In a resolute effort to curb plastic pollution, India has imposed a ban on single-use plastic products from July 1, 2022, a move that synchronizes with Plastic Free July, an influential global campaign empowering people to cut down on plastic and make the planet more sustainable.
A breakthrough in this direction is Brown Living, India’s first and only plastic-free marketplace that consciously curates an array of everyday sustainable products – from apparel to home accessories, self-care and wellness – supporting sustainable, vegan, chemical-free and zero-waste lifestyles. Launched in 2019, Brown Living is the brainchild of Chaitsi Ahuja, a marketer and earth advocate, who has been living a plastic-free life for the past 5 years. Chaitsi, Founder and CEO of Brown Living, states, “Going plastic-free is a journey. It won’t happen overnight. I started with ‘use what you have first’ to ensure nothing goes to waste.”
Her mission to create awareness about conscious consumption is amplified by environmentalist and film producer Pragya Kapoor. “All of us have a role to play in conserving the earth and I believe we must make sustainable and kinder choices every day,” says Pragya, Business Partner and Investor at Brown Living.
Every year, India alone produces 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste, of which 43% is single-use plastic. By 2050, global use of plastic could emit upto 56 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, aggravating the climate crisis. These alarming numbers require immediate action. Pragya adds, “If we stop single-use plastics completely, we would be able to delay the effects of climate change by a few years and also start managing our waste much better, reducing global temperatures, improving air quality and living conditions.”
At Brown Living, each product is made in India and selected through The Brown Lens, a proprietary framework that evaluates its environmental impact, fair trade, ethical sourcing and production. All orders are packaged and shipped plastic-free in biodegradable, plastic-free and recycled containers and shipped in 100% post-consumer boxes with plastic-free paper tapes. A share of profits is directed towards tree plantation drives. Labels and artisans who respect the people and planet feature exclusively on this platform. Till date, the aggregator hosts over 300 sellers with over 10,000 products from across India, with 72% women entrepreneurs.
Brown Living’s vision is to shift mindsets, make sustainable living mainstream and bust the myth that zero-plastic lifestyle is expensive or niche. “A lot of options for affordable plastic-free products are easily accessible now. Even if you go back to the traditional ways of shopping from kirana stores or buy produce by weight, in small batches, you will have fresher, healthier products both for you as well as the planet, while supporting local businesses. So, it’s an absolute win-win and completely guilt-free,“ Chaitsi adds.
Commenting on the plastic ban, she says, “The ban should have a tax-on-the-polluter component where manufacturers are held accountable for responsibly recovering and recycling the plastic they have put out in the market so far and changing packaging materials to be environment-friendly. Government funding and subsidies for companies producing biodegradable alternatives to single-use plastics could also prove to be a game-changer at the grassroot level.”
Overall, Chaitsi is optimistic about living plastic-free but added, “We need a systemic shift in our consumption habits, ask questions before we buy, and drastically reduce the amount of single-use plastic that we already create, consume and discard each year, while also finding intelligent ways to repurpose the plastic that already exists.”
Securing over $60 million in Series B financing, Jet Commerce strengthens its ecosystem
The funds will be used to upgrade operational infrastructure, hire more local talents, strengthen its Multi Channel Network operations, improve digital management and research and development of SaaS systems, and improve its professional brand incubation ability.
Jet Commerce, a one-stop service provider for brand e-commerce focusing on emerging markets, officially announced the completion of over US$60 million in Series B financing. This round of financing was jointly led by Jinqiu Capital, Hidden Hill Capital, and Zhejiang SilkRoad Fund. Hui Capital and other institutions, including ATM Capital, who was involved in a tens of millions of dollars Series A funding round, is participating in this series as well.
The new funds will be used to upgrade operational infrastructure, hire more local talents, strengthen its Multi Channel Network operations, improve digital management and research and development of SaaS systems, and improve its professional brand incubation ability.
Oliver Yang, founder and CEO of Jet Commerce Group, said, “Thanks to Southeast Asia’s young demographic structure and increased mobile internet penetration rate, the scale of e-commerce in Southeast Asia continues to grow rapidly, market prospects are optimistic, and e-commerce ecological opportunities continue. Due to the differences in culture, market, and consumption habits among Southeast Asian countries, there are high requirements for the localized service capabilities of regional companies, which Jet Commerce will also focus on. In addition, we will continue to strengthen our localization capabilities, expand our online market channels, and deepen our services. We also have distinct advantages in areas such as logistics and technical support, and we look forward to collaborating with more like-minded partners to build a prosperous online market.”
