Here’s what you should know for today.

1. Rocket Internet’s home services marketplace Helpling raises $11m

This latest funding round is led by APACIG, a joint venture between the German startup investor and Qatari telco Ooredoo. It’s a downround, however, which means that its valuation decreased as compared to the previous funding round.

 Helpling has also announced it’ll bring window cleaning, furniture assembling, and paint work to all its markets.

Helpling’s business model is asset-light. However, this type of model is easy to replicate. How can it beat out local and regional competition to become a dominant player?

What are people saying about it? “I think it’s a tough model because clients don’t have loyalty to the middleman platform,” says Poh Chen Wei, founder of Pegaxis, a B2B platform that connects service providers to properties.


2. World Bank’s IFC investment firm invests $2M in Southeast Asian fund SeedPlus

IFC confirmed today that it has invested $2 million in the SeedPlus fund, the size of which has not been disclosed.

Its portfolio includes B2B repairs platform Moglix,, which manages an AI assistant platform, and mobile security firm AppKnox.

“Ultimately we want to curate and carefully select our investor base, that goes back to our focus to support our startups beyond Singapore and Southeast Asia,” said Tiang Lim Foo, operating partner at SeedPlus.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Recommended Reading: Fast fashion fading as H&M, Zara show strain

Retailers’ recent results illustrate the difficulties facing the fashion industry as consumers divert spending to leisure activities and buy more of their apparel from a rising number of online suppliers.

Richard Chamberlain, analyst at RBC Capital estimates that H&M’s same-store sales fell 3% in the month, weighed down by the tough industry conditions and as initiatives to expand online options for customers and improve methods of supply take time to feed through to sales.

Read the rest of the story here.


4. Community Chatter: Malaysians are savers

Source: Nielsen’s Twitter account

Malaysia now has one of the lowest consumer confidence ratings in Southeast Asia, which does not bode well for local demand in the country for 2017, according to Nielsen’s findings.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know for today.

1. Google & H&M’s Ivyrevel will make you a “data dress”

Google says it teamed up with H&M’s digital fashion house Ivyrevel on a project dubbed “Coded Couture.” Through a forthcoming Android application, users can consent to have their activity and lifestyle data monitored – by way of the Awareness API –  to create a their own, personalized, custom-made dress that’s ordered through the app.

The “little black dress” will never be the same.

Read the rest of the story here


2. New Zealand uses Alibaba to sell air to Chinese consumers

Currently New Zealand uses Alibaba to sell fresh air to Chinese consumers. Oxygen Air bottles the air in aerosol cans and sells them for about $25. In Australia, up to $1 million worth of air has been bottled and Alibaba could be another opportunity for air farmers to expand their business. Air is being bottled in the Blue Mountains, Bondi Beach and the Yarra Valley.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Recommended Reading: Seven Bank’s cash cow threatened as more shoppers pay with plastic

A onetime darling of Japan’s financial world and a driver of growth for the 7-Eleven convenience store group is facing some inconvenient truths as more Japanese go cashless.

Read the rest of the story here