Convenience store startup Xiaomai receives USD 18.5 M for financing
Founded in: 2015
Financing status: RMB 125 million (USD 18.5 million) for financing in 2017
On Tuesday, convenience store Xiaomai receives USD 18.5 M in financing to improve its supply chain’s efficiency.
Ever since Amazon’s “store of the future” made its debut last year, unmanned convenience stores have caught the attention of venture capitals and startups in China. As we reported before, unmanned convenience stores, F5 future store and Bingobox, secured financing over the past two months. Surprisingly, though, it was the manned convenience store, Xiaomai, that secured the largest funding source in the convenience store industry.
Xiaomai is a convenience-store startup that mainly launches its stores in communities. Each of its stores covers a box-like area of 20 square meters that can be placed either outdoors or indoors. They can, also, be easily assembled and dismantled, allowing them to be built in four hours and open to the public in one day.
Even though the stores are man handled, they integrate the latest technologies. Before making their first purchases, customers are required to register as a member. They do so by using their smartphones to scan a QR code. Now, they can be identified through face recognition. After entering the store, customers can scan product QR codes, pay with their WeChat account and leave the store directly.
The stores are open 24 hours, and sell some daily necessities, including breakfast, some fresh food, vegetables and so on. And, because the stores are mainly open in communities, they are also equipped with first-aid kits, mobile phone charging stations, microwave ovens and fire extinguishers.
Store employees are mainly there to prevent thefts and to deal with customers’ problems, such as help those who may not know how to complete in-store purchases with smartphones. Compared to unmanned convenience stores, Xiaomai’s employees can help customers quickly deal with problems, thereby, contributing to a better user experience. And, compared to traditional convenience stores, Xiaomai’s low employee cost allows them to provide competitive product pricing.
Founded in 2015 in Beijing, Xiaomai recently secured its first financing round from Aplus Capital and some other investors. Moreover, this financing round was the largest financing round in the convenience store industry. The capital will be used to improve the efficiency of the store’s supply chain, as well as open new stores across China.
Online flower retailer Reflower receives undisclosed Series B round in tens of millions of USD
Founder: Zhu Yueyi
Founded in: 2015
Financing status: Series B financing round in 2017 amounting to hundreds of millions of RMB (tens of millions of USD)
On Friday, Online flower retailer Reflower receives undisclosed Series B round in tens of millions of USD for expanding its categories of its flowers.
In China, the emerging flower market represents the increased demand for a new generation of product, one that represents a high-quality lifestyle. No longer used only as gifts, the overall market size has increased to RMB 100 billion (USD 14.8 billion).
Reflower is an online flower retailer that provides customers with a weekly-flower-delivery subscription service, with every week offering a different theme. Customers can order Reflower’s services on its website for themselves or for others as gifts. They start by choosing the number of months for the subscription, setting up the delivery address and choosing their flower theme. One month is the minimal subscription time, with charges starting from RMB 99.
Reflower previously received investment from Chinese star Gao Yuanyuan, and this Series B financing round was provided by Matrix Partners China. It plans to use the funds to expand its categories of its flowers, as well as invest on market expansion for more customers.
（Top photo from 58pic.com）