Yang Jie, Founding Partner of Jinqiu Capital, stated, “Jinqiu Capital is committed to identifying exceptional companies and entrepreneurs with a global vision who use technology to influence and change the world. Jet Commerce has now grown into a market leader in the Indonesian e-commerce brand operation industry, and has expanded its advantages in more countries. According to our perspective, the advantages of cross-border industrial resources assist Jet Commerce in becoming a new generation of the world’s leading brand service and brand-management company. I am delighted to be working with Jet Commerce this time, and Jinqiu Fund looks forward to collaborating with Jet Commerce and its shareholders.”
Meanwhile, Hidden Hill Capital, one of the series’ lead investors is optimistic on the potential of the e-commerce sector in emerging markets such as Southeast Asia.
“The entire market will rapidly move online and focus on branding, as we can see. Based on the complexity of the e-commerce operating environment in emerging markets, we believe e-commerce services will be more valuable, and Jet Commerce can stand out as a global one-stop e-commerce service and a leading player in brand incubation, if we look at the general trend of China’s supply chain going overseas to emerging markets,” said Dongfang Hao, Chairman and Managing Partner of Hidden Hill Capital.
Same thing was expressed by Wang Haitong, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Zheijang SilkRoad Fund, who said that with Jet Commerce’s rich experience from China’s more-advanced e-commerce industry, and the ability to localize its strategy across the countries where the company located, has made Jet Commerce a leader in the industry and able to expand its business to many other countries.
“In just five years, Jet Commerce has been able to help top global brands expand their market regionally. We believe that by rapidly replicating and implementing previous successes, a positive two-way cycle between brands and local markets can be established. We will provide full support in collaborating with Jet Commerce to better serve global consumers, setting the model for local e-commerce operations, and establishing the benchmark for brands seeking to go overseas,” Haitong continued.
Jet Commerce was founded in Indonesia in 2017 and has rapidly expanded its operations to other Southeast Asian countries over the last five years. To further strengthen its regional business, the company formed Jet Commerce Group and established its headquarters in Hangzhou, China, in 2020.
Today, Jet Commerce has expanded its business to assist brands in expanding their e-commerce market overseas, offering end-to-end services in six key sectors: strategic consulting, online store operations, integrated marketing, customer service, and consumer management, warehouse and logistics services, as well as e-commerce technical support. Jet Commerce now has over 1,000 employees in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brazil, with local talents account for more than 90 percent.
Jet Commerce has forged close relationships with giant e-commerce platforms such as Shopee, Lazada, and Tiktok, as well as collaborated regionally with well-known global brands such as OPPO, Unicharm, DJI, Nivea, Shiseido, Wipro, and more, thanks to its long-term focus and deep cultivation in the cross-border e-commerce services.
In addition, Jet Commerce has just completed the site layout in Brazil this year. Jet Commerce’s future goal as the first site to enter the Latin American market is to become a data-driven global company that provides one-stop global brand services and brand incubation, leading the way for more brands and sellers to grow.
epay Selects Payment Intelligence Fraugster to Pilot Fraud Prevention Services for its Payment Processing
Fraugster, a payment intelligence company, has been selected by epay to pilot AI payment fraud prevention services. epay is a full-service payment provider and the digital payments processing business segment of the global financial technology solutions and payments provider Euronet Worldwide, Inc. (NASDAQ: EEFT).
epay’s worldwide transactions for payment and branded payment processing across all channels grew 30% in 2021 to more than 3 billion. Because the full-service payment provider continues to expand its engagement in web-based and in-app channels, it is important to continuously develop the overall ecosystem protection that minimizes risk from the outset using Fraugster’s AI Anti-Fraud Engine.
“With Fraugster’s AI data enrichment and custom data points we will gain deep insights into end-user behavior for our offered payment methods, which will strengthen our existing payment security strategy,” said Dr. Markus Landrock, epay’s Managing Director of DACH and Global Issuing, Payments & Rewards. “It will also enable us to make more accurate approval decisions as we continue to grow our business, whilst giving us the flexibility we need to cater for different business models within the Euronet group. This way, our retail and brand partners as well as their end customers can continue to rely on secure processes at epay in the future.”
Because the demand for digital and branded payments are constantly increasing, these payment methods require ongoing development in fraud prevention within the risk system. In addition, e-commerce fraud losses are significantly higher now than pre-pandemic levels, costing online merchants heavily and making payment security and intelligence more important than ever.
