Here’s what you should know today.

1. Malaysian fintech startup, Mycash Online reaches equity crowdfunding goal in a day

The app serves foreign workers in Malaysia, letting them reload phone credit, pay bills, buy bus tickets, and more. It says it plans to expand into innovative remittances and banking services but is still seeking regulatory approval for those.

MyCash’s campaign went live at the beginning of June and was fully taken up the next day with a total of US$300,000 raised, according to a statement by Cradle. That’s the Malaysian government-backed fund which was the lead investor in the round.

MyCash says it’s the first fintech firm to successfully raise funds through equity crowdfunding in Malaysia.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Indonesian P2P lending site Investree to enter Vietnam, launches sharia-based service

The Jakarta-based startup said it is currently undergoing the process of setting up a joint venture with an undisclosed local financial institution.

“So we will act as a platform provider, while our local partner will be the player as they are the one who understands the market most. This is exciting as we were able to get a lot of insight, as well as data, on Vietnam,” said Investree CEO and Co-Founder Adrian Gunadi.

“We are going to test the market’s response by giving products, pricing, access, and structure that are similar to [sharia-based services] in conventional banks,” Gunadi said.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Wal-Mart might actually beat Amazon’s sales growth

Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s online sales is likely to grow double than Inc during the back-to-school season, helped by the acquisition and competitive price offerings, industry research body NPD said.

An aggressive pricing and marketing strategy, coupled with the fact that Amazon’s business has reached maturity in back-to-school sales, will see Wal-Mart winning the online retail tussle this back-to-school season, NPD chief analyst Marshal Cohen told Reuters.

Cohen said he expects Wal-Mart to grow its online sales between 2 percent and 5 percent.

Wal-Mart’s online offerings have risen from 8 million items, at the start of 2016, to more than 20 million by the end of the year. In comparison, Amazon has more than 300 million products.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. After bank takeover, Indonesia’s Salim Group plans push in digital payments

Indonesia’s largest conglomerate, Salim Group, has acquired a majority stake in a local bank.

Through various affiliated entities, the group bought at least 51% of Bank Ina Perdana by subscribing to new shares issued by the Indonesia-listed lender. The acquisition value is estimated at $42 million.

In recent years, the smartphone boom has created a new wave of demand for financial services such as electronic payments and peer-to-peer lending. Salim decided that operating its own bank and building a financial backbone would be crucial for running an end-to-end digital business, which it has been developing since 2013.

“It makes sense for us to refocus on banking because the transactions carried out by the banks are becoming quite big,” said a Salim executive.

The group is also eyeing peer-to-peer money transfers and loans using Indomaret stores as a bank branch. Edy Kuntardjo, Bank Ina’s president, said the bank expects to roll out some of these services in 2018, subject to regulatory approval.

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2. US firm Vemanti to acquire Vietnam’s tech conglomerate Two Group

The deal is seen as a first step for the American firm towards making strategic investments in Vietnam and the rest of Southeast Asia.
Two Group, founded in 2013, owns four ventures in e-commerce, location navigation, content streaming and social media verticals, all “operational and revenue-generating”, Vemanti said. Vemanti, founded by overseas Vietnamese Tan Tran, said the transaction, once ratified and finalized, will create a framework to capitalize on the fast growing internet economy of Vietnam, especially in ecommerce and online advertising.

Two Group ventures include, a platform that enables merchants to set up online stores;, a B2B data mapping provider serving customers including Google Maps and Navteq;, a content curation social network with over 3 million users; and YouTube channel 16Plus for bloggers and social media influencers.

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3. Recommended Reading: Why is Wal-Mart betting big on ecommerce acquisitions

The brick-and-mortar giant has been gobbling up online retail startups at a record pace.

The payoff has been swift: In its most recent quarter, Wal-Mart’s e-commerce sales ballooned 63% with an attendant 69% rise in digital gross merchandise volume, as same-store sales increased 1.4% and traffic to stores rose 1.5%

For a retailer that has staked its enduring success on the physical landscape, this pace has garnered kudos from many analysts. Moody’s Investors Service Lead Retail Analyst Charlie O’Shea called the post-Jet acquisitions “small, but tactically-important.

“Retailers need someone to run the business and secure their assets, but they also that disrupter to agitate a bit and spark that renewal. That’s the Marc Lore play at Wal-Mart,” says Greg Portell, lead partner in the retail practice of A.T. Kearney.

Read the rest of the story here

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Lazada TV goes live in Malaysia

Lazada TV, which made its debut on 19 May will instead, be home to live and pre-recorded shows on home improvement, make up and fashion tips, cooking shows and more.

Lazada TV uses Facebook Live as its platform, leveraging the country’s appetite for social media channels. By rolling out this new channel, the ecommerce platform will be able to reach new and existing consumers through a different medium. This should be an interesting way to present different products, from cooking equipment to cosmetics, and consumers can check the schedules on Lazada’s website.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Singapore’s StashAway raises $2.15 million to help users make investment decisions

StashAway is a software you can subscribe to for a monthly fee, a so-called robo-advisor – designed to help you make smarter investment decisions without having to pay an expensive consultant.

