Category: Business

Online Stationary Portal Zoffio Is Sold To Shenzen-Based Firm

Zuri Group Global, a known luxury hospitality brand linked with the Karmani family, has forayed into the e-commerce industries in 2012 with the launch of an office supplies portal known as Zoffio.

Zoffio is a vertical business e-commerce platform that offers stationary, paper products, digital products, travel accessories, office utilities, corporate produces and customized products to SMEs and corporates.

Founded on December 1, Zoffio in its 4 year span since has been growing steadily to become India’s leading e-store for office supplies, claiming to have sold more than 3.3 million products in 2015 alone.

But reportedly by Techcircle, Zoffio has ceased its opperations in April this year.

Apparently, the office supplies e-commercial startup has exited the businesses being bought by a Chinese firm in Shenzen. The name of the company and the amount of acquisition was not disclosed.

According to sources, the company had decided to end its operations in February 2016 and was completely shut down by April. The 200 existing Zoffio employees were given a three months of notice period and the management assisted some in finding new jobs. A few of the employees from the admin and technology teams have been retained and absorbed into the Zuri Group.

This decision made by the parent company was due to their inability to raise sufficient external capital to accelerate the growth of the startup as well as their disinterest in pumping more capital which ultimately led to the move to sell the entity.

Having purchased Zoffio, the Shenzhen-based firm is planning to enter India in 2017 with a similar business model.

About Zoffio
Zoffio.com is an e-commerce company based in Bangalore, India which focuses on stationery and office supplies. The firm is a part of Zuri Group Global and is built on the sole aim of organizing the office supplies industry in India, which is otherwise highly unorganized. To date, Zoffio caters to more than 5000 corporates and SMEs for their office needs.

For more information, please visit http://www.zoffio.com/

Snap Inc. May Go IPO At End Of March, 2017

Spectacle came out not too long ago, but recently Snap, previously known as Snapchat, has landed on the headlines again with the rumored news that it is working on IPO.

The revelation was made by a Wall Street Journal report on October 6, saying that Snap is reportedly preparing for an initial public offering that could value the firm at US$25 billion or higher.

Founded in 2011 by Evan Spiegeal and Bobby Murphy, Snapchat’s valuation has grown in the last few years since the company has added advertising and sponsored contents to its messaging services.

The results from this digital advertising strategy was shown in a leaked document by Techcrunch saying that the company could make US$250 million to US$350 million revenue in 2016 while the estimated revenue noted for 2017 would be a whooping amount of US$1 billion.

This explains he IPO valued at US$25 billion which is significantly higher than Snap’s most recent valuation of US$17.81 billion, based on the financing round in May which has raised US$1.81 billion.

Accordingly, the growing social platform which boasts an ownership of 150 million daily active users plans for its IPO to take place as early as late March in 2017.

In response to this, the firm said in an emailed statement on Thursday, saying that “We aren’t commenting on rumors or speculation about any financing plans.”

About Snap
Snap, formerly known as Snapchat Inc, is a camera company that develops Snapchat and Spectacles. Snapchat is a photo messaging app that allows users to take photos, record videos, add text, drawings and filters and send them to recipients which will disappear after viewing. Spectacle, on the other hand, is a video-sharing sunglasses that frees the Snapchat app from smartphone cameras.

For more information, please visit https://www.snapchat.com/

Contact Info
Name: Vivian
Organization: Unicorn Media

Tokyo-Based Toreta Secures US$12 Million In Series

Toreta sets out to solve the dining industry’s biggest problem of customer management. That is by offering a reservation management platform for restaurants. Many have shared its vision as well as the startup concluded its fundraising round with funds 1.2 billion yen (estimated US$12 million).

The startup made its announcement on October 2, 2016, The round was led by Eight Roads Ventures Japan with participation from NTT Docomo Ventures and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital. Four existing shareholders has also participated, that is including Femto Growth Capital, World Innovation Lab (Wil), iSGS Investment Works and Salesforce Ventures.

David Milstein, the Head of Eight Road Ventures Japan has been appointed to join the board as an external director.

Founded in December 2013 and based in Tokyo, the company offers an application of the same name which functions as a reservation and customer management platform for restaurants. Additionally, the system also allows businesses to access services from detailed table and seat management to making online reservations for restaurants.

The business has accumulated more users throughout the years, growing exponentially. On September 2016, Toreta said that it has increasingly acquired more than 7000 restaurants.

