Reaching their targeted amount of RM175K (approximately US$40K) within 24 hours of their pitchIN Equity Crowdfunding, public attention has been centred on a Malaysian logistics startup company known as RunningMan.
A platform that offers instant delivery services, RunningMan caters the needs of those that wish to save a trip to their nearby shops or restaurants as with RunningMan riders stationed at strategic points within the coverage area, deliveries are able to be made within an hour.
The startup though launched in May 2015, was however already in play during founders Andrew Chee and Tan Wei Yong’s university days. The idea was Initially borne out of their intention to generate sufficient income to cover student expenses and cater the needs of hungry but busy students in the university.
And as the idea continue to grow and show potential, they decided to nurture it. Making history with their pitchIN Equity Crowdfunding held on August 22nd which has raised funds worth US$40K led by Nexea Angels, BizAngel Network, and WTF Accelerator.
“We are very happy to see that investors believe in us. We may be a young team but we have proven with our results that we have the potential to become a leading player in the on-demand economy,” said Andrew Chee, the Founder and CEO of RunningMan.
Despite moving from food deliveries to full last-mile logistic services or with its user base expanding from 200 to 7000, RunningMan continues to deliver results. To date, they have achieved an averaged 20% monthly growth without going into the red.
Intending to continue their success, Chee further adds that “The funds acquired will be used to build better mobile and IT solutions as well as to expand and cover the full area of Klang Valley to assist consumers and businesses with their delivery and purchasing needs.”
RunningMan serves as an e-commerce platform which allows users to connect to shops located within their vicinity. The application facilitates instant delivery service whereby users can pick their desired products and have runners deliver them straight to the user’s doorstep. The RunningMan delivery team has sent various items ranging from food and groceries to cooking gas and pet supplies as per requested, all typically sent within an hour.
Grab, formerly known as GrabTaxi and the largest company rivaling Uber in Southeast Asia has raised an amount of US$750 million in their Series F investment rounds. The oversubscribed funding was said to be led by Japan’s SoftBank and China’s Didi Kuaidi.
This achievement is quite the milestone for the company which has launched in 2012, as with the closure of this new round of funding, the top ride-hailing app is now at a valuation of US$2.3billion, as reported by TechCrunch, making it the second largest tech company in Southeast Asia, after Garena which was reported to be at US$3.75 billion.
The funds collected will be dedicated to several projects promoting market expansion as well as localized service, an insight that Grab founder and chief executive, Anthony Tan says is the key to consolidate and expand their spot in the Southeast Asia region.
“There is a clear advantage of being local which brought us to form global partnerships that include other local players”, said Anthony in a CNBC interview. “It’s about the reliance on their better understanding of local knowledge and also a way in how we make sure that users stay exclusively on our platform, never having the need to move to another app.”
Thus, looking at Grab’s partnerships with China’s Didi Kuaidi, India’s Ola and U.S.-based Lyf, it is a view that covers a broader market paired with local expertise. In this case, Uber will have to step up its game faced with this intense competition, furthermore aided by this dose of cash injection.
But ultimately, for Grab, the funds will not only be able to strengthen their ability to pursue their long-term goals, of continuing market penetration and leadership but also to construct their startup vision as well, and that is “to drive Southeast Asia transportation forward and transform the region’s mobile internet ecosystem”.
Offering car, motorbike and taxi-hailing services in a total of 31 cities in 6 countries, Grab is an online transportation network and technology company that offers ride-sharing services in the Southeast Asia region which includes countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines.
JoJonomic is an Indonesian startup that got their breakthrough when participating in Google’s launch pad accelerator in January 2016. One of just eight Indonesian companies selected, their expense management software stood out.
Originally designed to help everyday people keep track of the day-to-day expenses by using a smartphone app to digitize receipts, tickets and more, offsetting income against expenses, they have now added business functionality that will allow the app to function effectively as software-as-a-service for businesses.
Streamlining Company Expense Management
The app is designed to streamline the process of reimbursing staff for their expenses. Individuals digitize their receipts and tickets as they normally would through the app, then send a request to the relevant department. Someone at the department then receives a notification, reviews the claim and either approves or refuses the request.
Because everything happens inside one app, it means less can be lost or miscommunicated across multiple emails, software, accounting processes and so on.
Business To Business
The company will continue offering its consumer based expense management system, which can track expenditure and income on behalf of users.
Where they’ll make their money is through their business to business offer, which will help small businesses manage expense claims as effectively and quickly as possible. The business to business application is currently aimed at small businesses, but scalability and enterprise features are reportedly in the pipeline to make the app more attractive to businesses of all sizes.
The company’s customers are currently all in Indonesia, and many of them are start-ups. What they lack in prestige clients they more than make up for in volume: more than forty companies now use the app as their standard expense management system, showing what they have built has proven itself in the open market. Of these, Go-Jek, Lazada, and Kudo are the ones you’ve probably heard of.
