Cashback News – Dec 7: Where’s the VC money? Insurance tech here, fin-tech there and investing everywhere

Cashback News – Dec 7: Where’s the VC money? Insurance tech here, fin-tech there and investing everywhere

- in Research, Slider, VC, Mergers, Acquisitions
Global VC investment in e-commerce

Global VC capitalVCs are investing in cashback and e-commerce investments around the world. India’s growth and potential have VCs pouring money into every segment of online business from cashback and e-commerce to food, travel and logistics. China remains interesting because of the size of its market and the high penetration of mobile with its consumers. Southeast Asia has potential and the Latin American markets are attracting the brave and the early VCs. Here’s a round-up of recent VC investments to illustrate where the early money is going in cashback and e-commerce.

Tech crunch interviews Hans Tung, managing partner of GGV Capital, about the China ecommerce market, his company’s investments and the growth of cross-border commerce in China. New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global raised $2.5 billion for new investments expected to continue in Asia. Singapore beauty booking service Vanitee gets another $3.5 million for expansion of services across SE Asia. US financial payments company Boku is providing the platform for Apple payments services offered by Beeline a telecom in Russia.

German mobile bank startup Number26 expands its new mobile-only bank in six new EU countries – France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia and Spain.  In Malaysia, iprice opened JUICEOnline coupons portal, via a new partnership with REV Asia. In the first nine months of 2015, investors have poured more than $2.1 billion into insurance tech companies globally. That’s more than three times the $700 million invested in 2014 according to CB Insights. Our favorite folks at CB Insights also put together a fascinating periodic table of 139 tech companies in Israel where there’s lots happening. Finally, we wrap up our global roundup with CB Insights‘ research showing financial tech VC investments around the world exceed $5 billion and are up five times over last year in Asia alone.

While there are a few wringing their hands about another tech bubble, there still seems plenty of VC money to go around the globe.

GGV Capital’s Hans Tung On Why China Is So Crucial For Tech Crunch interviews Hans Tung, Managing Partner at GGV Capital, about the China ecommerce market at TC Beijing 2015. He talks about his view of China’s potential, the burgeoning consumer/ecommerce marketplace and GGV Capital’s investment focus in China. He expands on “cross border ecommerce” and how leading Chinese companies such as Wish Shopping, Wish Local, Geek Smarter, Cute Beauty Shops, Mama, Wish for Merchants and more are selling into the US, Europe and Latin America.

Tung says these Chinese innovators are “doing what Amazon and eBay should be doing” in global markets. Another investment is in Red, a Shanghai company selling US and other global brand products into China. The business model depends on influencers and customer word-of-mouth recommendations to appeal to potential buyers on the mobile platform.

He also talks about WeChat becoming the biggest all round apps\ for doing many things important to the average consumer. As an example, you can send money instantly to a friend via your smartphone. “You’re going to see other apps in China offer some other kinds of offerings meeting needs using mobile solutions.” He added, “10 years ago there was no e-commerce in China. Now 14% of retail happens online. In the US it’s only 7% and in Japan 3%. It’s possible in the next five years, one-third of all transactions will happen online, on mobile.” Via

Tiger Global Closes $2.5 Billion More To Continue Its Startup Investment Spree looks to be an auspicious month for power investor Tiger Global. The New York-based hedge fund raised $2.5 billion for new deals back in November 2014, and now, after a spending spree that has seen it put more than $1 billion into over 50 companies in 2015 alone, a regulatory filing shows that the firm reloaded its coffers with $2.5 billion in capital on November 30.

The ever-secretive Tiger Global — which doesn’t even operate a website — had its plans for last year’s fundraising leaked out, but this year’s cash allocation is less clear. We contacted the firm for information about its plans, but had not received a reply at the time of writing. (We don’t expect to, either.) This year has been a notable one for Tiger Global in a few ways. It lost two top executives earlier this year, leaving Lee Fixel as the sole head of its private equity business. Noteworthy, too, has been the PE fund’s push into India under the tutelage of Fixel.  Via

Vanitee Lands $3.5M To Expand Its Beauty Booking Service Across Asia, a six-month-old Singapore-based startup that provides a marketplace to connect beauty practitioners with customers, has raised $3.5 million as it prepares to expand its service across Asia. The round was raised across in two lumps. Initially, Southeast Asia-based beauty seller Luxasia and Robert Yap, head of logistics firm YCH, agreed to investment around $1.4 million, but subsequent contributors led by from serial investor Ivan Lee and Japanese beauty portal @cosme raised the round. Interestingly, a filing with Singapore’s ACRA shows that Garena — a billion dollar tech firm covering payments, games and e-commerce — also partook in Vanitee’s round.

