Here’s what you should know.

1. Singapore’s Honestbee to launch food delivery

This move comes just a few months after it launched an on-demand laundry service. The upcoming launch of meal deliveries, announced via Facebook, puts Honestbee in a hyper-competitive space in Singapore filled with established players like UberEats and Deliveroo.

Because it serves as a layer between services and consumers, the startup will need to build up a huge volume of deliveries to make up for its thin margins. Food deliveries may pair well with groceries, because in Singapore restaurants are often located near supermarkets in the same shopping malls.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Alibaba’s Mr. Fresh provides direct access to China’s online market

What is Tmall Fresh? Tmall Fresh is the organisation’s new portal for perishable products.

“Tmall Fresh has been launched to meet the growing demand for fresh produce. It is becoming the online sales channel for perishables in China. Products include seafood, meat, dairy and, increasingly, fresh fruits,” says He Chunlei, CEO of Tmall Fresh.

What is Mr. Fresh? To assist rookie foreign fresh produce exporters in overcoming difficulties that come with market entry, Mr. Fresh was introduced alongside Tmall Fresh.

Mr. Fresh is designed to meet both the needs of the supplier and the consumer. Fruit varieties that are currently sold are New Zealand kiwifruit, Thai durian, Chilean cherries and Vietnamese mangoes. The company’s goal is to help foreign companies enter the B2C market in China by providing them with a complete solution package.

Read the rest of the story here


3. Indonesia Q4 GDP growth below 5% on cooled consumption

Indonesia’s gross domestic product grew 4.94% in the fourth quarter, the slowest pace since the opening three months of last year, as household consumption cooled and government spending contracted.

Indonesia faces uncertainty surrounding US policies under President Donald Trump and in one of its other main trading partners China.

Read the rest of the story here.


4. Amazon Echo advert targets Super Bowl audience for drone delivery in the US

The man is seen licking the Doritos’ orange cheese residue from his fingertips and returning them to the bowl for another helping. At this point, the woman says to a nearby Echo, “Alexa, reorder Doritos from Prime Air.” The Echo-Alexa system responds, “Ok, look for delivery soon.” At this point a drone comes into focus in the background.

Fine print at the end of the commercial warns viewers that drone delivery isn’t available in any US cities from Amazon Prime Air. Yet. A spokesperson for Amazon declined to answer questions about timing for the start of drone delivery in the US.


Read the rest of the story here.

Welcome back from the weekend. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Drone delivery startup Flirtey raised $16 million

What has Flirtey done? Last year, Flirtey generated a buzz in food and retail when its unmanned aerial vehicles began delivering Slurpees from 7/11 to thirsty denizens of Nevada. The startup has also flown pizzas to Dominos customers in New Zealand.

Who did they raise money from? VC’s are bullish on drone related tech and services, 95 drone tech companies raised equity funding rounds of at least $500,000 in 2016.

Flirtey’s Series A round was led by the company’s seed investors, Menlo Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures.

What will the funding be used for? Run more deliveries for its existing clients, and to get in front of new potential customers in retail in the US, New Zealand and later, in Japan.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Malaysia’s RHL Ventures invests in Beyonce backed Sidestep

Malaysia-based venture capital firm RHL Ventures has invested an undisclosed amount in US-based technology startup Sidestep Technologies Inc along with other A list co-investors in Hollywood.

What is Sidestep? Sidestep is a mobile commerce application with the slogan “Skip the Line” and creates a platform that allows their users to skip long queues during live music events when buying merchandise and other exclusive items.

What is RHL aiming to do now? Expand their investments further into Southeast Asia, meaning that Sidestep is their first foray into the west.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Recommended Reading: Retailers turn to Silicon Valley to attract customers

What’s the secret? Personalization “is the Holy Grail,” says Salesforce Commerce Cloud Chief Executive Jeff Barnett, who works with brands such as L’Oreal and Under Armour.

Amazon: Deep-pocketed Amazon has been investing in technologies like these for years, aiming to make it easy to find items and click buy. Tech providers are filling that gap for other traditional retailers that don’t necessarily have the means to do the same.

Nordstorm: The retailer is now piloting in-store beacon technology that will direct shoppers to express checkout lines or alert them when a fitting room opens up via an app on their phone with Bluetooth turned on.

 Read the rest of the story here.

7-Eleven Inc. and a tech startup called Flirtey have beaten Amazon to the punch in making the first drone delivery to a customer’s home in the US, reports TechCrunch.

Rather than adapting existing unmanned aerial vehicles, Flirtey builds its own, develops the software to run them, and creates proprietary packaging and containers to keep items secure during delivery, according to CEO Matt Sweeney.

The 7-Eleven delivery took place in Reno, Nevada on July 10th, Flirtey successfully transported: Slurpees, a chicken sandwich, donuts, hot coffee and candy to the home of the family who placed the order.

According to 7-Eleven EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer Jesus H. Delgado-Jenkins, “delivery by drone is something 7-Eleven intends to offer widely in the future.”

Drone delivery could prove especially useful to families with children who cannot easily leave the house when they have an urgent need for items like over the counter medicines or milk.

To find customers willing to have their order handled by a flying robot, the companies surveyed households within a one-mile radius of the store from which they planned to deliver.

Most already know 7-Eleven, the convenience store retail chain that boasts about 10,800 stores in North America and 59,500 in total around the world. If already successful in the US, it wouldn’t be long until they are delivering in Southeast Asia.

A version of this appeared in TechCrunch on July 22. Read the full version here.