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Tag Archives: asia

With $50M in fresh funding, Allbirds will open new stores in the US, UK and Asia

The quintessential venture capitalist’s uniform consists of a pair of designer jeans, a Patagonia fleece vest and $95 wool sneakers. The company behind the shoes, Allbirds , entered the unicorn club this morning with the announcement of a $50 million Series C from late-stage players T. Rowe Price, which led the round, Tiger Global and Fidelity Investments. The 3-year-old startup founded by Joey Zwillinger and Tim Brown has raised $75 million to date, including a $17.5 million Series B last year. Its backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, Scooter Braun, Maveron, Lerer Hippeau and Elephant, the venture capital firm led by Warby Parker founder Andrew Hunt. The Wall Street Journal is reporting the round values Allbirds at $1.4 billion. The company would not confirm that figure to TechCrunch. Like Warby Parker , San Francisco-based Allbirds began as a direct-to-consumer online retailer but has since expanded to brick-and-mortar, opening stores in San Francisco and New York. It currently ships to locations across the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Next week, the company plans to open its first storefront in the U.K. in London’s Covent Garden neighborhood. It will begin shipping throughout the U.K. In 2019. Using its latest investment,  Allbirds will double down on its brick-and-mortar business. In addition to the U.K., the company says it will open even more locations in the U.S., as well as open doors in Asia in the coming months.  Tiger Global , which has backed Allbirds since its Series B, may be of help. The firm has offices in Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as partners across Asia

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Indonesian fintech startup Moka raises $24M led by Sequoia India

Indonesia’s Moka , a startup that helps SMEs and retailers manage payment and other business operations, has pulled in a $24 million Series B round for growth. The investment is led by Sequoia India and Southeast Asia — which recently announced a new $695 million fund — with participation from new backers SoftBank Ventures Korea, EDBI — the corporate investment arm of Singapore’s Economic Development Board — and EV Growth, the later stage fund from Moka seed investor East Ventures. Existing investors Mandiri Capital, Convergence and Fenox also put into the round. The deal takes Moka to $27.9 million raised to date, according to data from Crunchbase . Moka was started four years ago primarily as a point-of-sale (POS) terminal with some basic business functionality. Today, it claims to work with 12,500 retailers in Indonesia and its services include sales reports, inventory management, table management, loyalty programs, and more. Its primary areas of focus are retailers in the F&B, apparel and services industries. It charges upwards of IDR 249,000 ($17) per month for its basic service and claims to be close to $1 billion in annual transaction volume from its retail partners. That’s the company’s core offering, a mobile app that turns any Android or iOS device into a point-of-sale terminal, but CEO and co-founder Haryanto Tanjo — who started the firm with CTO Grady Laksmono — said it harbors larger goals. “Our vision is to be a platform, we want to be an ecosystem,” he told TechCrunch in an interview. That’s where much of this new capital will be invested. Tanjo said the company is opening its platform up to third-party providers, who can use it to reach merchants with services such as accounting, payroll, HR and more. The focus is initially on local services that cater to SMEs in Indonesia, but as Moka targets larger enterprises as clients, he said that it will integrate larger, global solutions, too. Moka offers services beyond point-of-sale, but the core offering is turning any smart device into a cash machine Moka itself is expanding its capabilities on the payment side.

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Alibaba’s Ant Financial denies stealing from Equifax

Ant Financial has denied claims that it covertly raided Equifax — the U.S. credit firm that was hit by a hack last year — to grab information, including code, confidential data and documents to help recruit staff for its own credit scoring service. The Alibaba affiliate, which is valued at over $100 billion , launched Sesame Credit in China in 2015, and a report this week from The Wall Street Journal suggests that it leaned heavily on Equifax to do so. Ant Financial hired China-born Canadian David Zou from Equifax and the Journal claims that Zou looked up employee information to gauge potential hires and squirreled away confidential documents via his personal email account. Ant was said to have offered Chinese staff at Equifax lucrative raises — reportedly tripling their salaries — with a focus on those who “provided instructions on specific Equifax information… if they jumped ship.” Apparently, however, only Zou did. Zou, for this part, denies the claims. He said he looked up Equifax team members to help with work on his project in Canada, and forward information to his email account in order to continue his work when he went home. Ant Financial went a step further with its own denial — from the firm’s statement : Ant Financial did not use Equifax intellectual property or trade secrets, including code, algorithms or methodology in the development of our credit rating product. Ant Financial has found absolutely no evidence of Equifax software, data or code having been transferred to our systems. We did not directly or indirectly encourage potential job applicants to obtain Equifax intellectual property or trade secrets. This would be a violation of Ant Financial’s Code of Business Conduct and we would take immediate action against any employee found engaging in this behavior. Further, we have specific agreements with our third-party recruiters that prohibit them from violating intellectual property rights of any parties. If any recruiter is found to have conducted such activities, we will stop accepting candidate referrals from them and may take legal action against them. Ant said the Journal’s report is “full of innuendo based on disjointed facts and coincidence in timing.” Beyond Ant, the report claims Equifax firm was also concerned when an unnamed Chinese firm swapped members of its delegation in the run-up to a meeting, a tactic that is apparently common among potential cases of espionage

