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Tag Archives: markets

How this Kazakhstan internet giant built success on ideas from Russia and China

Eva Yoo Contributor Eva Yoo is a Shanghai-based tech writer for TechNode. The advantage of entering an emerging market is that the market still has a lot of empty space to fill, and as a startup you can be the first player. Kazakhstan might not be the first country that comes to mind when you think of overseas expansion. However, it is the world’s largest landlocked country, and shares borders with Russia and China, which are important consumer markets as well as technology hubs. In fact, companies in Russia and China provided good benchmarks for Chocofamily, now the biggest e-commerce holding in Kazakhstan. The 2011-founded startup’s current capitalization is $50 million, and they’ve hired 350 employees in their office in Almaty, the country’s largest city and previous capital. The company claims it has 2 million registered users on its platform, and expects $170 million gross billings in 2018 with 7,000 purchases per day. Chocofamily launched their payment app, Rakmet, in 2017, following in the steps of WeChat Pay. 2011: Copying from Russia   Looking at how Groupon was exploding in Russia, and how Delivery Club, a Russia-based food delivery service, was growing at a fast pace, the founder of Chocofamily, Ramil Mukhoryapov , decided the success could be replicated in Kazakhstan. So he quit his studies in Russia and went to Kazakhstan. “Russia is three years above Kazakhstan. Check out what is happening in Russia and do the same in Kazakhstan, it is going to work in three years. That’s what we did, how we started the Chocofamily itself,” Nikolay Shcherbak, CEO at Chocofood says. “We just copied. If this works in Russia, it will work in Kazakhstan as well, because the markets are really close to each other.” Ramil started with a daily deal service, Chocodaily, in Kazakhstan

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The funding mirage: How to secure international investment from emerging markets

Jose Deustua Contributor Jose Deustua is the managing director of Peruvian accelerator UTEC Ventures , the organization behind Peru’s largest investor event, the Peru Venture Capital Conference . Looking for funding as a startup in Latin America is a lot like looking for a watering hole in the middle of the desert. You know it’s out there, but finding it in time is a life or death situation. Granted, venture capital investment in the region is at an all-time high , with leading firms like Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners having made inaugural investments in markets like Colombia, Brazil and Mexico, respectively. But, at the same time, while startup founders might be tantalized by the news of big investments happening around them, as many of them get closer to the funding stage themselves, they often realize it’s nothing but a mirage. And this isn’t just a problem in Latin America. All over the world, startups are struggling to find investment, as VCs are investing more money in fewer deals in the endless search for the next unicorn. Due to a dwindling number of VC deals in both the United States and Europe , even entrepreneurs in established ecosystems are having to look further afield for the resources they need to build their businesses, bringing many of them to emerging markets like Latin America. Fortunately, whether you’re a local or foreign founder in an emerging market, there is a way to quench your thirst for the international investment that you need to scale your company. Here’s what we recommend to the startups that are part of our UTEC Ventures accelerator program in Peru, and what we’d recommend to you, too. Find local seed money first As a startup in an emerging market, the prospect of finding local investment can seem challenging

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Walmart to acquire Mexico & Chile-focused grocery delivery service Cornershop for $225M

Walmart is ramping up its grocery delivery business on the international stage with today’s announcement that it has acquired the crowdsourced, on-demand delivery marketplace Cornershop for $225 million. The rapidly growing service offers on-demand delivery from supermarkets, pharmacies and specialty food retailers in Mexico and Chile, which will continue following the deal’s close, Walmart says. Founded in 2015, Cornershop last year raised $21 million in a round led by Accel, according to Crunchbase, in order to expand its service in Latin America. At the time, CEO Oskar Hjertonsson credited Instacart’s success in the U.S. as inspiring enthusiasm for grocery delivery in other international markets, as well, saying ” I think Instacart can build a profitable business in the US, as can we down here.” To date, it has raised $31.7 million, Crunchbase says. Other investors include ALLVP, Creandum, NMT Network, Jackson Square Ventures, and Endeavour Catalyst. Similar to Instacart, Cornershop works with contractors who visit the stores to shop then deliver customers’ orders. However, it also lets you order from several stores – like grocers, speciality wine or meat shops, and others – in one order. The service has been expanding its reach a fast pace, Walmart’s announcement points out. Over the past 12 months, it has seen the number of unique customers double. Cornershop’s three founders, including CEO Oskar Hjertonsson; COO Daniel Undurraga, and CTO Juan Pablo Cuevas, and their teams, will continue to run the business following Walmart’s acquisition.

