Jon Russell

TechCrunch

@jonrussell

  • Writer at TechCrunch covering “Asia, and sometimes crypto.”
  • Previously worked at The Next Web and ZDNews.
  • Lives in Bangkok, Thailand.
Indonesian e-commerce unicorn Bukalapak raises $50M

Jan 18

The chances are you may be familiar with Tokopedia, especially after it commanded a $7 billion valuation last November when it raised $1.1 billion from investors like Alibaba and SoftBank’s Vision Fund, but fewer people outside of Indonesia are aware of anoth…

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Coinbase acquihires San Francisco startup Blockspring

Jan 17

Coinbase is continuing its push to suck up talent after the $8 billion-valued crypto business snapped up Blockspring, a San Francisco-based startup that enables developers to collect and process data from APIs. The undisclosed deal was announced by Blocksprin…

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India’s Ola is adding a monthly billing option for its ride-hailing customers

Jan 17

Ola, the ride-hailing service battling Uber in India, is introducing credit services to its users as it moves closer to a major new funding round. Today the company took the wraps off Ola Money Postpaid, a service that builds on Ola’s existing payment service…

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Byju’s buys Osmo for $120M to add blended learning to its $4B digital education business

Jan 16

Weeks after it raised a massive $540 million funding round, Indian education unicorn Byju’s is on the M&A path. The company announced today it has snapped up U.S-based Osmo, a startup that develops apps for kids that use offline input, in a deal worth $120 mi…

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Instamojo raises $7M to help SMEs and ‘micro-entrepreneurs’ in India sell online

Jan 16

In India, startups are quietly building the tools and platforms to enable a different kind of gig economy: one that allows ‘micro-entrepreneurs’ to tap growing access to the internet to sell goods and services online. One such figure helping this burgeoning e…

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Grab moves to offer digital insurance services in Southeast Asia

Jan 16

Grab is Southeast Asia’s top ride-hailing firm, thanks in no small part to its acquisition of Uber’s local business last year, but the company also houses an ambitious fintech arm, too. That just added another vertical to its business after Grab announced it …

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Digital insurance firm Singapore Life raises $33M ahead of Southeast Asia expansion

Jan 15

Digital insurance firm Singapore Life has started 2019 with a bang after it raised $33 million across two investments as it eyes new market expansions in Southeast Asia. The company pulled in $20 million from NYSE-listed Aflac Investment on December 31 and th…

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American Express acquires Japan-based restaurant booking service Pocket Concierge

Jan 15

American Express has made an acquisition in Japan after it picked up restaurant booking service Pocket Concierge in an undisclosed deal. The acquisition was announced in Japanese and in English by James Riney, the head of 500 Startups Japan which invested in …

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A photo of an egg has toppled reality star Kylie Jenner as Instagram’s most-liked post

Jan 14

Instagram has found something it likes more than a Kardashian-Jenner family baby, and it’s an egg. This weekend, a photo of a plain egg became the most-liked photo on Instagram, the social app owned by Facebook with over one billion users that’s reflective of…

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Tor pulls in record donations as it lessens reliance on US government grants

Jan 11

Tor, the open source initiative which provides a more secure way to access the internet, is continuing to diversify its funding away from its long-standing reliance on U.S. government grants. The Tor Foundation — the organization behind the service which stan…

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VLC prepares to add AirPlay support as it crosses 3 billion downloads

Jan 11

VLC, the hugely popular media playing service, is filing one of its gaps with the addition of AirPlay support as its just crossed an incredible three billion users. The new feature was revealed by Jean-Baptiste Kempf, one of the service’s lead developers, in …

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An unsecured database exposed the personal details of 202M job seekers in China

Jan 11

The personal details belonging to more than 202 million job seekers in China, including information like phone numbers, email addresses, driver licenses and salary expectations, were freely available to anyone who knew where to look for as long as three years…

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Uber’s India rival Ola nears $6 billion valuation ahead of huge funding round

Jan 10

Ola, India’s local rival to Uber, has seen its valuation jump to nearly $6 billion as it prepares to take in a large round of financing. The ride-hailing firm, which was founded in 2010, has raised around $3.3 billion from investors to date, and it topped tha…

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Emeritus, which develops online courses with universities, raises $40M

Jan 10

The funding streak for educational startups in Asia continues into 2019 after Emeritus, a U.S-Indian company that partners with universities to offer digital courses, landed a $40 million Series C round led by Sequoia India. The deal includes participation fr…

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Crypto mining giant Bitmain is reportedly getting a new CEO as its IPO plan stalls

Jan 10

Bitmain, the Chinese crypto miner maker, looks like it has reached an interesting point in its pathway to going public. There’s been little heard since the company filed to go public in Hong Kong in September, but now it appears that a new CEO has been hired …

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Thailand issues its first licenses to 4 crypto exchanges

Jan 9

Thailand has joined Japan in regulating crypto exchanges after it issued its first licenses to four applicants. The four that were approved as licensed brokers and dealers of cryptocurrencies in the country are Bx, Bitkub, Coins and Satang Pro. One other exch…

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Vietnam threatens to penalize Facebook for breaking its draconian cybersecurity law

Jan 9

Well, that didn’t take long. We’re less than ten days into 2019 and already Vietnam is aiming threats at Facebook after it violating its draconian cybersecurity law which came into force on January 1. The U.S. social network stands accused of allowing users i…

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BasisAI, a Singapore startup from Bay Area returnees, comes out of stealth with impressive creds

Jan 9

An intriguing new startup is out from under the radar in Southeast Asia after BasisAI, a Singapore-based company, revealed itself this week. The startup disclosed a seed investment from two prestigious investors in the region and some impressive credentials t…

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Go-Jek’s Southeast Asia expansion runs into a roadblock in the Philippines

Jan 9

Southeast Asian ride-hailing challenger Go-Jek has expanded into three new markets as it bids to expand beyond its native Indonesia, but it is having major issues getting into a fourth. The company — which rivals Grab, is valued at over $6 billion and is back…

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Matrix India announces new $300M fund

Jan 9

Matrix India, one of India’s highest-profile tech VCs, is loading up for new deals after it announced a new $300 million fund for early stage investments. This is the third fund for the Indian firm, which is associated with U.S-based Matrix Partners. Matrix I…

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