Kickstarter, the world’s most famous crowdfunding platform is making its first entry in Asia through Singapore and Hong Kong, reports Tech In Asia.

“There’s already a large, supportive community of Kickstarter backers in Singapore and Hong Kong — people who have been supporting the creative ideas of others for years,” says Julie Wood, director of global communications for Kickstarter.

It’s true that Singaporeans are already passionate about the platform.

The campaign for the Pebble 2 smartwatch set, which netted a massive $12.8 million, had almost 2,300 backers from Singapore.

Every Singaporean project to date has had to clear some serious hurdles to make it onto the platform. Kickstarter is currently available to project creators in 18 markets, including the US and the UK, Australia, and scattered European countries.

This means that companies from Singapore previously needed at least a legal presence, bank account, and credit card in one of those countries and raise funds in those specific currencies.

Challenges for Kickstarter in Asia

It is difficult to get on the platform. For a company outside of the Kickstarter countries, one would have to set up an entity in the UK, for example, deal with tax regulations and find a local representative. Not having to deal with these additional burdens could be good for local companies, as is the opportunity to raise funds in their own currency.

An important fact about Kickstarter is the fact that most people are concerned with joining it. But there should be more information regarding community building and education, rather than just access.

Many global companies have used Singapore as an eventual gateway into other Asian countries. However, no official statement has been announced regarding Kickstarter’s expansion plans. A regional expansion would mean that more projects would be funded locally, without having to deal with regulations from the other side of the world.

A version of this appeared in Tech In Asia on July 28. Read the full version here. 

Adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.78, when Wall Street was forecasting $1.11, reports Tech Crunch. Amazon shattered expectations when it reported second quarter earnings after the bell on Thursday.

The company saw a significant increase in sales and profit from the same period last year. Net sales were up 31%  and net income was $857 million, a very large jump from last year’s $92 million.

Amazon stock is also up 43% in the past year.

The company has also been aggressively expanding in India, touting it as a key emerging market, most recently with the launch of Amazon Prime there:

The team in India is inventing at a torrid pace, and we’re very grateful to our Indian customers for their welcoming response. – Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO.

The company announced that it expects its revenue for Q3 to be between $31 billion and $33.5 billion.

Amazon has built up a successful ‘Prime’ business, where users pay annual subscriptions to get faster shipping and access to content like movies and music. It also created its own discount holiday last year called Prime Day. The sales day generated significant traction this year and will be included in Q3’s earnings.

Going forward, the company is betting that drone deliveries will cut down on costs and improve efficiency. Amazon is also expanding its grocery business.

Amazon’s earnings this quarter, coupled with various innovative push into markets from the US to India further cements its position as an industry mainstay.

A version of this appeared in Tech Crunch on July 28. Read the full version here. 

The Flipkart deal to acquire Jabong was completed in only three days, reports Tech In Asia.

The race was on because Jabong was in the late stages of talks with Flipkart arch-rival Snapdeal.

Flipkart moved quickly to steal Jabong from Snapdeal, who desperately wanted to gain market share in the fashion ecommerce segment.

“Generally, a deal of this size takes three to six months from due diligence to closure. Wrapping it up in 72 hours was a challenge,” comments Vinay Joy, Associate partner at Khaitan & Co.

In the case of Flipkart and Jabong, Vinay and his team understood the risks and proceeded with documentation on all levels. It’s possible that the Jabong team was already in the process to provide the due diligence documents to other parties interested in buying it.

An agreement can be worked upon and signed within three days but a legal and financial due diligence of a company already mixed in controversies is not possible within that time frame.

Jabong murky history

Jabong’s prime backer was Rocket Internet. The stake was later sold to Global Fashion Group, in which the latter owns a stake, along with lead investor Kinnevik AB. Rocket Internet was unhappy with the fact that GoJavas, a logistics company incubated inside Jabong and now a separate company valued more than Jabong, has no shareholding in it.  This eventually led to an audit at Jabong.

We have a high bar when it comes to governance, regulations and compliance. Unless a company can clear that bar, we have issues. – Kunal Bahl, CEO of Snapdeal.

Out of all the mergers this year, the acquisition of Jabong is probably the most controversial, and far from being smooth. Flipkart’s lawyer will be conducting post-due diligence even after the deal is inked.

