By Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul
Memebox, a Korean online beauty marketplace startup, has closed a $35-million Series D round led by new strategic investor JJDC Inc, according to the company’s announcement last Thursday. This round marks the Korean startup’s first strategic investment and brings its total funding to $190 million. Memebox said that it will work with JJDC, the venture capital arm of Johnson & Johnson, to access the global market. “We want to build the next generation of personal care brands by leveraging Korean technology across beauty categories… We will leverage JJDC’s global capabilities and scientific expertise which will enable us to take a big step forward in our focus on innovation, R&D, and ultimately, reaching a global audience,” said Memebox founder and CEO Hyungseok Dino Ha.
Mumbai-based ecommerce platform for buying and selling used cars, Truebil, has raised INR 100 Cr ($14 Mn) in a mix of equity and debt Series B funding round led by Japanese investor Joe Hirao, as the company plans to foray across five other Indian cities and strengthen its technology-based stack.
In the startup’s latest funding round, Kalaari Capital, Inventus Capital, Kae, Shunwei Capital, and Tekton had also participated, with Merisis Advisors as an investment banker.
With the latest funding, Paix Technology-owned Truebil has announced its total funding to have reached INR 160 Cr ($22.4 Mn). The company had announced revenue of INR 50 Cr ($7 Mn) for the FY 2017-18, and aims to generate 5x growth in revenue for the current fiscal.
Truebil was founded in March 2015 by Suraj Kalwani, Himanshu Singhal, Rakesh Raman, Ravi Chirania, Ritesh Pandey, Shanu Vivek, and Shubh Bansal. It offers an ample choice for its customers, providing a detailed report of each car to help them make informed purchase decisions.
Read More >>>
Outdoorsy is building for the road ahead. The three-year-old company, which connects customers with underused RVs and other trucks big enough to camp in overnight, just raised $50 million in Series C funding led by Greenspring Associates, with participation from earlier backers Aviva Ventures, Altos Ventures, AutoTech Ventures and Tandem Capital. That puts its total funding, in less than a year’s time, at $75 million. (We’d separately reported on its $25 million Series B round last February. It has now raised $81.5 million altogether.) It’s easy to understand why investors are excited about Outdoorsy, which moved its headquarters from the Bay Area to Austin six months ago, partly to get closer to its base of customers, as well as to take advantage of attractive tax incentives. The company is capitalizing on a global trend of millennials who want to stay overnight at places other than hotels, which can be pricey and based in commercial districts that can’t provide the same experience of staying in a neighborhood. Yet Outdoorsy is taking things a step further, so to speak. As co-founder and CEO Jeff Cavins notes, even with Airbnbs seemingly everywhere, there remain plenty of places where it makes even more sense to rent an RV and set up a grill, including at a beach, beside a lake or right outside events like musical festivals and car races. That’s saying nothing of traditional camping spots, like Yosemite and Yellowstone Valley. It’s easier than ever thanks largely to Outdoorsy, too, says Cavins. Earlier on, the company logged serious time with outfits like Aviva, a British insurance company that is not only an Outdoorsy investor at this point but which was convinced by Outdoorsy to create an insurance product expressly to cover RVs as distinct from more accident-prone vehicles with which they’ve long been lumped, like dune buggies.
LemonBox, a Chinese e-commerce startup that imports vitamins and health products from the U.S., has raised $2 million to develop its business.
The company graduated from Y Combinator’s most recent program in the U.S. and, fueled by the demo day, has pulled in the new capital from 10 investors, which include Partech, Tekton Ventures, Cathexis Ventures, Scrum Ventures and 122 West Ventures.
LemonBox started when co-founder and CEO Derek Weng, a former employee at Walmart in the U.S., saw an opportunity to organize the common practice of bringing health products back in China. Any Mainland Chinese person who has lived in, or even just visited, the U.S. will be familiar with such requests from family and friends, and LemonBox aims to make it possible for anyone in China to get U.S.-quality products without relying on a mule.
The service is primarily a WeChat app — which taps into China’s ubiquitous messaging platform — and a website, although Weng told TechCrunch in an interview this week that the company is contemplating a standalone app of its own. The benefit of that, beyond a potentially more engaging customer experience, could be to broaden LemonBox’s product selection and use data to offer a more customized selection of products. Related to that, LemonBox said it hopes to work with health and fitness-related services in the future to gather data, with permission, to help refine the personal approach.
