Berrybenka.com, a fashion ecommerce startup from Indonesia, has raised a Series A investment from GREE Ventures, it announced in a press release today. According to Berrybenka’s co-founder Claudia Widjaja, the investment sum is in the seven-digit millions (USD).
The funds will be used to expand product selection, scale up marketing, and improve the startup’s logistics. In addition, Jason Lamuda, co-founder of Groupon Disdus, will join the company’s co-founders, Claudia and Yenti Elizabeth, as president director and CEO. Jason has been acting as an angel investor and advisor to the startup. Read more
For a social network about fashion, Clozette isn’t exactly a looker, especially when compared to the sprightlier and hipper #OOTDX, an upstart that appears to be drawing the Instagrammer crowd.
But while my first impression may be less than positive, Clozette actually turns out to be more interesting than it lets on.
It certainly has enough cache to seal a partnership with SingTel’s lifestyle portal inSing.com, an arrangement that has given Clozette front page placement — on the portal’s dropdown menu. Clicking on that link will bring you to insing.clozette.com, an e-commerce site that sells goods from Clozette’s partners.
While I’m not sure how many percent of inSing’s purported 2 million monthly active users will actually land on Clozette, it’s a positive start. The partnership between these Singapore companies appears to be the right one too: Clozette, after all, has ambitions to be a one-stop shop for women’s fashion and beauty needs.
Sure, you might have heard it all before. It would seem that every online fashion and beauty retailer, your Zaloras, Luxolas, and Asoses, wants to be that first-stop for fashionable women.
But here’s the difference between Clozette and the rest: It isn’t a traditional e-commerce site at all. In fact, it fulfills an entirely different role in the online fashion ecosystem, that of discovery. Read more
The folks behind Singapore and Silicon Valley-based venture fund, Golden Gate Ventures, have been working the ground in Southeast Asia for the past year. Partners Vinnie Lauria, Jeffrey Paine and Paul Bragiel have been on the road mentoring and judging Startup Weekends, speaking at various conferences and also organizing many of their own.
In that time, the GGV team tells us that they have logged over 500,000 kilometers in flight distance and met with more than 400 teams, out of which a few have caught their eye. Today, they are announcing its first three investments into: online sales and inventory management platform – TradeGecko, online grocer – RedMart, and mobile billing company, Coda Payments. And they are looking to do more than 10 new investments in the coming year. Read more
PricePinz is a free price comparison iPhone app that launched recently. Developed by a Singapore-based company, it joins a growing number of apps like Save22 (formerly LobangClub) eBay’s RedLaser, Amazon’s PriceCheck, and ShopSavvy, among others.
Since its debut a few days ago, PricePinz has been downloaded over 100 times. It currently offers over 4,000 items in its pricing database — the information is gathered mostly from merchants and in-house data entry.
PricePinz boasts support for both barcode and QR Code scanning, and provides a list of deals available in the vicinity of the user. It leverages social network to allow users to help promote their favorite deal and rate or rank a retailers’ offering based on criteria like customer support, freebies, and after sales service. Read more
Glossybox is possibly the largest beauty box company in the world. Photo: Glossybox
As the daily deals fever dies down, entrepreneurs in Asia have been on the lookout on the next big idea. It looks like they have found it. In the region, a new crop of startups have arisen, all centered around a singular concept: Beauty boxes.
The idea sounds simple. Subscribers, who are mostly young women, pay a monthly fee to have a box of cosmetics samples delivered to them on a regular basis. Beauty brands have been freely giving out sample products, so why not mail them to potential customers instead?
The market opportunity is there: Outside of China and India, the Asia-Pacific cosmetics market is valued at USD45.7B. The business model is proven: In the United States, Birchbox, which launched in 2010, has surpassed the 100,000 subscriber mark for its women’s boxes. It may have even reached 200,000. The company is popular with investors too: It raised a series A round of USD10.5M.
