Updated: 17th January 2012
Image: Silicon Straits
After running Neoteny Labs as Principal and making 24 investments since May 2010, James Chan has announced on his blog the rebranding of his early-stage venture fund. It’s now called Silicon Straits, reflecting the narrow bodies of water that flow through much of Southeast Asia.
The change affects Neoteny Labs Pte Ltd, the Singapore-registered entity that was part of the National Research Foundation’s Technology Incubation Scheme (TIS), a government startup co-funding initiative. Neoteny Labs will continue to exist as an offshore Limited Partnership.
James unveiled the new development not long after Neoteny participated in a USD500K seed round in Burpple, a Singapore-based startup that has created a mobile food journal and discovery app. While Joi Ito, the General Partner of the fund, will continue to maintain its existing portfolio with James, he will be focused primarily in his new appointment as the director of the MIT Media Lab. Read more
Viki, a video site that translate content into 150 languages, has announced last week a deal with Renren, known as China’s Facebook, to release content on both renren.com and 56.com.
In 56.com, a video sharing site owned by Renren, users will see a dedicated section for Viki content starting in August. It will be called VikiZone.
The ‘zone’ will broadcast hundreds of hours of Cartoon Network content, TNT dramas from the United States, and other global TV programs. The latest content will be made available a day after airing in the US.
Korean and Japanese videos will also be featured. The Singapore startup, which also has an office in San Francisco, has collaborated with Korean independent record label SM Entertainment to bring K-pop music videos and behind-the-scenes interviews to China. Partnering with Japanese licensors, Viki will also stream 50 classic Japanese titles to Renren and 56.com. Read more
Joichi Ito: Founder and CEO of Neoteny Labs
The New York Times Company announced on 21st June that Joichi Ito has been elected to its Board of Directors. Brian McAndrews, a digital media veteran, has also joined the Board.
“Joi Ito and Brian McAndrews bring deep digital experience to the Board of the Times Company, which will be invaluable as we continue our digital transformation,” said Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., chairman and CEO of The New York Times Company and publisher, The New York Times.
“Joi is world-renowned as a digital innovator and thought leader, with significant expertise in technology policy.” Read more
Viki, a Singapore-based global video site, has announced this week that it has signed deals with Warner Music Group (WMG), LOEN Entertainment and SEED Music Group, as well as other labels and agencies, to stream thousands of music videos from hundreds of artists on the website.
The music videos are being streamed on Viki.com to users in the United States, Canada, Europe, as well as most countries in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. The content will roll out in other markets later this year.
Featured artists include global superstars and emerging talent from diverse genres and multiple languages. They include K-Pop and rap artists IU, Drunken Tiger and Brown Eyed Girls. Read more
The creators of Insync, an app that offers Dropbox-like functionality to Google Docs users, have responded to the launch of Google Drive.
More than two weeks ago, I wrote that Insync is at risk of becoming redundant, since Google Drive replicates some of its features. Although Insync is the superior app for now, it’s only a matter of time before Google starts adding more features to its new offering.
In response, Insync announced two days ago that it will focus on Google Docs power and business users. Also, once it moves out of beta and into version 1.0, Insync will become a paid app with a free 30-day trial. Users will still be able to use Insync for Mac and Windows for free via a referral program. More details will be announced soon. Read more
Will users cheat on Insync?
Technophiles have generally greeted the launch of Google Drive with cheer.
That’s no surprise: It has 5GB of free space, which is more than double the size of what Dropbox offers, but less then Microsoft’s Skydrive (see handy comparison). It is also integrated with Google’s power search functionality.
Eventually, it will have deep integration with Google Apps and Google’s whole range of services, resulting in less friction for user adoption.
Most crucial of all is Google Drive’s ability to automatically sync files with your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. All you need to do is install the app, which is already available on Android, PC, Mac, and coming to the iOS. It functions similarly to Dropbox.
This puts Insync in an awkward position. Read more
Neoteny Labs, a Singapore-based tech startup incubator, has announced that they are leading a seed funding round in ImpulseFlyer, a private sale platform for luxury and boutique hotels.
The company is co-founded by Steven Gong, who is the CEO, and Andy Croll, the CTO. Steven had previous experience in the online travel industry and consultancy fields, while Andy has worked as a developer and consultant prior to joining the startup. Read more
Animoca, a Hong Kong based games developer, has just raised Series A funding from Intel Capital and IDG-Accel, reported Inside Mobile Apps on 15th November. According to a reliable source, the sum is in the double digit millions. Read more
Last updated: 21st October 2011
ViKi, an international video site which mobilizes its community to translate programs into more than a hundred languages, has raised around US$20 million in series B funding.
This round’s investors include Neoteny Labs, SK Planet, a subsidiary of SK Telecom, BBC Worldwide, Greylock Partners, Andreesen Horowitz, Charles River Ventures, and others.
Prior to this, ViKi has raised a Series A funding of US$4.3 million from the same sources, save for SK Planet and BBC Worldwide, which are new investors. Read more
This is the first article from the “Mistakes made, lessons learnt” series. Check out all the articles here.
Over the past few years, Singapore enjoyed some small celebrations in its startup scene. There has been some prominent acquisitions, as well as the setting up of new VC funds and places of gathering for like-minded entrepreneurs.
However, the brutal truth is that behind every news of success is a story of failure. As such, we decided to roll out a series called: “Mistakes made, Lessons learnt”. At SGE, we hope to do our part by enabling start-up members to learn from each other and collectively help put Singapore on the world map. Read more