A version of this appeared in Tech In Asia on July 28. Read the full version here.

Logistics technology company Freightos has launched an online marketplace covering US imports from China by air and ocean, reports JOC.

The online marketplace will instantly compare freight services from multiple logistics providers, taking into account global pricing, booking and management of freight online while limiting overpaying and an often lengthy wait for freight quotes.

Booking flights online is often used as an analogy between the slow pace at which the logistics industry has embraced technological advances and the rapid rise of platforms such as Expedia, Travelocity etc. Booking a flight has been electronic for 50 years, but the cargo on airplanes, trucks, and ships is still booked manually.

Growing global trade, ecommerce B2B sales, and sprawling dynamic supply chains demand the transparency and efficiency of online freight.

With small-and medium-sized enterprises making up 97% of US importers, the lengthy waiting periods and inflated prices significantly limits potential for growth especially seeing the logistics industry is the backbone of global trade. At $4 trillion it accounts for about 10% of the world’s GDP but this foundation of the international economy is slow, opaque, and offline.

Logistics technology investments in supply chain software have grown by 150% from $150 million in 2014 to $378 million in 2015.

Not all the diverse players in the sector will survive, but there is plenty of business to go around if they do. China-US trade data shows there is a vast platform of opportunity for companies offering the right value proposition.

A version of this appeared in JOC on July  26. Read the full version here.

Following the news of Verizon’s $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo, it’s been stated that Verizon aims to make a play on the digital media and content markets to go against Facebook and Google. However, other details of the acquisition have emerged;

Verizon will also be acquiring Yahoo’s ecommerce platform Aabaco Small Business, a platform that allows businesses to create websites and sell online.

It has also been called Yahoo Small Business and Luminate.

Yahoo has tried to sell it before in an attempt to bundle Aabaco into a sale with 384 million shares of Alibaba. That deal was largely designed to help Yahoo avoid some of the massive tax bill on the $7.6 billion Yahoo snapped up when Alibaba bought back part of the 40% of the Chinese company that Yahoo had initially bought for $1 billion in 2005.

Sine Aabaco was part of an operating unit connected to the Alibaba profits, the hope was that taxes could be drawn down. However, this idea was scrapped when the IRS suggested that this move may cost Yahoo billions in taxes.

Aabaco is more relevant than most of us would assume. 41 of the 1,000 largest online retailers in North America use its platform. Considering Yahoo’s struggles, it is impressive that the platform has held on as long as it has.

Verizon has not elaborated on its aspirations with Aabaco.

A version of this appeared in Pymnts on July 27. Read the full version here.

It has been confirmed that Oracle will acquire NetSuite for approximately $9.3 billion in an all cash deal, reports TechCrunch. This is indeed the year for mergers & acquisitions.

Both Oracle and NetSuite’s cloud service offerings aimed at enterprise customers will continue to operate and ‘coexist’ in the marketplace.

According to a statement made by Oracle CEO, Mark Hurd, “NetSuite and Oracle’s offerings are complimentary. Oracle intends to continue to invest in the engineering and distribution aspects of both companies going forward.”

NetSuite claims a dominant position in the cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) space, which includes offerings to help businesses track supply and demand, inventory, accounting, customer relationships (CRM) and HR.

Oracle in general has been an aggressive acquirer of smaller companies throughout 2016, with recent pick-ups including Opower and Textura. Oracle’s acquisition of NetSuite dwarfs its previous 2016 acquisitions in total deal value.

Although Oracle and NetSuite’s offerings are similar, Netsuite will offer Oracle access to smaller sized companies than their usual clientele. It could also give Oracle some additional competitive edge in taking on its primary rival, Salesforce.

According to Forbes, Cloud is already a multi-billion dollar business for Oracle, but pure cloud software still represents a fraction of the company’s overall business, with cloud software as a service accounting for just 6.5% of revenue in its Q4 fiscal earnings.

Oracle Chairman, Larry Ellison’s major investment in NetSuite has long fueled speculation that the companies would unite at some point. In this case, NetSuite decided that the company’s future as an independent entity would no longer grow faster than if part of the massive Oracle operation.

Versions of this appeared in TechCrunch and Forbes on July 28. Read the full versions here and here.