Here’s what you should know for today.

1. Payments company Ayopop raises $1m seed funding 

Indonesia’s Ayopop specializes in bill payments, which means it wants users to pay for things like their phone bills, electricity, and internet services through its app.

Users create a profile, load credit onto their account via credit card, bank transfer, or a number of other payment options, and can then spend that amount on various services.

The app’s co-founders Chiragh Kirpalani and Jakob Rost announced they’ve locked in a $1 million seed round.

“O2O is a very interesting and promising concept. We strive to continue to roll out more payment options to our customers in the near future and are open to explore partnerships,” said Chiragh Kirpalani.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Amazon launches social media influencer referral program

Amazon has launched a social media influencer beta program enabling people with “large followings and a high frequency of posts with shoppable content” to generate referral fees on purchases they drive through their social platforms and activities.

Amazon will evaluate influencer applications based on factors like number of followers on various social media platforms, their engagement on posts, quality of content and level of relevancy.

This program would do well if Amazon were to bring it with their launch in Singapore.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Recommended Reading: The Economist explains why investors are keen on Amazon

Amazon is just getting started. Morgan Stanley expects that the company’s revenue will rise from $136bn last year to more than $500bn by 2025.

In an age of short-termism, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, prefers steady investment to drive future growth. Shareholders support him because, despite a few failures, Amazon’s investments have generally been successful.

Amazon continues to set new standards for convenience and service. For competitors, Amazon is a nightmare.

Read the rest of the story here



Nintendo Co. posted the company’s worst drop in 26 years after they dismissed the notion that the explosive popularity of Pokémon Go would translate into steady profits, reports Bloomberg.

The Kyoto-based firm was valued at 109 times projected net income after Monday’s plunge but the company has already said it doesn’t expect Pokémon Go will yield enough profit to increase its earnings outlook for the fiscal year.

The company is only forecasting $333 million this year, with analysts projecting that the number will actually be about $285 million.

Nintendo’s biggest profit was in 2009 peaking at $2.65 billion when the Wii and DS game systems were both chart topping hits. Pokémon Go debuted after the latest quarter ended and won’t have a measurable impact on the results.

“The important thing for Nintendo is to develop and operate a game using its characters, by itself,” says Eiji Maeda, Analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities.

One reason why the benefits from Pokémon Go are hard to quantify is the lack of clarity over how revenue is shared between the game’s producers, Niantic Inc. Nintendo is an investor in Niantic and Pokémon, while Google also has a stake in Niantic, which used to be a part of the search giant.

Roughly 13% of Pokémon Go sales will go to Nintendo.

Nintendo’s other ventures

Nintendo will have other potential revenue streams such as Pokémon Go Plus, a clip-on accessory slated for release this week in Japan. The gadget alone could add as much as $78 million in profit this year.

There’s also the exclusive partnership that Nintendo forged with McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan), which has set up Pokémon Go checkpoints at its stores and is promoting meals with Pokémon toys. The companies have not disclosed any details regarding the partnership.

“The big takeaway from all this is that the group’s intellectual properties, in this case Pokemon, has global reach. Nintendo has other world-known characters such as Mario and Zelda — when they begin to appear on smartphones, we can expect a boost to earnings. From a long-term perspective, the current stock price isn’t necessarily expensive,” comments Tomoaki Kawasaki, Analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities.

It seems like Nintendo will need a bit more time to see if Pokémon Go’s overnight explosion will generate long term revenue for the company, or amount to an overnight marketing fad.

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

Ecommerce delivery in Nigeria 2013. Source: Pius Utomi Ekpei — AFP/Getty Images

Ecommerce delivery in Nigeria 2013. Source: Pius Utomi Ekpei — AFP/Getty Images

Excerpts from

Rocket Internet is falling behind its emerging market targets and investors are beginning to doubt its ambitious goal to be the Amazon outside of America. Rocket now has a market capitalization of $3.3 billion, well below the $5.89 billion valuation it put on its portfolio at April 30, and only just above the $3.1 billion in cash held by Rocket and its operating companies as of March 31.  Its African fashion retailer, Jumia, made a loss of $18.8 million in the first three months of 2016 on sales that fell more than a third. The devaluation of Nigeria’s naira last week is a new blow for Jumia.

Its slowdown is the consequence of Rocket’s shift to rein in spending on marketing and logistics as it seeks to stem losses, which it said peaked at $1.1 billion in 2015.

The stock has been on a downward trajectory since peaking in February 2015 after it surprised investors with a new capital hike and shifted strategy to invest in the food-delivery business in developed markets.

The latest share price tumble started in April when Sweden’s Kinnevik, Rocket’s second-biggest shareholder after the Samwer brothers, slashed the valuation for its emerging market fashion websites by two-thirds.

Neil Campling, head of technology research at Northern Trust Securities, who rates the stock a “sell,” doubts the Rocket businesses can replicate Amazon’s success because its markets are so underdeveloped and the cost of logistics so much higher.

“As soon as they reduce marketing, you see revenue growth decline substantially,” he said. “They haven’t got the scale.”

Oliver Samwer says Rocket has more than enough capital to fund its main startups until they turn profitable.

Read the full Fortune article here, published on June 29.