iPrice Group, a Kuala Lumpur-based online shopping aggregator platform startup, recently announced that it has secured US$10 million in an ACA Investments-led Series B financing round that also saw the participation of other investors. ACA Investments is a Singapore-based private equity firm that has ties to Daiwa Securities Group of Japan with investments in Asia that focuses on growth-stage companies and specific industries. Returning investors that participated in the e-commerce aggregator startup’s latest funding round include Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund, which is a joint venture between South Korea’s leading financial group Mirae Asset and Naver, a South Korean technology company that operates the search engine Naver, and LINE Ventures, the corporate venture arm of LINE messaging app operator, Line corporation. Daiwa PI Partners, a wholly owned subsidiary of Daiwa Securities Group with interests in private equity investments, also took part in iPrice Group’s Series B funding round.
According to David Chmelar, co-founder and chief executive officer of iPrice Group, the freshly acquired funds will be utilized by the Malaysia-based startup to find ways to connect to the specificity of the market even as Southeast Asia’s e-commerce ecosystem is gradually shifting towards mobile due to the region’s high mobile penetration rate. He cites an example whereby the startup’s traffic in the country of Indonesia is almost exclusively on mobile with a rate that exceeds 95%. Chmelar elaborates by saying that their platform needs to stay relevant with their consumers by being where they are. Towards this end, the e-commerce aggregator startup will focus on direct engagement with their consumers on their platform, maintaining their firm presence on search giant Google as the search engine is a crucial jumping off point for a lot of online consumers to do their shopping, and enabling their strategic partners in the Southeast Asia region, which include social media apps, mobile messaging apps like LINE, emerging superapps as well as various media platforms, to continue providing their audience and consumers with e-commerce content.
Another area that the startup will focus on with their new funding is its value proposition to their audience and users, as the fresh injection of funds will enable iPrice Group to further strengthen its innovative features such as its daily curated listing of coupons and highly attractive bargains for consumers, highly informative and professionally made reviews of sellers, and listing of the top products that facilitates consumers in their journey to discover the best and most sought after products. The latest round of funding will therefore enable the company to get closer to fulfilling its aim of becoming the leading online shopping companion for customers and consumers in the region, as noted by Chmelar, and go beyond its initial beginnings in price comparison.
Hirofumi Imamura, director of Daiwa PI Partners, said that they chose to invest in iPrice Group based on the startup’s strength and capabilities in managing a talented and diverse staff that hail from a multitude of countries, as well as its penetrating insight into the market and consumer buying behavior of the Southeast Asian region. What’s more, iPrice Group has shown that they are capable of becoming Asia’s leading e-commerce aggregator platform.
Moving forward, the e-commerce aggregator startup iPrice Group will aim at maintaining operations at a 30% EBITDA margin. The company is also looking to generate sufficient profit by the next three years to equal the profitability of its main business unit – price comparison for various products – for its two other components of its business, namely its coupon offerings and its product discovery feature.