Category Archives: Ecommerce

E-commerce news

Maxima Grupe has acquired Barbora

Maxima Grupė, which manages retail chains in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria and Poland, took over  – Barbora the largest e-commerce company in Lithuania, offering food and other products. The value of the transaction amounted to 1.4 million euros. Maxima Groupė acquired 100% shares of JSC Radas, which had owned 100% shares of Barbora.

maxima-logo                      logo-barbora

The developing startup Barbora conducted for Maxima courier services in Vilnius. It will now become integrated with other e-commerce services of Maxime in Latvia and Estonia.

Barbora is a leader in its field in Lithuania. It had been developed according to its business model, attracting loyal customer base and winning high consumer confidence. Now Barbora will operate as a separate business unit within the Maxima Grupe. Maxima’s management assured that the acquisition will not have a negative impact on the quality of service, product range and prices. There will be no changes in the management board either. Maxime Grupe wants to expand Barbora’s activities not only in other cities in Lithuania, but also through integration with Maxima’s e-companies, which already operate in Latvia and Estonia.

uber courier and delivery

Uber will start with courier and delivery services in Poland

Uber drivers in Poland will start to provide courier services in theuber_london_request-screenshot present half-year term, and by the end of the year they will start with delivery of meals from restaurants. The US startup has teamed up with one large Polish e-commerce company to deliver parcels. This will probably be limited only to local transport within particular cities. Due to the lack of warehouses, Uber will be able to deliver faster and more efficiently than other courier companies. Over time, this service is to become nationwide.

screen696x696On the other hand UberEats application, with which you can order a meal to your home or office, from the very beginning will operate throughout the whole country. In the world this service is now available in nearly fifty cities, including: in London, San Francisco and Tokyo. According to company representatives, the delivery will be made within 30 minutes.

So far, the logistics industry in Poland is not afraid of Uber. But there are other threats. Expansion of the US company can mean a loss of privacy for users. Not only because the company already knows where we want to get, but they know our food preferences and at what address we receive our meals.

Uber appeared in Poland in June 2014 and quickly gained a bunch of enthusiasts. Its application is used by 300 thousand Poles who use it to order a ride. According to company representatives, Poland is for Uber the third most important market in the European Union. More important are only: the United Kingdom and France. What is more, late last year the American startup launched Centre of Business Services in Cracow. With an investment of $ 40 million, before the end of this year Uber will employ 150 employees. They will work on improving the application, so that its usage becomes even more comfortable and, as a result, brings more users.

SEEMEA’s five unicorns for a billion of dollars

Until recently, the word “unicorn” has been referred only to a rare mythical animal. Now this word also determines startups, which are valued at over one billion dollars. On the market there are quite a few of them and they develop their ideas in various areas of life – from music streaming to virtual reality solutions for medical applications. 60% of start-ups known as unicorns come from the US. This is because the US market is very large, extremely open to projects even at an early stage of development, it is relatively easy to get financing there, and besides, it is responsible for 50-70% of global consumption. However, you can also find some interesting startup unicorns in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Here are some of them:

Flipkart – the first wort a billion e-commerce website in India. It is often referred to as the Indian Amazon. It was founded by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. The company has been operating since 2007 and in the beginning it dealt only with book sales. Currently on Flipkart you can buy almost anything. The website is worth $ 15 billion, it has has 46 million registered users, it offers over 30 million products and records 10 million daily visits.

Yandex – search engine designed for the Russian-speaking Internet users. The importance and strength of this service is best evidenced by the fact, that in Russia and Ukraine market share of the search engine market world leader – Google – barely exceeds 20%. In the Russian-speaking network, so-called Rusnet, there supremely rules Yandex. The company is valued at $ 4.9 billion. It is worth remembering that Yandex is a part of the Russian empire Internet company Mail.ru Group (formerly Digital Sky Technologies).

12% of unicorns come from Europe. It must be remembered that many companies at some point move to the United States. The rest of the world is lagging behind. But a unicorn can be born anywhere in the world, as evidenced by the first which was established in Nigeria. Nigerian unicorn is a startup called Interswitch, which offers digital financial services, and supports the African market. It uses a switching infrastructure to connect different banks in Nigeria and provides technology for ATM cards. The company has over 11000 ATMs on its network. In 2014 Interswitch acquired a majority shareholding in Paynet Group, an East-African payments provider. In 2015 Interswitch launched a $10m investment fund for African start-ups in the payments sector.

Jumia – it is an online market place from Nigeria where people can buy a wide selection of products and get them delivered at their homes or workplaces. The startup is funded by telecommunications company, MTN and Millicom which develops and operates cellular networks in Africa. It operates in 15 African countries. Last year, its parent company Africa Internet Group was purchased in 8% stake by AXA at a valuation of more than $1 billion, making AIG a unicorn.

