Singapore-based social commerce startup focusing on beauty products Raena announced in February 2021 that it has raised US$ 9M in a Series A funding round co-led by Alpha Wave Incubation and Alpha JWC Ventures. Other participants in the funding round include new investor AC Ventures and existing investors Beenext, Beenos and Strive.
The startup will use proceeds from the funding round to increase the headcount of its team from 15 employees to over 100 within the next three months.
Harvard Business School alumna Sreejita Deb and Guo Xing Lim founded Raena in 2018. It gets beauty products directly from brands and local companies before selling them to micro-entrepreneurs on its platform.
COO Lim said they discovered two problems, the first one being brands are keen to enter emerging markets such as Indonesia but find limited distribution partners. On the other hand, sites such as Shopee, Instagram, and WhatsApp have made it easy to sell to end-consumers, but the backend supply chain has not developed itself with the needs of these micro-entrepreneurs. Raena resellers are mostly women between 18 to 34 years old based in Indonesia and Malaysia. They choose the items they want to feature on their social media accounts. Most of these resellers use TikTok or Instagram for promoting their products, and set up online stores on Shopee or Tokopedia. But they also have to keep the products with themselves. When somebody buys a product from a Raena reseller, the reseller orders it from Raena, which sends it directly to the customer.
The startup noted its monthly revenue has increased by over 50 times in 2020, and it continues to witness double-digit monthly growth. It has partnered with over 1,500 micro-entrepreneurs in Indonesia and Malaysia to whom it distributes products from the over and above 50 brands on its platform.
Chandra Tjan, Co-founder and General Partner at Alpha JWC Ventures, said Raena is venturing into a large market that keeps increasing as the middle class grows in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. He added that the founding team, with its expertise and Alpha JWC’s support, will grow to become the leading player in the regional beauty space.
Previously, the startup had raised US$ 1.82M in a seed funding round in July 2019.
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