You are reading the article This Company Just Raised $34 Million – And Became New Zealand’s Fastest updated in December 2023 on the website Achiashop.com. We hope that the information we have shared is helpful to you. If you find the content interesting and meaningful, please share it with your friends and continue to follow and support us for the latest updates. Suggested January 2024 This Company Just Raised $34 Million – And Became New Zealand’s FastestLevi Fawcett founded Partly after uncovering a particularly painful problem in the auto industry: buying parts. Now, the business is New Zealand’s fastest growing startup.
Growing up around cars, Levi Fawcett uncovered a deep and painful problem: buyers never know if the part they purchase for their vehicle is going to be right or not.
“There’s only a small number of parts that fit a buyer’s vehicle – that’s super obvious, given my own background,” he says.
So he built the solution: Partly. It’s a software business that connects sellers in the automotive industry with a vehicle database. For the likes of eBay, one of Partly’s customers, the business helps sellers structure their data and link their parts to the respective vehicles. When the buyer lands on that seller’s store, they put in their vehicle registration and they’ll only see the parts that will fit it.
The business raised a NZD$1.7 million pre-seed round at a NZD$7.5 million valuation in July 2023. It raised a further NZD$3.7 million at a $50 million valuation less than 12 months ago. Now, it’s raised NZD$36 million (AU$34 million) at what Fawcett claims is a near-$200 million valuation. It’s an impressive trajectory, but one Fawcett says he predicted.
“It was very clear from early on that, if we succeed, we had the potential to be one of the world’s largest businesses,” he says. “Just because, there’s nearly US$2 trillion spent every year on car parts. The biggest marketplaces in the world, eBay for example, over 20% of their revenue comes just from car parts. So it’s surprisingly high numbers.”
Fawcett has been a lifelong entrepreneur – he launched four businesses throughout university, each progressively more successful than the last, he says. But it was his stint at the New Zealand subsidiary of Rocket Lab, an American aerospace manufacturer and launch service provider, that gave him the gusto to scale a business.
“I started at employee 40 or 50,” he recalls. “When I left, there were 700 of us.”
The latest funding round was led by Octopus ventures, one of Europe’s largest and most active venture capital investors. Fawcett says seeking a European investor was intentional, as that’s where the business plans on expanding.
“There’s a much stronger focus on Europe,” he says. “The demand is much higher in Europe, the right to repair movement is a lot stronger and the problems are much deeper.
“There are more vehicle manufacturers between Europe and Japan than there are in the US. The big manufacturers, the Audi, Volkswagen – they’re all European. The US is not the centre of the world when it comes to vehicles.”
Square Peg and Blackbird also participated in the Series A round, among other VC firms.
“It was very clear from early on that, if we succeed, we had the potential to be one of the world’s largest businesses.”
– Levi Fawcett, founder of Partly
“Partly is tackling one of those most challenging but valuable problems in one of the biggest markets globally, and the revenue ramp in the last year has been amongst the best we’ve ever seen,” Partner at Blackbird, Samantha Wong says.
Currently, Partly has around 50 team members, but Fawcett says he plans to use the funds to double the size of the business’ engineering team.
“We’re looking for the most outstanding software engineers in the world who are excited about solving hard problems,” he says. “We have a genuinely exceptional team across Australasia and Europe, and currently, we only hire around 1 percent of applicants that apply, so the bar is incredibly high.”
Looking ahead, Fawcett expects Partly to expand to other segments of the parts industry, like mining equipment, commercial vehicles, machinery and even appliances.
“The problem itself, linking a part to the thing that it fits, is a general problem,” he says. “We will expand outside of cars eventually, but we’re not going to do that in the next two to three years. We’re barely on the tip of the iceberg right now when it comes to the size of the problem.”
You're reading This Company Just Raised $34 Million – And Became New Zealand’s Fastest
Chow Shing Yuk, a former professional poker player who studied economics at Stanford University, has joined the billionaire ranks, but not because he drew a lucky hand.