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Japanese fintech startup Paidy lands strategic investment from Visa

A month after announcing its $55 million Series C , Japanese fintech startup Paidy has snagged a strategic investment from payment giant Visa. Paidy didn’t disclose how much Visa put into its business, which has raised over $80 million to date, but it did say that it will work with the credit card giant to develop “new digital payment experiences” in Japan. For those in need of a refresher, the Paidy service is aimed at making it easier to shop online in Japan, where credit card penetration is high but many consumers still opt for cash on delivery. The startup asserts that cash accounts for some 40 percent of the country’s 16.5 trillion yen ($150 billion) annual e-commerce spend because credit card payments are cumbersome and cash is just more simple. It’s certainly true that whipping out your card and keying in digits is a pain, while Japanese systems layer on other security checks that make the process more tedious. Paidy’s answer is an account tied to a customer’s phone number or email address that sits as a payment option at e-commerce checkouts. Payment itself requires entry of a confirmation code, and that’s it. Added to the simplicity, Paidy also offers various payback options to effectively give users the features of a credit card. The company claims there are 1.5 million active Paidy accounts and it is aiming to grow that figure to 11 million by 2020. The main rocket for reaching that ambitious target is onboarding large retailers who integrate the service into their online sales process. That’s a tactic that has worked well for Paidy so far, but it’s also clearly an area where Visa’s network can be massively beneficial, especially if they are joint products on offer. With Paidy operating like a virtual credit card system that rivals plastic cards, Visa has seen enough to warrant coming on board the project, according to Chris Clark, Visa’s Asia Pacific regional president. “We have been following Paidy’s progress and the enhanced shopping experience they provide at the time of purchase

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Alibaba confirms it raised $3B for its newly consolidated local services business

Alibaba has confirmed that it has raised $3 billion for its new-look local services business after it united its Koubei local services business with Ele.me, the on-demand delivery business it recently acquired. The company said it put the capital into the business alongside SoftBank, according to a note within its financial results that were released today . TechCrunch understands that the actual amount raised may increase as existing Koubei investors have an option to be a part of the new round, while new backers may also be added.  Bloomberg previously reported the consolidation and investment. From the filing : We have established a company to hold Ele.me and Koubei as our combined flagship local services vehicle, which we plan to separately capitalize with investments from Alibaba, Ant Financial and third-party investors. As of the time of this announcement, we have received over US$3 billion in new investment commitments, including from Alibaba and SoftBank. As a result of this reorganization, subject to closing conditions, we will consolidate Koubei, which would result in a material one-off revaluation gain when the transaction closes. Koubei, the company’s local services platform, got a $1.1 billion injection in early 2017 and is predominantly focused on enabling local commerce. Other investors besides Alibaba include Silver Lake, CDH Investments, Yunfeng Capital and Primavera Capital. Ele.me, meanwhile, first landed an investment from Alibaba two years ago. The e-commerce giant bought it out in April in a deal that valued Ele.me at $9.5 billion. Ele.me is a key piece of Alibaba’s recent partnership with Starbucks — the on-demand service will be used to deliver coffee to Starbucks customers across China as the U.S. coffee giant seeks out new growth opportunities and competes with rival services.

