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Here’s what you should know today.

1. “Amazon for cars” Carsome raises $6 million round

Carsome, a used car marketplace based in Malaysia, plans to enter more markets in Southeast Asia after raising $6 million in a new round led by Gobi Partners.

Carsome has its own inspectors that appraise users’ second-hand cars, which are then added to the platform. After that, over 1,500 car dealers can make offers on the vehicles through a bidding system.

Sellers can sit back and wait for the best bid to come in rather than visiting standalone shops one by one.

The company will use the fresh funds to expand into new markets and set up more inspection outlets across the four countries where it already has a presence: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Why did Gobi partners invest?

“The C2B model that Carsome emphasizes on makes a lot of sense especially in emerging markets like Southeast Asia because there is not enough data that enables trust between sellers and buyers. Carsome provides a de-risking element for both sides – the sellers who are generally individuals and buyers who are dealers,” says Victor Chua, Gobi Partners vice president of investment for ASEAN.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Alibaba takes another step into India, acquires movie ticketing company

TicketNew is Alibaba’s first major acquisition in the ticketing space outside of China.

The Chennai-based company enables the booking of movie theater tickets in over 300 cities across India.

Alibaba plans to invest to the tune of $18.6 million over a period of time,” says Ramkumar Nammalvar, founder and CEO of TicketNew, which competes with BookMyShow and other players in this space. Alibaba’s foray into movie ticketing in India follows its taking control of the ecommerce arm of Indian payments and ecommerce unicorn Paytm earlier this year.

Alibaba’s movie ticketing service via TicketNew could be an important component in its ecommerce play on Paytm Mall.

Read the rest of the story here

 

3. Walmart store workers now delivering packages

In an effort to tamp down last-mile delivery costs as it ramps up its e-commerce sales, Wal-Mart Stores is employing store staff to make deliveries to customers’ homes.

The task is voluntary and a way for store associates to make more money, said US ecommerce CEO, Marc Lore. “If they choose to opt in, we’ve built technology that allows them to set preferences” like how many, how big and how heavy the packages are, and which days they can make the trips.

The effort is still an experiment, with three test locations – two in New Jersey and one in northwest Arkansas.

This is where Wal-Mart’s vast network of stores comes in handy. “Walmart has strength in numbers with 4,700 stores across the U.S. and more than a million associates,” Lore said Thursday. “Our stores put us within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population.

Now imagine all the routes our associates drive to and from work and the houses they pass along the way. It’s easy to see why this test could be a game-changer.

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.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

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

Read the rest of the story here

 

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. Indonesia’s Go-Jek raises $1.2 billion led by Tencent

The deal, which we understand was signed last week, values the company at $3 billion post money. It is expected to be officially announced “soon.”

Go-Jek raised $550 million as recently as August 2016, when it commanded a valuation of $1.3 billion so this new deal has pushed that figure up considerably over a short period of time

Go-Jek claims to have over 200,000 drivers across some 25 cities in Indonesia. It started out as a pure bike taxi player, but it has since expanded into four wheels with its GoCar private car service and a partnership with taxi firm Blue Bird.

The region’s ride-sharing market itself is predicted to grow from $2.5 billion in 2015 to $13 billion by 2025, according to a report co-authored by Google. Indonesia’s share of that segment is forecast to jump from an estimated $0.8 billion to $5.6 billion over that same period.

With the funding, Go-Jek will be valued at $3 billion.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Facebook’s express Wi-Fi launches commercially in India

In India, Facebook is currently working with a number of local ISPs and 500 local entrepreneurs, but that number is about to grow.

The company previously launched the service commercially in Kenya and it’s also trialing it in Tanzania, Nigeria and Indonesia.

, the challenge of expanding the service to other countries isn’t so much technical as it is about understanding the local markets and needs. Chances are, though, that we’ll soon see more commercial launches in the other countries where Facebook is already testing the service.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: Walmart Ecommerce chief says there’s more work to do

When asked about the fate of mall-based retailers, including Sears and Macy’s, Marc Lore said he thinks the retail sector is still “fairly healthy” but that some brick-and-mortar brands may not survive over the long haul.