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Rothy’s, whose ballet flats for women are already everywhere, just launched a sneaker, too

If you are a woman who has used the internet to buy something, particularly if you are a woman who has used the internet to buy something in the Bay Area, there’s a very high likelihood you have seen ads for Rothy’s  everywhere you go on social media, particularly Facebook. In fact, they’ve likely been following you for years. The reason: spending big on Facebook and, to a slightly lesser extent, Instagram, has paid off hugely for the three-year-old, San Francisco-based company, which makes shoes out of recycled materials. Its signature product is its ballet shoe for women, which comes in two silhouettes — a rounded and a pointed-toe version — and 21 patterns. But like most e-commerce brands, Rothy’s hasn’t been content to stop with one apparently winning product. Instead, earlier this year, the company introduced a women’s loafer, followed by a line of shoes for girls ages five through12 that mirror its ballet shoe line for grown-ups. Today, it’s extending its product line again, introducing what it calls a sneaker, though it’s really a sneaker in as much as Vans classic slip-on skateboarding shoes  are sneakers. In short, they’re fun and colorful, but you probably don’t want to play basketball in them. Last summer, to learn more, we’d talked with Rothy’s cofounders Roth Martin and Stephen Hawthornthwaite about the company, which has so far raised just $7 million in funding — all of which closed around the time of our conversation. Yesterday, we chatted with a newer executive at the company, Kerry Whorton Cooper, who joined Rothy’s president earlier this year after working previously as the COO an CMO of ModCloth and as a VP at Walmart.com, among other roles. We asked if Rothy’s is raising another round any time soon. She also caught us up on what else is happening at the startup, which has now grown to 500 employees, including 450 who work out of the company’s own, 100,000-square-foot factory in Southern China. TC: Rothy’s is a hot brand.

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Taking Tesla private, WeWork and Uber earnings, and what happened to crypto

Hello and welcome back to  Equity , TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week was a corker. We had Alex Wilhelm in-studio with our guest Minal Hasan , founder of K2 Global , and TechCrunch’s Danny Chriton jumped in from New York to help the crew dig through the biggest and best stuff from the last seven days. It’s been busy, to say the least. First, we took a look at the Elon-Musk-taking-Tesla-private-situation , which has kept Markets Twitter in suspense for days. We didn’t really get to talk about the Grimes-Azealia Banks stuff , but, hey, stay in your lane and what not. Don’t forget that the latest Tesla upheaval comes on the heels of the firm’s pretty good earnings report . Next, we took a look at earnings. Not of public companies, mind, but two unicorns that have become so large as to require regular financial disclosure. So, we took a peek into what Uber and WeWork had cooking. In short: WeWork loses a lot of money , and despite its impressive growth we have some concerns; Uber loses a lot of money , but due to its impressive growth our group was (on average) not too worried. Put into simple terms, WeWork’s long-term lease situation has us worried, while Uber’s losses compared to its net revenue seem kinda alright given other financial metrics. Place your own bets, of course. Moving along we took a dig into the NIO IPO , which you probably haven’t heard about yet

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Spotify is falling behind on lyrics and voice

Spotify’s lack of full lyrics support and its minimal attention to voice are beginning to become problems for the streaming service. The company has been so focused on the development of its personalization technology and programming its playlists, it has overlooked key features that its competitors – including Apple, Google, and Amazon – today offer and are now capitalizing on. For example, in the updated version of Apple Music rolling out this fall with iOS 12, users won’t just have access to lyrics in the app as before, they will also be able to perform searches by lyrics instead of only by the artist, album, or song title. And Apple Music is actually playing catch up with Amazon on this front. Amazon Music, which has quietly grown to become the third largest music streaming service , allows users to view the lyrics as songs play , and ties that to its Alexa voice platform. Amazon Music users with an Alexa device can also search for songs by lyrics just by saying  “play the song that goes…” . The company has been offering this capability  for close to two years . While it had originally been one of Alexa’s hidden gems,  today asking Alexa to pull up a song by its lyrics is considered a standard feature. Though Google has lagged behind Apple, Spotify and Amazon in music, its clever Google Assistant is capable of search-by-lyrics , too. And as an added perk, it can also work like Shazam to identify a song that’s playing nearby. With the rise of voice-based computing, features like asking for songs with verbal commands or querying databases of lyrics by voice are now expected features

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Huawei Launches Honor Note 10 With A 7 Inch Screen – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Huawei Launches Honor Note 10 With A 7 Inch Screen Ubergizmo You may still remember the days when it seemed impossible that a smartphone would have a 7 inch display. We saw tablets with 7 inch displays but smartphones have gradually been pushing the envelope on the display size over the past few years. Huawei ... and more »