While they’re heavily invested in Indonesia right now, the opening of a new office in Singapore is making increasingly likely that the company will be looking to larger international markets for users sooner rather than later. This successful investment is also designed to be used for expansion, making now the time to get on board.
Series A Investors
This funding round was led by Maloekoe Ventures, and has attracted investment from Golden Gate Ventures, Fenox Venture Capital, and East Venture among others. This is likely because, with language support, the basic architecture of software as a service can very easily be adapted for multinational use, meaning the sky is the limit for the product if successful.
Maloekoe Ventures have gone on record saying the product has impressed them, and has their faith moving forward. Themselves a fledgling investment fund, they are sure to have wanted a sure thing to back in their first big play, and that should give people cause for confidence.
Aussie start-up SalesPreso has created the answer to powerpoint that sales teams didn’t know they’ve been waiting for. Its beefed up storytelling and integrated updates mean sales teams can stop labouring over slideshows and focus on closing.
Their latest funding round was led by Sapien Ventures, and raised 1.5 million USD from investors in the financial services and sales sectors, with a view to promoting and marketing the product to a wider audience than ever before.
There are a huge number of differences from powerpoint – perhaps the only similarity is that it is for creating sales decks. This purpose built software promises to be data driven, dynamically importing and interpreting data to present to clients in the most convincing way possible.
Fluid animation, clean design, visual emphasis and interactivity are all prioritized in the app, creating a rich sales environment that will make every business look like a million dollars, every time.
The app is designed to help sales teams become an ‘artistic director’ of their sales pitch instead of the author, researcher, designer and curator. The app will allow companies to generate a flowing storytelling experience by composing their slides from a central resource center of different points, pitches and data.
The app finds its data from customer relationship management systems, BI systems, fulfilment systems and pricing systems. This means if the prices change on a product or service referenced in the presentation, it will automatically update to the latest figures instead of the sales team having to find and change every reference manually.
The app furthermore helps people track how much time is spent on each slide, what slides manage to convert the most, what elements were interacted with and what was shared or copied from the slide.
The company estimate that the app will save sales teams 21 hours a week on pitch management and preparation, creating optimizing effects not just for the results, but for the process too. This double-hit makes the offer twice as compelling for potential customers.
Their current customers are mostly in Australia, but include larg-scale companies REA Group real estate, Australia Post, MYOB, and StarTrack.
They have started to attract American clients, most notably Move, the online property listing site of News Corp.
With this new round of funding secured from strategic investors likely to become a new generation of customers, and the focus being put squarely on advertising, you can expect them to start landing bigger international clients very soon.
ViSenze is a Singapore based start-up looking to change the way we use computer vision. That doesn’t mean Terminator style augmented reality, but rather using your smartphone to change the way you shop.
Their series A funding round raised them a healthy 3.5 Million USD to play with, and the results have been remarkable. Now they’ve bagged an additional $10.5 million, led by Rakuten Ventures, venture capital firm Enspire Capital, and perhaps most excitingly WI Harper Group, which focuses on US-China cross-border investment.
Visual Search Becomes A Reality
Their core product is a visual search and image recognition software that combines computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to finally create a usable image based search function – something Google tired years ago and failed pretty miserably at.
People can use their smartphone to take a picture and find products that match it online.
The app has immediately offered a new and novel approach to retailers, allowing people to take a picture of an item in a magazine, or even just worn by someone in the street, to enable matching and recommendations of products that are available for sale.
Consumer Facing, Business Focused
They have gone on record as saying their focus is business-to-business. They’re not developing an independent, consumer focused app as yet, instead seeing their product as added value for existing retailers and advertisers. But never say never. They are already using huge volumes of user data to optimize their product – who knows what new opportunities they’re identifying in the process.
The company’s RnD department has 30 people already, but the funding will enable them to boost this number to 50. The business end also sounds positive, with a 300% year on year growth reported so far, with CEO Oliver Tan reporting a 20% increase month on month right now.
Motion Picture Search
The company’s most exciting project is integrating their tools into motion picture search. With 25 images a second or more in the typical streaming video, there are some sampling and processing challenges to be overcome, but the potential upside is gargantuan.
The internet is leaning more heavily into video every day, and augmented, unobstrusive, opt-in advertising could be a huge winner for premium streaming services and free sites like YouTube and Vimeo.
The company currently has their sights set on China. This might seem crazy to some, but certainly not to one of their lead investors, who specialize in getting companies into the Chinese and US markets.
Customers and Competition
There are some big names, some small names, and some local names in the game so far. Heavyweights Rakuten are the lead investors as well as the first customers, while Lazada, Asos in the UK and Myntra in India are all on board already. Indian e-commerce store Flipkart is also in the game.
They have heavyweights like Cortexica and Superfish to contend with, both of which appear to have more funding. But the connections and strategy for the Singapore company mean they’re more globally focused than anyone else right now.