A high-profile Australian e-commerce startup that gained notoriety by hijacking the iPhone 6 launch in Australia and offering the "world's best" internship, has collapsed into voluntary administration. Alphatise, whose shareholders include Rich Lister and Western Australia-based technology entrepreneur Zhenya Tsvetnenko, appointed Deloitte as administrators of the company on March 5. Vaughan Strawbridge, Deloitte restructuring services partner, confirmed the appointment to SmartCompany late Friday afternoon. “It's still very early days as far as our appointment is concerned,” says Strawbridge. “We are continuing to trade the business while we are assessing options around recapitalising the business.” The first meeting of creditors will take place on March 16 in Sydney. SmartCompany understands a number of Alphatise shareholders have concerns about the leadership of the company. Alphatise allows consumers to request a product they want to buy and say how much they’re willing to pay for it. The company then gives retailers the opportunity to match that deal. Adam Schwab, founder of e-commerce player Aussie Commerce, last week criticised the Alphatise model in a piece written for SmartCompany’s sister website Crikey. “What isn’t explained is why a distributor or retailer would bother with such a confusing platform, or how the retailer and Alphatise are both able to make a satisfactory margin on the sale,” Schwab said. The Sydney-based business has previously raised $3 million and co-founder and chief executive Paul Pearson previously told SmartCompany Alphatise was planning another $12 million capital raise by the end of 2014. “We have had expressions of interest from a lot of venture capital firms out of Silicon Valley and locally as well,” Pearson previously said.
A former employee of AussieCommerce has launched proceedings in the Supreme Court against the online retailer. He has accused AussieCommerce founders, Adam Schwab and Jeremy Same, of misleading and deceptive conduct in a partial sale of the business last year. The former national sales manager of AussieCommerce, Adam Glezer, filed proceedings on October 2, 2014 in the Supreme Court of Victoria. He claims he was misled as to the value of Deals.com.au, which is owned by AussieCommerce. Glezer agreed to sell his 19.8% stake in Deals.com.au to Schwab and Same for $282,000 in April last year. But Glezer now claims the true value of his stake was about $5 million and is seeking this or the return of his shares in the company. Glezer’s claim is based on emails exchanged between AussieCommerce’s directors after Glezer sold his stake. These emails were provided to Glezer by AussieCommerce as part of the court’s discovery process. The first set of emails, which were sent two days after Glezer sold his stake, discuss potential valuations of the business at $10 million plus and subsequent emails sent in June suggest valuations of $25 million. AussieCommerce was a finalist in SmartCompany’s Smart50 this year recording annual turnover of $138 million. The online business is looking to list and last week it appointed Macquarie Capital to help it prepare for an initial public offering with a proposed valuation of $200 million. Schwab, Same and Glezer all declined to comment as the matter is before the courts. This story originally appeared on SmartCompany.
Australia has the third highest business-to-consumer e-commerce sales rates in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a report by German-based business intelligence organisation yStats.com. The Asia-Pacific B2C e-Commerce Market report paints a very different picture from a recent report from the University of Sydney, which claimed Aussie retailers are behind the eight ball when it comes to engaging customers online and at risk of losing out to overseas competitors. The yStats report shows between 2013 and 2018, the Asia-Pacific e-commerce sector is forecast to grow by more than 20% a year, with Australia cited as a front runner in the region. Australia had the third highest B2C e-commerce sales rates for the region, coming in behind China in first place and Japan in the number two spot. Internet penetration in Australia was also one of the highest in the region at 80%, with over three quarters of internet users making purchases online. The report found the travel sector accounted for around a quarter of total B2C e-commerce sales in Australia, while two of the most purchased physical product categories were electronics and fashion products, each accounting for more than 10% of the total sales. Adam Schwab, founder of one of Australia’s biggest e-commerce players Aussie Commerce, told SmartCompany while he believes Australia will struggle to ever overtake markets such as the US, it was certainly punching above its weight. “While our e-commerce companies are certainly not the biggest, we have some of the best players globally,” says Schwab. The report shows the leading players in the Australian market are foreign names, such as Amazon and eBay, which are among the most visited websites in the country. However, it said local merchants are rapidly emerging with the number of local online stores tripling in recent years. Schwab says one of the biggest advantages the Australian e-commerce sector has over other markets is the country’s readiness to adapt to technological changes. He says for pure e-commerce players in Australia, there is a further advantage of competing against the entrenched nature of the established retail players in the country. “E-commerce is taking on established players who have had it easy for a long time,” he says. While Schwab believes the established retail players are getting better at adapting to online demand, he says they had previously operated in a protected environment that allowed them to charge more than international competitors. Schwab says e-commerce cuts out the middle man and issues such as the high cost of wages for bricks-and-mortar retail staff, making Australia more competitive on a global level. Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This article originally appeared on SmartCompany.
Australia’s group buying market is in the midst of a consolidation period, according to analysts, after Melbourne-based site Deals.com.au announced it will merge with Sydney-based site Ouffer.
Group buying sites can now choose to be held accountable on a global scale, with the release of the first global code of conduct, seven months after the release of an Australian code of conduct.
Yahoo!7 may be starting to encounter the downside of the group buying industry as a new report indicates the media giant is no longer expected to make any more performance-related payments to its subsidiary Spreets.
Start-ups are being urged to act with caution when advertising deals on group-buying sites, as small businesses start to feel the pressure of the daily deal phenomenon.
US-based group buying site Groupon has officially launched in Australia under the name Star Deals, with the company reporting it has already sold more than 100 vouchers.
Groupon has finally entered the Australian market, but local operators believe the US-based group buying website will struggle to compete in what is already an established market.
The group buying model spearheaded by US firm Groupon has caught on like wildfire in Australia, with a plethora of similar sites including Zoupon, OurDeal and Spreets opening up shop over the past year to offer their services to an Australian audience.