“We are delighted to be working so closely with another well-established financial technology company that is operating in a high-risk vertical, offering their customers a range of payment methods without compromising on payment security,” said Fraugster CEO Christian Mangold. “A combination of our expertise and AI technology will ensure that epay continues to see an increase in payment acceptance and reduction in fraud losses.”
Fraugster is a Berlin based payment intelligence company. Fraugster enables the world’s leading merchants, and global payment companies like Worldline and Ratepay to intelligently manage the impact of fraud to minimize the costs of fraud, maximize revenue and improve customer experience. Fraugster has developed one of the most accurate AI fraud prevention solutions in the market and is backed by leading investors Earlybird, Speedinvest, CommerzVentures and Munich Re Ventures.
epay, a segment of Euronet Worldwide, Inc. (NASDAQ: EEFT), is a leading global provider of payment processing and prepaid solutions that processed more than 3 billion transactions in 2021. The company has built an extensive network of retailer touchpoints with 760,000 point-of-sale terminals in 63 countries that connects brands with consumers all over the world. The company offers a diverse ecosystem of services, products and solutions supporting the distribution of Payment and Branded Payments for more than 1,000 brand partners via Commerce, eCommerce and mCommerce solutions.
$22.5M Seed Funding Announced by Web3 Infrastructure Firm Fortress Blockchain Technologies
Led by Ayon Capital, the Funding Enables Fortress to Build and Scale Its Financial, Regulatory and Technology Infrastructure for Web3 Innovators.
Fortress Blockchain Technologies today announced it has raised Seed funding of $22.5M led by Ayon Capital. The round also included Soaring Investment Management, Fortress’ founder Scott Purcell, and a few select super-angel investors. The capital supports Fortress’ team as it creates transformative B2B infrastructure for the Web3 industry.
With a team of 84 full-time product managers and software engineers, a key focus of this B2B FinTech/BlockTech infrastructure firm is the ongoing development of the Fortress technology initiatives for API-embeddable, user-friendly NFT and crypto wallets, API-driven and white-label minting engines for fungible and non-fungible tokens, and its proprietary core-system for financial and trust services.
In addition to engineering, Fortress has invested heavily in its regulatory initiatives. This has included hiring Albert Forkner, formerly the Banking Commissioner (WY) and Chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors as the CEO of the firms wholly-owned subsidiary, Fortress Trust, and his successfully guiding the firm to achieving trust charter and building a complete financial services stack including asset custody, payments, compliance, trustee, crypto liquidity and other utilities needed by Web3 innovators.
Now hitting the “go to market” phase of the startup lifecycle, the funding is being deployed to build a world class sales team. Ryan Miller, previously head of sales at the multi-billion-dollar FinTech MX Technologies, has joined Fortress as its Chief Revenue Officer and is now building a team of enterprise sales veterans across a variety of industry verticals.
“The tokenization of information and assets via fungible and non-fungible tokens will transform the world” noted Scott Purcell, founder and CEO of Fortress, “and we look forward to helping Web3 innovators of all types, from Fortune 500 brands to FinTechs to next-generation startups with the financial, regulatory and technology infrastructure they need to build incredible businesses.”
“With our extensive investments in the crypto ecosystem we see first-hand the transformative effect that the blockchain is having, and will continue to have on every facet of society” said Rahul Pagidipati of Ayon Capital “and as a fund, our singular thesis is to only back world-class founders who have the vision and ability to execute, we are excited to back Scott, Kevin, George and their team on this venture.”
“Technological and societal paradigm shifts are ushering in Web3. Fortress is one of the critical building blocks for this next wave of the web,” said Soaring Investment Management director, Frank Zhang. “Fortress is positioning itself as the infrastructure partner of choice for celebrities, corporate brands, crypto exchanges, NFT marketplaces, real estate professionals, neo-banks, FinTechs, healthcare firms and others entering the space with their Web3 initiatives.”
The funding will enable Fortress to continue to write software, begin to extend its regulatory services globally, and build the sales and operational teams to support a wide variety of B2B customers across numerous industries.
Fortress Blockchain Technologies is purpose-built to deliver financial, regulatory and technology infrastructure to the rapidly emerging Web3 space. The firm offers financial services including compliance, payments, custody, trustee-of-assets, escrow, crypto liquidity and other services, as well as a minting engine for fungible and non-fungible tokens along with an NFT and crypto wallet that is secure, user-friendly and can be embedded into third-party mobile and web applications. Fortress Trust Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fortress Blockchain Technologies and is a full-retail Nevada-chartered financial institution.
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