Singapore-based startup Garena raises $550m ahead of US IPO

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Garena, Southeast Asia’s most valuable technology startup, has raised $550m, including investment from the son of Indonesia’s wealthiest tycoon, as the business prepares for a listing in the US.

The Singapore-based online games and ecommerce business is battling to be the dominant technology platform in the region, in the face of stiff competition from ride-sharing apps such as Grab and Alibaba-backed ecommerce operator Lazada.

Garena’s investors in the new round include GDP Venture, run by Martin Hartono – scion of the family that controls the Djarum cigarette maker. GDP Venture previously invested in Garena last year. The new funds will be directed primarily towards Garena’s loss-making online marketplace Shopee, as well as developing its payments platform Airpay, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Garena, which was valued at $3.75bn last March, also rebranded as Sea, an acronym for Southeast Asia.

The tech startup has hired advisers including Goldman Sachs for a listing expected in the second half of this year.

The new funding round was first reported by Bloomberg.

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