We love working with dynamic, talented and passionate folks and one of our latest additions to our team, Albert is just like that.
SGE welcomes Albert Mai on board our team, focused on scouting the Vietnam startup scene.
I first met Albert in Singapore many months ago and he is now back in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, running a startup and helping the local community grow through events. To help you to get to know Albert better, we have a mini Q&A with him here. 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
SupportBee is a help desk software designed for simplicity and collaboration.
It is often said that startups should adopt an all-hands-on-deck approach to customer support. That is, while customer service is traditionally the domain of a dedicated team, startups are encouraged to get the entire staff involved, and that includes the founders.
The reason is simple: Startups at the discovery stage are still evaluating their hypotheses and figuring out their product. So, customer support doubles up as market research, which is why even product and marketing people, right up to the CEO, should be addressing customers’ problems themselves.
With this approach in mind, the team at SupportBee, an India and Vietnam based startup, have set out to build a help desk software that encourages everyone to get involved.
The web app does this with an innovative pricing structure. Unlike Zendesk and Freshdesk, which charge by agent, SupportBee charges by ticket volume instead. The fees are affordable, at USD 19 for 300 tickets a month after a 14-day free trial. This is aimed at encouraging whole teams to be engaged in problem solving. Read more
The Gregorian year of 2012 started with an ominous ring to it. But 2012 waltzed along anyway, and so did December 21. And here we are, at the cusp of a global new year.
Before you young folks party the night away, we thought it good to school you in the happenings of the Asian tech startup scene over the last 12 months. Or, if you’re reading this in 2013, welcome to the past. 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
CyberAgent Ventures, the VC arm of Japanese Internet company CyberAgent, has announced an investment in Foody, a food search and review web and mobile platform in Vietnam. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.
The site was launched in August 2012, and attained 10,000 restaurants and 5,000 reviews in three months. The investment will be used to facilitate further user and content growth. Read more
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
Every company wants to cash in on Asia, widely touted as a region of growth. But simply plonking Western products into Eastern markets using the same marketing methods don’t work. They need to understand local markets and consumer behavior.
DataField wants to make the process of data collection easier. Based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, DataField is a startup that is digitizing the entire process of getting field data through web and mobile apps. Pollsters can download an app to their smartphones, head out to the streets and conduct surveys. No internet connection is necessary for the app to work.
Once the results are stored, they can be immediately uploaded to the cloud administrators can view a summary from the web dashboard. The data is stored in CSV format, allowing users to shape it any way they like or run it through statistical software. They can filter the data by location and other criteria. Read more
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