BTJ Logistics Pvt. Ltd, which runs tech-enabled logistics startup Freightwalla, has raised an undisclosed sum from venture capital firms Kae Capital and San Francisco-based Tekton Ventures, a company statement said.
The startup said it will use the capital to push sales, improve operations and to further develop its technology platform, the statement added.
Freightwalla was founded in 2016 by Sanjay Bhatia, a former PwC executive, Bharat Thanvi, a supply chain management executive, and Punit Java, a former Amazon and Microsoft executive.
The company offers enterprises a technology-based platform to plan, book and manage their international freight shipments online.
“By offering our services as a technology-enabled forwarder, we are able to transform the experience for our customers at every step of the process, from planning shipments, to automating document workflows and providing key insights into their operations. We have been able to cut down the time involved in planning shipments by up to 80% whilst saving an average of 20% on the cost of a shipment to our clients,” said Bhatia in the statement.
South Korea has its fourth unicorn startup after Viva Republica, the company beyond popular payment app Toss, announced it has raised an $80 million round at a valuation of $1.2 billion.
This new round is led by U.S. firms Kleiner Perkins and Ribbit Capital, both of which cut their first checks for Korea with this deal. Others participating include existing investors Altos Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Goodwater Capital, KTB Network, Novel, PayPal and Qualcomm Ventures. The deal comes just six months after Viva Republica raised $40 million to accelerate growth, and it takes the company to nearly $200 million raised from investors to date.
Toss was started in 2015 by former dentist SG Lee who grew frustrated by the cumbersome way online payments worked in Korea. Despite the fact that the country has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world and is a top user of credit cards, the process required more than a dozen steps and came with limits.
“Before Toss, users required five passwords and around 37 clicks to transfer $10. With Toss users need just one password and three steps to transfer up to KRW 500,000 ($430),” Lee said in a past statement.
China is rising in many ways — the economy, consumer spending and technology — but still many of its population looks overseas, and particularly to the West, for cues on lifestyle and health. That’s a theme that’s being seized by LemonBox, a China-U.S. startup that lets Chinese consumers buy U.S. health products at affordable prices.
Indeed, the recent scare around Chinese vaccinations, which saw faulty inoculations given to babies and toddlers in a number of provinces, has only fueled demand for overseas health products which LemonBox founder Derek Weng discovered himself when his father was diagnosed as having high blood sugar levels. Weng, then working in the U.S. for Walmart, was able to look up and buy the right medicine pills for his father and bring them back to China himself. He realized, however, that others are not so fortunate.
UK based startup Mayku, with its desktop vacuum forming machine, is empowering makers to do more with their 3D printers. Compact and easy to use, the FormBox system can be used to make a variety of molds, for concrete and plaster casting, soap making and chocolate craft, or packaging for figurines and other handmade items. In many ways, it is the final professional touch makers need when attempting to create a business from their DIY products.
At 3D Printing Industry, the engineering team have reviewed the Mayku FormBox in terms of its ease-of-use, material versatility, and application over a variety of different objects ranging in size and complexity.
The FormBox safety setup
The FormBox thermoformer is delivered as a fully assembled system. The starter package for the machine includes: a universal vacuum adapter, detailed manual, three sample-formed objects, 15 Form Sheets of white HIPs, 15 Cast Sheets of transparent, food-safe PETG, and 1kg of castable plaster to try some first casts.
For setup, the user only need attach their own vacuum cleaner, a task facilitated by Makyu’s universal adapter. To start the first mold, a sheet of selected plastic is clipped into the sliding tray at the base of the machine. Then the heat and melting time is set by the corresponding dials on the front, and the user lifts the tray up to the ceramic heater at the top.
Timer settings are given in 20 second increments, and heater settings from 1 – 6. For each sheet of material the manual outlines the respective settings required to reach near-melting point. By simplifying this stage of the process, Makyu serves to help reduce user error.
When heating, the user is required to place the object-to-be-formed at the center of the lower vacuum plate (200mm x x200mm). Once at temperature, the tray containing the plastic is moved down in a single, steady movement. After counting down the timer, the FormBox then automatically shuts off the vacuum, and the plastic is left to cool and harden.
In one final step, all the user has to do is remove the formed object from the mold, with a little wiggling and sometimes help from a flat-head screwdriver for leverage. The mold is then ready to use.