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ClassPass works up $85 million Series D funding

ClassPass today announced the close of an $85 million Series D financing round led by Temasek, the same firm that led the startup’s Series C financing . L Catterton , a private equity firm that has also invested in the likes of Peloton, Equinox, and Pure Barre, also participated in the round. As part of the deal, L Catterton’s Michael Farello will join the ClassPass board. It’s also worth noting that CEO Fritz Lanman confirmed that the share price dropped as part of the $70 million Series C round , but that the valuation didn’t. Both share price and valuation went up during this latest round. That said, Lanman stayed mum on any actual numbers around valuation. This latest round brings ClassPass’s total funding to $255 million. ClassPass first launched in 2012 out of TechStars. Back then, it was called Classtivity, and it operated under a very different business model. Users could search for a la carte classes from dance and fitness studios, book an appointment and complete the transaction all from their website.  Turns out, gym memberships exist for a reason. Without a monthly up front investment, most people don’t have the motivation to go workout.

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Both Amazon and Walmart announce expanded grocery delivery operations

Amazon and Walmart’s rivalry continues today with two dueling announcements related to their respective grocery delivery expansions. This morning, Amazon said it’s bringing grocery delivery via Whole Foods to several new markets in New York and Florida, including New York City and Miami, among others. Meanwhile, Walmart today is expanding grocery delivery in partnership with Postmates, with a launch in the L.A. region. The Postmates expansion brings grocery delivery to Los Angeles and outlying areas including Glendora, Baldwin Park, Garden Grove, Rosemead, Pico Rivera, Foothill Ranch and Santa Clarita, plus San Diego. Postmates now powers Walmart grocery delivery in seven total regions, it notes: Charlotte, Raleigh, Oklahoma City, Las Vegas, Tucson, L.A. and San Diego. This rollout with Postmates follows news from May of Walmart ending its relationships with prior grocery delivery partners, Uber and Lyft. At the time, Walmart said customers in the four markets Uber served, and the one (Denver) that Lyft had served, wouldn’t notice any changes as it would be switching them over to new delivery providers. Walmart currently partners with Postmates, Deliv and DoorDash on grocery delivery, instead of operating its own service in-house. Rival Amazon is also expanding grocery delivery with Whole Foods, but its strategy is murky, too.

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OnePlus To Bring Selfie Portrait Mode To OnePlus 5, 5T – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo OnePlus To Bring Selfie Portrait Mode To OnePlus 5, 5T Ubergizmo Portrait mode on the rear-facing cameras of smartphones is becoming an increasingly common feature. This is typically achieved through hardware by having the extra lens, or in the case of certain phones like the Google Pixels, this is (very ... and more »

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Farfetch acquires CuriosityChina to expand its social media efforts on the Mainland

Farfetch  — the e-commerce startup that works with some 900 high end fashion boutiques and labels to present and sell clothes, shoes, accessories and jewellery online, and we and others have heard is gearing up for a $6 billion IPO — is making an acquisition to double down China, one of the fastest-growing markets for luxury goods. It’s acquiring Curiosity China , a marketing firm that specialises in leveraging social media — specifically, WeChat — to target users and sell goods. It already works with some 80 brands that are also customers of Farfetch to help them use WeChat channels and accounts to reach would-be customers. It also offers CRM and a few other services. The plan will be to incorporate Curiosity China into Farfetch’s “Black & White” white-label API, which essentially allows boutiques to integrate their stock into Farfetch’s purchasing and logistics platform, or use that engine to sell its goods on their own sites. This will now give them the option also to use the API to run campaigns in China. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. This is Farfetch’s third acquisition, the other two being UK boutique Browns and Style.com. Farfetch also said it is buying all of the company’s tech and all of its employees and founders are coming on board. Judy Liu, a co-founder of CuriosityChina, will become Farfetch’s managing director for China; another co-founder, Alexis Bonhomme, is taking on the role of VP commercial, China; and the third co-founder, Arthur Shui, will become head of technology for the Chinese operation. Farfetch’s acquisition of CuriosityChina underscores a few interesting trends currently underway in the market: the rise of the Chinese consumer, the ongoing challenges to target those consumers if you are from outside China, and the rise of social media as a popular marketing and sales channel. The luxury market was worth €262 billion in 2017, according to analysis from Bain, with customers from China accounting for 32 percent of that amount (shopping both in China and abroad).

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