Ola raises $50M at a $4.3B valuation from two Chinese funds

Ola, the arch-rival of Uber in India, has raised $50 million at a valuation of about $4.3 billion from Sailing Capital, a Hong Kong-based private equity firm, and the China-Eurasian Economic Cooperation Fund (CEECF), a state-backed Chinese fund. The funding was disclosed in regulatory documents sourced by Paper.vc and reviewed by Indian financial publication Mint. According to Mint, Sailing Capital and CEECF will hold a combined stake of more than 1% in Ola . An Ola spokesperson said the company has no comment. Ola’s last funding announcement was in October, when it raised $1.1 billion (its largest funding round to date) from Tencent and returning investor SoftBank Group. Ola also said it planned to raise an additional $1 billion from other investors that would take the round’s final amount to about $2.1 billion. At the time, a source with knowledge of the deal told TechCrunch
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Deliveroo will enter Taiwan, its fourth market in the Asia-Pacific so far

Food delivery service Deliveroo is making headway in its Asian expansion strategy. The London-based company announced today that it will launch in Taiwan in the coming weeks, starting with Taipei, the country’s capital, before heading to other cities. This marks Deliveroo’s fourth market in the Asia-Pacific region (the others are Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore) and is also a launch with personal significance for founder and CEO Will Shu, whose family is Taiwanese. In a press statement, Shu said “Our launch in Taiwan is also a personal milestone for me, my parents were born in Taiwan and much of my family still lives in Taipei. Taiwan is the market with my favourite food in the world—my personal favourite is a big bowl of 牛肉麵 [beef noodle soup] and a huge piece of 炸雞排 [fried chicken]. From a personal standpoint, It’s an amazing feeling to launch Deliveroo in Taiwan.” Once
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Alibaba goes big on Russia with joint venture focused on gaming, shopping and more

Alibaba is doubling down on Russia after the Chinese e-commerce giant launched a joint venture with one of the country’s leading internet companies. Russia is said to have over 70 million internet users, around half of its population, with countless more attracted from Russian-speaking neighboring countries. The numbers are projected to rise as, like in many parts of the world, the growth of smartphones brings more people online. Now Alibaba is moving in to ensure it is well placed to take advantage. Mail.ru, the Russia firm that offers a range of internet services including social media, email and food delivery to 100 million registered users, has teamed up with Alibaba to launch AliExpress Russia, a JV that they hope will function as a “one-stop destination” for communication, social media, shopping and games. Mail.ru backer MegaFon, a telecom firm, and the country’s sovereign wealth fund RDIF (Russian Direct Investment Fund)
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Southeast Asia’s Fave raises $20M and adds mystery strategic investor from China

So you thought group-buying was dead?! Not in Southeast Asia where Fave, a company that aims to connect local merchants with customers using discount sales, has closed a $20 million Series B round as it explores expansion opportunities. The startup began as fitness subscription service KFit, but it pivoted group-buying and coupons after it acquired Groupon’s businesses in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. KFit continues to run, but the Groupon deal saw Fave CEO Joel Neoh return to the e-commerce space — Neoh previously started Malaysia-based GroupsMore which Groupon acquired within months of launch. He then went on to lead Groupon’s operations in Asia before leaving to start KFit in 2015. Fellow KFit/Fave co-founder Yeoh Chen Chow also spent time with Groupon as its regional operations director in APAC. Groupon said that its new round was led by existing backers Sequoia India, SIG Asia Investment and Ventura Capital, although Neoh told
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The Amazonization of Whole Foods, one year in

Amazon promised to breathe new tech into the relationship with Whole Foods after putting a $13.7 billion ring on it one year ago. So how did that promise shake out? At the time, Amazon said the goal was to make “high-quality, natural and organic food affordable for everyone.” Bananas, avocados and even tilapia was going to be cheaper than before. Prime members would receive increased benefits with discount rewards and Amazon drones would be delivering packages right to your door. Okay, that last bit was not promised — though we’re not the first to speculate on that possibility in the future. A bunch of other Amazon offerings involving delivery options were also mentioned, including the getting of Whole Food groceries through a then new Amazon Fresh grocery delivery program and Whole Foods private label products would be made available through Prime Now and Prime Pantry. Further, Amazon lockers
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Another food delivery startup, Foodsby, rakes in venture capital funding

Venture capitalists are still hungry for food delivery startups. Foodsby, the provider of a lunch delivery service based out of Minneapolis, has raised a $13.5 million Series B led by Piper Jaffray Merchant Banking. Greycroft Partners, Corazon Capital and Rally Ventures also participated. With the new capital, Foodsby plans to expand to 15 to 25 new markets. The round brings Foodsby’s total raised to $21 million. “We have established a successful model for new market entry with a tried and true combination of talent and technology,” Foodsby founder and CEO Ben Cattoor said in a statement. “We look forward to building on our early successes and learnings to deliver continued growth for our investors and our team.” Founded in 2012, the company connects employees in office buildings in 15 cities with local restaurants. How it works: A hungry worker uses Foodsby to pre-order a meal from a
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DoorDash raises another $250M, nearly triples valuation to $4B

