Category: Business

Best-Selling Malaysian Author and Facebook Marketing Trainer Marcus Teoh to Speak in the United States

California, US – October 2, 2018 —

Malaysia’s best-selling author and Facebook marketing trainer Marcus Teoh will be attending Southern Illinois University (SIU) Carbondale and University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) to deliver a lecture entitled “Zero Budget Facebook Marketing”.

The talk will highlight contents from his own book “Now or Never” which features a Zero Budget Facebook Marketing (#ZBFM) strategy that Teoh himself has formulated and replicated into many successful Facebook marketing campaigns. “Now or Never” managed to hit the top ten weekly best sellers for an accumulative 21 weeks with not a dime spent on advertising.

#ZBFM helped Teoh, a first-time author, to win one of the greatest English Book awards in Malaysia, the “MPH Bookstore 2017 Top Ten Best Business Nominee”, alongside world-famous billionaires like Sir Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, and Jack Ma. MPH bookstore is Malaysia’s largest and most influential English bookstore chain.

Although he started as an entrepreneur, Teoh soon realized his passion as a speaker and trainer. He is best known in Malaysia for his two flagship training programs “Start a Business with only RM199” and “Zero Budget Facebook Marketing (#ZBFM)”.

On September 26, before heading to the United States, Teoh conducted a full day Facebook Marketing Workshop to a group of entrepreneurs, including a participant who has hearing and speech disability. He shared his knowledge and aspired his guests to start working on their own #ZBFM to success, even with zero or minimum budget.

Marcus Teoh will start off his journey in the States by visiting the Technology, Ecosystem, and Culture (TEC) Immersion Program from September 30th to October 4th. It is an event organized by the Productivity Nexus for Retail and Food & Beverages in partnership with the University of California Berkeley.

36 Malaysian businesspersons will be traveling to four of Silicon Valley’s largest business organizations including Google and Target. Teoh will be taking part in this as a Facebook Marketing Trainer under the food and beverage community known as F&B Connects, which is home to over a hundred food and beverage brands.

This is then followed by presenting a lecture at Forbes’ America’s best startup school SIU Carbondale and his final stop will be another lecture at UMKC.

Teoh is excited about the opportunity to lecture at the top rated Business Schools and share his expertise and insights on Facebook Marketing. The lecture is geared toward all the aspiring entrepreneurs with the drive to market themselves or their businesses without paying for advertising. Teoh is all geared up to inspire, encourage and guide all his guests on the many uses of psychology and hacks on Facebook. This will be the first time “Now or Never” is brought to the United States.

About Marcus Teoh:

As a Facebook Marketing Trainer, Author of “Now or Never”, serial start-up Entrepreneur and former Entrepreneurship Lecturer in a premier university, Marcus Teoh uses his knowledge and experience to inspire and guide aspiring entrepreneurs. Teoh has seen great success with “Now or Never”, as the book has been on the MPH Bookstore’s Top Ten Bestseller List for twenty-one weeks and counting. He is also actively sharing his strategies to help entrepreneurs with a limited budget to excel.

“Your network is your net worth only if you work it” – Marcus Teoh, Facebook Marketing Trainer, Top Selling Author of “Now or Never”

Contact Info:
Name: Marcus Teoh
Organization: Marcus Teoh Global

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Warburg-backed Singapore unicorn Trax targets US$3 billion valuation in next three years

Trax, a computer vision solutions and analytics firm based in Singapore is targeting to reach US$3 billion in valuation over the next three years. It currently stands at nearly US$1 billion.

Its Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Joel Bar-El spoke at DealStreetAsia’s Asia PE-VC Summit 2018, explaining that the valuation target is not far-fetched as the company has already reached the unicorn mark of US$1 billion last month.

So far, Trax has raised an accumulative capital of US$286.7 million across 8 rounds since June 2011, with a notable US$64 million funding round led by American private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

Other backers in the startup also include Chinese private equity firm Boyu Capital and Broad Peak Investment, a hedge fund backed by Singapore’s state investment fund Temasek Holdings.

In fact, Trax reached a valuation of US$1 billion a year after it raised US$64 million in a funding round led by private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

“Warburg Pincus told us to get US$3 billion valuations in three years and we are already one-third of the way out of the three years. That is something we could not have thought of or envisioned to achieve without them pointing the way,” Bar-El said.

Besides, the co-founder also added that the continuous growth of the business is expected to push the company into a billion-dollar revenue firm in the next few years.

“Essentially, growth margins are there,” said Bar-El. “Our growth has been about three digits year-on-year for the past years so we are growing very fast. We are investing back all our profit into the growth of the business and as long as that formula works, profitability will not be an issue.”