Chow Shing Yuk, cofounder and chairman of Lalatech. Courtesy of Lalatech
Chow Shing Yuk, a former professional poker player who studied economics at Stanford University, has joined the billionaire ranks, but not because he drew a lucky hand.
Over the past decade, Chow, 44, has steadily built Lalamove into a logistics and delivery giant from a base in Hong Kong, backed by the likes of Neil Shen’s Sequoia China and Lei Zhang’s Hillhouse Capital. On Tuesday, Chow’s company, whose formal name is Lalatech Holdings, filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong that revealed he owns a 25% stake through a family trust. Based on Chow’s stake and proceeds of earlier share sales, Forbes estimates, his net worth to be US$2.2 billion, making him a rare startup billionaire in Hong Kong.
The logistics giant’s application to list in Hong Kong comes nearly two years after it reportedly filed confidentially for a U.S. IPO to raise at least $1 billion, according to a Bloomberg News report. Besides Sequoia China and Hillhouse, Lalatech’s other investors include Richard Li’s FWD Group, real estate tycoon Adrian Cheng’s C Capital and Goodwin Gaw’s Gaw Capital Partners.
Chow, who serves as chairman and CEO, cofounded Lalatech in 2013 to digitize freight booking and tracking services, which were traditionally done through call centers. The company’s mobile app connects individuals and businesses with drivers for delivery of goods, including groceries, furniture and even pets. Lalatech operates under the Lalamove brand in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, and as Huolala in mainland China.
Lalatech managed to narrow its net loss by roughly 96% year-on-year to $93 million in 2023, according to a regulatory filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange. During the same period, the company saw its revenue jump 23% to about $1 billion, with its mainland China business contributing more than 90% of its sales.
Lalatech attributed its steady growth to the vast network of merchants and carriers it has built over the past few years. The company served about 11 million average monthly active merchants in more than 400 cities in Asia and Latin America in 2023, and connected with 1 million average monthly active carriers. This network allows Lalatech to generate more income from membership fees and commissions paid by carriers.
Chow, who was born in mainland China and grew up in a dilapidated wooden house in Hong Kong, earned a scholarship to study in the U.S. after scoring straight A’s in the city’s public examinations, according to an interview he gave to the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he earned a master’s degree in economics. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Stanford, Chow started his career as a consultant at Bain & Co. in Hong Kong.
Having spent much of his working hours playing Texas Hold ’em poker online, Chow decided to switch paths to professional poker. The unusual career change was proven right as Chow accumulated HK$30 million ($3.8 million) in winnings in the span of eight years.
In 2013, Chow used his first pot of gold to start Lalatech (which was called EasyVan at the time) with cofounders Gary Hui and Matthew Tam after being frustrated by using call centres to book delivery services. In the Chinese University of Hong Kong interview, Chow disclosed his ambition to make Lalatech the pronoun for “delivery” in dictionaries.
This story was first published on chúng tôi and all figures are in USD.
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Military dogs and their handlers play vital roles, particularly in covert operations. But when these missions occur miles away from base and the humans parachute in, how do you get the dog there too?
The latest piece of kit in Europe to enable this extreme maneuver is the K9F Para-fox, presented at the Defense Innovation Forum in Paris on December 4 of last year.
The roots of the K9F date to 2023, but the development of this line of tech can be traced back further. When in early 2012 the German army, seeking a solution for parachuting with working dogs, approached a company called Paratec, “our research didn’t yield any other [dog-parachuting] solutions out there,” Ken Krueger, the business development manager for Paratec defense systems, tells Popular Science. Paratec is a small German outfit that designs and manufactures high-tech parachutes for niche users such as professional sky-divers and special forces. The 45-employee company in Wallerfangen, just near the borders with France and Luxembourg, is the original equipment manufacturer for “mission specific” parachute equipment for the German military and 18 other armed forces across the world.
By March of 2012 the company had an initial concept for its “Working Dog Freefall Harness,” or K9A, by simply modifying an existing dog vest that had handles on it so that it could be attached to the front of the paratrooper’s harness. The dog hung close to the paratrooper’s body, all legs dangling, and the paratrooper needed to hold the dog’s legs bent on landing so they didn’t break. But that was hard to do because the paratrooper had to control the chute, too. “And of course if the dog breaks a leg then it can’t undertake its mission,” Krueger explains.
