Rainforest announces launch, US$36mil seed financing

  • Financing to acquire Amazon-native brands, with focus on Asia-based Amazon FBA sellers
  • Founded by experienced e-commerce startup operators; funding round led by Nordstar  

(From left) Rainforest business operations & strategy director Elita Subaja, co-founder & CEO JJ Chai, brand manager Jerry NgSINGAPORE-based e-commerce brand aggregator Rainforest has officially announced its launch and a seed financing round of US$36 million. In a statement, the company said it will use the financing to buy and grow digital-native e-commerce brands.,

This, it said, would begin with acquiring Amazon-native brands from brand owners globally, with a focus on Asia-based Amazon fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) sellers.

The funding round consisted of US$6.5 million in equity financing, led by Nordstar, with participation from Insignia Venture Partners; and a US$30 million facility from a USA-based debt fund.

Rainforest said Amazon’s third-party gross merchandise value (GMV) was US$300 billion in 2020, growing at 50% year on year. With over 30% of the top third-party sellers based out of Asia, Rainforest is well-positioned to acquire these brands and scale them faster while providing sellers with an attractive exit opportunity, it claimed

The company works by acquiring consumer e-commerce brands Rainforest then invests into acquiring brands to grow them globally – their mission is to “fulfil the potential of microbrands, growing brands with great products”.

Rainforest announces launch, US$36mil seed financing “We’re very happy to partner with the Rainforest team and to add our global experience to their platform as they scale their business and their brands to reach their full potential,” said Ole Ruch, managing director of Nordstar Partners.

Rainforest was founded in 2020 by experienced startup operators in commerce, marketplaces, and SaaS. JJ Chai, chief executive officer of Rainforest, formerly led growth & strategy for Carousell and was Airbnb’s former Southeast Asia managing director.

Jason Tan, chief financial officer (CFO), was former CFO at OVO and Fave. Per-Ola Röst, chief technology officer, is an Amazon SaaS software entrepreneur and also a 7-figure Amazon FBA seller.

“We have had the privilege of knowing JJ Chai for a long time, having worked closely with him when he was at Airbnb'' said Ole Ruch, “He is recognized as one of the strongest operators and executives in the region and we are delighted to partner with him and his two co-founders.”

Adding to this, Yinglan Tan, managing partner of Insignia Ventures Partners, said: “We’re thrilled to be backing Asia’s first e-commerce aggregator in the region’s rapidly growing ecommerce space, with a seasoned team that will be eventually well-positioned to acquire and grow brands in the regional Asian and Southeast Asian marketplaces.”

Rainforest has been operational since January 2021, acquiring three brands to date and the home and personal care categories.

“It’s a great pleasure to provide these entrepreneurs a cash exit. We’ll be working hard to take their brands to the next level and hope to do the same for many more ecommerce entrepreneurs” said Chai.

Rainforest will also use the funds to continue acquiring promising Amazon FBA brands, invest in technology, and hire top talent to join their Singapore-headquartered and globally distributed team.

 

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