“Before MCO, I used to frequent local arts bazaars and discovered a lot of interesting, high-quality products from small brands and businesses.”
“Due to the pandemic, bazaars came to a halt, so these brands are depending on online sales, usually from Facebook & Instagram. Online demand generation was critical, but securing new customers online isn’t as easy as it seems,” said Brian Lowe, founder of Poptron.
He said this in a press release today following the news of Poptron bagging US$1 million in seed funding from a NASDAQ listed company.
So, what’s Poptron doing for these brands, or microbrands, as they’re termed?
Poptron was launched on September 4, 2020 as an online lifestyle marketplace for microbrands to sell their products, since they weren’t able to be at bazaars then.
Their platform is geared towards overcoming the pain points of running an online business as a microbrand, which includes customer acquisition, business management and regional growth, which they’ll take care of.
Currently, they have over 100 microbrands with more than 700 types of products such as personal care, eco-friendly products, books, food, arts and crafts and more.
They scout suitable homegrown lifestyle brands by looking for them on social media or in bazaars, according to their Instagram FAQ.
Though they’re currently only open to brands in the Klang Valley, they’ll soon be reaching out to brands in Penang, Brian’s hometown, and Johor as well.
As of now, they don’t take in any transaction fees from their merchants, but they’ll be introducing pay-to-promote features in the future that can increase a businesses’ visibility on their site.
Securing Huge Funding And Expanding Fast
The US$1 million that they’ve secured will go to scaling up their operations and technology. Additionally, they’re planning to fundraise the remaining US$375,000 through pitchIN in Q1 2021.
“We are also greatly appreciative of the support we have received from our investor and our legal advisers, Shin Associates,” Brian thanked in the press release.
From their research, they found that there are almost 2.2 million microbrands globally in 2020, with the Total Available Market of US$7.6 billion.
From this value, the Serviceable Available Market for Poptron is worth US$3.8 billion, which counts for 1.5 million out of the expected 3.79 million global microbrand market in 2025.
Dictionary Time: The Total Available Market (TAM) refers to the total demand for a product or service across all segments, all possible substitutes or alternatives and via all potential channels. Serviceable Available Market (SAM) is the part of the total addressable market (TAM) that can actually be reached.B2B International / Wikipedia
“Poptron aims to capture US$1.6 billion of the market share with 600,000 microbrands generating our global revenue in 2025,” Brian said in the press release.
Prior to Poptron, he was the co-founder of My Performing Arts Agency (myPAA). In an interview with New Straits Times, Brian revealed that his pitch for Poptron had actually gotten rejected 42 times, though referrals eventually got him somewhere.
“From the Malaysian network it moved to Singapore, to Hong Kong, to Australia, US and then Europe. Eventually, I secured funding from Hong Kong, Singapore and China.”
While they’re a relatively new startup, Poptron is already expanding their team and will begin operations in Singapore by Q1 2021. According to the timeline on their website, they’re also planning to expand to Indonesia this year.
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Featured Image Credit: Brian Lowe, founder of Poptron and their ExtraNotOrdinary Bazaar in collaboration with CIMB