GetLinks, a Thailand-based startup that offers a job finder app in six countries Southeast Asia and neighboring regions, has closed new funding led by Australia’s Seek group and Alibaba’s Hong Kong Entrepreneur fund.
The size of the investment was not disclosed. GetLinks previously raised $500,000 in 2016, and it later added $150,000 more to that round. GetLinks said Thailand’s SCG and a number of existing investors also took part in the round,
The deal seems highly strategic for the young company given those two lead investors. Publicly listed in Australia, Seek operates employment services in 19 countries, including popular Southeast Asia portals JobStreet and JobsDB. Its interest is centered around GetLink’s digital focus, which includes community events and a mobile app for job-seekers.
Alibaba started its Hong Kong fund, which has a total budget $130 million, in 2015. Its mandate is to support Hong Kong-based companies or ventures led by Hong Kong Chinese founders.
GetLinks doesn’t immediately seem spring to mind — its founder Djoann Fal is French and it was started in Thailand — but the company has an office (and entity) in Hong Kong, while co-founder and chairman Keenan Kwok is from Hong Kong.
The Alibaba fund — which is distinct from Alibaba Group and its e-commerce business — has typically invested in companies that can leverage its massive online retail footprint, but in GetLinks case the two companies are looking to pool their resources around the use of AI and machine learning in education.
GetLinks is planning to expand from recruitment into offering skills and talent training. That, plus is core business, are areas where Alibaba may help with its AI might. The Chinese firm launched a $15 billion initiative into emerging technology, including AI, last year and GetLinks could be one partner to help train its core AI tech and systems.
More generally, Alibaba is also working to build a footprint in Southeast Asia, and GetLinks fits into that focus. Alibaba owns e-commerce firm Lazada, has invested in Indonesia’s Tokopedia and — as we reported earlier this month — it is in talks to invest in Grab. In addition, its fintech affiliate Ant Financial has been busy striking deals across the region.
GetLinks claims to have 500,000 registered job seekers, with 3,000 companies on its platform.