StashAway was founded by Michele Ferrario, former CEO of the Zalora Group, Freddy Lim, former managing director and global head of derivatives at Nomura, and Nino Ulsamer, who has previously managed software companies.

Closing this round means StashAway has enough cash to be eligible for a retail fund management license. The Monetary Authority of Singapore’s minimum capital requirement for this is S$1 million, according to StashAway.

The funds will be put towards its launch in Singapore, set to go live next month.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. SoftBank’s Vision Fund raises $93 billion in its first close

This makes it the largest tech fund in history.

The Japanese telecom giant revealed that its VisionFund has closed an initial commitment of $93 billion from a bevy of high profile backers. They include Apple, Qualcomm, UAE-based Mubadala Investment Company, Saudi Arabia’s PID public fund, Foxconn, and Foxconn-owned Sharp.

The fund is committing to a minimum of $100 million deal checks, with a focus on both minority and majority deals with companies that are either private or public.

In terms of specific areas, SoftBank said its areas of focus include internet-of-things, AI, robotics, infrastructure, telecoms, bio tech, fintech, mobile apps and more.

Given the credentials of the companies backing it and its sheer size, the Vision Fund is unprecedented in tech venture capital and it’ll be truly interesting to watch how it is deployed.

Recent deals include Indian fintech unicorn Paytm, virtual reality Improbable Worlds, China’s Uber killer Didi Chuxing, and global connectivity company OneWeb.

Read the rest of the story here.


4. Recommended Reading: How to build a beauty brand in the digital age

Welcome to the lightning-paced modern-day beauty world, where the customer is not just always right, but intimately involved.

A brand’s distinct point of difference and most basic reason for being are its most precious commodities.

Vision, authority and aspiration are still everything — what have we got without them? — but the role of the consumer has fundamentally changed. Instead of passively waiting to be told what she wants and what to do, and then obediently showing up with her wallet, she is now part of the initial, and ongoing, conversation. She has a say.

Read the rest of the story here.

Mobile payment apps, widely known as mobile wallets, hold digital information about credit and debit cards for making payments, store coupons and loyalty programs.

And they’re projected to become a $300 billion industry by 2022 in the US. Market research firm Park Associates estimates that proximity payment transactions, which require users to tap their phone at a point-of-sale station, generated more than $30 billion in the US last year alone.

The following are a few examples of companies properly utilizing their own mobile payments apps:

One player that stands out is global coffee chain Starbucks.

Currently 2X as many consumers use Starbuck’s mobile app as Apple Pay, according to Park Associates.

Other brands such as New York based Fresh & Co, a grab and go cafe chain, have been using mobile wallets since 2014 and currently has 30,000 customers paying for their sandwiches via the company’s own mobile app.

US drugstore chain CVS also operates a successful mobile payments app by incorporating its ExtraCare rewards program. Users don’t have to produce a rewards card to earn points at the cash register, they’re transferred directly to the app.

Users can also manage multiple prescriptions and medication refills on the app.

But not all mobile wallets are providing a good return. Walmart’s mobile payment app, Walmart Pay, can serve as a cautionary tale for retailers looking to launch digital wallets. The app is reportedly underperforming, due to the absence of a loyalty rewards scheme for users.

Overall, there is a quick and widespread adoption of mobile payments in the US and has largely attributed to the rise of ecommerce – currently 11% of retail sales in the country.

Looking east, brands and retailers in Southeast Asia can also leverage mobile wallets, especially as the adoption of the smartphone among the population grows. A problem arises when considering approximately 74% of Thai shoppers prefer to pay for online shopping via cash or bank transfers and is also the case in Indonesia and the Philippines. This is because only 27% of the entire region has a bank account let alone a credit card to pair with a mobile wallet, but there are a few ways around this.  

Businesses can allow consumers to top-up their mobile wallets at the store counter using cash like Starbucks already offers as an option. Points collected in the app could also be used like a digital currency to purchase goods. All would nurture the adoption of digital payments in the developing region – a large obstacle in the growth of online retail.

Ecommerce giant Amazon is tackling the unbanked population in the US through its Amazon Cash initiative that allows users to top-up their Amazon cards with cash at selected brick and mortar stores, such as drug store CVS, across the country.

The appeal of mobile payment apps for consumers

Building a mobile payments app may be expensive, at least $20,000, but it will introduce customers to the built-in loyalty programs, which will incentivize them to return to collect more points through purchases in a positive feedback loop.

In some cases, it has been found that loyalty programs can work in tandem with increasing brand awareness i.e. if a consumer shares a product with 20 friends, they get 20% off their next purchase.

“Across the board, consumer satisfaction is about 80%for mobile wallets,” says Chris Tweedt, mobile-payments analyst at Parks Associates.

Marketing tactics like this would work in Southeast Asia as consumers are both mobile and social media driven.

In the US, merchants also see a 7-9% larger basket size when customers pay with a mobile wallet and businesses see an additional 9% spike in average sales when customers show up to redeem loyalty incentives. The added convenience makes on the whim-shopping much easier.

