Category: Business

Indian Logistics Tech Platform Becomes India’s 106th Unicorn After Raising $33.5 Million

Logistic enablement platform Shiprocket raised $32.6 million in the latest funding round from returning investors. The funding round was co-led by Singapore’s Temasek and Lightrock India. 

The firm was valued at around $1.2 billion with a fresh round of funding, joining India’s exclusive club of unicorn companies. Other investors that also joined the round include Bertelsmann, Moore Strategic Ventures, March Venture Capital, Huddle Collective, and Paypal. 

Publicly-listed food technology major Zomato, however, which had led the previous round of funding at Shiprocket in December 2021 did not participate in the latest funding round. 

The fresh funds will help Shiprocket extend its operating system by building newer software and intelligence products along with deepening its capability in the fulfillment and same-day delivery experience. 

Saahil Goel, CEO and Co-founder of Shiprocket said “This investment will help accelerate our roadmap and will also help us bring world-class e-commerce experiences to every direct commerce retailer in India.” 

Shiprocket was founded in 2017 by Saahil Goel, Gautam Kapoor, and Vinesh Khurana, the company then elevated its Chief Business Officer Akshay Ghulati to the post of Co-founder in 2020. The company currently delivers packets to more than 66 million consumers annually and is growing 3 times year on year. 

Since its latest funding round, Shiprocket has made five acquisitions, including cargo shipping business Rocketbox, supply chain management solution Glaucus, marketing automation platform Wigzo, logistics aggregator Pickrr, and Arvin Internet’s retail enablement business, Omuni.

Chinese Firm Raises $110 Million In A Funding Round Led By SoftBank And Sequoia

China-headquartered e-commerce SaaS platform Dianxiaomi has raised $110-million in Series D funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Sequoia China. The funding round also participation from Tiger Global Management, GGV Capital, and Huaxing Growth Capital. 

The Series D funding brings the company’s total funding for the year 2022 to $210-million. The company plans to use the fresh funds to expand its overseas market, specifically to expand its overseas team and strengthen its international business. 

In a statement by Dianxiaomi founder and CEO Du Jianyin he said, “after this round of funding, we will accelerate our strategic planning for Dianxiaomi’s international expansion, to truly make e-commerce more efficient.” 

The firm, founded by Du Jianyin in 2014, specializes in enabling merchants, including small and medium enterprises, to set up their online stores and connect them to global e-commerce platforms with its core enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. The company works with global clients and Chinese brands looking to expand abroad. Additionally, the company has an annual transaction volume of orders exceeding 350-billion yuan ($51.6-billion). 

“We have always believed that products are the best way to test the market. In the past two years, the cross-border e-commerce industry has experienced different cycles, and the movement of the market has validated our strategy,” said Du Jianyin. 

Today, the platform has over 1.5-million global users and partners with more than 50 leading e-commerce platforms. The company has over 1600 high-quality logistics providers and over 80 overseas warehouses. With services provided by the company, global e-commerce sellers can now do business with just a laptop and Dianxiaomi’s services.

The company’s core solution is a diversified product matrix focusing on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). While the company’s other products include SellFox, an e-commerce ERP for Amazon sellers, and BigSeller and UpSeller, e-commerce ERPs for local sellers in Southeast Asia and Latin America. 

SoftBank Investment Advisers managing partner Kentaro Matsui stated, “Dianxiaomi’s ability to standardize the merchant experience by streamlining 36 global e-commerce platforms has given them a real competitive edge.” 

Softbank Warns Of Longer Startup Winter Due To Unicorn Founders Unwilling To Cut Valuations

Softbank Group has recently reported a quarterly loss of more than $23 billion. The company said this net loss in the June quarter “was recorded mainly due to the monetization of investments in public portfolio companies.” As a result, this may cause a longer funding winter for startups. 

Masayoshi Son, the founder and chief executive of SoftBank Group, is due to the unicorn founder’s unwillingness to accept lower valuation in fresh funding deliberation. This assertion has led the 64-year-old executive, whose Vision Funds have backed over 470 startups globally in the past six years, to believe that the “funding winter” may last longer for unlisted companies. 

Masayoshi said unicorn leaders “still believe in their valuations, and they wouldn’t accept that they may have to see their valuations go lower than they think.” The 64-year-old executive also stated that the winter for publicly-listed companies is continuing, but a similar downturn for startups may last longer.” 

Startups worldwide are facing a sharp crunch in funding as investors grow cautious about the market conditions – despite increasing, startups are raising record amounts of funds in recent months. Klarna, a SoftBank-backed firm, raised $800 million in new financing round that valued the firm at $6.7 billion, down from $45.6 billion a year ago. In another case, Stripe, one of the world’s most valuable startups, cut its valuation by 28% in an internal assessment. 

The founder of SoftBank Group, about the market conditions, said that “Now seems like the perfect time to invest when the stock market is down so much, and I have the urge to do so, but if I act on it, we could suffer a blow that would be irreversible, and that is unacceptable.”

