- Round was led by KKR-Backed Emerald Media
- Funds will be used to enable client expansion into Malaysia, Vietnam
THAILAND-based aCommerce Co Ltd announced that it has closed a US$65 million (RM269.95 million) Series B funding round.
The company is a Southeast Asian e-commerce enabler and e-distributor in four markets that enables over 260 brand clients such as Samsung, Unilever, Nestlé, L’Oreal, Philips and Mars to sell to growing consumer markets.
The newest funding round is led by Emerald Media, a pan-Asian platform established by global investment firm KKR to fund growth investment opportunities across Asia. Participants to the round also include existing backers Blue Sky, MDI Ventures and DKSH, with North Ridge Partners advising.
The US$65 million investment in aCommerce will be channelled into:
1. Further augmenting the company’s brand-centric tech platform that allows clients to “plug in” and distribute through an integrated network of Business-to-Consumer (B2C) (e.g. online brand stores, e-marketplaces like Lazada and Shopee) and Business-to-Business (B2B) channels, with real time data analytics;
2. Scaling strategic partnerships within the retail ecosystem in current markets: Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines; and
3. Enabling client expansion into new markets like Malaysia and Vietnam.
Brands going multi-channel, demanding Business-to-All (B2A)
Given the rapid growth of the B2C market and retail industry in Asean, more brands are looking to launch on multiple channels to reach new audiences such as B2B that include specialty retailers, resellers, business-to-governments (B2G), and business-to-corporate employees (B2E).
“At the beginning of the region’s adoption of online, it was enough to simply have a website,” says aCommerce co-founder and group CEO Paul Srivorakul (pic, above).
“Fast forward a few years later and brands are realising that in order to stay ahead of the retail game, they need to be omnipresent and data hungry to fully control all pricing and consumer touch points.”
“Customers want to reach their favourite brands at any time through any platform,” continues Srivorakul.
“Clients leverage on our e-commerce expertise, data-driven approach and local footprint to effectively distribute their products to become business-to-all.”
aCommerce is a driving force behind some of the new B2B and B2E initiatives of global brands in Asean such as Samsung and L’Oreal.
“Our platform covers the entire customer journey online, from product sample distribution, collecting customer data to driving and attributing purchases across channels like the brand’s own webstore and the region’s top marketplaces,” added Srivorakul.
“Having a strong partner like KKR and Emerald Media with their years of investment experience in the region will provide capital and critical connections in content and demand generation across Southeast Asia, which we see a great deal of convergence in. We can provide our clients an even better level of transparency and accountability hard to find elsewhere.”
aCommerce group chief commercial officer Mitch Bittermann tells Digital News Asia (DNA) that the company’s strong network is its main strategy to build partnerships with retailers.
“Our strong network of brand clients, third-party logistics providers, regional footprint, and e-commerce expertise all mutually benefits retailers.”
However, he says that in the Indonesian market, aCommerce still facing challenges in terms of low credit card penetration and logistics infrastructure.
All eyes on Southeast Asia’s consumers
The region’s residents are moving to online shopping at an increasingly exponential pace, growing 32% year-on-year for the next 10 years according to research by Google and Temasek.
The surge in online activities has caused giants such as JD.com, Amazon and Alibaba to expand their presence in Southeast Asia’s retail market.
In 2017 alone, brands such as Mars, Nestlé, and Unilever, have all established a stronger official e-commerce presence with aCommerce across the region in addition to selling through existing offline channels.
aCommerce enables these companies to collect and own consumer data, develop partnerships with the region’s marketplaces/retailers and access actionable data through its e-commerce market research arm, ecommerceIQ.
“What gives us confidence in aCommerce is the company’s highly brand-centric technology platform that enables clients to simply plug in and use all operating systems, channel distribution methods and demand generation applications across the region,” said Emerald Media managing director and co-founder Paul Aiello.
“This provides new entrants a quick way to roll out multi-channel operations in these exciting markets without building large local operations.”
“In four short years, aCommerce has established itself as a leader in Southeast Asia working with the world’s top brands,” says Emerald Media managing director and co-founder Rajesh Kamat.
“We look forward to accelerating the expansion of the business as a key player in moving Southeast Asia’s retail ecosystem forward.”