The Proprietary Image Recognition Technology

The retail database and analytics platform that Trax produces is one-of-a-kind. It is the only company in the world that has managed to create a working computer vision platform that works in real time at the speed and scale that they are providing, and that is analyzing over a quarter of a billion of images every month.

This helps consumer companies enhance brand awareness and optimize store management by applying image recognition technology, which disrupts the traditional way of measuring and managing inventory.

The startup provides in-store execution, market intelligence, and data science solutions for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and retailers through its computer vision-to-platform, in order to process photos taken in store and deliver granular store-level insights within minutes.

Today, the startup has offices in Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, North America, and South America, and counts brands such as Coca-cola, Heineken, Nestle and Henkel among its clients.

Today, the startup has offices in Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, North America, and South America, and counts brands such as Coca-cola, Heineken, Nestle and Henkel among its clients.

Moving forward, the company looks to first accelerate its growth in China, where it expects backer Boyu Capital that invested in the company last month to make it a unicorn to help open some doors.

“We plan to grow in China so that it generates 25 percent of our revenue in the next three to five years,” said Dror Feldheim. ”I think the Chinese market has huge potential and can be as big as the North American market for Trax.”

On the same note, Bar-El also considers Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the future. It is another milestone but not a goal yet as of present.

Previously, before the company reached unicorn status, Trax had already been looking at exchanges in Australia and Tel Aviv, however the growth of the company over the years could also see itself listing on the United States Exchange Board where most of its customers are based.

“We will do an IPO at some stage but we are currently considering when is the right timing, so there is no specific date or time,” he said.

Interestingly, Trax has not had a single customer in home base Singapore. “We’ve never had a client in Singapore, and we still don’t today. We just happened to be living in Singapore, and it turned out to be the natural place for us to start the business,” said Bar-El.

B2B Online Marketplace Udaan Becomes India’s Fastest Unicron after US$225 Million Series C Funding

The Flipkart Mafia has done it again. While Flipkart had made headlines earlier this year when acquired by Walmart at a US$16 billion deal, Bengaluru-based B2B online marketplace Udaan – founded by former Flipkart employees – has also become India’s latest unicorn.

The startup has recently raised a US$225 million Series C funding round co-led by Russian internet billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST Global and existing investor Lightspeed Venture Partners, which previously led its Series A and Series B funding.

This brings the total aggregated funding to US$285 million, with the startup jumping up to a US$1 billion valuation within just 26 months of its launch. This makes it one of the fastest company in India to reach the unicorn status.

Remarkably, the latest valuation has also seen a surge of almost five times since its last US$50 million Series B funding in February 2018 with its valuation worth only US$200 million.

Unicorns Pick Pace in India

In fact, the year 2018 can rightly be said as the year of unicorns, with as many as six new startups joining the unicorn club in India.

That is apart from Udaan, the remaining startups who reached a US$1 billion valuation in 2018 are BYJU’s, Paytm Mall, Swiggy, PolicyBazaar, and SaaS startup Freshworks.

However it is not just an increasing number of unicorns, Indian startup unicorns are also achieving the status quicker compared to past unicorns.

India’s most valued tech company Flipkart took five years to reach the unicorn status, while delivery app Zomato also garnered its US$1.4 billion valuation in 2017 after nearly 10 years in business.

In comparison, 3D printing company Desktop Metal crossed the threshold at 21 months old while Craiglist competitor Letgo also became a unicorn in just 2 years. Though Udaan also made a record of reaching unicorn status in 26 months, the reason lies in its development.

Udaan’s Growth in the Past 26 Months

Launched in 2016, Udaan is an end-to-end marketplace that connects small- and medium- businesses directly with manufacturers. It runs an online platform for businesses in consumer goods, fashion and electronics, and offer logistic services and loan services.

The startup was founded by three former Flipkart employees – Sujeet Kumar, Amod Malviya, and Vaibhav Gupta – who were previously Flipkart’s President of Operations, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of business finance and analytics.

In ecommerce space, the market opportunity has been huge and Udaan focuses on the wholesale business to retail market sector.

As of February 2018, the startup has accumulated 150,000 in their seller base across 80 cities and delivers to more than 500 cities, with an average order value between INR 6,000 to INR 7,000 (about US$83 to US$97).

As a whole to date, Udaan is hitting revenues of Rs 300 to Rs 400 crore (about US$47.8 to US$55.7 million) every month, which is said to contribute to the five-fold increase on their business valuation in less than a year.

Bejul Somaima, a managing director at Lightspeed India that’s been on the company board since Series A told TechCrunch.

“We have been fortunate to see the company scale very rapidly from close quarters. We’re drawn to the company’s first-principles approach to solving significant problems that are unique in the Indian context.”

That is Udaan helps businesses discover customers, suppliers and products across categories and connect directly with each other for the best deal, in addition to facilitating buying and selling with secure payments and logistics.

