Singapore-based startup Gimmie announced today that it has raised a USD521K (SGD639K) round led by WaveMaker Labs in partnership with the NRF under the Technology Incubation Scheme. Completing the round is Ideosource, a Jakarta-based VC firm.
The company, which started in Silicon Valley in 2011 before moving to Singapore last year, will use the funds to expand across Asia in 2013. Indonesia features prominently in Gimmie’s plans. The startup made an appearance at Sparxup 2012, a startup conference in Jakarta. Ideosource will be helping the company expand its footprint in the country.
The company had previously raised USD 244K from angel investors in the United States. Tandem, a mobile industry incubator in Silicon Valley, invested USD 200K. Read more
Rocket Internet is a Berlin headquartered company that is well-known for cloning successful online startups (usually from the US), replicating them elsewhere, and turning them into million-dollar businesses. It was founded in 2007 by the Samwer brothers — Alexander, Marc, and Oliver, who have together created and sold a number of successful Internet businesses before starting Rocket Internet. Most of their businesses are e-commerce related.
The company tends to hire MBA-trained executives and management consultants to become ‘founder’ and ‘managing director’ of its businesses. However, unlike startup founders, they do not hold as much equity or have as much decision-making power to shape the direction of their companies. They are primarily executors who could be fired for underperforming.
Rocket Internet has polarized observers in the startup and technology community for its practices. Critics pour scorn on the company for blatant copying, mischaracterizing its ventures as startups, an over-aggressive and results-oriented corporate culture, and rapid turnover rates. At the same time, it is widely admired for its rapid execution ability. 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
The Startup Genome, a company that aims to transform tech entrepreneurship from a gut-driven into a data-driven endeavor, has today released its global ranking of top 20 startup ecosystems in a research report. Representing Asia is Singapore (17th) and Bangalore (19th), who are the the only ecosystems from Asia in the top 20. Australia fared well, with Sydney (12th) and Melbourne (18th) making the shortlist.
This version of the rankings is updated from the one that was released in April this year, which included less variables and didn’t account for population size. Read more
US short-term rental website Airbnb is stepping up its expansion into Asia, with an office already being set up in Singapore, reported CNET Asia.
The writer notes that instead of acquiring a local player, a strategy that Birchbox and Groupon employs, Airbnb has decided to compete directly with the likes of Roomorama, Travelmob, and iBilik instead. It will also be fighting for market share with 9flats, a German company that set up shop in Singapore last year.
Users accessing the Airbnb website in Singapore will be instantly redirected to www.airbnb.com.sg. The site has support for many Asian currencies like the Indonesian Rupiah, Japanese Yen, and the Philippine Peso. However, only English is available for now.
Platformed creativity. Creative commerce. The maker movement. These words could very well become mainstream vernacular in the near future, not just in the West, but also in Asia.
Several digital trends are converging to make that happen. E-commerce and smartphone adoption are on the rise, and tastes in Asia are becoming more sophisticated. More consumers are demanding not just for cheap but also well-designed goods. Businesses are starting to recognize the need for effective branding, and are willing to hire designers to spruce up their image.
Just as important is the fact that creative professionals are warming up to the idea of using the Internet as an avenue to grow their businesses. E-commerce platforms, created by startups that sense a growing need for better tools, have become more sophisticated, social, and user-friendly.
Call it the rise of platformed creativity. Think of a flea market where upstart fashion designers go to sell their creations. Or an indie art gallery in a colonial shophouse. Now migrate all of these online. That’s platformed creativity at its core — aggregating creative products online, and then selling it to an audience. Read more
East and West have combined forces in a bid to give online retailers in Asia a more comprehensive platform to sell stuff. In this case, the partnership involves NetSuite, an enterprise cloud computing company from the United States, and AsiaPay, an e-commerce service provider headquartered in Hong Kong. Read more
After six months in Asia, sixteen flights to eight countries, and interviews with over 100 entrepreneurs, investors, and organizers, Kira Newman of Tech Cocktail has worked with Malaysia infographic startup Piktochart to come up with this graphical summary of her impressions of the Asian startup scene. She’ll be writing more about Asia in the future. Check it out: Read more
Facebook has launched a feature that allows users to get special deals from merchants within the social network.
The deals will appear on their news feeds, and after claiming a deal, an email will be sent to the user. The deal can then be redeemed by flashing the email at a store.
Facebook Offers is currently in beta and is being rolled out to selected businesses in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, US, and Turkey, according to The Verge. Read more
A version of this article was first published on Grey Review.
Facebook has over 850 million users worldwide. Out of that, a total of 194 million users are from Asia at the end of March 2012. Most of these users from the Southeast Asia region – 97 million or 54% of the total Facebook users in Asia. Some other observations on the latest Facebook in Asia statistics: Read more