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Smartphone Market: Not Dead Yet

Is smartphone market dying? Not according to IDC, which released new figures today that indicate the smartphone market is actually growing.

Phone makers shipped 347.4 million handsets worldwide in the first quarter of 2017—a 4.3 percent increase from the same period last year—which IDC Vice President Ryan Reith says "further prove[s] that the smartphone industry is not dead and that growth still exists."

IDC Smartphone shipment data Q1 2017

"There is no question that 2016 was a pivotal year for the industry as growth dipped to low single digits for the first time," he added. "However, we believe the industry will show some rebound in 2017, and the strong first quarter results certainly support this argument."

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This year's flagships, including the Huawei P10 and Samsung Galaxy S8, "show that innovation is still possible," according to Reith, who also pointed to whatever Apple has up its sleeve for this fall. "Despite any formal announcements from Apple, it is safe to say the industry is highly anticipating what comes from this year's iPhone announcements."

A handful of Chinese phone makers — like Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo — drove first quarter growth. Each of those firms has "well outpaced market growth for over a year now," IDC said, adding that "the potential to continue this trend is high."

Samsung led the smartphone market last quarter, shipping 79.2 million units, but remained flat with zero percent year-over-year growth. Apple came in second with shipments reaching 51.6 million units, up slightly from a year earlier. Huawei came in third with 34.2 million units shipped, followed by Oppo with 25.6 million, and Vivo with 18.1 million.

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Golden Gate Ventures closes new $100M fund for Southeast Asia

Singapore’s Golden Gate Ventures has announced the close of its newest (and third) fund for Southeast Asia at a total of $100 million. The first hit a first close in the summer, as TechCrunch reported at the time, and now it has reached full capacity. Seven-year-old Golden Gate said its LPs include existing backers Singapore sovereign fund Temasek, Korea’s Hanwha, Naver — the owner of messaging app Line — and EE Capital. Investors backing the firm for the first time through this fund include Mistletoe — the fund from Taizo Son, brother of SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son — Mitsui Fudosan, IDO Investments, CTBC Group, Korea Venture Investment Corporation (KVIC), and Ion Pacific. Golden Gate was founded by former Silicon Valley-based trio Vinnie Lauria, Jeffrey Paine and Paul Bragiel . It has investments across five markets in Southeast Asia — with a particular focus on Indonesia and Singapore — and that portfolio includes Singapore’s Carousell, automotive marketplace Carro, P2P lending startup Funding Societies, payment enabler Omise and health tech startup Alodokter. Golden Gate’s previous fund was $60 million and it closed in 2016. Some of the firm’s exits so far include the sale of Redmart to Lazada (although not a blockbuster), Priceline’s acquisition of Woomoo, Line’s acquisition of Temanjalan and the sale of Mapan (formerly Ruma) to Go-Jek. It claims that its first two funds have had distributions of cash (DPI) of 1.56x and 0.13x, and IRRs of 48 percent and 29 percent, respectively. “When I compare the tech ecosystem of Southeast Asia (SEA) to other markets, it’s really hit an inflection point — annual investment is now measured in the billions. That puts SEA on a global stage with the US, China, and India. Yet there is a youthfulness that reminds me of Silicon Valley circa 2005, shortly before social media and the iPhone took off,” Lauria said in a statement. A report from Google and Temasek forecasts that Southeast Asia’s digital economy will grow from $50 billion in 2017 to over $200 billion by 2025 as internet penetration continues to grow across the region thanks to increased ownership of smartphones. That opportunity to reach a cumulative population of over 600 million consumers — more of whom are online today than the entire U.S. population — is feeding optimism around startups and tech companies. Golden Gate isn’t alone in developing a fund to explore those possibilities, there’s plenty of VC activity in the region. Some of those include Openspace, which was formerly known as NSI Ventures and just closed a $135 million fund, Qualgro, which is raising a $100 million vehicle and Golden Equator, which paired up with Korea Investment Partners on a joint $88 million fund. Temasek-affiliated Vertex closed a $210 million fund last year and that remains a record for Southeast Asia. Golden Gate also has a dedicated crypto fund, LuneX, which is in the process of raising $10 million.

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