Vietnamese e-commerce startup LeFlair secures US$1 million funding led by Caldera Pacific

Vietnamese e-commerce startup Leflair secures US$1 million funding led by Caldera Pacific

Vietnamese e-commerce startup LeFlair has secured a US$1 million pre-series A funding round from a comgregation of investors led by Hong Kong-based Caldera Pacific Ventures.

Other participants in this pre-series A also include Italian VC firm AME Ventures and Korean VC firm Nextrans.

Prior to this, the partners at AME Ventures were early backers of yoox.com, a global leading online fashion retailer that places emphasis on luxury brands. The YOOX group which acquired Net-a-Porter.com last year in a billion dollar deal has successfully completed its IPO in November 2009.

“We found LeFlair very attractive because of its very experienced team and its focus on a segment, fashion online, that we know well. Vietnam is a high growth and underserved country, while the platform can eventually be expanded to the neighboring countries adding scalability to the model,” said Michele Appendino, the chairman at AME Ventures.

Founded in 2015 by Loic Gautier and Pierre Antoine Brun, LeFlair is one of the pioneers to provide branded fashion and beauty products at steep discounts. The two French founders have local e-commerce experience over the past three years in the Southeast Asian country through their work in Lazada before it was acquired by Chinese giant Alibaba.

“The company has been successful selling premium brands available at shopping malls but at much lower prices and also through bringing new brands to Vietnam,” said Loic Gautier, the CEO of LeFlair.

With the latest proceeds, LeFlair will enhance its operation to serve the regional market by offering a wider range of foreign brands which are difficult to acquire locally.

“Part of the new financing will be used for cross-border operations, which will help deliver orders from overseas brands and distributors directly to the end-users in Vietnam,” Gautier adds. “The business opportunity in Vietnam must not only be defined by the current, and relatively small market size but also the exploding demand that is not satisfied by the limited offering.”

Besides, LeFlair’s approach and focus on brands allow it to grow at a fast pace with reasonable marketing expenditures without compromising on the quality of the products or customer service, as well as to work on its long-term vision.

“We are more profitable than the other e-commerce players because we don’t compete with them. Selling brands in this region is not just about funding but about building trust and reputation. Not being in a constant state of price war against other players allow us to generate the adequate margins to sustain our operations and focus on the bigger plans,” Gautier further explains.

Based in Ho Chi Minh, LeFlair has around 80 employees and currently operates its own production studio, warehouse and fulfillment centre, where orders are shipped across the country.

Although the company’s business traction was not disclosed, but Gautier said the company had an average monthly growth rate of 23 per cent in revenues and had delivered about 40,000 orders in the first year of its operation.

In May 2016, LeFlair has received an undisclosed amount from 500 Startups Vietnam fund.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Fortune Capital-backed furniture maker HomeKoo targets RMB1.8 billion in ChiNext IPO

Fortune Capital-backed furniture maker HomeKoo targets RMB1.8 billion in ChiNext IPO

HomeKoo, a Chinese customized furniture manufacturer backed by Shenzhen Fortune Capital, has obtained regulatory approval to list on ChiNext, the NASDAQ-style bourse of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

No financial details of the listing have been determined but it is said that the public offering is looking to sell a total of not more than 2.7 billion shares, to raise RMB 1.8 billion (about US$261 million).

Established in 2004, the Guangzhou-based furniture company is wholly involved in custom-made furniture production, from designing and providing information technology solutions to product sales, as well as developmental and technical services.

Besides, HomeKoo claims that it has incorporated online design services, virtual reality, and mobile internet technology in its manufacturing process to allow large-scale customisation.

Additionally, the company focuses on customised furniture as to meet the demands of the urban consumers, especially Chinese city dwellers who live in small apartments and requires customised furniture to allow for better space utilisation at a relatively low cost.

HomeKoo markets its products via franchised brick-and-mortar stores across the country and an online e-commerce platform HomeKoo.com. At present, the company has two major furniture brands, which are SPZP and Wayes.

Fortune Capital invested RMB70 million (about US$10.2 million) in HomeKoo back in 2009 to help the company expand. At the time of Fortune Capital’s investment, customized furniture held a 10% stake in the overall furniture market in China, and was growing at 20% annually.

The fund raised from the offering will be mainly used for four major aspects, which includes marketing and networking, establishing a one-stop O2O purchase service, creating an intelligent manufacturing production line, and supporting home product strategy.

The company claims that RMB111 million will be used in the construction of a home appliance factory in Foshan, southern China whereby it will be the dedicated modern logistics center to solve the inadequacy of the company’s existing storage capacity.

The modern logistics center will be a three-dimensional automated warehouse, occupying an area of ​10696.47 square meters. The construction period is 18 months, and the logistics storage capacity and product turnover efficiency will be greatly improved after the project is put into production.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media