Daily Markup #277: Lingokids raises US$40M, reaches more than 30 million families worldwide; Southeast Asia’s next unicorn could be in insurance; How to build an engineering team in Southeast Asia according to Glints

Credit: Lingokids

Raising the learning bar

  • 500-backed edtech startup Lingokids has raised US$40 million led by an undisclosed investor, with participation from GP Bullhound and existing investors HV Capital and Ravensburger. This brings its total funding to US$65 million.
  • The startup will use the new funding to ramp up international growth, increase its STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) content offerings, and expand learning skills such as emotional intelligence, empathy, and critical thinking.
  • In addition, it plans to add 60 new hires to its existing team of close to 100, especially for the engineering and development teams. Lingokids will also develop new audio content in audiobooks and audio-exercises, focusing on mental health, mindfulness, and meditation.
  • According to the startup, it now reaches more than 30 million families worldwide with its mobile apps.
  • Read the full article on Venture Beat here.
Credit: Nour Betar on Unsplash

The search for a unicorn

  1. Using digital media to reach consumers directly and not relying on the old direct selling model via agents
  2. Specializing in a vertical, such as 500-backed Clinikk in India with its numerous health services
  3. Offering micro-insurance or pay-per-use, such as London’s 500-backed bicycle insurance startup Laka
  4. Leveraging data to offer personalized quotes or premiums
  5. Being simpler and more transparent with offerings
  • According to the article, Southeast Asia (apart from Singapore) has an insurance penetration rate of less than 5%, with over 600 million people in the region still not insured.
  • A report revealed that insurance purchased online grew by at least 30% from 2019 to 2020 and is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31% until 2025.
  • Read the full article on 500 Southeast Asia here.
Credit: Ying Cong Seah

A handy how-to

  • Ying Cong Seah, CTO of recruitment platform Glints, offered his experience and knowledge in building up engineering teams in Southeast Asia in this e27 piece.
  • According to him, the critical time to scale the team is after the startup has found product-market fit. This is also the time to figure out the engineering bandwidth and skill set required.
  • A crucial thing to consider next is deciding on a fully remote or a multiple-hub hiring strategy. At the same time, it is important to get a sense of the different talent markets across the region.
  • Learning from his own mistake, he said, “Always hire from the top down, which means starting with the engineering leader.” He added that building a new engineering hub requires full focus — this means being stationed there physically (barring pandemic restrictions).
  • Get the full insight from the article on e27 here.

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500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. In Southeast Asia, 500 Startups invests through the pioneering 500 Southeast Asia family of funds. The 500 Southeast Asia funds have backed over 240 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology. It continues to connect founders with capital, expertise and powerful regional and global networks to help them succeed.

This post is intended solely for general informational or educational purposes only. 500 Startups Management Company, L.L.C. and its affiliates (collectively “500 Startups”) makes no representation as to the accuracy or information in this post and while reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the information herein is accurate and up-to-date, no liability can be accepted for any error or omissions. All third party links in this post have not been independently verified by 500 Startups and the inclusion of such links should not be interpreted as an endorsement or confirmation of the content within. Information about portfolio companies’ markets, competitors, performance, and fundraising has been provided by those companies’ founders and has not been independently verified. Under no circumstances should any content in this post be construed as investment, legal, tax or accounting advice by 500 Startups, or an offer to provide any investment advisory service with regard to securities by 500 Startups. No content or information in this post should be construed as an offer to sell or solicitation of interest to purchase any securities advised by 500 Startups. Prospective investors considering an investment into any 500 Startups fund should not consider or construe this content as fund marketing material. The views expressed herein are as at the date of this post and are subject to change without notice. One or more 500 Startups fund may have a financial interest in one or more of the companies discussed.

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