Catcha Group to lead seed investment in Wedding Marketplace Hitchbird

Catcha Group to lead seed investment in Wedding Marketplace Hitchbird


6/4/2018 – Digital firm Catcha Group recently announced that it is leading a seed investment round in Asia-focused wedding marketplace Hitchbird.

Ken Tsurumaru, the ex-Director and Co-Founder of Catcha Group has personally joined the seed round, which Hitchbird is planning to use for expansion, hiring talents, developing its product roadmap, as well as ramping up its marketing efforts.

Founded by Hoi Cheung, Hitchbird is the second entrepreneurial outing for Hoi Cheung after its previous business SMART Expo, an organizer for property and investment-related events was acquired by iProperty back in 2012.

Hitchbird connects wedding couples from around the world with destination venues and vendors in the Asia Pacific. The website currently lists more than 5,000 wedding vendors in 24 categories covering 53 cities in the region, making it the largest wedding marketplace for premium brands.

Catcha Group co-founder and group chief executive officer Patrick Grove said, “If you look at the market size for wedding expenditure, it’s an estimated US$200 billion dollars in Asia.”

“This is a great opportunity for us to tap into an industry that is experiencing double-digit growth rates and seeing huge trends not only from couples who are going online to plan their weddings but also vendors who are increasingly moving away from print to digital platforms.”

Moreover, this figure is expected to grow with Asia being a very popular choice for couples residing outside of Asia.

“We see a lot of people from the UK, France, US, South Africa, Russia, who are looking to get married in exotic locations such as Bali, Phuket, Danang, Maldives, and Bangkok. Hitchbird is basically the TripAdvisor for weddings”, explained Cheung.

With this, Hitchbird joins the investment portfolio list of 60 startups under Catcha, which includes iflix, Frontier Digital Ventures, Common Ground, and KLIC.

“Leveraging on our capital, extensive network and expertise of building disruptive internet companies, we plan to help Hitchbird accelerate its growth and expansion into the market,” Grove said.

Vertex Ventures to co-lead US$11 million round in Israeli transcription startup Verbit
Vertex Ventures to co-lead US$11 million round in Israeli transcription startup Verbit

Vertex Ventures, the venture capital firm backed by Singaporean Temasek Holding has co-led a US$11 million seed funding round in Israeli transcription startup Verbit.

Other investors include Oryzn Capital and HV Ventures whom also joined in the investment to provide the one-year-old Verbit with seed money that the startup will use to expand its staff in the country in the next year from its current team of 32.

This funding comes days after Vertex announced its lead investment in the US$5 million Series A funding round of Israeli startup Atidot, an insurtech firm that provides big data and predictive analytics tools for the life insurance industry.

Vertex Ventures general partner Yanai Oron said the investment in Verbit would allow the startup to expand into a number of new verticals while scaling its business in the existing verticals.

Founded by Tom Livne, who is also the company’s CEO, Vertbit combines software with human transcribers to improve quality, speed, and price of service.

“Beyond transcribing, we use innovative AI applications to determine when human input is required to ensure 100 percent accuracy,” said Verbit.

Livne said the company already has millions of dollars in revenues, with its customers including the London Business School and edtech firms Coursera and Udacity.

Last month, Vertex Ventures co-led a US$5 million seed round in Israeli startup Nucleai Ltd. Nucleai uses artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to detect cancer and other diseases.