Farfetch valuation and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

I first heard of Farfetch, the mid- to premium luxury e-commerce site back in 2012. I remember sharing it with a friend because the styles of certain brands were very different from US websites. She warned me to watch out for possible fakes especially from a new and relatively unknown website. It gave me pause because she could very well be right. But I kept myself updated with the website because I found the concept very interesting – sourcing from small boutiques internationally (mostly Europe and North America) and bringing them into a single shoppable platform. But it’s also interesting that there was this old mindset, completely overturned by now, especially by Net-a-Porter Group, that it’s hard to trust the authenticity of luxury items sold exclusively online. Fast forward to this week, and Farfetch just joined the billion-dollar valuation club, raising $86M in funding with a $1B valuation.

With massive valuations of tech companies, Farfetch is a small blip in the horizon but it still remarkable for an e-commerce startup serving in a niche – luxury items from small boutiques worldwide. Personally, I have not bought anything from Farfetch though I have considered it several times but then again, I’m probably not their target customer – I am quite price-sensitve to shipping, which is not free on Farfetch (although they do have promotional complimentary shipping at times). Still, a fashion startup with a $1B is exciting news.

In a follow-up to my post about self-driving cars, consulting firm McKinsey & Co. just released a study on self driving cars, claiming that self-driving cars could save thousands of lives and could boost Internet revenue by billions.

Here are this week’s weekly roundup in tech and retail:

In tech:

  1.  SpaceX wins preliminary ruling on patent dispute with Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin
  2. As Apple readies for its Apple Watch event on Monday, the company joins Dow Jones industrial average; meanwhile reports of fraud associated with Apple Pay surfaces
  3. Google to become a wireless carrier, but subscribers must have Google’s flagship phone, the Nexus 6
  4. Uber buys mapping tech startup deCarta for an unspecified amount
  5. Facebook will change the way it counts “likes” for Facebook Pages, feature will roll out in the coming weeks

In retail:

  1. Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade crafts, files for IPO, will list on the Nasdaq under the ticker ETSY
  2. Amazon opens store inside local competitor, Alibaba’s Tmall in China
  3. Adidas reports Q4 loss, net loss for 3 months ended December reach $140M
  4. Abercrombie & Fitch reports another slide in sales for quarter ending January 31 while competitor American Eagle Outfitters reports stronger-than-expected earnings
  5. Coach turnaround efforts continue with opening of Paris flagship
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