Entrepreneur

Their Technology-First Approach Just Got M'sian Startup Avana US$1 Mil USD Funding

  • AVANA has just concluded a funding round led by Gobi Partners to the tune of USD $1 million recently.
  • They will be using this funding to improve their technology, in a bid to capture a bigger market share. 
  • This follows their recent soft-launch into Indonesia, and part of their goal to capture other ASEAN markets. 

The service of guiding small businesses to sell online has been deemed worthy of US$1 million (RM3.9 Million) recently.

AVANA has just concluded their Pre-Series A funding round led by Gobi Partners, along with TH Capital and Cradle Seed Ventures, which has previously invested in the company.

This funding follows their soft launch into Indonesia last October, which has borne fruit in partnerships with Indonesian entities POS Indonesia, JNE, and several others.

AVANA sells itself as the link between product discovery to actual purchase—technology that enables micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to penetrate the e-commerce space.

They do this by streamlining fragmented social media channels (WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, a website) all in one place, while also offering business insights to sellers.

In an interview with Vulcan Post, co-founder Yienyee Soh believes that the investors value their technology-first approach.

As such, the new funds will mostly go towards product development, which the team hopes will help them innovate faster. One of these will be to integrate more sales channels into their one-stop-for-all platform, with the goal of targeting a broader pool of sellers to join them.

This is all in a lofty bid to capture and dominate 70% (or 3.5 million) of AVANA’s target sellers in Malaysia—the smaller-scale sellers that have yet to take that crucial leap into the e-commerce market.

This will be on top of Yienyee’s selection to join Alibaba’s eFounders Fellowship Program, which could help the AVANA platform bring aboard the crucial knowledge that led to China’s explosive e-commerce success.

But the team will also be leveraging this funding to explore new markets, like the recently established Indonesia, as well as others in the region.

“We believe that the future is in e-commerce and automation, for those who do not get onboard e-commerce will be left behind in the very near future,” said Yienyee.

“We see established companies such as Toys”R”Us facing bankruptcy because they were slow to adapt to e-commerce, and businesses of all sizes should learn from this.”

They think that MSMEs have a high potential to adapt well to e-commerce as opposed to traditional businesses, since transactions and commerce conversations are already happening across different, fragmented channels.

“As a hyper-local ecommerce enabler, we automate the current business processes that are taking place across social media channels and chat apps for the sellers without disrupting their business-as-usual, thus reducing the barrier to entry to e-commerce and help MSMEs to build sustainable and scalable businesses,” said Yienyee.

In a press release, CEO and co-founder Luqman Adris said that, “Anyone can set up a social media presence to start marketing online, but whether a business will stay ‘small time’ or whether it can be scaled to a profitable business depends on its ability to deliver a consistent level of quality and service.”

“For example, we had a client who previously had to spend a lot of time tracking orders in a book. With the automation of their transactions from social channels, invoicing and inventory keeping, they are able to focus on their product quality, customer service and marketing.”

Gobi’s Founding Partner, Thomas G. Tsao said about leading the investment, “ASEAN is well positioned for social e-commerce, and AVANA’s all-in-one platform, as well as their focus on smaller, MSME businesses, is sure to position them as a key player in this fast-growing market.

  • Read more about AVANA’s vision and how they’re approaching it here

Feature Image Credit: AVANA

 

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