Daily Markup #227: Friz for freelancers raises funding; Enplug acquisition expands its services; Retailo & Maersk partnership to serve more retailers

Credit: e27

Freelancers first

  • 500-backed Friz, a fintech startup focused on financial services for freelancers, has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-seed funding.
  • The capital raised will be used for the expansion of its engineering and marketing teams, as well as to expand into markets such as the Philippines and Thailand.
  • Launched in April 2020, Friz helps freelancers keep track of and manage their incomes, expenses, savings, and borrowings all in one place. It also leverages data insights to provide financial products including credit cards, personal loans, insurance, savings and investment products for freelancers.
  • “We are currently serving white-collar freelancers in Singapore and will soon grow to support markets like the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand in the region. There are more than 80 million freelancers in Asia at the moment, and this is the fastest-growing market for freelance talent, as individuals are digitally savvy, fluent in English and have diploma/degree qualifications,” shared Ash Rhazaly, CTO and co-founder of Friz.
  • Read the full article on e27 here.
Credit: Enplug


  • 500-backed digital signage startup Enplug has been acquired by Spectrio, a marketing solutions provider based in Florida, US.
  • With this acquisition, Enplug clients will be able to integrate their brand and messages seamlessly across additional customer touchpoints, using Spectrio’s customer engagement suite. This includes Interactive Kiosks, On-Premise Messaging and Music, On-Hold Marketing, Wi-Fi Marketing, and Scent Marketing.
  • “As one of the leaders in digital signage, we’re excited to partner with Spectrio to bring even more customer engagement options to our clients around the world,” said Nanxi Liu, Enplug CEO. “Innovation and product development are essential business pillars for both Enplug and Spectrio and we are happy to continue building upon our successes together.”
  • Read the full article on Business Wire here.
Credit: Maersk

Delivering on promises

  • 500-backed B2B e-commerce startup Retailo has partnered with Maersk, a global logistics company, for warehousing services in Pakistan, enabling Retailo to rely on Maersk for its expanding business needs.
  • Through this regional partnership, Maersk is creating a dedicated warehouse solution for Retailo in Karachi, assisting Retailo in managing large inventories as per specific requirements.
  • Retailo co-founder Wahaj Ahmed commented, “As Retailo’s business and reach grows, the storage, inbound and outbound operations will grow exponentially. With Retailo’s vision of reaching and impacting 10 million retailers across the MENAP region in the future, a strategic partnership with a reliable warehouse services provider, like Maersk, will prove to be a huge contributor in realizing Retailo’s vision effectively.”
  • Retailo has commenced operations with Maersk Pakistan from 1st April 2021 and the two companies will explore opportunities to grow and expand in other geographies across MENAP.
  • Read the full announcement on Maersk 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.

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