Category: e-commerce

June 7, 2019 Off

FedEx ends express delivery contract with Amazon

By Jill T Frey

FedEx will not renew a contract with Amazon to provide express delivery for the e-commerce giant’s packages in the United States.

FedEx, which made the announcement Friday, said in a statement the change would not affect other existing contracts with Amazon or international services. FedEx Express only impacts air services. FedEx will still serve as a carrier for Amazon for last-mile deliveries.

Amazon said in a statement that it respects FedEx’s decision and thanked them for its “role serving Amazon customers over the years.”

FedEx tempered the news by stating that Amazon is not its largest customer. The percentage of total FedEx revenue attributable to Amazon.com represented less than 1.3% of total FedEx revenue for the 12-month period ended December 31, 2018, according to FedEx.

The decision follows an explosion in e-commerce, a trend that is expected to continue. FedEx estimates that e-commerce is expected to grow from 50 million … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

The Stanford connections behind Latin America’s multibillion-dollar startup renaissance

By Jill T Frey

The houses along the tree-lined blocks of Josina Avenue in Palo Alto, with their big back yards, swimming pools and driveways are about as far removed from the snarls of traffic, sputtering diesel engines, and smoggy air of South America’s major metropolises as one can get.

But it was in one of those houses, about a twelve-minute bicycle ride from Stanford University, that the seed was planted for what has become a renaissance in technology entrepreneurship in Latin America.

Back in 2010, when Adeyemi Ajao, Carlo Dapuzzo, and Juan de Antonio were students at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business they could not predict that they would be counted among the vanguard of investors and entrepreneurs transforming Latin America’s startup economy.

At the time, Ajao was negotiating the sale of his first business, the Spanish social networking company, Tuenti, to Telefonica (in what would be a $100 million exit). Carlo Dapuzzo … Read the rest

June 4, 2019 Off

With antitrust investigations looming, Apple reverses course on bans of parental control apps

By Jill T Frey

With congressional probes and greater scrutiny from federal regulators on the horizon, Apple has abruptly reversed course on its bans of parental control apps available in its app store.

As reported by The New York Times, Apple quietly updated its App Store guidelines to reverse its decision to ban certain parental control apps.

The battle between Apple and certain app developers dates back to last year when the iPhone maker first put companies on notice that it would cut their access to the app store if they didn’t make changes to their monitoring technologies.

The heart of the issue is the use of mobile device management (MDM) technologies in the parental control apps that Apple has removed from the App Store, Apple said in a statement earlier this year.

These device management tools give to a third party control … Read the rest

June 3, 2019 Off

Amazon sellers to hit UK high streets in year-long pop-up pilot

By Jill T Frey

Internet shopping has been blamed for boarding up high streets across the UK. So it looks politically judicious for Amazon, the original ecommerce behemoth, to now be attaching its brand name to a pilot project aimed at sparking a little commercial life in denuded UK towns and cities by parachuting online SMEs into pop-up shops around the country.

The year-long Amazon pop-up pilot program — which is couched as an exploration of “a new model to help up-and-coming online brands grow their high street presence” — will see more than 100 small online businesses selling on the UK high street for the first time via time-slots in ten pop-up shops which will each be open for between six and eight weeks.

The first pop-up opens today on St Mary’s Gate in central Manchester. Others will appear in high streets in Wales, which will get the second pop up in Cardiff; … Read the rest

May 24, 2019 Off

CoinBits launches as a passive investment app for bitcoin

By Jill T Frey

Erik Finman is a twenty-something bitcoin maximalist as famous for his precocity as he is for his $12 bet on the currency a few years ago.

Now, Finman, who built his first company while still in high school, is launching a new startup called CoinBits, which allows users to passively invest in bitcoin.

The idea, according to Finman, is to democratize access to the currency by letting everyday folks invest nominal sums through well-known mechanisms like roundups on transactions made with a credit or debit card or through regular transactions from a customer’s savings or checking account to bitcoin through CoinBits.

Every transaction also helps Finman’s own bitcoin holdings grow, and makes the young entrepreneur a little wealthier himself through his bitcoin holdings.

Users can make one-time investments of $10, $25, $50 or $100 through the web-based platform and can establish a level of risk for their holdings.

Finman’s … Read the rest

May 22, 2019 Off

These startups are locating in SF and Africa to win in global fintech

By Jill T Frey

To become a global fintech player, locate your company in San Francisco and Africa.