Food delivery startup DoorDash announced this afternoon that it has raised $250 million, just five months since the company announced a $535 million round. Why raise more money so soon? CEO Tony Xu told Axios that he wasn’t actively looking for additional investment, but was open to investor interest because it could help the company expand more quickly. (Maybe he’ll have more to say about those plans at Disrupt SF next month.) The new funding was led by Coatue Management and DST Global. It sounds like the terms were pretty appealing too, with the valuation growing from $1.4 billion to $4 billion. In a blog post, the company said it’s had a good 2018, with deliveries increasing 250 percent year-over-year, restaurant chains like Chipotle and IHOP signing up and last week’s launch of the DashPass subscription service, where you can pay $9.99 per month to get
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China’s Didi pumps $1B into its rebranded driver services business

Didi Chuxing is going pedal to the metal for its automobile services business after it announced it will invest $1 billion into the division, which is also getting a rebrand. The Chinese ride-hailing firm had been tipped to spin out the business and raise $1.5 billion from investors ahead of an IPO, according to a recent Reuters report. The business itself hasn’t spun out, however, but it has been renamed to Xiaoju Automobile Solutions and given more autonomy with the introduction of its own general manager. The division handles services for registered Didi drivers, such as leasing and purchase financing, insurance, repairs, refueling, car-sharing and more. Essentially, with its huge army of drivers, Didi can get preferential rates from service providers, which means better deals for its drivers. That, in turn, is helpful for recruiting new drivers and growing the business. (Didi claims to support 30 million drivers, but that covers food delivery as
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Glovo gets $134M to beef up its on-demand delivery business

Spanish startup Glovo, whose platform lets app users summon a gig economy worker to shop on their behalf, be it for a takeaway burger or a multi-bag supermarket shop, has bagged a €115 million (~$134M) Series C round of funding. Spanish press are reporting the round values Glovo’s business at more than €300M. The lead investors in the Series C are Rakuten, Seaya and Cathay, which had also invested in its Series B. Also investing is AmRest — a publicly listed restaurant operator in Central Europe — as well as European funds Idinvest Partners and GR Capital, plus some other minor investments. AmRest controls more than 1,650 restaurants in more than 16 countries — with brands such as KFC, La Tagliatella, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Burger King, Blue Frog and KABB under its belt. So the strategic opportunities it’s spying to ply fast food fans with on-demand food at
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Indian food delivery startup Swiggy raises $210M at a $1.3B valuation

India’s food delivery race is hotting up after Swiggy, one of the startups vying for pole position, landed $210 million in new capital for expansion and joined the billion-dollar startup unicorn club. The investment is led by existing backer Naspers, the media conglomerate famous for an early bet on Tencent in China, and new investor DST Global. Others taking part in the round include returning investor China’s Meituan Dianping and (another new investor) Coatue Management. The deal takes Swiggy’s valuation past the $1 billion mark for the first, with sources close to the company confirming that the deal values the company at around $1.3 billion. That’s perhaps not a tonne of surprise around today’s announcement since it has been rumored in Indian press for some time, with Economic Times first reporting on it in April. This Series G investment comes just months after Naspers and Meituan Dianping invested $100
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Deliveroo fattens its market presence by opening to restaurants that do deliveries

Restaurant food delivery startup Deliveroo is taking the next logical step to expand its business by opening up to restaurants that have their own delivery fleets — thereby also expanding the food choices it can offer its couch-loving users. Next month the company will launch the new service, called Marketplace+, in seven of its markets — onboarding restaurants that do their own food deliveries to its platform, and offering them the ability to tap into Deliveroo’s network of riders to extend their delivery services and support faster delivery times if they choose (it says restaurants will be able to “choose for themselves how best to offer delivery” but the impact on, for example, existing delivery fleet staff employed by larger food chains remains to be seen). Commenting on the launch in a statement, Deliveroo CEO and co-founder Will Shu said: “Today we are unveiling the next big step in
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Ride-hailing firm Grab launches new venture to back startups in Southeast Asia

Grab, the ride-hailing firm that acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia business, is aiming to catalyze the early-stage startup scene in Southeast Asia after it launched an accelerator and investment unit called Grab Ventures. The six-year-old company has already made investments and acquisitions — backing startups like Drive.ai and buying Indonesia’s Kudo and India-based iKaaz — and Grab Ventures will build on that by making 8-10 investments over the coming 24 month period, but it is also offering different kind of support. The firm will offer an accelerator program for “growth-stage” companies and play a hand incubating new services inside Grab, according to Chris Yeo, Head of Grab Ventures. That accelerator effort — called ‘Velocity’ — will launch its first intake before the end of the year with around four to six companies per batch. “It’s time for us to reflect on the tremendous support we’ve seen over the years and give
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Food delivery’s untapped opportunity

Investors may have already placed their orders in the consumer food delivery space, but there’s still a missing recipe for solving the over $250 billion business-to-business foodservice distribution problem that’s begging for venture firms to put more cooks in the kitchen.  Stock prices for Sysco and US Foods, the two largest food distributors, are up by over 20% since last summer when Amazon bought Whole Foods. But, these companies haven’t made any material changes to their business model to counteract the threat of Amazon. I know a thing or two about the food services industry and the need for a B2B marketplace in an industry ripe with all of our favorite buzz words: fragmentation, last mile logistics and a lack of pricing transparency.