The start-up Coupang has set its sights on conquering South Korea’s fast-growing e-commerce market. Doing that just got easier, with the announcement on Tuesday that the company had raised $2 billion in new capital from Softbank’s Vision Fund.
Since its inception in 2016, the Vision Fund has had a singular goal: use its roughly $100 billion to take big stakes in companies it believes will redefine the future. It now holds investments in companies like WeWork, the owner of so-called co-working offices, and the vertical farming start-up Plenty.
Coupang, one of South Korea’s most popular e-commerce platforms, is the latest to benefit from the Vision Fund’s largess. The company compares itself to Amazon, but unlike the American retail behemoth, it has the infrastructure necessary to deliver nearly all purchases to customers within a day, if not sooner.
The potential of Coupang’s business model drew SoftBank’s attention in 2015, when it invested $1 billion in the company and gained a seat on its board.
Since then, Coupang has spent heavily on its delivery options and on its RocketPay payment service. In the past two years, sales have doubled, and they are expected to climb to almost $5 billion this year. Many Coupang customers shop on its platform more than 50 times a year.
Further growth requires more money, and around February the company began discussions with SoftBank about additional investment.
By Selina Wang Updated on
- The deal is said to push Coupang’s valuation to $9 billion.
- Coupang expects nearly $5 billion in revenue by year-end
Coupang, founded in 2010, is Korea’s largest online retailer, selling more than 120 million items from consumer electronics to food. The Seoul-based company says that half of Korea’s population has downloaded its mobile app.
The deal marks another enormous bet on e-commerce for SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, who made a fortune backing Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. before it turned into China’s dominant provider. SoftBank put an initial $1 billion investment into Coupang in 2015, valuing it at $5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. The valuation in the current deal is $9 billion post-money, or after the additional capital is included, the people said.
“Masa is a visionary leader. He’s always challenged us to think big,” said Bom Kim, founder and chief executive officer. “This round came from understanding that what we’ve built is now the foundation for immense impact on customers.”
Fastwork, an online freelancing platform with operations in Thailand and Indonesia, announced today it has secured US$4.8 million in Series A financing round led by regional venture capital firm Gobi Partners.
“SMEs are growing at an unprecedented pace in the region’s emerging markets, and as a result there’s a lack of skilled talent to support their growth. Thus, freelancing platforms, like Fastwork, are heavily sought after for their ability to bridge between SMEs and freelancers/outsourcing agencies,” Gobi’s Venture Partner, Arya Masagung, said.
Fastwork was started in 2015 by a group of engineers and entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and New York with a mission to help businesses and employers in Southeast Asia to find and hire freelancers. The startup said in a press note that more than 300,000 businesses across the region use its platform for nearly 22,000 services ranging from graphic design, online & influencer marketing, data entry, to web & app development.
As for freelancers, the platform enables to collect payments, promote their services, manage their orders, exchange files and communicate with their clients anywhere, anytime.
The Thursday Boot Company prides itself on high quality footwear at honest prices. Based out of and “bootstrapped” in New York City, Thursday Boots have made a name for themselves over the past few years.
In this in-depth Thursday Boots review, I’m going to talk a little bit about the brand — cover 3 of their popular boot styles — specifically the quality & craftsmanship, comfort & durability, shoe sizing & price, the pros & cons and most importantly how they’ve held up over 2 years of wear.
Thursday was an idea conceived on a Nicaraguan surf trip three years ago of all places. Today Thursday Boots are worn in all 50 states and nearly 60 countries.
As for the name, “Thursday” is the unofficial start to the weekend and is the one day of the week where you have to be ready for anything — work, drinks, a date — and so their products are designed with that versatility in mind.
Read More >>>
Uber may be global but it is very much the alternative in some parts of the world. One such place is Bangladesh — the South Asian country that’s home to 160 million people — where local rival Pathao is backed by Go-Jek and recently raised $10 million. Now Pathao’s closest rival, Shohoz, has also pulled in investment after it closed a $15 million funding round.
Shohoz — which means ‘easy’ in Bengali — started in 2014 offering online bus ticket sales before expanding into other tickets like ferries. The startup moved into on-demand services in January when it added motorbikes and then it recently introduced private cars. CEO Maliha Quadir told TechCrunch that it is now registering one million completed rides per month as it bids to “simplify” life in capital city Dhaka, which houses over 18 million people and offers limited transport options.