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Alibaba shrugs off China concerns as revenue jumps 61%

Tencent had an unexpected miss this week , but Chinese rival Alibaba experienced no such issue today as it beat analyst expectation after clocking 61 percent annual revenue growth. The Chinese e-commerce giant reported total sales of 80.92 billion RMB ($12.2 billion) for its Q1 2019, fractionally beating Bloomberg’s estimate of 80.88 billion RMB. The firm record a net profit of 8.7 billion RMB ($1.3 billion) for the period, down 41 percent. Diluted earnings per share of 3.30 RMB was down 42 percent annually but still ahead of Bloomberg’s project of 2.57 RMB. The market has taken that as good news and shares are trading up three percent in the pre-market. Alibaba’s core e-commerce business is its most lucrative and revenue in Q1 rose 61 percent annually to hit 69.2 billion RMB ($10.5 billion), while growth for it cloud computing business continues to impressive albeit at a slowing rate as the unit grows up. Alibaba Cloud recorded total sales of 4.7 billion RMB ($710 million) but a year-on-year growth rate of 93 percent is down slightly on 103 percent in the previous quarter . Also in the last quarter, Alibaba took up an option to acquire one-third of Ant Financial , its financial services business that’s tipped to go public as soon as next year. The deal hasn’t closed yet, but when it does it will mean an end to “royalty and technology service fees” that Alibaba had earned from a previous agreement with Ant. Ant is valued at over $100 billion and some analyst estimates that the quarterly fees paid to Alibaba were in the region of one billion RMB, or roughly $160 million. Looking at customer numbers, Alibaba said its active customer base in China grew to 576 million — an increase of 100 million per year and 24 million on the last quarter — while monthly active users reached 634 million, up 20 percent year-on-year and three percent sequentially. The company doesn’t give international user numbers, but it said e-commerce revenue from outside of China grew 64 percent to reach 4.3 billion RMB, or $652 million. Beyond e-commerce, Alibaba confirmed media reports that it has combined its Koubei local services platform with its newly-acquired Ele.me business .

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Hyundai leads $14.3M investment in Indian car rental startup Revv

Korean automaker Hyundai is jumping into India’s on-demand mobility space after it led a $14.3 million investment in car-rental startup Revv . Hyundai, which is the second largest seller of cars in India , initially announced an undisclosed investment in Revv this week, but now the startup has confirmed that the capital is part of a larger 100 Crore INR (~$14.3 million) Series B round. Other investors in the round include Japan’s Dream Incubator, Telama Investment and Sunjay Kapoor of auto component firm Sona BLW. Existing investors Edelweiss and Beenext also took part in the deal, which takes Revv to $23 million raised from investors, according to data from Crunchbase . Revv was founded in 2015 and it offers on-demand car rentals using a model similar to Zipcar in the U.S. The startup is currently active in 11 cities in India with a fleet of around 1,000 vehicles. It claims to have served 300,000 users to date. One of its hallmarks is doorstep delivery and collection from customers, which eschews the usual process of designated collection and return locations. In an interview with TechCrunch, Revv co-founders Anupam Agarwal (CEO) and Karan Jain (COO) said the plan is to expand to 30 cities over the next 12-18 months while growing the fleet size to 10,000-12,000. The duo said that the investment from Hyundai didn’t include any specific clause to provide vehicles, but that it is possible that an agreement may be reached in the future. Beyond potential support on growing the fleet, Agarwal and Jain said that Revv plans to tap Hyundai for its knowledge in vehicles, including performance upkeep, maintenance of cars and more, and other tech areas as it builds out its platform and new products. A photo of the Revv team That’s because the startup’s expansion plan goes beyond new geographies to include different types of services, too. Right now, Revv offers on-demand car rentals and a subscription-based product — Switch — that is designed for power-users, but Agarwal and Jain want to introduce more modular and flexible products. Already Shift users account for around one-third of rentals, but Revv wants to go further.

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Amazon-backed lending platform Capital Float buys consumer finance startup Walnut

India-based lending platform Capital Float has been busy raising capital, having closed an Amazon-led $22 million extension to its $45 million Series C last year —  now it’s putting some of that capital work after it acquired personal finance service Walnut. The acquisition is $30 million spread across cash and stock, the companies said, and it’ll boost five-year-old Capital Float’s move into the consumer space. The company has to date focused on serving SME and business customers, but last year it began to offer financial services to consumers. Walnut helps consumers manage their finances and track spending, and it claims seven million downloads on Android . It also includes a feature — Walnut Prime — that offers an instant credit line. Already, it said, it has handed out nearly $15 million in consumer loans. “Walnut Prime is a product of deep interest to us, and it will essentially become a new addition to our stable of exceptional, customized credit products,” Capital Float co-founders Sashank Rishyasringa and Gaurav Hinduja said in a statement.

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