Singapore-based market research analytics startup Milieu Insight Secures US$2.4 Million in MassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia-led Funding Round

Milieu Insight, a Singapore-based consumer data and market research platform startup, announced that it has raised US$2.4 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by MassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia, which is the regional arm of venture capital firm MassMutual Ventures. Milieu Insight has so far secured US$3.5 million in total from all its funding rounds, including a seed round which was conducted in November last year.

With the investment raised from its pre-Series A round, Milieu Insight will further accelerate its product development and aims to launch in four new Southeast Asian markets which are Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. Currently Milieu Surveys, the analytics startup’s platform, is already accessible in the countries of Thailand and Singapore, and thus far the platform is serving at least 40 clients.

Anvesh Ramineni, managing director at MassMutual Ventures, in a press statement said: “Milieu’s impressive team has built a world-class product, making market research services affordable, accessible and more relevant in today’s mobile first landscape. We are pleased to lead Milieu’s current round and look forward to supporting the company as it scales across the region.”

MassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia, headquartered in Singapore, is looking at Series A and Series B round investments in the sectors of fintech, digital health, insurtech and enterprise software. Its funding is being provided through the general investment account of parent company Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual).

Milieu Insight was established in late 2016 by Gerald Ang, who previously worked as a commercial director at GfK and as a managing director of Thailand at YouGov. By leveraging technology and applying consumer research best practices, Milieu Insight built and implemented an opinion-based insights platform to connect communities to organizations, and to overcome the challenges of slow, complicated consumer research processes.

One of its services, Milieu Studies, provides a wide range of customizable, ready-to-launch studies that companies can use for a variety of use-cases, from ad effectiveness to brand awareness to product tests. Another of its services, Milieu Portraits, allows companies to leverage Canvas data – consumer data that the startup keeps constantly accurate and up-to-date through its proprietary real-time data engine – to build customized portraits of consumer segments and to gain comprehensive insights about their target consumers.

On the choice of the four markets of Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines as being their next focus, Milieu Insight revealed that this is due in part to the high demand among existing research buyers who want a comprehensive understanding of the consumer trends of these countries, all of which have fast evolving market dynamics. Another contributing factor for the Southeast Asian expansion is that Milieu Insight is able to leverage their investment in tech and automation to sell market research solutions at price points that are considerably more affordable, thus enabling new spending among companies and businesses that previously weren’t able to afford it.

Even though there are a number of formidable competitors operating in the same space as the startup, Milieu Insight says that its competitive edge is its end-to-end solution. According to the startup, there are no other companies that offer a comprehensive single platform like they do that connects consumers with a software as a service (SaaS) service that enables a company to access consumer profiling data on-demand while launching consumer studies and then getting the results in just a few hours, and all that done within a self-serve environment to boot.

Vietnam-based logistics startup Scommerce Secures Funding from Temasek

Scommerce, Vietnam’s leading integrated logistics services provider, announced Monday that they have secured an undisclosed sum of investment funding from Temasek, a state-owned global investment company headquartered in Singapore. While the announcement did not disclose the sum it had raised from Temasek, it did mention that it is the startup’s largest financing to date.

The logistics services provider startup, which is also the parent company of delivery startups Giaohangnhanh (GHN) and AhaMove, says that the money secured from its latest funding round will be used to innovate and improve its tech and automation platform, and to speed up the growth and expansion of its two units, AhaMove and GHN. According to news reports, Temasek’s investment amount could be as much as US$100 million.

Luong Duy Hoai, founder and chief executive officer of Scommerce and GHN, said: “Temasek’s long-term partnership and investment will help fast-track the execution of our growth strategy to continually augment our technology and logistics infrastructure, management capacity as well as faster, smarter and more efficient services to meet the increasing demand of our customers.”

Founded in 1974, Temasek has 11 offices globally and owns and manages a net portfolio of US$226 billion as of 2018. Its global portfolio consists of a broad spectrum of industries, including telecommunications, media and technology, financial services, real estate, transportation, life sciences, energy and resources.

Besides GHN and AhaMove, Scommerce also operates a unit called Gido, which is a cross-border parcel delivery and freight forwarding logistics service provider. Currently Gido is exploring the US-Vietnam and North Asia-Vietnam inbound routes.

Established in 2015 in Ho Chi Minh City, AhaMove became Vietnam’s number 2 in food and beverage delivery in 2016, and is poised to become the country’s top on-demand commercial delivery services provider with innovations such as real-time GPS vehicle tracking, instant order matching, driver’s rating and full 24/7 services. Pham Huu Ngon, chief executive officer of AhaMove, said that the funding provided will be used by the delivery startup to further expand its coverage in suburban districts, improve its existing delivery services, and to examine ways for deeper integration with GHN’s existing infrastructure. Scommerce implemented a AhaMove-GHN hybrid model in 2016.

Launched in 2012, GHN Express is now Vietnam’s number 2 delivery provider for e-commerce merchants in the country. GHN Logistics, which was formed in late 2017, offers integrated logistics solutions for Vietnam’s brands and retailers. Some of the logistics solutions offered include transportation, warehousing, delivery and fulfillment services. Currently, the unit operates a truck network spanning all 63 provinces and fulfilment services in the 3 major hubs of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, and the coastal city of Da Nang.

With the investment raised from Temasek in its largest funding round to date, the Vietnam-based logistics startup Scommerce hopes to quickly accelerate the growth and expansion of its delivery provider units, GHN and AhaMove. The logistics startup will also further improve and augment its tech and logistics infrastructure, besides improving business performance and increasing efficiency to better fulfill customer needs and demands.