Vanitee’s origins come from the beauty box scene. Back in early 2012, Douglas Gan — a Singaporean entrepreneur behind ShowNearby, bought by Yellow Pages back in 2010, and other projects — was a co-founder who started Vanity Trove, a service that let users receive a monthly pack of beauty products for a fixed fee. The company subsequently hoovered up a cluster of rivals — including Rocket Internet-backed Glossybox Taiwan — in a six deal acquisition spree. Via

Apple Makes a Beeline for Carrier Billing in Emerging Markets, Starting With Russia

Beeline RussiaWhen Apple quietly turned on carrier billing in iTunes in Germany last month, we said emerging markets could be the company’s biggest opportunity and target for the facility, which lets consumers charge things like app payments and music purchases to their mobile account instead of credit or debit cards. Now this looks like what Apple is doing. Yesterday, it was flagged to us that Beeline, a mobile carrier in Russia, quietly turned on the ability to make payments in iTunes through their billing system.

You can look at how the options look in the screenshots, created in English. As you can see, in Russia you are given the option of linking up cards to your account, or you can link your mobile phone. Clicking on the mobile phone option offers the message that you can activate payments this way if you are a Beeline customer. This, in turn, will mean that you are either charged to your monthly bill, or payments are deducted from your topped-up, pay-as-you-go account. A source close to Boku has confirmed that the US-based startup is providing the mechanics behind this as Apple’s partner.  Via

Number26 Launches Its Bank of the Future in 6 New EU Countries you don’t like your current bank, Number26 is here for you. The German startup has been trying to reinvent the average banking experience in Germany and Austria. It is now expanding to six new European countries — France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia and Spain.

Anybody who lives in one of these countries can now open a bank account in 8 minutes by downloading the iOS or Android app. I tried opening an account and it was pretty accurate. I didn’t have to leave my home, or send any document. Instead, you just need to make a video phone call and show your passport to a representative. After that, you can transfer money to your bank account and you’ll receive a MasterCard. Number26’s banking partner (Wirecard Bank) actually holds the money and holds a German banking license — your money is safe. Via

Malaysia: iprice launches JUICEOnline coupons portal, via partnership with REV Asia Asia Venture Group-backed iprice group has launched the coupons and promotions portal as part of its exclusive partnership with Bursa Malaysia-listed REV Asia.

Under the partnership, signed early last month, iprice will maintain dedicated deals services on four of REV Asia’s leading web properties, namely,, and iprice is Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce affiliate network, which has partnerships with other e-commerce platforms like Lazada and Zalora…. The new portal will focus on delivering targeted deals and coupons from the fashion, electronics, home & living and travel categories. iprice will be responsible for developing and maintaining the portal, and will keep it updated daily. Via

Funding to Global Insurance Tech Startups Jumps to Record $2.4B in First 9 Months of 2015 are pouring billions of dollars into startups aiming to give the insurance industry a tech makeover. In 2014, tech companies targeting the insurance space took less than $700M in funding. In just the first nine months of 2015, insurance tech startups have attracted more than three times as much funding, according to CB Insights data.

Insurance tech’s largest quarter by far was Q2’15, spiked by online benefits software and brokerage Zenefits‘ $500M Series C led by Fidelity and TPG, as well as a massive $931M financing by Chinese online insurance seller Zhong An Insurance. Excluding these two mega-financings, insurance tech funding clocks in at $354M for the quarter. In Q3’15, deal activity into insurance tech startups matched a quarterly high set in Q2’15 at 26 deals, while funding finished the quarter at $454M. Via

The Periodic Table Of Israeli Tech has emerged as one the world’s key tech hubs in recent years, with notable exits in Mobileye, Intucell, and many more.

To visualize the depth and breadth of Israel’s tech scene, we used CB Insights data and analytics to create the Periodic Table of Israeli tech. The table below covers venture capital investors, accelerators, and angel investors. It also lists funded companies in select industry categories that are particularly prominent in Israel, along with notable exits of Israeli companies.

The 139 companies and investors on the table were pulled from analysis using CB Insights data around funding, company momentum, and active investments in the space. Via

Fin Tech Funding Approaches $5B In Q3’15, Asia Skyrockets 5X In 2015 into VC-backed fin tech companies has skyrocketed over the past four quarters, reaching an all-time funding high of $4.85B in Q3’15, and matching a deal count high of 147 deals previously set in Q1’15. The large funding total was buoyed by $500M+ financings to Social Finance ($1B, Series E) and One97 Communications ($680M, Corporate Minority). Overall there were eight $100M+ financings to VC-backed fin tech companies in Q3’15.

While North America continues to account for the bulk of the funding to VC-backed fin tech companies, 2015 will be the first year where three continents will see $1B+ in total funding in the space. Asia, Europe, and North America have all surpassed 2014′s totals with over a month left in 2015. Asia has seen the largest explosion in funding with nearly $3.3B in funding thus far this year across 102 deals, the first time another continent besides North America will see 100+ deals in a single year. Via

What’s ahead in the Cashback Industry News?

Got a better picture of where the money in cashback and e-commerce is going now? We hope we’ve answered part of that question and given you some insight into VC money in developing markets and new technologies. Later this week we’ll be taking a look at some of the innovative new tech and e-commerce startups as well as an update on this year’s holiday shopping sales. Stay tuned and do subscribe if you’d like the convenience of Monday to Friday morning updates in your email.

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