DTC’s Daily Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer brands. In today’s edition: Faire announces USD$150m in funding; Nubank’s app most popular for challenger banks; and Hyundai & Kia investment in Ola gets go ahead.
Faire announces USD$150m in funding
Faire, which operates a wholesale marketplace for independent local retailers and makers, had announced it has raised USD$150m in a Series D round co-led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Founders Fund. The round brings its total funding raised to date to USD$266m, and values the company at USD$1bn. It included participation from existing investors such as Forerunner Ventures, YC Continuity, and Khosla Ventures.
San Francisco-based Faire is just two years old, and growing fast. It was founded with the mission of helping local retailers and makers “break free from the inefficiencies of an antiquated wholesale model.” At the beginning of 2018, Faire averaged less than USD$1m in sales per month. Now, it says it has surpassed that amount in sales per day.
The startup employs more 193 people across three offices in San Francisco, Kitchener-Waterloo (Ontario), and Salt Lake City. That’s up from 51 employees this time last year, according to the company.
To date, Faire has on-boarded 7,000 makers and 50,000 local retailers onto its marketplace and sold more than 15 million products. In 2019, the company expanded to include international makers from 39 countries and brought Canadian retailers onboard this month.
Nubank’s app most popular for challenger banks
Nubank’s app has more downloads than Revolut, Monzo and N26 combined, according to data from Apptopia. The company’s app has been downloaded 18 million times, highlighting the promise of mobile banks in developing markets, where much of the population doesn’t have adequate financial services.
The Brazilian bank’s monthly active users have also increased by more than 200% during that span, which is more than just about any other upstart bank apart from Monzo. Developing markets are fertile ground for newfangled financial apps. The likes of Alipay and WeChat Pay in China, and M-Pesa in Kenya, have shown that these countries have vast, underserved populations that can be reached quickly via mobile phones.
Nubank says it has 15 million customers, a 25% increase from the figure the company cited in August, according to Reuters. The six-year-old fintech firm also operates in Argentina and Mexico. It raised USD$400m in funding in July, according to PitchBook, at a valuation of USD$10bn. Tencent, the company behind China’s ubiquitous WeChat Pay, was among the investors.
Hyundai & Kia investment in Ola gets go ahead
The antitrust watchdog has approved the acquisition of shares in Ola’s parent entity, ANI Technologies & Ola Electric by Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors subjected to compliance of modifications.
With the collaboration, most of the new investment will be infused into ANI Technologies. Furthermore, Hyundai and Kia will take a minority stake in Ola Electric. This investment round may also witness participation from Microsoft and Korean funds.
This deal has conclusively materialised after CCI raised a question mark on the nature of the deal.
CCI was concerned about the competitive impact of car companies investing in cab-hailing apps as it might create a monopolistic situation for one carmaker in the market. It had also asked Ola’s parent, ANI Technologies, to define the company’s competitive landscape.
However, the company had failed to provide the necessary documentation over the competition front, and its application was rendered invalid earlier.
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