That’s the approach of payments company Flutterwave, digital lending startup Mines, and mobile-money venture Chipper Cash—Africa-founded ventures that maintain headquarters in San Francisco and operations in Africa to tap the best of both worlds in VC, developers, clients, and the frontier of digital finance.

This arrangement wasn’t exactly coordinated across the ventures, but TechCrunch coverage picked up the trend and some common motives among these rising fintech firms.

Founded in 2016 by Nigerians Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and Olugbenga Agboola, Flutterwave has positioned itself as a global B2B payments solutions platform for companies in Africa to pay other companies on the continent and abroad.

Clients can tap its APIs and work with Flutterwave developers to customize payments applications. Existing customers include Uber,  Booking.com and African e-commerce unicorn Jumia.com.

The Y-Combinator backed company is headquartered in … Read the rest

May 22, 2019 Off

A young entrepreneur is building the Amazon of Bangladesh

By Jill T Frey

At just 26, Waiz Rahim is supposed to be involved in the family business, having returned home in 2016 with an engineering degree from the University of Southern California. Instead, the young entrepreneur is plotting to build the Amazon of Bangladesh.

Deligram, Rahim’s vision of what e-commerce looks like in Bangladesh, a country of nearly 180 million, is making progress, having taken inspiration from a range of established tech giants worldwide, including Amazon, Alibaba and Go-Jek in Indonesia.

It’s a far cry from the family business. That’s Rahimafrooz, a 65-year-old conglomerate that is one of the largest companies in Bangladesh. It started out focused on battery manufacturing, but over the years its businesses have branched out to span power and energy and automotive products while it operates a retail superstore called Agora.

During his time at school in the U.S., Rahim worked for the company as a tech … Read the rest

May 21, 2019 Off

Stein Mart embraces the enemy with installation of Amazon Lockers in nearly 200 stores

By Jill T Frey

Another brick-and-mortar retailer is turning to Amazon to help save its struggling business. Today, discount chain operator Stein Mart announced it will install Amazon Hub lockers in nearly 200 stores as soon as next month. The lockers are self-serve kiosks that allow Amazon shoppers to take advantage of in-store pickup and returns.

The deal will bring increased foot traffic to Stein Mart stores, potentially increasing its sales.

Meanwhile, Amazon gains the advantage of a brick-and-mortar presence for delivery and returns without having to invest in more real estate or making an acquisition, as it did with Whole Foods. The move also benefits Amazon’s battle with Walmart — the latter which has been quick to leverage its brick-and-mortar locations to aid its online shoppers.

Walmart stores, for example, offer self-serve pickup towers for online orders, curbside pickup for groceries and other household needs and other in-store pickup options. Last fall, … Read the rest

May 16, 2019 Off

Alibaba invests about $635M in Red Star Macalline, one of China’s largest furniture sellers

By Jill T Frey

Alibaba Group has acquired about RMB 4.36 billion ($635 million) worth of convertible bonds in Red Star Macalline, one of China’s biggest furniture retailers. If converted, this would give Alibaba about a 10 percent stake in the company. It also purchased 3.7 percent of Red Star Macalline’s publicly traded shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange, according to a disclosure.

Red Star Macalline operates about 300 shopping malls and 364 home improvement centers throughout China, leasing space to retailers in addition to selling its own inventory and services, including interior decoration consultations and construction. The company will work together with Alibaba to improve its physical stores and take advantage of the latter’s e-commerce channels.

This investment comes about six months after Red Star Macalline announced a digital marketing partnership with Alibaba rival Tencent. TechCrunch has contacted Alibaba and Tencent for more information on how Alibaba’s new stake … Read the rest

May 15, 2019 Off

Alibaba returns to growth with revenue up 51% to $13.9 billion

By Jill T Frey

It’s business as usual for Alibaba after the Chinese e-commerce giant bounced back from a lackluster Q3 — which saw its slowest growth for three years. For Q4, the company saw revenue surge 51 percent year-on-year to reach 93.5 billion RMB, or $13.9 billion.

That revenue beat analyst expectations of 91.5 billion RMB, according to Barons, and net income came in at 23.38 billion RMB, or $3.48 billion.

Alibaba positions itself as the gateway to Chinese consumers, and it continues to grow. The company said its mobile monthly users — a metric it uses to measure shoppers — reached 721 million in March, an increase of 22 million in three months and 104 million over the last year. Annual active users were up 18 percent to 654 million and the company’s Chinese marketplaces saw GMV — the value of total goods sold — rise by 19 percent year-on-year … Read the rest