Military dog-handlers the world over have parachuted with their dogs for decades; here’s a Colombian canine doing it in 2023, for example. And in the US, the Marine Corps has 23 Military Working Dog Harnesses for parachuting made by a company called Airborne Systems.
Between 2012 and 2014 Paratec tried different solutions. The second idea was a longer harness that gave more support to the dog rather than just holding it up by its middle. But the dangling legs were still an issue.
The year 2023 was a turning point for Paratec. It was then that the French military, specifically Captain Jérôme (last names of French military personnel are withheld for security reasons), commander of the 132nd dog-handling infantry regiment, approached Paratec with specific requirements. Captain Jérôme wanted his pooch to be able to be more comfortable while parachuting.
In March of that year came the breakthrough idea of a sack, now in its sixth and final version. Hence the name “fox” which is short for “fox-trot,” the military designation of the sixth letter of the alphabet, and as this version was developed specifically with the French army, also F, the name stuck.
The sac is now termed a flight-pod. It is made of cordura, spandex, and webbing with softer lining to make it comfortable. It opens up flat and the dog lays down on it with both hind and fore legs folded underneath itself—this is the way military dogs are trained to lie down so that they can jump up faster. The pod is zipped over the dog and a collar made of neoprene and spandex is closed around the dog’s neck so that it can’t wriggle out of the pod in mid-flight. The collar is closed with a specially designed magnetic release that the handler can activate, but the dog can’t.
The flight pod, as seen from the top. Paratec
Two people are needed to lift the dog-in-a-pod onto a support harness known as the pod-tray, shaped somewhat like a taco-shell, which is attached to the human jumper’s harness. Two straps close the tray around the dog. The system means the dog can wander around the airplane until a few minutes before the jump when it is zipped into the flight-pod, then lifted onto the tray, and the team is ready to fly!
“The animal’s welfare was first and foremost. It had to be comfortable, ventilated, have its legs protected and be secure. We had to make sure that our equipment did not hinder the use of various accessories the dog may be wearing such as goggles, a leash, or a kevlar vest to protect it from being knifed after landing. The pod also had to be expandable to take account of different sized dogs,” Krueger explains.
So why did it take years to develop what, at first, appears to be a fairly simple piece of kit? Well, it’s not that simple. “Dog missions are not high on the priority list of conventional armed forces so they dedicate neither time nor funds to developing equipment for these missions. There are no R&D programs and there is no investment,” Krueger points out. So, the company developed the K9F on its own funds, “although the French were very dedicated in providing the dogs and organizing the jumps to test the equipment.”
This testing was the biggest challenge and most time-consuming activity. “One jump could take up to six months to organize,” Krueger says. “Although we purchased stuffed toy dogs for the development phase, at some point one has to test everything with a real dog.”
And because this is military equipment and the dog-handling paratrooper team (most often the dog-handler and his dog are “passengers” who jump in tandem with an experienced jumper, known as the tandem pilot) is too bulky to jump out of an aircraft’s small side-door, the test needs to take place from an airplane with a ramp.
Once on the ground an extremely ingenious system allows the flight-pod “to open up like a flower and release the dog in less than 10 seconds after landing.” Krueger explains that a handle is attached to a silicone coated wire threaded through seam loops and when the handle on top of the bag is squeezed the wire can slide out. “It’s a bit like those seams that shut sacs of potatoes. When you pull on one thread the whole seam comes undone.” Then all you have to do is thread the wire through the seam loops and the flight-pod is ready to be used again.
And what do the dogs think? “Well, all I can say is that the dogs come right over and jump in the pod with what looks like a smile on their faces,” laughs Krueger.
The Return of Howard Zinn, and Company A packed house hears a left-wing critique of Obama
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In the video above, Howard Zinn answers a question from the audience: what would he urge Barack Obama to do? Photos below by Frank Curran
With the Tsai Performance Center filled to its 500-seat capacity, many in the audience remembered when that hall was named Hayden, the University was in turmoil, and Howard Zinn was both lightning rod and radical catalyst.