The business-to-business food
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South African tech and media conglomerate Naspers made $2.2 billion from Flipkart sale

Naspers, the South African tech and media conglomerate, continues to have an incredibly hot hand when it comes to global tech investment. Famous for owning a huge chunk of the Chinese Internet powerhouse, Tencent and a big chunk of Mail.ruNaspers just made $2.2 billion off of the sale of Flipkart to Walmart The South African company had an 11.18% stake in Flipkart and the sale represents an IRR of 32%, the company said. Naspers originally backed Flipkart five years after the company’s launch in 2007 and had invested roughly $616 million into the company since that time. Naspers said that proceeds from the sale of Flipkart would be funneled back into the company’s balance sheet to fuel the growth of the company’s own classifieds, online food delivery, and fintech businesses globally. With Flipkart out of the portfolio, Naspers still holds a huge chunk
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Domino’s will now deliver to 150,000 parks, pools and other non-traditional locations

Domino’s will now deliver your pizza to the beach – well, sort of! Or the park, the sports field, that one gas station down the road, or some notable landmark in your city where it will be easy for your delivery driver to find you, among other places. The company announced today the launch of over 150,000 “Domino’s Hotspots,” which are locations that don’t have a traditional delivery address, like a home or business address. Instead, hotspots are just places where customers can meet up with their driver to accept a delivery order, when they’re not at home or work. But while the headlines proclaim Domino’s is coming to you at the beach or park, don’t expect the delivery driver to traipse across the hot sand to your towel or down a walking path into the woods – there are limits to how off-the-grid these deliveries will go. Instead, “beach”
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YC alum Dahmakan, a Kuala Lumpur-based food delivery startup, acquires Polpa to expand into Thailand

Dahmakan, a vertically-integrated Malaysian meal delivery startup, announced today that it has acquired Polpa to enter Bangkok. Dahmakan was the first Malaysian startup to participate in Y Combinator and recently received a $2.6 million round of funding earmarked for its expansion into new markets. The company, which was launched in 2015 by former Rocket Internet executives, says it now delivers tens of thousands of meals each month in Kuala Lumpur, where it is based, and Bangkok. Co-founder and chief executive officer Jonathan Weins told TechCrunch that Dahmakan plans to venture into other Southeast Asian markets first, including Jakarta, Singapore, Hong Kong and Manila, before tackling East Asian countries like Japan and Korea. Polpa was founded in 2014 by Julian Timings and Prongfa Uennatornaranggoon, who will join Dahmakan’s team. Polpa will continue to operate under its own brand in Bangkok. “Polpa has incredible founders and we have been in
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Square has acquired a 32-year-old restaurant delivery company

 Square has acquired Entrees On-Trays, a 32-year-old restaurant delivery platform. The plan is to expand the footprint of its on-demand food delivery service, Caviar, in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area. There were a few factors Square took into consideration in its acquisition of Entrees On-Trays, Caviar product lead Gokul Rajaram told TechCrunch via email. For one, the acquisition is designed… Read More

Robomart is the latest startup to try and unseat the local convenience store

 The startup assault on the humble neighborhood store continues to intensify. First came Bodega, the terribly named, and mostly misguided startup with its mission to bring the non-perishable necessities available at the corner store to the masses and “disrupt” the corner store. Now there’s Robomart, which wants to bring the groceries, baked goods and prepared foods of the… Read More

Malaysia’s Dahmakan chows down $2.6M for its end-to-end food delivery service

 Dahmakan, a food delivery startup from Malaysia that graduated Y Combinator last year, has raised $2.6 million as it begins to explore the potential to expand its business across Southeast Asia. The startup distinguishes itself from the likes of FoodPanda and Deliveroo with an “end-to-end” approach to food, that’s to say that it cooks all dishes itself and dispatches them… Read More

Uber rival Ola buys Foodpanda India to get into food deliveries

 Ola, the Uber rival in India, is entering the food delivery space after it announced a deal to acquire Foodpanda’s India business from its parent company DeliveryHero. The deal will see Ola scoop up the Foodpanda India business with DeliveryHero taking an undisclosed amount of Ola stock in exchange. Undisclosed all-stock deals are usually indicative of a willingness to sell, and we… Read More