Today, Cashback Industry News profiles a collection of recent innovators in a wide range of markets from Africa, across SE Asia to Australia. It’s a unique collection of e-commerce, cashback and logistics companies worth a look whether they’re in local markets or looking beyond their own borders.
in Singapore and across SE Asia, taxi app GrabTaxi now has more than 9.5 million downloads, 170,000 drivers and more than 625,000 active monthly users. It books more than 18 million trips a month but even with $350 million in new investment, it is not yet profitable. With $5 million new investment in hand, beauty booking app Vanitee is in growth mode in SE Asia. OfLocal is helping South African consumers find the best local restaurants. It may be burning through VC money but that hasn’t stopped giant e-commerce site Flipkart and several other VCs from investing in logistics company MapMyIndia.
TopCheck is aiming to disrupt the insurance and financial services industry in Nigeria starting with its new online insurance platform. Tech in Asia looks at five successful financial startups in SE Asia including Fastacash (Singapore), Omise (Thailand), Paytm (India), Dianrong (Shanghai) and Coin.ph (Philippines). Each has a unique set of services aiming to disrupt their local banking markets. The travel industry in Indonesia has a new startup in Mister Aladin, a hotel booking site owned by MNC Media. Newly launched, smart local shopping app Booodl is helping Australian shoppers save time and money just in time for the Christmas season. Tech in Asia also profiles six new SE Asia startups including Honestbee (Singapore), Go-Jek (Indonesia), BeLazee (Malaysia), Carousell (Singapore, SE Asia), NinjaVan (Singapore, Indonesia, SE Asia) and iflix (SE Asia).
We hope this startup innovation scorecard is helping you keep up and bringing you fresh, new ideas.
How does GrabTaxi make money?
GrabTaxi is becoming a household name among the tech savvy in Southeast Asia. At least in Singapore, it’s probably the best app for booking taxis. Yet you wonder how long the good times will last. The startup – which covers the GrabTaxi, GrabCar, and GrabBike services – is embroiled in a tough fight against Uber and Go-Jek for supremacy, which means spending lots of money to woo drivers and commuters.
It’s a well-worn tactic: raise more money than your competitors, and spend it all to attract customers. To hell with profitability. The hope is that when the dust settles and the financing runs out, you will have a sizable market share on which to bolster your bottom line and build your empire. Via techinasia.com
Thai Express founder invests in Vanitee’s $3.5m round
Vanitee, a website where people can book beauty services, has been dolling up for investors lately. It announced a successful close of a S$5 million (US$3.5 million) fundraising round, part of which was disclosed earlier.
The latest backers to join the stable include Ivan Lee, better known in Singapore as the founder of the Thai Express group of restaurants. He sold the business for S$100 million in 2009. He then started Raging Bull, a private investment company which he’s using to invest in Vanitee. Major Japanese cosmetics portal Cosme also put some money in. Via techinasia.com
OfLocal: the site aiming to curate the best of your town
Ever wanted a website that can tell you about the best places to eat in a city and where to find the best photographers? Well then you’ll probably get some use out of OfLocal, a site which aims to curate the best of South African towns and cities.
Launched in November, the site relies on user-generated content in the shape of lists which are published, shared and voted for by the consumer. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, local business owners are able to create and publish their own personalised lists, as well as share the lists that they are featured in. Via ventureburn.com
Flipkart Takes A Minority Stake In Location Data Startup MapMyIndia To Speed Up Deliveries
Flipkart, one of India’s top e-commerce retailers, has acquired a minority stake in MapMyIndia, a startup that provides mobile maps, location data, and GPS navigation devices for cars.
In a statement, Flipkart said its partnership with MapMyIndia will help it track shipments in real-time, verify addresses and reduce package theft. The companies haven’t disclosed the financial terms of the transaction, but said two of MapMyIndia’s investors, Nexus Venture Partners and Lightbox Ventures, will exit the company as part of the deal. MapMyIndia’s other backers include Qualcomm Ventures.
