Starbucks challenger Luckin’s fundraising spree continues with $150M investment – TechCrunch
Coffee startup Luckin is continuing its fundraising spree as it sets its sight on becoming an alternative to Starbucks in China.
The a-year-and-a-half old company announced on Thursday that it closed a Series B-plus raise totaling $150 million. The fresh proceeds valued Luckin at $2.9 billion post-money, up from $2.2 billion just four months ago.
While many question Luckin’s cash-fueled expansion, Blackrock, which owns a 6.58 percent stake in Starbucks, shows its confidence in the Chinese startup by pumping $125 million through its private equity fund into Luckin’s new round.
With that, the New York-based investment firm has its bet on two contrasting models for China’s coffee consumption. While Starbucks zeroes in on the brick-and-mortar experience, Luckin is a network of last-mile coffee delivery centers plus places for people to pick up orders and sit down targeting busy white-collar workers.
In a move that would amp up its battle with Luckin, Starbucks teamed up with Alibaba’s food delivery unit Ele.me last August to put hot and cold drinks in people’s hands.
Luckin did not disclose how it will spend the fresh capital infusion, but the pace at which it’s raising suggests the startup is in dire need of cash. The new round arrived less than a year after it secured a $200 million Series A in July and another $200 million from a Series B in December.
Indeed, Luckin founder Qian Zhiya, a former executive at auto rental firm Car Inc, confessed the company burned through $150 million within just six months from launching. A big chunk of money had gone to shelling out deep discounts for consumers, while the coffee challenger’s offline expansion was as cash-intensive.
As of late, Luckin has opened 2,000 outlets consisting of small prep kitchens, pickup stations and cafes in 22 Chinese cities, up from 1,700 locations reached in December. That gives Luckin less than eight months to fulfill its ambition of becoming the “biggest coffee chain in China by the number of outlets run and cups sold.” The goal is to top 4,500 outlets by the end of 2019.
Starbucks, which made its foray into China 20 years ago, has also been aggressively putting up storefronts. It currently runs 3,600 stores across 150 cities in China, up from 3,300 last May.
When it comes to actual people using the service, Starbucks still enjoys a huge lead. The Luckin app that allows one to order and pay has 650 thousand unique downloads in March, data from research firm iResearch shows. Starbucks’s app is more than four times its size with 2.81 million unique downloads from the same period.
Other investors who joined in on Luckin’s latest round included existing backers such as Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, Chinese government-controlled China International Capital Corporation, Dazheng Capital and Joy Capital, whose founding partner Liu Erhai sits on Luckin’s board.
The 5 Best Android Apps For Note-Taking In 2023
There is a variety of reasons why Google Keep is one of the best Android apps for notes. For starters, it comes pre-installed on most Android phones, so you won’t need to clog your storage with yet another app download. Even if you do need to install it, its a very small nine megabytes and won’t put too much strain on space.
With Google Keep, you have different types of notes at your disposal: plain text, checklist, image, drawing, and even voice recording. This lets you capture your thoughts with ease, regardless of what shape they may be in. Plus, each note can be personalized with colored or picture backgrounds to add a sprinkle of life and creativity to your collection.
But perhaps one of the most useful things about Google Keep is its collaboration feature. Just share your note to your friend’s email, and you can start working on your to-do lists or ideas together.
Here’s Why The Cantilever Aero Bullet Is Considered The Worst Planes Ever Built
The Wrights were engineers all over the world trading notes and testing prototypes with the shared goal of powered flight. Alberto Santos-Dumont flew a manned airship in a neat circle around the Eiffel Tower in 1901. Wilhelm Kress’s Drachenflieger might have etched its name in the Austrian sky in the same year, had its power-to-weight ratio not been thrown off by errors at a fledgling engine builder called Daimler.
All that seems to have sounded too much like work for Christmas. He did not study aerial flight. He carried out no experiments. He decided to skip to the part where people would pay him and a flying machine would appear. To that end, he founded the Christmas Aeroplane Company in 1909. In 1918, it would be known as the Cantilever Aero Company.
Christmas had nothing to sell but a story to the Continental Aircraft Corporation and New York Senator James Wolcott Wadsworth when World War I broke out.
[Featured image by Flight Archive at FlightGlobal via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Samsung SmartThings Station Review: One-Button Connected Home Control
The SmartThings Station looks very similar in size and shape to Samsung’s Galaxy 15W Wireless Charger, with a couple of key extras. First, the “Smart Button” on the top panel lets you trigger up to three automated sequences involving any of your connected smart home devices. And two indicator lights on the front face of the unit show the status of the wireless charger and the status of the Station as a smart hub, such as: working normally, restarting, can’t connect to the Internet, or scanning for new devices to add to SmartThings.
The unit I tested came with a USB-C to USB-C cable, and an AC power adapter. There is also a lower-priced SKU that does not include the power adapter, but be wary of that, as many online commenters complained that it did not work with their third-party power adapters.
Once I plugged in the SmartThings Station, and it booted up for the first time, a pop-up on my Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra phone prompted me to go to the SmartThings app, where I connected the Station to the same Wi-Fi network as the phone. You can opt to save the Station’s network connectivity info to Samsung’s SmartThings cloud while you’re at it.
After setup, the app shows the Station device info, such as its location (My home, My office, etc.) and room (living room, bedroom, kitchen, and so forth).
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