Comparing the company’s last year’s investment profile to the current year, SoftBank invested $600 million in the quarter that ended in June, down from $20.6 billion during the same period a year ago. The company has also reduced the size of its check, taking only 5% to 10% ownership in firms it backs. 

Other high-profile investors, including, Sequoia, Lightspeed, and Y Combinator, have advised their portfolio founders to “plan for the worst” and accelerate any fundraising deliberation if the runway isn’t long enough. 

The quarterly loss is the company’s biggest. Masayoshi Son expressed his remorse, stating, “When we were turning out big profits, I became somewhat delirious, and looking back at myself now. I am quite embarrassed and remorseful.”

Xpressbees Raise $24.6 Million From Avendus’ Future Leaders Fund II

India-based Logistics unicorn Xpressbees has secured $24.6-million as a secondary investment from Avendus’ fund, Avendus Future Leaders Fund II. 

Before this latest development, Xpressbees’ parent company Busybees Logistics Solutions, reported a 33% growth in its operating revenue and narrowed the company’s losses by 36% in the financial year 2020-2021. 

Amitava Saha, the founder of Xpressbee stated that, “We are excited to partner with Avendus at this stage as we continue our journey to become a leading end-to-end logistics player. We have built a valuable brand and believe this announcement is a great testament to the opportunity that exists in the logistics space.”

The company was founded by Amitava Saha and Supam Maheshwari in 2015; Xpressbees is a spin-off of a children-focused e-commerce marketplace FirstCry. 

The company claims to be managing 100hubs across the country, having more than 10 Lakh square feet warehouse capacity. 

Xpressbees currently operates in 3000 Indian cities, the logistics start-up delivers more than 1.5-million packages per day. 

In February this year, Xpressbees joined attained its unicorn status after raising $300-million in its Series F funding round at a post-money valuation of $1.2-billion. 

Regarding the funds raised, Ritesh Chandra, the managing partner at Aventus Future Leaders Fund, said that “ Xpressbees, with its asset-light franchise model coupled with cutting-edge technology deployment across all its functions, is all set to occupy a leading position in the logistics landscape in India. Avendus is truly excited to partner with them in this journey of value creation.” 

Avendus Future Leaders Fund II was founded in 2021 to manage an asset under management (AUM) of nearly INR 1500 Cr (approximately $190-million). Its portfolio companies include Lenskart, SBI General Insurance, Licious, Juspay, Zeta, etc. 

Xpressbees competes with the likes of a listed logistic startups such as Delhivery and IPO-bound startup Ecom Express. 

 

Malaysia-based TNG Digital Raises $168.3-Million From The Latest Equity Funding Round

Touch ‘n Go Group announced today that TNG Digital Sdn Bhd that the latest equity funding round has resulted in a fresh injection of  RM750-million ($168.3-million) into TNG Digital. 

In a statement on Monday, TNG said the funding round was led by new investment in TNG Digital, the Lazada group, and a follow-on investment by TNG Digital’s current shareholder and parent company, Touch ‘n Go Sdn Bhd. 

According to the company, the latest investment solidifies the collaboration between key segment leaders in e-commerce and digital financial services and payments. Additionally, Touch ‘n Go group CEO Effendy Shahul Hamid said this collaboration would bring next-level value propositions to users and merchant bases across the Lazada and Touch ‘n Go ecosystem. 

A statement by Effendy today said, “The funding round also sets us up nicely for our next phase of growth. We will continue to expand in all areas of digital financial services and ensure that our user base is served in an innovative and inclusive manner.” 

Meanwhile, Alan Chan – CEO of Lazada Malaysia, stated that he sees digital payment services as a critical bolt-on to bring the best customer experience to its online shopping platform. 

He went on to state that “Lazada is fully committed to providing seamless customer journey, as well as being a catalyst to stimulate capacity building among our sellers, primarily local SME and MSME. Our long-standing partnership with Touch ‘n Go eWallet has served our customers well, allowing buyers to check out easily and quickly. Today’s announcement fortifies that partnership, and we are excited by the prospects it presents for both our companies.” 

The latest funding round brought the total amount raised by TNG Digital in the last 18 months to over RM1-billion. Most notably, in August 2021, TNG Digital received around RM312-million of investment from AIA Malaysia and a US-based private equity firm BowWave Capital. According to a report by The Edge in April, the investment resulted in a 3.76% and 7.52% stake in TNG Digital for both companies, respectively.

TNG eWallet has been accepted as one of the payment methods in Lazada since 2019, showing the long-standing relationship between the company and the e-commerce platform. 

Besides being an eWallet, TNG Digital is currently the primary payment channel for RFID payments for toll and petrol purchases. Recently, they have also introduced a new TNG Card with NFC, which allows seamless top-ups directly from the eWallet using an NFC-enabled smartphone. 

The company is also looking to expand into the fintech game by introducing Go+ and GoInvest investment products and GoPinjam personal loans. 

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