Udaan’s Next Phase for Growth

While right now electronics and consumer goods are for sale on the app, Udaan plans to expand into more verticals including industrial goods, home and kitchen, office supplies, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

The newly raised funds are also expected to be utilized for establishing its logistic pieces as it aims to offer first mile and last mile services to its customers, as well as launching their own supply-chain solution, which will involve creating massive warehouses to store inventory.

Where are bike-sharing companies pedaling to?

Following Uber and Didi Chuxing, the sharing economy has moved on to micro-mobility in the shape of bicycle or startups. From Ofo to Mobikes, bicycles have been appearing in massive numbers across cities.

They are trying to serve as an important addition in transiting between infrastructure – a mode of transportation that could be used to cover the so-called first or last mile of any trip, such as the distance from home to the nearest subway station.

Two unicorns have also rapidly emerged from this micro-mobility space: Ofo and HelloBike both having achieved more than a billion-dollar valuation.

But it’s no surprise. After all, there can be no hype without a unicorn. The bike-sharing hype has caught the attention of investors who have poured millions of dollars in capital into the major startups.

Earlier this year, Alibaba put its weight behind Ofo – leading a US$866 million fundraising while its competitor HelloBike also managed to raise US$321 million in June from Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial.

Mobike, on the other hand, was acquired by China’s largest provider of on-demand online services Meituan Dianping for reportedly US$2.7 billion.

Using these funds, bike-sharing services have been ostensibly aiming to democratize access to rental bikes by using technology.

Bikes now become dockless, tagged with GPS chips which enable them to be rented via a mobile app and removing the need for them to be stored in a central location. This makes them hugely convenient and more economical.

At the same time, expansion projects were on the move.

In China alone, Ofo and Mobike were expanding rapidly in a relatively unregulated environment, racing to secure dominance by flooding the streets with their bicycles.

Beyond China, Ofo has also expanded aggressively in 2017, first moving into Singapore, then the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, France and other countries.

As of June 2018, Ofo claimed to have some 15 million bikes in operations in more than 300 cities across 22 countries, as well as 250 million global users.

Putting on the Brakes

However, now Ofo has hit the brakes and in certain cases backpedaling fast.

The Chinese bike-sharing startup has ceased operations in Malaysia last week, about a year since the bike-sharing service expanded into Melaka. Just today, it has ceased operations in Thailand.

They have also laid off employees across the board in North America and is dramatically pulling back its US operations. According to Quartz, Ofo told North American team members that they are going into sleep mode.

“As part of our focus, we have been working towards profitability and this has meant that some markets have had a change in staff priorities and positions,” said Ofo’s spokesperson.

This is a phase to reorganize Ofo’s international market strategy to center their focus on priority countries, which in Asia includes Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan.

At the same time, another bike sharing company oBike also ceased its operations in Singapore last June, leaving users in a lurch with millions of dollars in deposit yet to be returned while the service’s 14,000 bicycles remain strewn across the city.

Sharing Troubles

In cities around the world, bike sharing companies were struggling with theft and vandalism. The influx of undocked bikes from Ofo, as well as funded rivals like Mobike and HelloBike, led to huge graveyards of broken, abandoned bike.

Dockless bikes have also been found on streets, tossed into lakes or even thrown from buildings. Such vandalism has forced Hong Kong-based bike-sharing startup Gobee to retreat from Europe, before shutting down entirely in July.

But more than just vandalism, theft and poorly maintained bikes, the trouble for the bike-sharing company is more than just innovation. It’s about painting the utopian vision of reshaping society to be more caring, cooperative, and trusting.

Unicorns Dominates Exits in 2018 Creating Multi-Year High Record

Amid the startup landscape, unicorns are few and far between.

Just last year, CB Insights worked out the odds of becoming a unicorn – a company with a valuation exceeding $1 billion or more – to be less than 1 percent.

But according to new data from CrunchBase, the odds were beaten when in these last eight months of 2018, a total of 260 unicorns have taken flight with a total cumulative valuation close to US$840 billion.

The year 2018 is quickly diminishing the statistical rarity which spurred Cowboy Ventures Partner Aileen Lee to nickname these successful startups.

If the trend continues, 2018 will be a record-making year for billion-dollar companies.

Then again, with average round sizes closing higher and growth investors being optimistic and keeping the cash flowing into startups, this result is already in the making.

Crunchbase reporter Joanna Glaser said, ”In the first seven months of 2018, investors had put $73 billion into rounds for private venture-backed companies valued at US$1 billion or more.”

That by comparison, is already at three-quarters of the total for the whole of 2017, which was last counted at $98 billion.

This all adds up to enormous numbers, whereby startups like Uber or Didi Chuxing reaches an impressive valuation of over US$55 billion.

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