Much has changed. The Howard Zinn Lecture Series, kicking off Alumni Weekend on October 22, now celebrates Boston University’s distinguished professor emeritus of political science. As Virginia Sapiro, dean of Arts & Sciences, welcomed all and introduced three intriguing writers gathered around the man of the night, cordiality rather than conflict ruled.
“To have a kindly relationship between us and the BU administration,” said Zinn, his nod to Sapiro drawing swells of laughter, “well, we’re still trying to get used to it.”
Yet some things haven’t changed. The topic was The Promise of Change: Vision and Realty in Obama’s Presidency. And the analysis came hard from the left, with Zinn staking out the far post.
Just as intriguing were the positions of his fellow panelists, each nuanced, each approaching Obama at least a little more sympathetically. They were:
James Carroll, a National Book Award winner and Boston Globe columnist, who first met Zinn during his years as Catholic chaplain at Boston University, from 1969 to 1974, before he left the priesthood.
Ellen Goodman, a Pulitzer Prize winner, who has been writing about social change in America since 1976 and whose column appears in more than 300 newspapers.
Mary Gordon, New York’s official state author, a stuffy title for a writer whose work marries a piercing intimacy and religious and political explorations.
Zinn gingerly took up the cudgel.
“It’s a very delicate question,” he mused. “Why? Well, it’s not easy to talk about.” Everyone wants to support Obama, he continued, or at least everyone in his circle. Everyone wants to love Obama. But let’s face it: “His presidency doesn’t measure up. I have to say that. But why? How? How come?”
Militarism, he answered. Obama has kept the troops in Iraq. He’s sent more troops to Afghanistan. “He’s continued a military foreign policy.”
Not to be a know-it-all, Zinn said (“though I do know it all,” he joked), but those who expected great change from this president were fooling themselves. Look at history, he urged, invoking his mantra; Democrats are as aggressive as Republicans.
“They’re all in this for war,” he said. “That’s what we call bipartisanship.” Those surprised or disappointed are those who “exaggerated expectations, romanticized him, idealized him. Obama is a Democratic Party politician. I know that sounds demeaning. It is.”
“There’s an enormous weight left over by the Bush administration,” Zinn said. “Unfortunately, he has done nothing to begin to lift that weight.” Change can happen only by grassroots protest strong enough to move entrenched interests.
“I’ll say it: turmoil,” he concluded.
Carroll weighed in.
“President Obama’s administration began in January,” he said, then paused. “January of 1943.”
Carroll ticked off four events that year — the Allies insisting on unconditional surrender to end World War II, massive bombings of civilian sites by the American and British Air Forces, the creation of the Pentagon, and the forming of Los Alamos National Laboratory to build a nuclear weapon. Those events put in motion “a current running below the nation ever since,” he argued, and “President Obama is at the mercy of this current.”
Still, he was not as dark as Zinn. Obama’s speeches, raising expectations and changing perceptions, also count, he said. “While it totally freaks me out to disagree with Howard Zinn, I think the words matter. I think the Nobel Prize went to the right person … as an invitation to greatness.”
That said, Carroll seconded Zinn’s call for protest and pressure to change foreign policy. “Nothing happens without the grassroots,” he concluded. “That’s Howard Zinn’s point.”
Goodman said she found it “shocking, but I’m going to be the resident optimist.” The man hasn’t been president for a year, let alone a term. “We’re very impatient,” she said, and that’s not fair.
“There’s an underlying anxiety,” said Goodman. “Can you be a healer and a politician?” While she doesn’t feel hopeless about the president’s agenda, “I’m not hopeful about the rise of civility.” And so she returned to the theme of the evening, and made it personal:
“The gap between hope and reality is very much a gap inside ourselves.”
Gordon invoked Henry James: “Things are much more complicated than you ever think,” she quoted, then adding from Voltaire to build her perspective: “The best is the enemy of the good. The perfect is the enemy of the good.”
