Bangkok's aCommerce raises another US$10 mil

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(July 22): aCommerce, a Bangkok-based startup that helps brands such as Samsung, L’Oreal and Unilever sell their products online across Southeast Asia, has raised more than US$10 million from existing investors including KKR & Co.

KKR’s Emerald Media, investment house Blue Sky, DKSH Holding AG and an arm of Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas also took part in the company’s latest funding round, intended to drive the startup’s expansion and help it reach profitability by early 2020. That in turn paves the way for an initial public offering in two to three years, Chief Executive Officer Paul Srivorakul said. The six-year-old firm plans to raise another US$5 million by the end of this year, as part of an extended Series B or early-stage funding round, he added.

“We have the ambitions for an IPO so it’s really important that we grow a healthy, valuable business,” Srivorakul said in an interview.

aCommerce is trying to set itself apart from other online retail startups that focus on growth over the bottom line. Rather than go head-to-head against Chinese giants from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd to Tencent Holdings Ltd and Inc, which have made inroads into the region in recent years, the Thai outfit concentrates on supporting brands keen on expanding their own online sales.

aCommerce makes money by providing services from distribution and marketing to warehousing and delivery. It operates in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. In 2018, revenue grew 73% to more than US$100 million, and its core market of Thailand turned profitable, according to the CEO.

It’s early days but the company may choose to list in Bangkok, Singapore or Australia to stay close to the Southeast Asian market, he said.