Souq.com is the biggest online shopping destination in the Middle East. It gets 1.5 million visits a day and has about 70,000 merchants on its platform. Some of the biggest verticals include:  electronics, health and beauty and home and baby, and brands from Dell to Pampers and Aldo, and from Boss to Nespresso are on the site. Souq is called the Middle East’s first unicorn, after a $275 million funding round from Tiger Global Management, Standard Chartered Private Equity and the International Finance Corp.

Seven Polish startups that succeed abroad

The Polish market of startups becomes more and more notices and has a vision of going beyond its native backyard. The number of Polish startups situates itself at the level of 2.4 thousand of entities. Their activities are focused primarily on software production for mobile applications industry, e-commerce and online services. Many entrepreneurs seek foreign investors and business angels. Few, however, have been successful on an international scale. Here are a few of these, which have succeeded:

 1. Ivona

This is a speech synthesizer, which originally was to serve the blind and partially sighted. Soon, however, it also become a tool for news reading and support for call centers and hotlines. Ivona stands out in that it has a natural, warm voice and is devoiced of a flattened voice effect alike Darth Vader mask. Before, Ivona got acquired by Amazon in 2013, it had won many awards and distinctions. Ivona speaks 17 languages in 44 different voices.

 2. Brand24

The company is involved in monitoring the Internet and social media. Its tool collects all mentions feed of products, brands and other keywords from websites, forum discussions and social media. It helps to spot problematic issues before they escalate to protect your company image.  The tool is used by: IKEA, the History Channel, H & M and… the White House. Brand24 belongs to a group LARQ, which is listed on the stock exchange. Last year, the company’s revenue increased by 88%.

  1. LiveChat

The company focuses on actions in the model of software as a service. It opened a branch in the USA. Nearly 80% of the more than 10,000 customers are foreign companies and corporations, such as: Bosch, LG, Samsung, Orange, Adobe, Pizza Hut, Ryanair and Stanford University. The most known product is LiveChat – software for sales, consulting, customer service and website support.

 4. Estimote

The company produces beacons – sensors for precise geolocation, mainly indoors. These solutions uses in its stores, for example, Apple. In 2013, Estimote acquired $ 3,1 million of funding, and in 2016 it acquired $ 10,7 million.

  1. Brainly

It’s a website where students ask questions about specific homework assignments and wait for response from other students or experts in the field. Currently, the service has more than 60 million users and 80% of them use Brainly every month. In May 2016 the company received a $ 15 million funding from Naspers. Earlier, in two rounds of investment, it had managed to collect $ 9.5 million.

  1. Codility

The software allows to quickly assess technical skills of candidates to work in IT. In 2009, the it won the competition for start-ups organized by Seedcamp in London. Today Codility can boast a list of nearly 1100 clients, among them: Amazon, PayPal, eBay, Samsung, Nokia, Harvard University.

 7. Booksy

This is a tool for businesses, service providers and their customers, which allows you to quickly and easily sign up on the calendar, for example to the hairdresser or beautician. Instead a phone-call, you need just a few clicks in the application, which means that a visit can be arranged even in the middle of the night. So far, the company has managed to acquire a total of $ 4 million funding  in two rounds of investment. Booksy operates in over 80 countries around the world.

The European Union will loosen orders for the cookies, because those privacy messages are too annoying to web surfers

According to unofficial information, the European Union intends to implement less restrictive provisions for the use of cookies by websites. In the future, these annoying requests for permission to use cookies will be replaced by proper settings in the user’s web browser.

Information on these EU objectives has been provided by Reuters. It has reached a new draft of legislation on privacy of Internet users, which Brussels intends to introduce in the future.

One of the topics planned by these provisions applies to cookies – small text elements placed on your computer when the internet user visits a website. With cookies, the website is able to (on your next visit) identify the user and, as a consequence, to addressed to him personalized advertising and to automate certain actions (for example: login to specific services).

Under the EU rules introduced in 2012, website owners are obliged to notify the Internet user on the use of cookies and get him to agree to install this tool on their computers. Site administrators usually apply to these requirements, but the side effect is far from the legislator’s intention. Web users, when entering websites, are in fact attacked by banners with demands to confirm the “cookie policy”. Most of them, for the sake of peace, agree without reading the cookies regulations.

As reported by Reuters, the EU officials have noted this problem and intend in the future to alleviate somewhat the rules on cookies. According to the new regulations, the user could permanently allow the possibility of cookies usage in privacy settings of his web browser (all the popular browsers have this option). This way you will not see banner informing about the cookies.

According to unofficial announcements, the amended regulations on the cookies would take effect from the beginning of 2018.