e27 has raised a S$3M Series A venture round led by TechTemple Group and joined by Linear Venture, Convergence Ventures, Venturecraft and Spacemob. Also joining the round are successful entrepreneurs and investors including Douglas Khoo, Co-Founder of Qunar (invested in by Baidu for US$306M) and Turochas Fuad, CEO and Founder of Spacemob (prior Founder of Travelmob; acquired by Homeaway).

This is in line with e27’s mission; to empower entrepreneurs by building a comprehensive platform with the products and services needed to build and grow their companies in Asia. e27 accomplishes this through iconic offline events like the Echelon conference series and a suite of online products including media, job opportunities, investor/ company databases and matching services, and a digital marketplace.

Building a Bridge between China and Southeast Asia

As China’s domestic digital ecosystem matures, entrepreneurs and investors have started seeking opportunities abroad, in particular Southeast Asia – a region seen by many as having emerging digital markets that are several years behind China.

TechTemple, headquartered in Beijing, led the investment round. TechTemple, founded in 2013, is dedicated to building the largest Tech Startup Ecosystem in Asia by providing coworking spaces, incubation services, O2O community, events and financial services. They have operations in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, and will expand in SEA and the U.S. by end of 2017. TechTemple’s investment in e27 brings incredible opportunities in connecting Chinese and SEA ecosystems as part of growing TechTemple’s global business.

“China’s rapid development of the internet industry brings important lessons and experience to Southeast Asian entrepreneurs, as well as opportunities for cross-border investment and collaboration. However localisation is also very important hence investing in a platform such as e27 that brings a wealth of local knowledge and connections will be extremely valuable for all stages of entrepreneurs and investors from China.” said Jerry Wang, Founder of TechTemple.

With this group of investors from Singapore, China, Indonesia and Malaysia, e27 is now set to leverage these strategic connections to benefit entrepreneurs across SEA with broadened knowledge resources and an expanded database of funding opportunities – whether it is to enter new markets, receive funding, or explore strategic partnerships with China.

As such, according to Co-founder and CEO Mohan Belani, e27 also sees this as an pivotal opportunity for the SEA ecosystem.

“For the past 12 months, e27 has been investing our time and skills into building on top of the foundations of our online platform. This includes our digital jobs database, marketplace and startup and investor database and matching services,” shares Belani. “These products are free and open to use by the community - in line with the company’s vision of empowering entrepreneurs by developing relevant products and services to serve the needs of startups and of the technology industry and market at large.”

He also stresses on the importance of leveraging cross-border resources with China. Southeast Asian companies and investors can therefore benefit from this to learn more about China, and connect to the stakeholders they need in order to drive continued investment, collaboration and learning.

Likewise, Douglas Khoo, a serial entrepreneur and angel investor in SEA, shares similar thoughts.

“I strongly believe in the need to train and nurture tech professionals in SEA. Working with China will accelerate the growth opportunities in SEA by working with, instead of against, worthy competition. It is time to get ready for the next generation of ecosystem drivers,” said Khoo.

A continued vision for comprehensive ecosystem growth

With this highly strategic set of investors, e27 is uniquely placed to be at the epicenter of massive Southeast Asian opportunities, while connecting these ecosystems to China.
“Southeast Asia’s tech ecosystem is dynamic and rapidly changing. With these new opportunities, e27 will continue to sharpen its focus and stay relevant to what the community – a suite of products and services that will empower the ecosystem to achieve three main outcomes: investment, collaboration and growth,” Belani shares.

From e27’s early learnings and expertise, Belani is confident that e27 will bring about greater opportunities in developing local ecosystems and infrastructure beyond the community’s usual comfort zone.

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