HOTELS & TOURISM, MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Daily Briefing: Temasek backs US fintech firm's US$130m series E funding; Grab invests in UK software startup Splyt to expand outside Asia

And Raffles Hotel will open in Sentosa island in 2022.

From DealStreetAsia:

Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek Holdings and global growth equity firm General Atlantic have co-led a US$130m Series E funding round in Blend, a US-based digital lending platform, according to an announcement.

Existing investors 8VC, Founders Fund, Greylock Partners, and Lightspeed Venture Partners also participated in the round. The fresh capital, which brings the company’s total external funding to US$310m, will be used to continue growing its team of nearly 400 employees.

In addition, Blend plans to invest in new technologies, grow its ecosystem of partners, and further its expansion into a broader suite of consumer lending products, the company said in the announcement.

Read more here.

From Bloomberg:

Singapore-based ride-hailing giant Grab has invested in UK software startup Splyt Technologies, in a move to expand services beyond its core market of Southeast Asia.

Software from London-based Splyt will allow ride-hailing users to book rides via the Grab app when traveling abroad, using multiple services that partner with Splyt in cities where Grab doesn’t operate. Passengers will also be able to pay in their home currency, and Grab plans to add in-app travel tips as well as local restaurant reviews.

The investment, part of a US$8m funding round for Splyt, is indicative of a trend among tech companies to create so-called “super apps” – where users are offered a range of services to keep them on the platform. China’s WeChat, owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd., Grab and Indonesia’s Go-Jek are examples of companies that use this strategy to get users to communicate, shop online, play games, and pay for goods within a single, unified smartphone app.

Read more here.

From Bloomberg:

Singapore’s iconic Raffles Hotel is spreading its wings, planning on opening a luxury resort on Sentosa island.

Accor SA, which owns the brand, is aiming to open the 100,000-sqm hotel in early 2022, the hotel group said at a media briefing in the city-state on Tuesday. Raffles Sentosa Resort & Spa will house 61 villas with a total maximum occupancy of about 200 people.

Each villa will cost around $1,500 (US$1,110) a night, according to Accor Asia Pacific CEO Michael Issenberg. He said the property should break-even within a year of its opening, declining to elaborate.

Read more here.

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