Alibaba-affiliated ANT Financial plans IPO in Hong Kong

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Chinese company ANT Financial, parent company of financial platform Alipay, is reportedly planning an IPO in 2017.  If Alipay sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve heard of Alibaba (ANT financial is an affiliate company of the Alibaba Group).

Alibaba has made news time and again for its breathtaking ascent as an eCommerce monolith, smashing records along the way.  Alibaba ranked the Top 10 Largest  Global IPOs of all time, raising $25 Billion on its public offering.  Its websites account for a staggering 60% of the packages delivered in China, and handle roughly 80% of all e-commerce transactions.  In 2016, Alibaba surpassed 3 trillion yuan ($463 billion) in transactions in its fiscal year to March – over double of the transaction volume in 2013 (which was a milestone in itself).

Amazon vs Alibaba

Alibaba has emerged as a real competitor to Amazon. Forbes explains how Alibaba has a higher growth potential than the North American e-commerce giant. On an article Forbes states: “Alibaba commands nearly 80% of China’s e-commerce market, while Amazon’s has close to 30% share in the U.S. market. Amazon faces stiff competition in international markets and its capital intensive business makes it less profitable to expand in other regions. ”

Not only that, The Entrepreneur compares the two companies’ big e-market holidays: Amazon’s Cyber Monday sale delivered a solid $2.68 billion in sales, which pales in comparison to Alibaba’s biggest sales day, when it generated a whopping $9.3 billion from its Singles Day sale.

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Who is ANT Financial?

ANT Financial  is affiliate company of the highly reputed Alibaba Group, which operates the Alipay payment platform. According to a recent Bloomberg post, ANT Financial is planning on going public in the first half of 2017. The payment platform joins Delivery Hero and Spotify as the latest company to be rumoured to go public next year.  In its latest raise, ANT financial raised $4.5B, giving the company a jaw-dropping $60B valuation.

Alipay is a growing online-payment platform that is expanding around the world. With its recent partnership with Ingenico, Alipay is able to allow its Chinese users to use their virtual wallet across Europe without any hassle.

 

 

Was Lyft really up for sale?

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In the past few day,s there has been lots of rumours about whether Lyft was looking for a buyer. It all started with Lyft hiring acquisition specialists Qatalyst Partners, it seemed that Lyft was preparing for acquisition.

The story really exploded when Forbes reported on Lyft’s alleged attempt to find (and subsequent failure to get) a buyer. The article expands on how Lyft had acquisition talks with companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, Didi Chuxing… and even its main competitor Uber! Ultimately, none of those negotiations led to an acquisition or offer. Additionally, there are signs that General Motors may have attempted to buy Lyft.  Although details are murky, it is clear that General Motors did not end up owning the ridesharing company.

Lyft’s vehement denial

All of this speculation around whether or not Lyft tried and failed to find a buyer has portrayed the company in a somewhat less-than-flattering light. Not surprisingly, Lyft has hit back at these allegations in a Business Insider article quoting President and Co-founder John Zimmer, stating that “Lyft is not seeking a buyer”:

Zimmer stressed to Business Insider that the company has never been actively looking for a buyer. It’s already had acquisition offers throughout its history as a company, and Zimmer says that the company is obligated to review them.

It’s likely the world will never know how close Lyft came to being acquired – or whether it was really up for acquisition at all.  Another article from Business Insider points out a likely probability – that a tentative offer might have been made, and that Lyft was simply evaluating the offer as part of its fiduciary duty to evaluate any offer to buy the company.

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The fastest billion-dollar tech exits

Who doesn’t like rankings and stats? Here for you we have CB Insights‘ latest report listing the Fastest $1B+ Exits for US VC-Backed Companies

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  1. Airwatch: is focused in enterprise-grade mobile device, application, and content management. It is also the fastest acquisition post-investment, selling the company to VMware for $1.24B just 364 days after its first funding round.
  2. Flexus Biosciences: sold to Bristol-Myers Squibb for a total of $1.25B.
  3. Oculus: Popular virtual reality headset manufacturer , was acquired by Facebook for $2B.
  4. PopCap: Is a video-game company that develops and publishes popular games such as Plants vs Zombies and Bejewled.
  5. Jet.com was bought by Walmart for $3.3B a little over a year after the site was officially launched.
  6. Cruise Automation: is the a leader in the driverless industry, developing autonomous technology. It was acquired by GM for over $1B.
  7. Lynda.com: is an online learning company that provided video tutorials teaching software, creative and business skills. It was acquired by LinkedIn last year for $1.5B.
  8. Instagram:  One of the biggest social media, photo sharing mobile apps. Was acquired by Facebook for $1.01B.
  9. WhatApp: Mainstream cross platform instant messaging app was acquired by Facebook with an astonishing $22B price tag.
  10. Nicira: Cloud-based company that virtualizes the network for a software defined data center. It was acquired by VMware for $1.26B.

Sources:

Chinese viral selfie app Meitu files for IPO

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Meitu Inc. who provides video and picture editing apps just filed for an IPO that expects to raise from $500 million to $1 billion. The Chinese selfie sensation app-maker, currently boasting a user base of 360 million monthly active users on its most popular product, the MeituPic app. Not only that, but its total user base including the company’s whole portfolio of products totals more than a billion unique mobile devices worldwide.

Meitu, the Xiamen-based company has been in the market since October 2008, founded by Cai Wenshang. In order to provide a superior user experience, the company has avoided in-app advertising. This has led Meitu to generate most of its revenue from sales of a limited output of smartphones designed especially for selfie lovers with high-end specs such as a 21 megapixel front camera. Meitu announced its joint venture with Foxconn last year in order to manufacture these high end seflie-oriented phones.

The tech-giant currently has $360 Million raised on three funding rounds. The Wall Street Journal reported that after the IPO the Meitu expects to have a valuation of roughly $5 billion.

 

Plastiq-Mastercard Partnership Targets International Tuition Payments

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China is now the United States’ biggest source of international students – almost 1 in 3 international students are now from China.  These students are a lucrative source of income for universities, paying $9.8 billion of tuition and fees in the 2015 academic year. However, most colleges only accept payment by cheque or money order, which are slow and expensive.  Luckily, fintech platform Plastiq may have found a solution.

Continue reading “Plastiq-Mastercard Partnership Targets International Tuition Payments”

Lyft’s a crowd pleaser: Here’s how it’s attracting new customer segments

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Lyft may not be the highest valued unicorn, but it certainly knows how to put in the extra work to keep its user base happy. The ride-sharing darling, once again pleases its customers by delivering client tailored products and making things easier for its customers.

Continue reading “Lyft’s a crowd pleaser: Here’s how it’s attracting new customer segments”