Singapore-based and one of Southeast Asia’s biggest tech startups, Garena, changed its name and brand to Sea Ltd. The rebrand was made after company got the latest funding worth US$550 million (about Rp7.3 trillion). Sea’s funding and rebranding comes as it is reportedly preparing for an IPO that may raise US$1 billion. Founder and CEO, Forrest Li said the company’s new name is also an acronym and reflected to its focus for Southeast Asia.
According to a Bloomberg report this investment is followed by a number of investors, known as Farallon Capital Management, Hillhouse Capital, Cathay Financial Holding Co., and food conglomerate company Uni-President Enterprises Corp., also participate in this investment. Earlier, the startup founded in 2009 in Singapore has received financial support from Tencent Holdings from China, then GDP Ventures from Indonesia, and JG Summit Holdings of the Philippines.
The company said the majority of the fund will be used to fund and expand the Shopee, consumer-to-consumer marketplace, business in Indonesia to compete with Alibaba through Lazada to expand ecommerce business in Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia. Another ecommerce competitor that Sea should be anticipating is JD.com which is very serious in doing business in Southeast Asia and most recently reported to be investing in Indonesia’s largest ecommerce, Tokopedia. Amazon also was rumoured to be setting up operations in Singapore as its launchpad into Southeast Asia.
Sea refused to disclose the company’s valuation after receiving new funding. They last raised a total of US$ 170 million valuing US$ 3.75 billion (around Rp 50 trillion) in March 2016. The value let them to be Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup.
Sea’s financial good enough for an eight-year-old startup because they have made a net profit. They said it managed to increase 13-fold net income compared to 2011 to about US$ 270 million (around Rp 3.6 trillion) in 2015.
In addition to its rebranding announcement, Sea appointed former Singaporean foreign minister, George Yeo, former Indonesian trade minister, Mari Elka Pangestu, and director of Indonesian coal and palm oil company PT Toba Bara Sejahtra, Pandu Sjahrir, as senior advisors.
Online games business division of this company will still retain the name Garena. Its other main products are Shopee and AirPay, a digital payments service.