“Bus tickets will remain an important part of our business, [there’s] lots of synergy with ride-sharing,” she explained in an interview. “Dhaka has a super dense population with bad infrastructure, if anything there’s a better case for ride-sharing than Indonesia… there’s no subway and transport is a horrid nightmare.”
Singapore-based Golden Gate Ventures — which recently closed a $100 million fund — led the new Shohoz round. Linear VC of China, Tekton Ventures, Partech Partners, 500 Startups and Singaporean-based angel investor Koh Boon Hwee also took part.
Atrium is announcing on Monday that it has raised $65 million in a round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with Y Combinator’s Continuity Fund, Sound Ventures and General Catalyst joining the round.
The funding comes as Atrium has helped some of tech’s fastest-growing companies raise a combined $500 million, including scooter company Bird, Alto, MessageBird and Sift Science—250 clients overall. Atrium served as the law firm for each, providing a lawyer on the customer end and using technology to automate some of the related filings under the hood. The startup will use the funding to hire more employees on both its legal services and technical sides.
“This was a problem I’d seen in my own experiences, where all these parts around legal were like a blocker to what I wanted to do, and the legal bills felt like Russian roulette,” says Kan. “It’s almost like a tax you have as a business owner. That’s why I wanted to attack this problem.”
Founded in mid-2017 after Kan left Y Combinator to do a startup incubator, Atrium’s full stack law firm approach means that it’s got an unusual mix of legal-trained employees, business operations professionals and engineers. Kan’s cofounders Augie Rakow and Nick Cortes come from backgrounds at law firm Orrick, where Rakow represented Cruise in its $1 billion acquisition by GM, and McKinsey.
LinkShops (CEO: Kyeong-mi SEO), an online shopping mall for DDM (Dongdaemun Market: located in Jongno-Gu, Seoul, Korea), has updated its service to make the shopping experience more convenient and efficient.
Customers can place their orders through the website or mobile app and receive their purchased products within a day, all without having to visit the Dongdaemun Market themselves.
The recent updates of LinkShops include: downloading and organizing the online purchase order lists through excel, managing the amount of stock and coordinating with the pre-order service, advanced-browsing for the past orders, and grouping the individual purchases in one receipt.
Furthermore, this upgraded online shopping platform focused on resolving the frequently encountered issue of ‘out of stock.’ By coordinating with its product -managing team, LinkShops can now regularly monitor the amount of wholesale stock and determine when the products will be restocked when there is a shortage. The relevant retail dealers are immediately informed so that the customers can place their pre-orders or get their refunds right away.
In addition, some customers may have experienced the inconvenience in issuing multiple receipts when purchasing goods from different stores. With LinkShops, the customers can view the complete list of their orders on a single receipt.
“DDM is known for its hands-on businesses where the wholesale merchants and retail dealers actively and directly engage in the transaction processes. In that sense, our company aims to provide a more convenient and efficient service for both parties,” the company’s vice-chairman, Young-Ji OH, commented.
Wipro Ltd. Chairman Azim Premji is backing another U.S. startup, leading a $100 million round in e-commerce fraud-prevention company Signifyd.
The Indian tech titan’s personal investing vehicle Premji Invest led the deal, valuing the seven-year-old company at roughly $400 million, according to a person with knowledge of the deal, who asked to remain anonymous because the details are private.
The cash infusion is the latest in a line of similar late-stage bets by the fund, including business software companies Apttus Corp. and Anaplan Inc. It also marks a major inflection point for Signifyd Inc. which aims to help e-commerce sites stem fraud and reduce the number of legitimate transactions that are improperly declined.
The San Jose, California-based company plans to double its staff to 320 and open an office in Barcelona during the next year, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Raj Ramanand said.
Like competitors Forter Inc., Riskified Ltd. and others, Signifyd makes software that analyzes online transactions for fraud. It pulls in additional data, including the length of time an email address has been in use, the number of social media contacts connected to a potential customer and the type of device being used. It then uses that information to identify potential shysters and green-light ones that don’t fit a standard profile, but that Signifyd still deems as legitimate.
For example, one bicycle seller was declining roughly 30% of its transactions because the billing and shipping addresses didn’t match, Ramanand said. Upon further analysis of timing (almost all the purchases in question were made in August and September), home values and the like, Signifyd determined these were mostly parents purchasing bikes for their kids starting college. The company’s software approved the transactions and the bike shop recouped revenue, he said.
