1. Klarna’s CEO discusses potential IPO
Online payments services firm Klarna might go public soon. The European tech unicorn reportedly doubled down on growth last year after securing a Swedish banking license and announcing plans to expand into new countries in 2019. CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski declined to speculate on the timing of the IPO but said there were no immediate plans and that 2019 was probably too soon.
2. Nestle launches R&D accelerator programme
Joining Unilever and P&G, Nestle is the latest CPG company to launch an accelerator programme. The participating teams which will include scientists from Nestle, students and startups will have dedicated research desks, access to Nestlé’s R&D expertise and infrastructure, including shared labs, kitchens, bench-scale, and pilot-scale equipment. The first teams have been selected, and the accelerator is expected to be operational by the end of 2019, the company said.
3. Carousell raises $56 million
Singaporean mobile commerce company Carousell has reportedly raised $56 million from Naspers, the parent company of the Philippines online marketplace OLX. As part of the deal, Carousell will also acquire OLX Philippines, with the transaction due to be completed by the second half of this year. OLX Group will own a 10% stake in Carousell, and values the company at “over US$550 million,” the firm says. Carousell has raised approximately $170 million to date, and expects a valuation of $1 billion, in the near future.
4. Target adds another DTC brand to its portfolio
Target is offering products from plusOne, a sexual wellness brand, across all 1,850 locations in the US as well as its online store presence. It is the first premium sexual wellness portfolio for Target, according to a press release, and plusOne is aiming to make sexual wellness mainstream and accessible for the consumer.
5. Aldi launches self-serve checkouts
Aldi is the latest retailer to pilot self-serve checkouts in the UK. It’s competitors Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons already use self-serve checkouts. Aldi’s main competitor Lidl has them in 150 and its 740 UK stores. Aldi said that after evaluation of the trial run, a decision on further rollouts would be made.
6. Topshop launches vegan shoe range
Topshop has unveiled its first ever vegan shoe collection. The main materials used for the shoes are non-animal, as well as non-fish glue and has received the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) approval. The packaging will also be 100% vegan-friendly materials. The initiative is a reflection of the increasing demand for environment-friendly and ethical products.