KKR’s Emerald Media Leads $65 Million Funding in Bangkok StartupBLOOMBERG
By Yoolim Lee | KKR & Co.-backed Emerald Media led a $65 million funding round in aCommerce, a Bangkok-based startup that helps brands including Samsung, Unilever and L’Oreal sell their products online across Southeast Asia.The four-year-old firm, which already operates in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, plans to use part of the proceeds to expand in markets such as Vietnam. The firm’s existing backers Blue Sky, MDI Ventures and DKSH also joined the series B round, the company said.aCommerce helps about 260 companies such as Samsung Electronics Co. and Unilever NV with digital marketing, inventory and delivery for online sales in the region. It works with customers that sell through their own web store as well as through Asian e-commerce sites like Lazada and Shopee.
“Brands are realizing that in order to stay ahead of the retail game, they need to be omnipresent,’’ said aCommerce co-founder and Group Chief Executive Officer Paul Srivorakul. “Customers want to reach their favorite brands any time through any platform.”
The deal marks Emerald Media’s first foray into e-commerce. Emerald Media was set up by New York-based private equity giant KKR in 2015 to invest in media, entertainment and consumer technology in Asia. KKR has committed $300 million from its KKR Asia Fund II, and in June, the firm raised $9.3 billion for its third Asian fund to capitalize on the region’s growing consumption.
“In e-commerce, we see a great deal of convergence in the future between demand generation, data analytics and consumer media and entertainment,’’ said Rajesh Kamat, managing director of Emerald Media. “aCommerce, an e-commerce enabler, fits our mandate perfectly.’’
Emerald is the latest investor to bet on Southeast Asia’s online retail industry, poised to surge from $5.5 billion in 2015 to $88 billion by 2025, according to a report by Google and Temasek Holdings Pte. Amazon.com Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd. and JD.com Inc. have made inroads in the region’s burgeoning industry in the past year.
“We like aCommerce as it is an ‘arm’s dealer’ in one of the most exciting high-growth sectors in Asia –- Southeast Asian e-commerce,’’ said Paul Aiello, also a managing director of Emerald Media.