In late June 2022, Malaysian-headquartered RPG Commerce (RPG), secured US$29 million in a Series B funding round led by East Ventures, a sector-agnostic venture capital (VC) firm in Indonesia.
Other investors which joined included UOB Venture Management, Vertex Ventures SE Asia and India (VVSEAI), and RHL Ventures.
VVSEAI, a VC firm for early-stage, high-growth startups including Grab, previously led RPG Commerce’s Series A funding and has continued to invest in this current round.
“We saw tremendous growth in our brands with our Series A, hence capital was needed to empower growth to the next stage,” Melvin Chee, RPG’s CEO and co-founder told Vulcan Post.
RPG stated that the funds raised will be channelled into future-proofing the company’s technology and development processes. It will also go into developing and expanding RPG’s brand portfolio to create innovative consumer products.
Building up brands
Founded in 2017, RPG is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) social commerce company that builds brands from the ground up, creating everyday essentials with an innovative twist.
If those are just words to you, Melvin broke RPG’s business model down for us.
“What that means is that we build brands through the internet to sell directly to end consumers without third-party intermediaries,” Melvin told Vulcan Post, adding that all the brands in RPG’s portfolio are 100% built and owned by the company.
Focusing on apparel and homeware products, some of RPG’s brands include stretchable and breathable pants like Bottom Labs and Thousand Miles (which we’ve reviewed here, and here).
Meanwhile, RPG’s home and living products include Montigo and Cosmic Cookware, which sell water bottles, along with pots and pans respectively.
Through RPG’s internet and supply chain knowledge, its team of over 100 creatives, marketers, and operators can leverage their internal technology advancements to better their brands with their shared end infrastructure.
“Think about it like having children, from your firstborn to your third child, for example, you take the lessons and get better and more familiar each time,” Melvin likened.
“Our shared end infrastructure is like our playbook used to implement on every brand we develop, and with a shared ecosystem, we are able to achieve economies of scale over time.”
With its fresh round of funding, RPG intends to rapidly expand its talent pool across its company and enhance its technological capabilities.
Adopting smaller players
Evolving beyond its primary DTC business model, RPG’s looking to expand its suite of brands by not just building its own.
It will now be discovering smaller businesses to be acquired into its portfolio across different verticals.
Under the RPG umbrella, brands will get to leverage the company’s shared backend infrastructure, marketing, and customer bases primarily in the US, Canada, and Europe.
“In turn, RPG can leverage each of the brands’ strengths and weaknesses, helping each other grow better and faster,” said Melvin.
Setting eyes on SEA
While RPG is a company headquartered in Malaysia, most of its marketing efforts and customer base have been based in Western countries for the past five years.
When asked about why the company chose to focus on these markets first, Melvin shared that it’s because RPG started out in Australia in its early days.
“When building a business on the internet, there is really no geographical limit on where we choose to target. Hence, we’ve always been global and to date, still focused on the global market,” he elaborated.
Now, RPG is looking into its next leg of growth by expanding in new markets across SEA.
“We’re definitely seeing a huge internet penetration growth within the APAC and SEA region compared to the rest of the world. Hence, I think there will be lots of opportunities here for us,” Melvin shared.
“We want to position ourselves to capture opportunities that come our way, be it launching or acquiring new brands or even further growing our current brands.”
Featured Image Credit: The founding team of RPG Commerce