Forced to vacate due to rising rentals, The Pigeonhole, an indie cafe in Singapore’s hip Duxton Road area, has taken to crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to raise money so that it can move to another location.
The company is seeking USD13,000 to pay for outstanding rentals, a two-month security deposit for a new and cheaper location, the first month of rental fees in the new premises, as well as renovations, repairs and painting work. The campaign will end on 27 December. 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
It was an idea worth pursuing, but entrepreneur John Fearon had to let EatAds gestate to pursue Dropmyemail, which he felt had greater immediate potential.
Now, John is ready to grow EatAds again, and this time, he’s brought reinforcements in two new co-founders. Dhruv Sahgal, who worked at Royal Bank of Scotland, joins the company as business operations lead while Nigel Hembrow, formerly at e-billing startup GreenPost, will head up product development.
EatAds has also secured more angel funding from Crystal Horse Investments, their original backers, and it managed to bring along a few more angel investors. 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
A Singapore startup, The Stakeholder Management Company (TSC), has created an online platform that generates visualizations to untangle the complex web of stakeholder relationships. It has already been used by Fortune 500 companies like HP, Nokia, and Syngenta.
For these accomplishments, it has secured SGD600k (USD490k) in seed investments from Red Dot Ventures, a Singapore-based startup incubator that is part of NRF-TIS, a government-funded co-investment scheme. The development was announced on 26 November.
Founded by Terence Lyons in 2011, who was at Microsoft leading its global enterprise value marketing strategy and CSR engagement, TSC maps out issues affecting a company and the positions stakeholders are taking in it. It can then identify who the influencers are in the issue, and allow companies to engage them, all within one web platform. Read more
The United States is backwards when it comes to healthcare. It spends 15.2% of its GDP on medical services, the highest in the world, and yet ranks 50th in life expectancy. Remote health monitoring is one solution, since it enables patients to be taken cared of at home without needing to pay for expensive hospital stays.
Yet remote health monitoring is beset by lacks in connectivity standards, interoperability, and wireless monitoring devices. ConnectedHealth, a Singapore-based startup, aims to make wireless home health feasible.
The company, founded by Mike Holt, the CEO, and Hari Ramachandran, the VP for business development and technology, announced on 3 December that it has received USD530k from NRF-TIS incubator Get2Volume and US healthcare company Sovran. The technology incubator was also founded by Holt. Read more
GMO Venture Partners, the VC subsidiary of Japan’s GMO Internet Group, has launched a one billion yen (USD12M) venture fund to invest in opportunities in Southeast Asia, reported TechinAsia.
The newest fund, GMO VP III, focuses on advertising, ecommerce, payment processing, and smartphone services in Southeast Asia. It has already made its first investment, an undisclosed amount in Coda Payments, a Singapore-headquartered startup that deals with micropayments in the region.
GMO is exploring the region because it sees similarities between the current market state and Japan in the early 2000s. It will continue to invest concurrently in Japan and China.
There’s been a wave of Japanese money entering the region as investors see growth opportunities beyond the moribund Japanese economy.
GREE Ventures, for example, has invested in a Series B round in PriceArea, an Indonesian price comparison site. DeNA too has some activity in Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, while CyberAgent Ventures has been investing in Vietnamese and Indonesian startups.
Here’s a story line so often repeated it gets nauseating: It’s boom time in Asia. But of course, we should all be thankful that the region’s economies are being propped up by countries like Philippines and Indonesia, which are experiencing a wave of optimism that makes them attractive to investors.
Tech companies too are moving into Asia in droves, attracted by long-term opportunities despite the precariousness of the banking sectors in Vietnam and China, which could drag the world into another recession.
Lotaris, a Swiss company that specializes in helping app developers monetize, fits into this larger narrative. It sees Asia as a big growth market, and as such, has shifted its project management, quality assurance, and strategic elements into the Singapore office. Read more
Platformed creativity is on the rise, as elaborated by SGE’s assistant editor Terence Lee. Such platforms provide avenues for self-expression and creativity, relying on their creators to offer a value proposition to their consumers.
A platform without creators is a ghost town and there is little incentive for consumers to use it. Replicating the technology of YouTube is a considerably smaller challenge compared to replicating its community of video creators.
The creators are active partners in creating (and delivering) the value proposition of the platform. Hence, any startup building a creativity platform should:
1. Understand the motivations of the creators
2. Create enabling technology that caters to those motivations
3. Have a clear strategy to maximize the number of creators on the platforms.
The following 6 questions can help a platform think through these issues and enable it to successfully create a platform that finds traction. 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.