Photo (iPrice) - iPrice - the laptop version
Malaysian Meta-Search platform provider iPrice Group has raised US$4 million Series A investment, which will help it continue its Asean expansion in the coming year.
The eCommerce aggregator platform's fund raising round was led by Asia Venture Group (AVG) and Venturra - with participation by Gobi Partners, DMP, Econa, Starstrike Ventures and personal CEO investment.
iPrice Group's chief executive officer David Chmelař (pic below) said the company, with its eCommerce partners, is already merchandising more than 50 million products to online shoppers in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Hong Kong.
Chmelař said that since the company's last funding, iPrice has expanded at a faster rate, with its traffic jumping more than 500 percent in the past 12 months.
"What is even more extraordinary is that we have been able to grow entirely organically and are approaching profitability even faster than originally planned," he said.
Removing the clutter from eCommerce
Chmelař said company has recently added two key members to its leadership team to help drive expansion: Dr. Konstantin Lange, Co-founder of online grocer HappyFresh, as chief operating officer; and Matteo Sutto, Zalora alumnus and founder of Tate & Tonic, as senior vice president of Growth.
Currently, iPrice employs a staff of over one hundred people, with local teams representing each of the seven countries that the company operates in.
"We've seen first-hand need for a comprehensive platform where consumers can consistently find the best deals and product information," said Chmelař. "At the same time, we also saw the need for reliable and performance driven marketing channels servicing merchants, which were also lacking in the region. In the past 12 months, we have helped a multitude of our partners to grow their monthly traffic and GMV by an additional 50 percent."
He said that as the eCommerce space continued "to grow rapidly, it becoming increasingly fragmented, consumers are find it more and more challenging to look for the best prices across the myriad of merchants. A study by iPrice reveals that only 2 out of 10 products in SEA can be purchased at the cheapest price from the largest e-commerce merchants, while consumers would have to visit dozens of different websites to ensure better deals."
Citing comments from Google and Temasek, predicting the SEA eCommerce space to grow into a US$200 billion industry by 2025, Chmelař said that the demand for differentiated marketing channels will also increase.
He added that more mature eCommerce markets "such as the U.S. have shown the importance of affiliate marketing channels for the eCommerce economy." A study conducted by Forrester Consulting showed that the majority of eCommerce merchants are devoting more than 10 percent of their marketing budgets to affiliate programmes.
Chmelař said iPrice will open up its fully monetised product catalogue to publishers and third-party websites with a customisable suite of tools, designed to drive their revenue potential.
"Given the combination of eCommerce hyper growth, the solidity of iPrice's business model, and the unique execution skills that the team has demonstrated, iPrice will become one of the largest and most profitable company emerging from Southeast Asia's e-commerce landscape," commented Tim Marbach, chief executive officer and founder of Asia Venture Group.
Since October 2014, iPrice's Meta-Search platform, which has expanded its segment across seven markets mentioned earlier, is operating three business lines: price comparison for electronics and health & beauty; product discovery for fashion and home & living; and coupons across all verticals.
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