The concept soon spread to Europe and finally to Asia. Rocket Internet launched its clone Glossybox in March 2011 and now has a presence in 19 countries, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China. Other prominent players are coming up in the region too, and they’re getting a lot of customers. Read more
After raising USD40M from Kinnevik and tens of millions from JP Morgan, Lazada has done it again, announcing yesterday a USD26M investment from Summit Partners. The funds will be used for developing growth initiatives and expanding its product offering.
Lazada, which is Rocket Internet’s version of Amazon, claims to be the largest online department store in Southeast Asia. It operates in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
“We seek to invest in companies that build long-term value, and Lazada has shown dynamic growth in a short period of time,” said Scott Collins, a managing director and head of Summit Partners London.
On 21 November, Lazada launched a new fashion marketplace platform in Malaysia that caters to offline retailers that want online distribution and marketing services but desire control over logistics and operations. It plans to rollout this platform in all its markets and expand the number of retailers on it. Read more
Paul Ramscar got a strange look from a sales staff when he once entered a jewelry store with his boyfriend. He could tell that the sales person behaved awkwardly — a reaction he didn’t get when he entered the same shop alone.
While Hong Kong is one of the most gay-friendly places in Asia, gay discrimination is still prevalent. That personal encounter was one of the things that prompted Paul to create Pink Dollar, a mobile app that serves as a directory of LGBT-friendly businesses. Read more
CyberAgent Ventures, the VC subsidiary of Japanese Internet company CyberAgent, has announced this week an investment in Bilna, an ecommerce platform for baby products in Indonesia. Terms of the deal were not revealed.
The founding team behind Bilna, Ferry Tenka, Jason Lamuda and Eka Himawan, are also the founders of group buying site Disdus, which were bought out by Groupon in April 2011. Bilna, which launched in July, sells formula and food, furniture, toys, clothes, as well as bath and skincare products for babies and toddlers.
CyberAgent Ventures is optimistic about the growth potential of Indonesia’s ecommerce market.
“Judging from its recent market trend and performance of our existing portfolio company, there are clear signs indicating the rapid growth of the E-commerce market in Indonesia,” it said in a press statement.
“Furthermore, due to economic growth, increase of personal income earnings and the growing population of Indonesia, we believe there is high demand of online shopping for babies and children related goods.”
This is the VC firm’s second investment in Indonesia. In April 2011, they funded a Series B round in Tokopedia, a platform for individuals and SMEs to create online storefronts.
CyberAgent Ventures has been very active in funding startups outside Japan recently. Find out what else have they been up to by following SGE’s coverage.
Fashion lovers itching to create their own lookbooks now have another option to go to. #OOTDX, a fashion social network, has gone live, enabling users to upload their looks and appreciate those of others. #OOTD is a commonly used social networking hashtag that means ‘outfit of the day’.
The site is created by 24-12, the company that is also behind TinyTrunk, an ecommerce platform for merchants, and Whereco, a property listings site. #OOTDX is created by Jon Yongfook Cockle and Kelly Leong. Jon has experience scaling fashion businesses: he was the director of web for Glamour Sales, a Japanese luxury fashion ecommerce site that was funded up to Series C. Read more
Stylegou is one of the many daigou services to emerge in Asia.
China is the world’s greatest exporter and manufacturer of goods. Yet when it comes to e-commerce and the Internet, it is only taking baby steps towards exerting global influence. The spread of Daigou, however, could be an indication of China’s growing e-commerce prowess.
Daigou is a Chinese phrase that roughly means “buying on behalf of”. It is a free-to-use web service that purchases goods overseas at the request of users. To start the ball rolling, consumers can indicate on the website what their desired product is. Once the payment is made, Daigou agents would make the purchase overseas and ship the product back to the users’ countries.
The service then delivers the product straight to the customer, or sends it to a collection point where the user can drop by anytime. Once the fulfillment is complete, users close the loop by indicating that the purchase has been successful. Read more