E-Commerce Service Pickupp Raises US$15mn in Funding
Operating in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore, Pickupp is an express, same-day, and next-day e-commerce delivery service. The company leads the smart logistics and courier market in Asia and Singapore, serving 10,000+ merchants, delivering 9m+ parcels, and employing 30,000+ delivery agents on standby each day. Now, the firm has gained new investments from PChome, Cornerstone Ventures, Drive Catalyst, and existing partner Swire Properties.
With the new funding, Pickupp will capitalise on soaring Asian e-commerce growth during the pandemic. ‘This demand is not going away anytime soon’, said Crystal Pang, Pickupp’s co-founder and CEO. ‘This is an excellent way to provide flexible and highly transparent delivery solutions for whichever business sectors we serve’.
Where is Asian E-Commerce Headed?
According to Forrester, Asian online retail sales will grow at a CAGR of 11.3% from 2019 to 2024. Consumers are used to scanning QR codes, tracking online deals, and filling their virtual shopping carts. In 2020, 75.8% of online retail sales came from people tapping smartphones, and by 2024, smartphone sales will likely be worth US$2tn.
In this type of market, businesses like Pickupp can help traditional retailers compete. In Singapore, the company worked with a live seafood auction seller to grow her delivery volume by 40% and save seven hours per day. Across the board, it offers Express Delivery from US$12 per order, same-Day delivery from US$8, and next-day from US$3.20. Said Pang: ‘People are more willing to try out new websites and new e-commerce players’.
What Are Pickupp’s Core Features?
On-demand courier, 7 days a week
24/7 real-time GPS tracking
Insured up to SGD $200
Cash on delivery
Drop-off photos and e-signatures
According to Lee Cheng Meng, Co-Chief Operating Officer at Pickupp Singapore, the company has seen a 20% increase in express deliveries in Singapore in just the past month. Its user base has grown 250% since the start of the global pandemic. In fact, to meet demand, the company launched its Shop On Pickupp platform, an e-commerce platform—and has refused to look back.
Following its recent Series A+ funding round, Pickupp is now focused on the future. ‘The pandemic triggered a seismic shift in consumer behavior’, said Pang. ‘We’re pleased to have such strong support from new and existing investors’. Indeed, US$15mn is a sizable sum to work with. She concluded: ‘Through our tech-driven solutions and services, we will be able to significantly enhance the support we provide to SMEs and help them meet the growing demand of the digital economy’.
First Solar to Invest US$684mn in Indian Energy Sector
First Solar is about to set up a new photovoltaic (PV) thin-film solar manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India. The 3.3GW factory will create 1,000 skilled jobs and is expected to launch its operations in Q3 of 2023. According to the company, India needs 25+ gigawatts of solar energy to be deployed each year for the next nine years. This means that many of First Solar’s Indian clients will jump at the chance to have access to the company’s advanced PV.
Said Mark Widmar, First Solar’s CEO: ‘India is an attractive market for First Solar not simply because our module technology is advantageous in its hot, humid climate. It’s an inherently sustainable market, underpinned by a growing economy and appetite for energy’.
A Bit of Background
First Solar is a leading global provider of photovoltaic systems. It uses advanced technology to generate clear, reliable energy around the world. And even though it’s headquartered in the US, the company has invested in storage facilities around the world. It displaced energy requirements for a desalination plant in Australia, launched a source of reliable energy in the Middle East (Dubai, UAE), and deployed over 4.5GW of energy across Europe with its First Solar modules.
The company is also known for its solar innovation, reporting that it sees gains in efficiency three times faster than multi-crystalline silicon technology. First Solar holds world records in thin-film cell conversion efficiency (22.1%) and module conversion efficiency (18.2%). Finally, it helps its partners develop, finance, design, construct, and operate PV power plants—which is exactly what we’re talking about.
How Will The Tamil Nadu Plant Work?
Tamil Nadu will use the same manufacturing template as First Solar’s new Ohio factory. According to the Times of India, the factory will combine skilled workers, artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine communication, and IoT connectivity. In addition, its operations will adhere to First Solar’s Responsible Sourcing Solar Principles, produce modules with a 2.5x lower carbon footprint, and help India become energy-independent. Said Widmar: ‘Our advanced PV module will be made in India, for India’.
After all, we must mention that part of First Solar’s motivation in Tamil Nadu is to ensure that India doesn’t rely on Chinese solar. ‘India stands apart in the decisiveness of its response to China’s strategy of state-subsidised global dominance of the crystalline silicon supply chain’, Widmar explained. ‘That’s precisely the kind of level playing field needed for non-Chinese solar manufacturers to compete on their own merits’.
According to First Solar, India’s model should be a template for like-minded nations. Widmar added: ‘We’re pleased to support the sustainable energy ambitions of a major US ally in the Asia-Pacific region—with American-designed solar technology’. To sum up: Indian solar power is yet the next development in the China-US trade war. Let the PV manufacturing begin.