She listed what she sees as major Obama accomplishments: growing acceptance of the Muslim faith within our nation, changes in reproductive rights for women, the prospect of a much-improved health-care system. Each of these is “enormous,” she said, but even more, Obama “opens up our imagination. He reminds us that the world is a complicated place.”
And, she continued, “what will never go back is that African-American kids will look at him and say, ‘The world is different.’
“He didn’t say he was going to pull a rabbit out of a hat and there will be no more original sin,” she said. And then she closed a writer’s circle begun with Henry James: “He’s not Gabriel García Márquez. He can’t do magic realism. He has to write a realistic novel.”
After a round of questions, panelists and posse adjourned to the Castle for drinks, food, and more conversation. The ornate building was packed with people and energy and a sense of how history — including University history — is full of surprising turns.
Sidney Hurwitz, a College of Fine Arts professor emeritus of art, who taught at BU for more than 30 years, a colleague of Zinn’s and fellow activist during stormier times, summed up:
“When I see Howard up there, giving a lecture, celebrated as he deserves to be — well, I never thought I’d live to see this happen.”
The Howard Zinn Lecture Series, made possible by the gift of Alex MacDonald (CAS’72) and Maureen A. Strafford (MED’76), is an annual talk on contemporary issues from a historical point of view.
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Google founders name Sundar Pichai as Google CEO, create new parent company called Alphabet
What is Alphabet and what does it mean for Google as we know it? Let’s find out.What is Alphabet?
To quote Alphabet CEO (and Google Co-Founder) Larry Page:
What is Alphabet? Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main internet products contained in Alphabet instead.
“Sergey and I are seriously in the business of starting new things. We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes. But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.”What does Alphabet mean for Google as we know it?
Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google. I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations … Google itself is also making all sorts of new products, and I know Sundar will always be focused on innovation—continuing to stretch boundaries.
One thing that’s not immediately apparent is whether Page will continue to lead Google’s product launches (such as Google I/O) or whether Pichai will now be the main man. With Google expected to launch its new Android M OS alongside new Nexus devices later this year, there won’t be long until we find out.The new structure
What does the new structure mean for the other companies inside the new parent company? It’s simple really; they will have their own CEO and mission and can execute this without worrying about the other businesses. One benefit of the restructuring is that businesses such as Google and Nest Labs are ready for other people to run allowing Page and Brin to take a step back and focus on products for the future.
Look at Calico – the business focused on combating disease and extending human lifespan – and it becomes clear that this is a business with the potential to be as big as Google itself. If there’s anyone who can find a way to defy age, it’s the company that owns the world’s largest search engine and you wouldn’t bet against them taking it to the big pharmaceutical companies.
The other businesses that will also become part of Alphabet with their own leadership teams are:
Google X houses the most secret of Google’s projects – including Google ATAP – and being spun off into Alphabet allows it to focus on products for the future without worrying about the Google of the present. If you use a Google product now or in the coming years, chances are that it was developed inside the Google X labs.
Google Ventures and Google Capital are Alphabet’s two investment arms and spinning off from Google itself should make acquisitions a lot simpler as well, with less concern and stigma around data being collected and used by other Google businesses. The spin-off should also make it easy for Alphabet to buy competing businesses and possibly get around competition regulation, although this is yet to be seen.
Nest Labs has changed the way we automate mundane tasks inside our home and continues to do so. During the acquisition of Nest Labs, Google went to great lengths to confirm that Nest was not related to its search business – over fears that it would use the data in search – but the new structure of Alphabet means this is no longer a concern. Nest Labs continues to revolutionise the way we do things in our home and a focus on the future – led by current CEO Tony Fadell – could see the company deliver an integrated smart home suite.
Fiber will continue with its aim of delivering 1Gbps internet and TV services at an affordable price in a bid to shake up the market without worrying about the stigma attached to being a Google company handling customer data. Presumably Project Fi will also fall under this division although it is technically related to the core Google business as well.
Alphabet is definitely an interesting change for Google but with the giant arguably becoming too big for its own good and being stretched thin across its various businesses, the change should hopefully streamline the operations of all the companies.Money, money, money Alphabet Soup
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