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
Rockmoon‘s battle against worksheets continues in Thailand. The Singapore startup, which has created a platform that lets anyone create interactive educational games for student field trips, has scored a partnership with Chiang Mai University’s Knowledge and Innovation Center to create a technology learning hub.
The new center, which is called THINK (acronym for Technology Hub for Innovation & Knowledge), aims to find ways to incorporate ICT into children’s education and assist schools in piloting these technologies.
Rockmoon kickstarted the new intiative by holding a mobile learning seminar and Chiang Mai Zoo iTrail competition on 30 November. About 100 primary school students participated in the competition, where they used the company’s Trail Shuttle iPad app to answer quizzes, take photos and videos, and explore its augmented reality features.
The company says that this is the first time mobile technology has been used on such scale in a field trip in Chiang Mai. It hopes that through this partnership, more doors will open for its platform to be adopted as a tool for education and learning among students in Thailand.
Read: Trail Shuttle lets students create their own interactive learning trails
Thailand could be on the precipice of a coworking boom. In recent months, the country has seen the emergence of two new coworking spaces, both hoping that they’ll draw Thailand’s emerging community of entrepreneurs and freelancers.
The pioneer in the nation’s coworking scene is HUBBA, which bills itself as Bangkok’s first coworking space for tech and creative startups. Ever since it soft-launched in July 2012, the venue has managed to attract over 100 registered members, with 50 of them active.
According to Amarit Charoenphan, co-founder of HUBBA, the team realized that Thailand was ready for coworking spaces due to a big community of freelancers that were underserved by existing facilities. Many were still working from home or at a cafe. Read more
Singaporean Haresh Khoobchandani, a Microsoft veteran, is now in charge of operations in Thailand, a company press released announced. The new managing director of Microsoft Thailand is replacing Birathon Kasemsri Na Ayudhaya.
Haresh has over 15 years of experience in the company. Before his current appointment, he was the COO for Microsoft Indonesia, where he helped the subsidiary achieve over 30% growth. He was also the CMO for the Asia Pacific Consumer & Online business, as well as Senior Director for various portfolios across Singapore, Malaysia, and Asia Pacific.
He is said to possess a strong track record in sales, marketing, and leadership of large teams.
Haresh’s predecessor, Birathon, set the vision of Microsoft Thailand to improve the lives of 70 million citizens through technology.
He helped the subsidiary win a CSR award from the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand. It was recognized for the BETTER project, which raised IT literacy among the Thai workforce, and for rallying customers, partners, and employees to help the country recover from the flood crisis.
Birathon was also in charge of the Windows 8 launch in Thailand.
Following a high-profile investment by JP Morgan earlier this year, the Samwer Brother’s Amazon clone Lazada has secured another substantial round of funding, reported TechCrunch. This time, the investor is Kinnevik, a Swedish investment firm which owns a 25 percent stake in Rocket Internet. This latest round is worth USD40M.
Lazada is shaping up to be a leading player in Southeast Asia’s e-commerce scene. Launched in March 2012, Lazada now operates in Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. It currently sells items in the books, consumer electronics, household goods, toys and sports equipment categories.
What’s unclear at this point is how well the company is doing in each of these countries, since Rocket Internet is predictably tight-lipped about it.
Regardless, Lazada has a huge war chest to play with. Combined with the JP Morgan investment – said to be worth between USD50M and USD100M — the company’s total funds received overshadows any amount that e-commerce startups in Southeast Asia can muster. Read more
They have a combined collection of 600 regional magazine titles and daily newspapers. They reach over 4 million devices, and deliver over 6 million digital publications a year.
Now imagine what would happen if Ookbee of Thailand and SCOOP of Indonesia partner up. That’s exactly what they did, announcing couple of days ago a strategic tie-up in a press release.
Both are already impressive in their home countries. Ookbee has partnered with Thailand’s largest telco AIS and the country’s leading bookstore B2S. It also received an investment of USD2M from Shin Corporation at a USD8M valuation, and was reportedly growing at 5,000 users a day. Read more
Since launching in March 2012, Cubie has become one of the most talked about mobile messenger apps from Asia. Six months in, it is still going strong, accumulating 4 million downloads.
Available on the iPhone and Android, Cubie resembles a cross between Whatsapp and Draw Something. Its ‘Space’ feature lets users share their drawings in a public gallery.
The latest milestone, along with some other numbers, were announced on Cubie’s blog today. Combined with the numbers from SGE’s previous article about them, the overall picture looks rosy for the startup and its founder, Cjin Cheng. Read more
Swiff, a service that enables merchants to collect credit card payments using smartphones, has made a major step towards entering the Thai market.
SCCP Group, the startup behind Swiff, announced on 27th September that it has partnered with Bank of Ayudhya, a leading commercial bank in Thailand, to provide its customers with a low-cost mobile POS system.
With Swiff, merchants can potentially save cost by opting for a POS system that involves just a mobile app, mobile devices, and credit card swipers attached to the tablets or smartphones. There is no need to purchase a traditional POS system.
Launched in March 2012, Swiff has since been implemented by over 100 merchants in Singapore through its partnership with Global Payments, a subsidiary of HSBC Bank. The startup hopes to reach out to various industries, including F&B, telecommunications, logistics, and hospitality.
In June, it acquired a majority stake in 4G Secure SAS, an European firm that specializes in an authentication platform for mobile apps. Its technology will be used to make Swiff more secure.
Thailand is perceived as a challenging market due to its low credit card adoption rate. Only about 6 million Thais own a credit card as of 2008, less than 10% of its 69-million population.
But helping Swiff is the fact that the bulk of credit card users would be located in urban areas like Bangkok, while low adoption rates signal rangy growth potential. Also, tourism is a lucrative revenue source for Thai establishments, and Swiff could ride on that as well.
Beyond Asia, the startup aims to expand worldwide to Africa, America, and the European Union.
In Asia, it faces competition from PayPal Here. In the United States, Square is the dominant player, while PayLeven, Verifone, iZettle, SumUp and mPowa are fighting for market share in Europe. Amazon is reportedly jumping into the fray too.
Swiff has a lot in common with these other players. But it touts its direct working relationship with banks rather than merchants as a major differentiation.
In this manner, it draws a line in the sand against PayPal, which is a payment aggregator that renders banks redundant, since merchants do not need a bank account to use PayPal.
But does interfacing with the bank as opposed to Swiff really make a big difference to merchants? Probably not. Nonetheless, Swiff could make a big difference to banks, which can now offer their customers a mobile POS solution as a value-added service.
Despite persistent rumors that Rocket Internet’s Zalora is struggling to gain firm footing in Asia, the fashion online retailer has announced today that JP Morgan Asset Management is investing in the company.
The investment, rumored to be in the “significant double digit millions”, covers Zalora’s presence in five Southeast Asian countries (Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam) as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan. The fresh injection of funds comes just 8 months after Zalora’s launch. Read more
JP Morgan Asset Management has confirmed in a press release that it has invested in Lazada, Rocket Internet’s Amazon clone that has about 1,000 employees and operates in 5 countries in Southeast Asia. Sources have told TheNextWeb that the investment is worth “upwards of USD 50M”, possibly even as high as USD100M.
Lazada claims that it is now the fastest growing online department store in the region. It launched in March 2012 to much fanfare in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. It later opened in Malaysia and Vietnam. Read more