With a brand’s own payments wallet, they can dictate what payment types to accept, such as Alipay or Samsung Pay, but they need to be widespread and so far the region doesn’t have a dominant player yet, which becomes the greatest barrier to its adoption.

It’s also important to keep in mind that retailers using third party wallets such as Apple Pay or Alipay have to pay processing fees for each purchase, typically 2-3% for credit cards and less than 1% for debit cards according to Amittabh Malhotra, CMO of digital commerce platform OmnyPay.

Taking the next steps

Businesses in developing markets can start small as more payments players come onto the scene by opening a point program first to build engagement if a mobile wallet seems out of reach.

The long-awaited entry of China’s dominant payments platform Alipay in Southeast Asia through deals with Thailand’s TrueMoney and Indonesia’s Emtek, owner of Blackberry, should encourage the mobile wallet ecosystem as brands can then integrate more digital payment options into their platforms.

Another players to look out for is the Thai government’s online payment platform PromptPay that has signed millions so far and could be huge if advertised properly to the cautious Thai people.

Starbucks in Thailand is moving quickly in the game. The coffee chain already has a Starbucks Thailand app that allows users to scan and pay through collected loyalty rewards and locate the nearest branch. A mobile wallet is about convenience – it’s not only about payment – and only a few businesses are getting it right.

The $300 Billion Trend Your Company Needs to Get in on Now was originally published by Inc. Read the original article here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Paytm is in talk for a $1.5 billion investment from SoftBank

Paytm is reportedly in talks with Japan’s SoftBank Group to raise $1.2-1.5 billion in cash which will place the valuation of the India-based company up to 9 billion.

Getting SoftBank on board as a large shareholder will help Paytm reduce the control of Alibaba and anticipate possible government concerns about a Chinese firm having a strong hold in Paytm.

Alibaba currently owns a controlling stake of 60% in Paytm’s ecommerce business – which was separated from its payment service last year. SoftBank is an early investor of Alibaba.

The investment in Paytm means an opening for SoftBank to the India’s big financial services market.

Read the rest of the story here.

2. Malaysian government-backed agency launches digital hub and entrepreneur initiatives

Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has announced two new initiatives that will help boost the country’s digitalisation efforts.

First is Malaysia Digital Hub – a program that will provide the necessary resources for startups to scale globally, including funding opportunities, mentorship and other aspects of a conducive business environment such as corporate tax exemptions.

The first three digital hubs are APW, The Co. and Common Ground. They are all located in the Klang valley.

The second is Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme (MTEP), aimed to attract global talents to expand or build startups in Malaysia. The agency will enlist the expertise of Microsoft, Next Academy, Maybank, and Y Academy with Kejora to run the initiatives.

Read the rest of the story here.

3. Lazada teams up with Netflix and Uber ahead of Amazon’s entry into Southeast Asia

In anticipation of Amazon’s expected entry into the region this year, Lazada teaming up with Netflix and Uber to offer Amazon Prime-like membership program called LiveUp.

For a fixed yearly fee of $20 or SG$28, the subscribers will gain access a range of deals across services from these companies.

That includes free/faster delivery service from Lazada and Taobao, promotions for Redmart, free six-month subscriptions for Netflix, and discounts for rides and meal deliveries on Uber.

Lazada is not the only one benefitted from the partnership. It will give Netflix an open it’s needed in the region where people are reluctant to pay for content and Uber will have support in its competition with Grab.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Thailand’s SCB and Digital Ventures announces PulseiD investment

PulseiD is a Hong Kong based identity platform that works with innovative banks, telcos and media companies, aimed at improving identification for online payments.

The investment is a part of Digital Ventures, and its parent company Siam Commercial Bank’s goal to add more fintech companies to its portfolio, and also to find experimental tech that would heighten cyber security in the country, in order to facilitate more online payments.

Siam Commercial Bank will study and slowly integrate PulseiD technology in order to protect customers from payment fraud, customer relations and to cross-check transactions.

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2. Scale360 establishes Centre of Excellence to develop Thai Fintech talent

Scale360, a UK-based fintech start-up that develops software to power banks’ digital transformation, has established a Bangkok Digital Centre of Excellence to service banks’ growing need for financial technology and develop local skills in leading global technologies.

Scale360 has established its own Thai language learning programme to advance the knowledge of skills required to build its Digital Banking 4.0 platform

Scale360’s developers have already completed transformation projects in Vietnam and are working with a challenger bank in the UK.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Recommended Reading: Amazon’s free shipping causes small retailers and delivery firms to compete

Logistics companies say demand for fulfillment services has ballooned in the past year, as Amazon casts a bigger shadow across the retail world and the shipping market.

It is a shift in strategy for companies like FedEx, which until recently tailored their ecommerce services mainly to giant retailers needing to quickly process thousands of shipments a day.

“Amazon is rewriting the book on fulfillment,” said Satish Jindel, president of research firm SJ Consulting Group Inc. “They do it from A to Z—they get you the visibility, make sure the product is available and take care of the order.”

Read the rest of the story here.