in boxes. We don’t work at the same job until retirement, we don’t all marry and buy houses at thirty, and most of us have a very different way of living than the generation before. However, the way we invest has not evolved with our evolving lifestyles. The new-gen investor needs strategies personalized for their individual risk profile, lifestyle, and expectations. Traditional banks offer such hyper-personalization only to high-profile clients, but we are bringing it to the everyman. Kristal.AI’s strategies are made for the new-age global investor.

Kristal.AI will use the Series A funds towards bolstering its technology backend, crafting more curated strategies (called Kristals), and expanding further into the APAC and Middle-East market. The company is also poised to launch a new offering for its Indian market very soon.

Since officially launching in February 2016, Kristal.AI has experienced consistent growth and currently handles overUSD 100 million in AUM, with 10,000 users on its platform. The company’s custom-crafted strategies have provided consistent returns to investors even in volatile markets, with both its Leveraged Bond Kristal and Singapore REITs Kristal achieving around 14% returns historically.

 

SOURCE Kristal.AI

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Asia sees VC deals decline in fourth quarter, 2019, finds KPMG analysis

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: caimmo.com

 

Hong Kong saw interest from venture capital (VC) investors during Q4’19, led by a USD 180 million funding raised by data centre construction and engineering company Chayora. Life sciences and TMT sectors remain of interest for VC investors in Hong Kong, according to KPMG’s Venture Pulse Q4’2019 analysis.

The VC market in Asia remained soft in Q4’19. Despite two USD 1 billion deals in the final quarter of the year, deal volume dropped from 1,232 deals in Q3 to 1,021 deals in Q4. On a quarterly basis, VC investment rose slightly to USD 18.7 billion in Q4’19. Year-on-year, the region’s total annual VC investment in 2019 was less than the USD 126 billion seen in 2018.

Egidio Zarrella, Partner and Head of Clients and Innovation, KPMG China, said, “Over the next few months, the word that will characterize the VC market the most will likely be ‘caution’. There’s still a lot of uncertainty in the market. Both companies and VC investors are getting quite fatigued with some of this uncertainty and that could easily impact short-term investment decisions.”

China’s overall VC investment was relatively steady quarter-over-quarter, led by a Q4′19 USD 1 billion funding raised by online housing platform Beike, followed by a USD 400 million funding raised by automotive company Xpeng and a USD 224 million funding raised by fintech WTOIP international.

In Q4’19, B2B companies were of particular interest to VC investors in China, with interest spanning across sectors such as fintech and logistics to companies focused on cloud-based technologies. Alibaba has been particularly active in the B2B cloud space, while Baidu and Tencent have started to make their own inroads, the analysis finds.

B2B services are expected to grow in 2020, particularly in areas such as financial services. VC investors in China are expected to continue to prioritize late-stage deals with a focus on companies with strong business fundamentals.

Philip Ng, Head of Technology, KPMG China, said “Both Chinese companies and VC investors in China are beginning to look globally to achieve growth. Southeast Asia and Europe were two prominent areas where China-based investors set their sights in 2019 — a trend expected to continue heading into Q1’20. Investment appetite has also changed from burning money to acquire market to deep tech innovation in China.”

Hong Kong IPO bourse secured the top position in terms of total funds raised in 2019 driven by Alibaba’s mega secondary listing in Hong Kong raising USD 12.9 billion in Q4.

Irene Chu, Partner, Head of New Economy and Life Sciences, Hong Kong, KPMG China, said, “While IPO sizes in general were down besides the mega transactions, they reflected much of the trends seen elsewhere in the world. While deal sizes may have fallen somewhat over the course of the year, TMT as well as health/life sciences continued to be a strong focus of VC investors in China.”

 

SOURCE KPMG China

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Wirecard and UZE Mobility Partner to Launch Innovative Services in e-mobility

Vlad Poptamas

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Wirecard, the global innovation leader for digital financial technology and UZE Mobility, open innovation platform for e-mobility services, have entered into a strategic partnership. The companies will join forces, combining their payment and geolocation technology to launch innovative services in e-mobility and further driving the megatrend New Mobility and Commerce on the Move.

In 2019, UZE Mobility started to provide cities with a fleet of multi-purpose carsharing vehicles and will scale in 2020 with so-called Digital Kits. These are digital advertising displays that are placed on each vehicle type and managed via the UZE Mobility platform. When in use, the vehicles safely capture geolocation data, which can be used by public and private entities in the creation of electronic maps, geotagging, and other uses in the field of mobility. This service is free for users, who contribute to the UZE Mobility marketplace with data collected only from the vehicle’s location and surroundings.

Simultaneously, the vehicles offer a one of a kind advertising space. This form of digital advertising gives businesses the opportunity to promote their products and services in precise demographic areas to reach a desired target market. For example, a retailer can advertise the opening of a new store branch on a vehicle travelling in the respective neighborhood. According to a 2019 report by Zenith Media, out-of-home advertising (OOH) expenditure is steadily increasing on a yearly basis, globally: in 2018, the global spend topped USD 38.5 billion, with that figure expected to hit USD 42.2 billion by 2021. As part of the cooperation, Wirecard will be the preferred payment partner for transactions carried out on the UZE marketplace.

“We are delighted to partner with Wirecard as we forge the path towards the future of mobility,” commented Sebastian Thelen, Co-Founder and CIO at UZE Mobility.

Alexander Jablovski, CEO and Co-Founder at UZE Mobility, said, “In Wirecard, we have found the technology partner with whom we are leveraging the enormous potential of mobility data that is still largely untapped today in order to open up new markets. I am very glad to partner with one of the most innovative companies in its field.”

“In 2020, we expect the Commerce on the Move trend to gain momentum and bring even more innovative, ground-breaking ideas to the mobility market,” added Stephan Ritzenhoff, Principal Manager Strategic Alliances at Wirecard. “For this reason, we are proud to cooperate with UZE Mobility, true innovators in the field of e-mobility. We look forward to working with UZE Mobility and making the future of mobility happen today.”

The UZE Ads Kits have received their road approval and successfully passed the proof of concept stage. By 2020, UZE Mobility aims to bring between 500 and 1,000 of these systems onto the roads in the DACH region. In addition, UZE Mobility is currently adding further display providers to its Mobility Digital out-of-home platform. UZE Mobility plans to scale accordingly in Europe and internationally in 2020. In addition, metropolitan areas such as Mexico City and San Francisco have expressed interest in the data platform and advertising systems of the company.

 

SOURCE Wirecard AG

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