Silicon Valley-based Fenox Venture Capital has announced today that it has invested in IACC, a Japanese startup that is running a solar power marketplace based in Japan. The company has amassed USD 10M in revenue in the last fiscal year, representing a 500 percent year-on-year growth.
The marketplace, called Green-EnergyNavi, matches solar power products to consumers’ energy requirements. The website contains user reviews and cost estimates for a specific item, allowing consumers to select products that best meet their needs. Read more
Note: The company has clarified that its monthly unique visitors is still a six-digit figure. It has not crossed one million yet.
Qiito, a Singapore-based travel discovery and planning site, has become a popular destination for travelers seeking information about destinations. The platform, which crowdsources photos and tips about places of interest from users, claims it has more than a million monthly unique visitors — with most of them coming from Singapore, followed by United States and Taiwan.
Now, the company hopes to build on its hard-won traffic by launching a new bed-and-breakfast booking feature which will allow users to book from a selection of over 200 ‘minsu’ places — the Taiwanese equivalent of bed-and-breakfast — on the website (although only about 116 are available for now). Japanese hotels are also available for reservations. Read more
Curated e-commerce sites have been coming up on our radar lately, offering products that are ‘design-centric’ and ‘tasteful’. In other words, these businesses are differentiating themselves not by price or quantity of choice, but by the quality of their collection.
In Singapore, there’s CuriousCatch and HipVan, both of which are emphasizing the cool factor by selling goods from independent designers. Beauty box startups like VanityTrove and Bellabox too are selling curated products to their customers.
Now add Jooix to the mix. Launched in late 2011 by former branding and communications executive Angeline Seow, Jooix sells mainly lifestyle products and gifts. Read more
William Vu Huynh, co-founder and CEO of Vietnamese dating site Noi.vn, has been preoccupied with one question ever since he started his venture in 2008 with Phung Tien Cong: How do you get shy Vietnamese men and women to connect online?
Being able to tackle this problem area was the key to Noi.vn’s success. While William says that many have tried and failed, Noi.vn has managed to build itself into one of the country’s largest (if not the largest) online social dating networks.
While he has declined to reveal financial figures, he says that Noi.vn has some 750,000 registered users, out of which there are 400,000 monthly actives (currently growing at 2 percent month-on-month). From all of them, over 4,000 couplings and over 500 weddings have resulted.
From this strong base — aided by funding from YAN Group and IDG Ventures in mid-2010 — Noi.vn is moving to consolidate its position by catering to different niche markets and entering even more platforms. Read more
Subscriptions are fast becoming a predominant way people transact online. Just look at the number of beauty box companies emerging in Asia and the amount of software-as-a-service products around. Even Microsoft, a dinosaur of the software era, has begun charging customers by the month to use its office productivity suite.
Taking advantage of the new status quo is ChargeBee, an India-based startup that aims to make implementing subscription billing easy for businesses. With ChargeBee, users can set price plans, create promotional coupons, and generate email notifications. They can then integrate ChargeBee with a selection of over 30 payment gateways. Read more
Updated on 28 February.
Welcome to the land of the living dead — at least that’s what the media and pundits will have you believe about the daily deals industry. Things took another turn for the worst when news broke that LivingSocial had to make large concessions to get USD 110M in financing.
For the rest of the daily deals industry, that’s horrible news. LivingSocial, being the second largest group buying company in the world, is the standard bearer for the others. LivingSocial’s valuation has sunk too — the company is now worth about USD 1.5B, down from USD 4.5B during the previous financing round.
Which brings us to a new development: Deal.com.sg, one of the largest daily deals sites in Singapore, has announced that it has launched a second physical collection point in the country. The news release certainly seems timely, coming shortly after word spread about LivingSocial’s debacle. Read more
HipVan: E-commerce for the hipster crowd.
Serial entrepreneur Danny Tan first caught the attention of the tech crowd on the back of Found, a mobile app that allows friends to organize gatherings. His team won the first ever Echelon startup pitch competition ever in 2010, earning praise from Dave McClure of 500 Startups and getting a USD500k investment from Neoteny Labs, East Ventures and an undisclosed angel investor.
But since then, not much has been heard about Found. Danny himself ventured into the wilderness, joining Rocket Internet as senior product manager for Southeast Asia and Singapore startup Viki as director of product. Read more
Singapore-based Inverted Edge, an upcoming online fashion store, has announced today that it has raised SGD 2M (USD 1.6M) from IncuVest, Accel-X, and four other undisclosed private investors.
The Singapore government’s National Research Foundation also participated in this round through Incuvest via the Technology Incubation Scheme.
Soon to be launched, Inverted Edge finds itself in an increasingly crowded space dominated by blogshops and multi-label retailers like ASOS and Zalora. Read more
While legal advice is necessary for companies, it is expensive, chalking up bills that amount to the hundreds or thousands. To tackle this, a new service called LawPath has been started in Australia that aims to fill in the market gap in low-cost legal services for startups and SMEs.
Created by Pollenizer, an Australia and Singapore-based startup incubator, LawPath is a service where users pay AUD 40-50 a month to throw three legal questions at lawyers.
Depending on the price plan, users will receive answers either through phone consultation or via email. Read more
Indie short films are not exactly the first thing that comes to mind as a niche for startups to tackle. After all, compared to formulaic Hollywood fare, short films don’t cater to mainstream tastes and as such have limited appeal.
That has not stopped Ho Jia Jian and Derek Tan from starting Viddsee though. Borne out of their passion for their craft, Viddsee is a video platform that screens short films from talents in Southeast Asia. Think of it as YouTube designed for filmmakers and art buffs.
As a just-launched minimum viable product, Viddsee doesn’t yet boast the sophistication of other platforms out there. It doesn’t host its own videos; the creators opted to put them on Vimeo instead. Read more