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Welcome back from the weekend, here are the ecommerce headlines you might have missed:

1. Payments startup Coins.ph raises $5M Series A from popular investors

They include Wavemaker Labs, Global Brain, BeeNext, Rebright Partners. The round is led by Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund. Coins has created an alternative banking system to serve people who don’t have access to traditional banking in Southeast Asia and other developing markets.

According to Coins, 5% of the region’s 610 million-strong population is unbanked. 

Read the rest of the story here

2. Alibaba’s share of the worldwide mobile ad market to increase. Why?

Alibaba will report earnings next week, will capture 4.6% of the $194.60 billion global digital ad market; that represents a decrease from 5% in 2015. However, Alibaba’s share of the $108.88 billion global mobile ad market is expected to increase to 10.9% in 2016, up from 8.7% in 2015.

Increased numbers of mobile shoppers using its affiliated Alipay payment app to buy goods and services both online and offline, rural market demand, and cross-border shopping via Tmall Global will also be key sales contributors

Read the rest of the story here

3. DHL opens $104M hub in Singapore

To accommodate the rapid growth of regional volumes fuelled in part by ecommerce, the world’s largest international express services provider launched its new €85 million DHL South Asia Hub in Singapore.

“The exciting thing about ecommerce is that it’s not just the big players, DHL Express CEO Allen said. It’s not just about to Amazon, Alibaba or eBay, because every retailer in the world can put a website up to a global audience. “Every brick and mortar retailer is also getting in on the act and a lot of our big customers our traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.”

Read the rest of the story here

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A Singapore-based startup, Funding Society raised $7.5 million of Series A round, reported Tech Crunch. The company allows SMEs to access loans from individual or institutional lenders. The fund will be used to expand the operations in Malaysia, in addition to Singapore and Indonesia under the name ‘Modalku‘. Sequoia India led this investment round, along with several angel investors. 

The company claimed it has paid out $8.7 million across 96 loans to date and has 94% repayment rate. Fund Societies CEO, Kelvin Teo said the data shows the company’s reliability.

Funding Societies is primarily focused on working capital loans, to finance the day-to-day operations in a company. In Singapore, the average loan size is $67,000 ($90,000 SGD) while the number falls lower to $18,500 (SG$25,000) in Indonesia. It charges an origination fee to the borrower (3-4% in Singapore, 5-6% in Indonesia) and 1% monthly fee to the lender. It claims to have an approval rate of between 15-25% for loan applicants.

The fund will be used to expand its SME loans operations in Malaysia, in addition to Singapore and Indonesia under the name ‘Modalku‘. Sequoia India led this investment round, along with several angel investors. 

In addition to the expansion, the fund will also be used to comply with myriad of regulatory variations in the three countries where it currently operates. It prided itself on being compliant with regulations and ensuring the safety of investors money.

“Industry regulation has been announced in Singapore, but it will still take some investment to reach that level of compliance,” Teo added. Likewise, in Indonesia, he said the company is working with regulators to introduce a framework to regulate peer-based lending.

Outside of compliance and expansion — including expansion beyond capital city Jakarta in Indonesia — Funding Societies is planning to invest in its product to streamline its services for borrowers and lenders, add more services to make the investment options more tailored to the investor needs. The company target to reach breakeven in two-to-three-years.

A version of this appeared in Techcrunch on August 9.  Read the full article here

Singapore based media site e27 has raised $2.2 million Series A round led by TechTemple Group, the company announced on its website. Other investors include Linear Venture, Convergence Ventures. Venturecraft and Spacemob.

Mainly known as a tech focused media outlet, co-founder and CEO Mohan Belani insists that media is only a small part of what e27 represents.

From day one, e27 has always been an ecosystem builder. We’ve always had a vision of creating products offline and online that would help us achieve that vision. 

The company has launched jobs platforms, a startup and investor database, and a B2B marketplace. e27 is also the company behind the Echelon series of startup and investor conferences. Belani clarifies,

“At this point, the natural direction for us is to weave the online and offline functions in order to create a full-fledged, interactive ecosystem product, not just an uni-directional digital media.”

Bridging the gap between China and Southeast Asia is crucial

China has impressive market opportunities, made up of companies and people who have accomplished what Southeast Asia is currently trying to do. e27 aims to collaborate with its new investors, who are based in China, and provide more know-how towards the landscape, the language, network and professional interest barriers.

Currently, there are mid-sized and growth sized startups in China that are interested in expanding into Southeast Asia. The trend is being led by tech titans such as Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba, who have successfully paved ways into the booming market. e27 wishes to drive the growth of Chinese startups into the region by providing them with the right tools.

Indonesia’s role in driving Southeast Asia’s growth

e27 plans to collaborate with Convergence Ventures, one of the investors from this round, and leverage their strong investment network in Indonesia. This ties in with the company’s goal to facilitate stronger cross-border ties between key players in the region and China.

Jerry Wang, Founder of TechTemple comments,

“China’s rapid development of the internet industry brings important lessons to Southeast Asian entrepreneurs, as well as opportunities for cross-border collaboration. Localisation is also very important, hence investing in e27 would bring a wealth of local knowledge and connections for China.”

A version of this appeared in e27 on July 27. Read the full version here.

Carro Raises Funding

Carro raises funding of $5.3 million for its online marketplace for buying and selling cars. The Singapore-based platform will use the Series A to expand in Southeast Asia. The company launched only in November 2015 and has welcomed ten different investors from across Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and China.

There are plenty of classifieds that help car owners sell their vehicles online, but Carro aims to stand out from the crowd with a services-focused offering. That’s to say that it doesn’t simply focus on sales,

Carro calculates the price and likely time to sell a vehicle — a nice hook to nab potential sellers — a virtual showroom option for dealers and a consumer-to-consumer marketplace.

Looking to next year, Carro CEO Aaron Tan admits that the company will have to decide whether to continue its focus on Southeast Asia, a nascent but high-potential digital market with over 600 million consumers, or battle for market share in more established Western markets.

“Classified sites are more like channels,” he said. “We use them to promote [our own sales.] When you look at classifieds versus marketplaces, [there’s] not that much in terms of competition.”

Approximately three-quarters of Carro’s traffic comes from mobile. However, with tens of thousands of dollars in purchases at stake, mobile tends to be for browsing with most consumers preferring to buy on a tablet or laptop after doing more research before parting with their hard-earned cash.

A version of this appeared in Tech Crunch on June 13. Read the full article here.