Logistics is a big part of fashion online retailer Zalora‘s business, which is why it’s so important to get it right. Unfortunately, logistics is still spotty in Southeast Asia — Singapore included — causing many e-commerce businesses have resorted to cash-on-collection as a means of delivering the goods.
While common in Philippines and Indonesia, Zalora has launched their own cash-on-collection trial in Singapore involving 19 Seven-Eleven convenience stores. This is the first time the business has tried something like this in any of its markets. Read more
The biggest news this week for Southeast Asia’s startup community would undoubtedly involve the USD 40M that luxury e-commerce company Reebonz raised from MediaCorp, Infocomm Investments, and a slew of other investors, as well as the fresh USD 100M round that Zalora, another fashion e-commerce outfit, has managed to cobble together.
Together, both developments hint at rising investment confidence in the region’s e-commerce’s prospects.
Reebonz, in particular, is a fast rising player that has expanded far beyond its humble Singapore beginnings. The luxury online store recently opened a flagship outlet in Sydney. It has launched localized sites in New Zealand, Australia, as well as South Korea, and is currently shipping to 22 markets in Asia, Europe, and North America.
For entrepreneurs, the ascendance of both companies has several possible implications: Read more
There are funding rounds, and then there are funding rounds. Zalora, a Rocket Internet fashion e-commerce venture, has today revealed that it has raised a massive USD 100M in venture capital from Summit Partners, Investment AB Kinnevik, Verlinvest, and Tengelmann Group.
Most of the investors are Rocket Internet regulars: Summit, Kinnevik, and Tengelmann have bankrolled Lazada before, while the latter has funded Zalora once. Verlinvest, a new — or previously low-key — participant, is a Belgian investment holding company.
The repeat investments portends well for Zalora’s prospects in Asia, a challenging market with relatively low basket sizes, tough infrastructural challenges, and market fragmention.
It shows that investors are confident that the business, despite enduring a loss of EUR 70M (USD 90M) in 2012, down-scaling in Taiwan, and a number of high-profile staff departures, will be able to weather the storm and emerge as the dominant fashion e-commerce player outside of China and India. Read more
Self-billed “Asia’s biggest online fashion store”, Zalora had a net negative income of almost EUR 70M (USD 91M) in 2012. In an apparently confidential Income Statement 2012-2017 for investors, we now know that Zalora Southeast Asia made EUR 48M (USD 62.5M) in revenues (after returns and cancellations) in 2012 (thus we are enlightened on their “annualized double-digit million USD revenues” that is in their “About ZALORA” in press releases pretty much everywhere, SGE’s previous estimate of USD 75M wasn’t too off), projects profitability from somewhere in 2015, and aims to reach total revenues of EUR 1 billion (USD 1.3B) sometime in 2016.
These numbers are based on 8 (current) markets (no word of potential future markets), mostly desktop shopping for the last year since Zalora launched in early 2012, with mobile commerce to increase with launches of native mobile apps (iOS last week, Android later in the future) and the rising trend of mobile usage in Asia (see below).
German magazine Manager Magazin published the document online and parts of the Zalora Income Statement for 2012-2017 can be seen here: Read more
While rumors have been circulating about Zalora exiting Taiwan, Rocket Internet SEA’s co-founder Stefan Jung has clarified that the company will not shut down its operations. He explained the company’s position on stage at Startup Asia, a tech startup conference in Singapore.
Instead, it will shift part of its operations to Singapore, and run its Taiwan company more as a remote business in a similar vein to its Hong Kong operations.
According to Stefan, Rocket Internet’s macro view on Taiwan is not as strong as larger markets like Indonesia and China, which explains why Glossybox Taiwan, Rocket Internet’s Birchbox clone, has also exited from the country. Read more
Zalora, a Rocket Internet fashion online retailer, announced today that it has raised EUR 20M (USD 26M) in investment from Tengelmann, a German retail company.
It also revealed that it has set up a regional software development center in Singapore, and is currently achieving double digit millions USD in annualized revenue.
Tengelmann is no stranger to Rocket Internet companies. In January this year, it invested about USD 20M in Lazada, an Amazon-like e-commerce site. Both Lazada and Zalora are active in the region, with the latter serving eight markets in Asia-Pacific and stocking over 500 brands and 20,000 product variations. 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
Is there any method in Rocket Internet’s madness? A few months ago, I made a point that winter has landed in Southeast Asia with the fast and furious expansion of Rocket Internet from the infamous Samwer brothers. In the process, I also concluded that while they may be bad for innovation but they would demonstrate good examples of execution and speed to the rest of the technology ecosystem within the region. While monitoring their revolving door executives quitting within 3-6 months, employees complaining about their ways and their startups shutting down like Home24 within a short period of time, we are beginning to ask, “Is it really going to work or fall apart?” Read more
If this report by Willis Wee from TechinAsia is true, Zalora is in bad shape, and the feared Oliver Samwer visited Singapore two days ago for a marathon eight-hour “motivational talk”.
These allegations are false, claims Tan Wee, managing director and co-founder of Zalora Singapore, an online fashion retailer owned by the infamous Rocket Internet. He denies the article’s suggestion that “the meeting is probably triggered by complaints Zalora has received from its customers so far.”
In fact, Tan Wee reports that his German boss was in fact quite happy with progress.
“The exact conversation he had with me was: ‘Tan Wee, good job, things are going well,’” he says. The visit was in fact a routine one, and this was the third time they had met in Singapore.
Since Zalora launched in Singapore and Malaysia, it has received a lot of complaints about slow delivery times on its Facebook Pages. Some items were not received even after two weeks.
While he acknowledges that many of the feedback are valid, and that they’re learning, Tan Wee questions if a few Facebook comments are enough to paint an accurate picture of Zalora’s health. Read more
Many months back, I tweeted about the entrance of Rocket Internet in Southeast Asia with the comment, “Winter is coming.” Not long after, they have gotten off the ground running with an aggressive hiring spree and clones in the e-commerce space.
Rocket Internet is a company that belongs to the Samwer Brothers. They are known for their amazing execution prowess and their ruthlessness in cloning successful US Internet companies. Of course, their tactics and methods have raised the ire of many, including pro-Silicon Valley reporters such as Sarah Lacy who mounted a campaign against them.
But is the company’s impact on the Southeast Asia digital market all bad? I’ll examine this issue in detail and argue that while it may have some impact on innovation, it isn’t bad for the industry as a whole. Read more