“We originally developed our service to solve the problem of managing numerous reservations for extremely busy restaurants but turns out we have acquired many contracts with thriving businesses concentrating on reservations,” says Nakamura, the founder of Toreta in an interview with the Bridge, “We concentrate on the aspects of usability, functionality, and support, we believe that it is through optimizing these aspects in Toreta that has drive businesses and expansions.”

Subsequently, the company aims to use the funds secured this round to enhance their development system and to strengthen their sales and support marketing system.

About Toreta:
Working to become “The Future of Reservation Book”, Toreta is the only reception system available in Japan which acts as a system that facilitates reservation managements for restaurants. From improving the efficiency of seating management to allowing the management of seat inventory at the restaurant side as well as reservations from customers.

For more information, please visit http://en.toreta.in/

Contact Info
Name: Vivian
Organization: Unicorn Media

Japanese Fintech Company Money Forward Raises Another US$11 Million

Although MoneyForward did not find success in the Regional Startup WorldCup held on September 2016, instead this Japanese fintech company has gained success in its series D fundraising, gaining another US$11 million to add to its existing pool of US$13.3 million raised last year.

The funding round was led by Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings and Mizuho Capital. Existing investors, Fenox Venture Capital and Toho Bank also participated in the round with the anticipation that the fund will be used for global expansion.

Founded in May, 2o12, Tokyo-based MoneyForward is a personal financial management and cloud-based accounting software service which aims to make financial management easy for the individual. Its app of the same name includes accounting functions, payroll service, statement collection, expense reporting, financial projections and the ability to send an invoice.

But, what sets it apart from other services offering financial management, local competitors such as Moneytree, Zaim and Freee is that MoneyForward is backed by several financial institutions, that is local banks including North Pacific Bank, Gunma Bank, Fukui Bank, and Shiga Bank. The company also has a deeper pocket compared to its competitors with its total funds from this and previous rounds accumulating up to US$48 million.

The service to date has over 4 million individual users as well as used by 500, 000 businesses in Japan.

According to Founder and CEO, Yosuke Tsuji, the startup is keen to invest in more Asian fintech services and encourage entrepreneurs to make themselves known. The company has already invested in a homegrown machine-learning advisor Money Design.

About MoneyForward:

Fintech startup MoneyForward offers online tools that allow individuals and SMEs to manage their finances and expenses. Users can link their various banking, credit purchase history, and securities account to a cloud-based platform.

For more information, please visit https://moneyforward.com/

Contact Info:
Name: Vivian
Organization: Unicorn Media

Finding Success In The Most Unlikeliest Place – Talking Toes

Spreading positivity with socks, Talking Toes found success in the most unlikeliest of place – yes, a pair of socks. Founded in April 2015, this company was started up by Singaporeans Nison Chan and Lucas Saw as the pair quit their jobs to pursue this startup dream.

The two has now found success with their socks being stocked in 17 stores both locally and worldwide, among which 14 are in Singapore and one international stockist each in South Korea, Myanmar, and San Francisco.

Looking back, founder Nison Chan says that he always had an affinity with socks since he was a teenager, his favorite being an international socks brand called Happy Socks. Since his first pair, his fancy socks collection has grown to now filled up three bags.

Placing what they love to work, the founders said that “Talking Toes aren’t simply socks, they sell inspiration.”

True to that, the pair of socks with vibrant colors and snippets of inspiration printed onto them can lift anyone’s spirit when they put it on and start their day.  Most of the quotes are short, sweet and concise such as “Celebrate Life”, “Be Yourself” and “Dream Big”.

It’s not just that, the socks are also of premium quality, woven from combed cotton, which is different from regular cotton, being finer, stronger and more compact. This material allows the socks to have a gentler and softer feel on the feet while maintaining durability and design quality.

Besides that, seeking to expand their business to more international audiences, Talking Toes has also placed a project on popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter last month. Promoting itself as the world’s first inspirational label, Talking Toes to date, with 20 days to go has already achieved the support of 83 backers and also exceeded its goal of S$3000 with a surplus of $1366.

About Talking Toes
Talking Toes offer premium quality socks with inspirational quotes on them.  It currently has 9 inspiring designs with the most popular being, “Blessed”, “Be Yourself” and “Be Confident”. Their socks can be purchased online or bought from 14 stores in Singapore.

For more information, please visit https://talkingtoes.com.sg/

Contact Info
Name: Vivian
Organization: Unicorn Media

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