“There’s a chance that we will see some definitely not make it,” he said. “It’s not easy to change and adapt when things are moving really fast — you have to stay on top of it, and not everybody is. People are changing the way they shop, and companies that are able to adapt will do well and flourish. Those that don’t, won’t.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is set to acquire two-year-old online retailer Jet.com in what appears to be the largest-ever acquisition of an ecommerce company reports Recode. This is according to multiple sources familiar with the transaction.

Walmart-Jet.com acquisition details

The deal is expected to value Jet at approximately $3 billion. Some senior Jet executives, including co-founder and CEO Marc Lore, will have incentive bonuses on top of that – Lore stands to make as much as $750 million in the deal as he owns 25%.

Lore will continue to run Jet as well as Walmart’s US ecommerce operations after the acquisition closes.

Why is Walmart buying Jet?

The Jet acquisition is acknowledgement by Walmart CEO Doug McMillon that his company needs outside help if it’s going to ever close the giant gap with Amazon.

Walmart’s $14 billion in annual ecommerce sales is a fraction of Amazon’s $99 billion and is growing slower than the industry average.

Its growth rate has decelerated for five consecutive quarters.

Jet sells more than 12 million products ranging from TVs to toys to cereal, and even milk and other fresh groceries in some markets. A little less than a third of its sales volume comes from items that Jet stores in its own warehouses and sells directly to customers, an exec recently said.

Even with Walmart acquiring the strong Jet leadership team and proprietary technology, the deal still will be viewed as a rich, if not desperate one, by some industry observers.

A version of this article appeared in Recode on August 7. Read the full version here.

A year ago, Jet.com launched its ecommerce business with a large amount of hype after getting hundreds of millions in funding and nearly $600 million valuation before selling a single product, reports Fortune.

Despite the solid start, the company faced several challenges this past year – forced to shift strategies, faced rumors of bleeding cash and turbulence with big brands. However, founder Marc Lore doesn’t seem fazed,

This has never been a winner takes all market. There will be a really large number 2, 3 and 4, Jet can be one of those.

According to Lore, Jet’s sales have tripled in the past six months. In December 2015, it sold $33 million in merchandise compared with $90 million in May.

Jet originally launched its membership based ecommerce site in July 2015 to take on brick and mortar warehouse clubs like Costco, while also competing against Amazon’s bulk products business. For a $50 annual membership, Jet members could buy diapers, cleaning supplies and sporting goods, 10-15% below anywhere else online. In October, Jet dropped its $50 membership fee – the only source of profit. However, the company said that customers were still happy with 5% discount, which also allowed Jet to make some profits from sales.

Another key differentiation from Amazon is Jet’s bet on dynamic pricing. This means that the price of items change depending on what shoppers buy. For example, if shoppers buy multiple items that are in different warehouses, they end up paying more because merchants spend more on packaging and shipping.

The company has also been quietly testing groceries delivery, testing the model in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC and Connecticut, where consumers can order milk, cereal and vegetables among other things. The reason for expanding into groceries, a low margin business, is because the model tends to draw repeat customers. Jet has also been committed to sourcing food that is harder to find such as Kosher food and gluten free items.

Jet is also planning to follow Amazon’s footsteps of producing its own products such as diapers and groceries.

Despite the optimism from Lore, there is still the question of how quickly Jet is burning cash, and when it will become profitable. Lore projects profitability in 2020, three and a half years from now. In November, Jet raised $618 million and plans to raise another round later this year. Sucharita Mulpuru, analyst at Forrester Research comments that it will take a lot of capital and experimentation to come close to Amazon’s scale.

They are so far behind Amazon, they are not even in the same playing field. – Sucharita Mulpuru, Analyst at Forrester Research.

Jet still needs more time to test out its business model. Fortunately for them, it seems to have the backing of deep pocketed investors for now. It also has no plans to expand as of now, unlike its much larger counterpart.

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