Rocket’s Amazon clone Lazada raises $26m to expand in Asia; Germany’s Summit is latest backer

Rocket’s Amazon clone Lazada raises $26m to expand in Asia; Germany’s Summit is latest backer ...

Lazada, Rocket Internet‚Äôs Amazon-like service in Southeast Asia, continues to bring in the cash after it landed a¬†‚ā¨20 million ($26 million) investment from German PE firm¬†Summit Partners¬†to¬†expand its marketplace-based ecommerce site across the continent.

The cash injection comes less than a month after Swedish retail giant¬†Kinnevik invested $40 million¬†into the site, while¬†serial Rocket Internet investor JP Morgan put in an undisclosed figure ‚ÄĒ which sources say was worth more than $50 million ‚ÄĒ back in September. That‚Äôs some pretty serious money and Asia has become one of the key focuses for the Germany-based incubator and its financial backers.

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Lazada rolled into Malaysia last month ‚ÄĒ having been active in seven markets before then ‚ÄĒ and the company says it has ‚Äúplans to roll‚Äźout the marketplace¬†platform¬†in all¬†its markets in the¬†near future‚ÄĚ. That‚Äôs pretty open ended and it is likely to mean aggressive expansion into more markets in Southeast Asia, and other parts of the Asian continent, while it will look to further the marketplace approach ‚ÄĒ which sees both merchants and Lazada sell product through the site ‚ÄĒ by signing up more retailers and small merchants as vendors.

Rocket Internet says the new capital will be also used to continue to develop its visibility and userbase, and expand its product offering. The site has focused on consumer electronics, household goods, toys and sports equipment since launching March, but it recently added fashion items in pursuit of further opportunities and, of course, money.

Southeast Asia‚Äôs e-commerce space is a nascent one that continues to grow and no single company and site has received anything like the kind of financing that Lazada is enjoying. That gives it a huge advantage in helping to overcome issues ‚ÄĒ such as payment gateways ‚ÄĒ which proven tough hurdles for e-commerce businesses that want to go from being local, one-country success stories into regional players.

Reflecting on the funding, Maximilian Bittner,¬†Lazada‚Äôs regional CEO, said:¬†‚ÄúWe¬†are¬†very proud to have¬†an investor of Summit‚Äôs calibre¬†joining our shareholder base.¬†They have¬†extensive¬†experience¬†in supporting fast‚Äźgrowing companies which will be¬†of huge¬†benefit as we¬†continue¬†to build out our offering and services to win the¬†Southeast Asian¬†market.‚ÄĚ

Rocket Internet has been praised in some quarters for its no-nonsense approach to building companies, but many local pundits have taken umbrage with its ‚Äėcloning‚Äô approach, which sees it replicate successful Internet business in new, high-growth markets.

While the company hasn‚Äôt released trading figures (and we haven‚Äôt been able to get hold of verified statistics behind the Lazada business) it is clearly producing the goods and showing potential for investors. In a statement,¬†Scott Collins ‚ÄĒ managing director¬†and head of Summit‚Äôs London office ‚ÄĒ said the service has shown ‚Äúdynamic growth in a¬†short period of¬†time.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúWe¬†are¬†thrilled to be¬†part of the¬†Lazada story,‚ÄĚ Collins concludes; his team is among a burgeoning number of investors that appear to feel that way.

It may be flogged for being a copycat, but there’s little argument that Rocket Internet is doing something right with Lazada, after attracting more than $100 million in investment in less than three months.

The full announcement is below:

LAZADA receives investment from Summit Partners and launches marketplace

LAZADA, Southeast Asia‚Äôs largest online¬†department store, today announced that it has¬†received an investment¬†of ‚ā¨20 million in its German holding company from leading growth¬†equity investor Summit Partners (‚ÄúSummit‚ÄĚ). LAZADA¬†will use¬†the¬†funds to continue¬†developing its growth initiatives and expanding its product offering.

‚ÄúWe¬†are¬†very proud to have¬†an investor of Summit‚Äôs calibre¬†joining our shareholder base.¬†They have¬†extensive¬†experience¬†in supporting fast‚Äźgrowing companies which will be¬†of huge benefit as we¬†continue¬†to build out our offering and services to win the¬†Southeast Asian¬†market,‚ÄĚ commented Maximilian Bittner, Regional CEO.

Scott Collins, a¬†Managing Director¬†and head of the Summit Partners London office, added ‚ÄúWe seek to invest in companies that build long‚Äźterm¬†value, and LAZADA¬†has shown dynamic growth in a¬†short period of¬†time. We¬†are¬†thrilled to be¬†part of the¬†LAZADA¬†story.‚ÄĚ

LAZADA recently launched its new marketplace¬†platform in Malaysia on November 21st. The company has entered the¬†country‚Äôs promising fashion market by offering more¬†than one‚Äźthousand clothing and shoe products through this platform.

According to Mr. Bittner, the¬†marketplace offers an attractive¬†opportunity for offline¬†retailers in the¬†region to leverage¬†LAZADA‚Äôs broad reach and extensive¬†marketing expertise¬†to drive¬†additional sales while¬†still¬†controlling logistics and operations. LAZADA plans to roll‚Äźout the marketplace¬†platform¬†in all¬†its markets in the¬†near future and continue¬†to add partners to complete¬†its product¬†assortment¬†and drive¬†growth.

Image via banky177 / Flickr

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