(Yicai Global) March 13 -- New retail technology service provider Startdt Co., which lists Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s cloud computing unit among its clients, has bagged CNY24 million (USD3.78million) in financing, which it will use to bring in new talents and to accelerate research development efforts.
The Hangzhou-based startup’s A-round funding was led by Morningside Venture Capital and supported by Riverhill Fund, former Alibaba CEO Jonathan Lu, and IDG Capital. The company has accelerated efforts over the past year to develop solutions related to New Retail encompassing unmanned stores, smart stores, as well as business center and data center platforms.
New Retail, a term coined by Jack Ma in 2016 to describe “the integration of online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain,” is all the rage in China’s rapidly expanding consumer market. Some of the nation’s top tech and e-commerce firms, including Ma’s Alibaba and JD.Com Inc., are battling it out to secure offline resources that complement their existing assets.
The new technology revolution and changes in consumer habits are rebuilding China's retail landscape, says Startdt CEO Zhang Jinyin, adding that there still exists several obstacles to the sector’s development such as high rental and labor costs and deficiencies in data operations. The use of artificial intelligence and Big Data in the industry is an inevitable trend, he added.
The firm employs around 150 people, of which 70 percent are concerned with R&D. The company will soon release multiple products and solutions, including the industry's first cloud terminal and interactive unmanned retail terminals, and will then seek another round of financing.
After completing its first round of financing last year, Startdt has quickly become profitable. It currently provides services for more than 100 paying customers, covering the alcohol, property management, mother and baby, clothing, and entertainment sectors. Revenue for the first quarter of 2018 increased threefold from last year, Zhang estimates, adding that revenue for 2018 is expected to exceed CNY100 million.