India has one of the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce markets, but its logistics infrastructure is still underdeveloped. This means that Flipkart and its two main rivals, Snapdeal and Amazon India, have room to differentiate from one another by building their own logistics networks, in the hopes of one-upping each other by providing faster and more reliable deliveries. Via techcrunch.com
Beyond insurance: How TopCheck aims to transform Nigeria’s financial services industry Ventureburn
In a country where online sale of services is still arguably unpopular compared to retail and other services, TopCheck is attempting to achieve profitability by selling financial services to Nigerians. And the company is starting with insurance specifically car insurance. But the company’s journey did not start in any of the incubation centres or skyscrapers on Victoria Island, TopCheck’s was essentially created on the West African leg of the AMPION Venture Bus by Thomas von Pilar, and his co-founder. According to him, he had already been attracted to the West African market after conducting research.
“I knew before that West Africa and Nigeria in particular is the largest and most important economy on the continent and by the number of population it has the largest domestic market, and that was basically the reason why I chose to go to West Africa,” says von Pilar. According to him, he discovered that the financial services market in Africa is currently worth US$120-billion and is currently growing at a double-digit percentage rate annually. At the same time, he said TopCheck’s business model has been around in Europe for decades and has been the model for some of the most successful internet companies in the world. Via ventureburn.com
5 exciting fintech startups we saw in Asia in 2015
When on the subject of fintech, a lot of the talk revolves around how disruptive it is. Now, I feel “disruption” is one of the most overused words within the startup ecosystem – right up there with “ecosystem,” really. But fintech has jolted the banking industry awake, that’s true enough.
It’s not going to bring banks down, nor is it going to automatically make rich people out of the poor. What it has been able to do is kickstart much-needed innovation and shake up the status quo when it comes to individuals’ relationship with things like remittances, lending, and ecommerce. Viewed through this lens, here are five fintech startups that had a particularly good year. The list is obviously meant to be indicative rather than exhaustive, and the startups are listed in no particular order. Via techinasia.com
Indonesia’s MNC gets into online travel with new site
Indonesia’s online travel sector could be the next big thing. Traveloka is unquestionably the dominant force for booking plane tickets, but when it comes to reserving hotels and rooms, several players are lining up for a shot at the title. With Valadoo’s shutdown earlier this year, names like Ezytravel, Tiket, and Travelio have made noise in the market.
A few days ago, a new contender emerged in the form of Mister Aladin, a hotel booking site born from Indonesia’s family-owned conglomerate MNC Media. Teddy Pun, Mister Aladin’s CEO, tells Tech in Asia he is bullish on the nation’s growth story in the travel sector. “How we plan to compete in this market is first to focus on hotels,” explains Teddy. “This is only the beginning, over the next three to six months, we will introduce many more features and products to enhance the travel booking experience.” Via techinasia.com
Australian-first app saves shoppers time by reminding them when nearby stores sell products they want to buy
Booodl, the smart local shopping app, launches today across Australia in time for the holiday season. Booodl is simplifying in-store shopping by letting users find and be reminded about nearby stores selling things they want to buy. Aussies wasted over 68 million hours last Christmas, four hours per person, unsuccessfully searching for stores stocking presents they needed to purchase, according to research commissioned by Booodl.
With over 15,000 stores that can be found at launch, and more than one million products, Booodl is the simplest way to create a Christmas shopping list, find stores that sell those products and be reminded when one is nearby. Booodl works by identifying stores that sell an item the user is looking for -whether vague (‘white sneakers’) or specific (‘White Nike Free Run 5’) – and sending a reminder push notification whenever one is close by. Via startupbeat.com
Watch out for these 6 Southeast Asian startups in 2016
2015 looks to have been another stunning year for Southeast Asian startups. According to Tech in Asia’s database, total venture capital funding from Q3 of 2014 to the same period this year stands at US$1.7 billion – more than double that of 12 months before.
While the region is nowhere near stealing India’s thunder – the country brought in a hefty US$6.4 billion in startup investments – there’s plenty of room for optimism. With the year almost in the rearview mirror, we now look to 2016. Here, we trace six startups that could make a huge impact in Southeast Asia next year, as well as the larger trends they signify. Via techinasia.com
Coming in Cashback Industry News this week
That’s a lot of startup activity in major markets around the world. Later this week, we’ll have a look at the startup and VC scene in Africa and more cashback and e-commerce news from major and developing markets.