The winner of the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing 2011, group buying platform OrderWithMe, today announced it has raised a US$3 million A round. The fresh money comes from Japan- and China-based Infinity Venture Partners as the lead investor and existing (seed) investor SOSventures, barely a month after the China-based startup walked away with the Disrupt Beijing Cup and a US$50,000 check.
The announcement was just made at Infinity Ventures Summit [JP], a two-day web industry event that currently takes place in Kyoto/Japan (and which I am attending). OrderWithMe plans to use the investment to build out its infrastructure, add employees, and bolster marketing activities.
The service wants to solve a difficult problem for US merchants that are interested in purchasing goods – in bulk and at discounted prices – in China. The (mainly) American team handpicks daily inventory deals from Chinese companies – if a sufficient number of merchants indicates interest in the deal, it happens (if not, the offer is canceled – just like with Groupon). OrderWithMe handles payment, shipping, etc. in China for its customers.
By splitting orders and circumventing middlemen, OrderWithMe wants to level the playing field for smaller businesses when it comes to sourcing products from factories in China.
The service has been available for merchants in the US only so far. However, when he took the stage at Infinity Ventures Summit today, CEO Jonathan Jenkins said OrderWithMe has lifted that restriction. (Because of the Japanese money that has gone into the A round, Japan will be a market that will get special attention.) The new site will launch in 35 days.