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Emerald Media leads $65 mn funding round in aCommerce

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MUMBAI: Southeast Asia’s leading e-commerce brand aCommerce Co has announced that it has closed a $65 million Series B funding round. It is an enabler and e-distributor in four markets for over 260 brand clients such as Samsung, Unilever, Nestlé, L’Oréal, Philips and Mars.

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. Other participants include existing backers Blue Sky, MDI Ventures and DKSH, with North Ridge Partners advising.

“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. “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. Clients leverage our e-commerce expertise, data-driven approach and local footprint to effectively distribute their products to become business-to-all,” he adds.

The investment will be channelled into 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). The investment will be further channelled into scaling strategic partnerships within the retail ecosystem in current markets - Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines while enabling client expansion into new markets like Malaysia and Vietnam.

Given the rapid growth of the B2C market and retail industry in Association of Southeast Asian Nations, more brands are looking to launch on multiple channels to reach new audiences such as B2B that include speciality retailers, resellers, business-to-governments (B2G), and business-to-corporate employees (B2E).

“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,” adds Paul. “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.”

The region’s residents are moving to online shopping at an increasingly exponential pace, expected to grow 32 per cent 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.

“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,” says Emerald Media managing director and co-founder Paul Aiello. “This provides new entrants with a quick way to roll out multi-channel operations in these exciting markets without building large local operations.”

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.

“In four short years, aCommerce has established itself as a leader in Southeast Asia working with the world’s top brands. We look forward to accelerating the expansion of the business as a key player in moving Southeast Asia’s retail ecosystem forward,” concludes Emerald Media managing director and co-founder Rajesh Kamat.

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