Since its launch, it has made over 1,500 business loans to help MSMEs in farming, hospitality, logistics, retail, real estate, technology, and health get the capital they need to grow their operations.
Having raised US$1.25 million in funding in March of last year, Lidya has now secured a US$6.9 million round led by Omidyar Network, the Silicon Valley impact investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. New investors Alitheia Capital (via the Umunthu Fund), Bamboo Capital Partners, and Tekton Ventures, also joined the round, which included existing investors Accion Venture Lab and Newid Capital.
By David Pilling MAY 23, 2018
South African media group Naspers is investing $89m in Frontier Car Group, an online marketplace for second-hand cars, in a deal valuing the emerging markets focused start-up at about $270m.
The cash injection from Naspers’ classifieds division brings to $170m the amount raised this year by Berlin-based FCG, which this month raised $58m in a Series B funding round after a $22m fundraising in February.
The move comes two months after Naspers earned more than $10bn by trimming its 31 per cent stake in Chinese social media and gaming company Tencent — one of the most successful venture capital investments in history. This month it sold an 11 per cent stake in Flipkart, an Indian e-commerce platform, raising a further $1.6bn.
“Having this war chest will help to accelerate our M&A agenda but only if this makes strategic sense,” said Martin Scheepbouwer, chief executive of OLX Group, Naspers’ classifieds subsidiary.
“Naspers’ DNA is to move confidently and with commitment,” Mr Scheepbouwer said, adding that it was important to move fast. “We have for decades invested in frontier markets where no one else dares to go.”
FCG’s online marketplace fitted OLX’s strategy of making online sales more convenient in often difficult markets in Africa, Latin America and Asia, he said. OLX operates in 40 countries and has 330m users per month.
We’ve seen a large wave of used-car sales startups launch across developed markets like the U.S. and Europe, disrupting a marketplace that has largely been untouched for years. Now a startup focusing on the used car-sales opportunity specifically in developing economies is ramping up its activities.
Frontier Car Group, a Berlin startup that has built a used-car marketplace targeted specifically at countries outside of Western Europe and North America, is announcing $58 million in funding — $41 million in equity and $17 million in debt funding — to continue expanding its business into Africa, Latin America and Asia, where it has sold 50,000 vehicles since launching at the end of 2016 and is on track to do $200 million in annualised revenues per year.
The Series B brings was led by Balderton Capital and TPG Growth (both of which participated in Frontier’s previous $22 million round), with Fraser McCombs Capitaland Autotech Ventures — two automotive-specific funds — also participating.
Frontier is not disclosing its valuation with this round but a source close to the company said the demand to participate in this round was high and led to two unsolicited Series C term sheets — each for around $100 million — and both on a pre-money valuations of over $200 million.
The $5 billion South Korean start-up that’s an Amazon killer
- Coupang is the largest online retailer in South Korea, with more than $3 billion in annual sales.
- The 8-year-old start-up is one of a handful of Korean unicorns and is viewed in the country as a strong candidate for an IPO in 2019 or 2020.
- The company says half of South Korea’s 51 million people have downloaded its mobile app.
- Amazon, already struggling to crack markets in Asia, has yet to set foot in the South Korean market.
Did those ballet slippers you ordered online turn out to be too small? No problem. Just make a few clicks on your app, place the shoes outside your door — no box, no invoice, no label to print. The slippers will be picked up within hours and you will immediately get a refund.
This scenario is not a glimpse at the future of online retailing but reality now in South Korea, where Coupang has become the largest online retailer in the country. Analysts estimated Coupang’s sales reached $3 billion in 2017. The 8-year-old start-up company is one of a handful of Korean unicorns (companies valued at $1 billion or more) and is viewed in Korea as a strong candidate for an IPO in 2019 or 2020, although the company won’t discuss plans to go public.
With a valuation of more than $5 billion and $1.4 billion in venture capital investment, Coupang is the fastest-growing and best financed e-commerce site of all time in South Korea. It dominates a highly competitive e-commerce market, where no one is making a profit. The company says half of South Korea’s 51 million people have downloaded its mobile app. That may be why Amazon, already struggling to crack markets in Asia, has yet to set foot in the South Korean market.