Rocket Internet, the incubator and investment vehicle run by the Samwer brothers, is continuing its aggressive push in Asia, and is turning to more investment to do it: today the company announced that Lazada, its online shopping mall — think Amazon here — has picked up another €20 million ($26 million), this time led by Summit Partners. It will be using the investment to help push a “marketplace” model, where, similar to Amazon it will offer a platform for smaller merchants to sell their products, providing the logistics and fulfilment that underpins it.
You may recall that it was only a couple of weeks ago that Lazada announced $40 million in funding, with that round led by Kinnevik, an existing Rocket investor.
While Rocket relies a lot on past investors to go in on new ventures — one common name, in addition to Kinnevik, is JP Morgan — this is the first time that Summit Partners has invested in Lazada. It does, however, have something of a track record with Rocket. Among its other investments (at least those that have been made public) was a venture round for Rocket’s South African fashion portal Zando, as well as Westwing, an online furniture and home decor shopping club. Zando, too, was for €20 million, while Westwing was for $50 million. The German-language Deutsche Startups reports that in fact it has invested in several of Rocket’s e-commerce efforts worldwide, including Dafiti, Jabong, Lamoda and Zalando. Other companies in Summit’s portfolio include Wildfire, which was sold to Google, and Bigpoint.
“We are very proud to have an investor of Summit’s calibre joining our shareholder base. They have extensive experience in supporting fast‐growing companies which will be of huge benefit as we continue to build out our offering and services to win the Southeast Asian market,” said Maximilian Bittner, Regional CEO, in a statement.
Scott Collins, a MD and head of the Summit Partners London office, notes that Lazada got Summit’s attention because of its quick growth. “We seek to invest in companies that build long‐term value, and Lazada has shown dynamic growth in a short period of time,” he said (also in a statement).
The company says it will use the funds to add more products and functionality to the site, as well as expand to new markets.
As for what that might mean — the Amazon sky is the limit. Lazada takes very much the Amazon approach to its business model, offering a selection of goods on the site that includes books, consumer electronics, household goods, toys, sports equipment and fashion.
But more signficantly, it is now extending that as a marketplace platform, in which it sells products itself but also opens it to smaller businesses. As with Amazon and other large marketplaces, the key is in how it manages and controls the logistics behind it.
The company has already rolled out its marketplace in Malaysia and plans to extend that to the rest of its footprint, which currently includes Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, together totalling a potential reach of 600 million online consumers.
In a sense, this is potentially an even more explosive model in a region like Asia where there are a lot of offline smaller merchants that traditionally sell to very local customers in physical markets — an economic model that has largely long disappeared in the U.S. (partly thanks to companies like Amazon).
This is perhaps even more the case, considering that Amazon has yet to build out its business in the South East Asian markets where Lazada is growing.
Meanwhile, Rocket is putting a rocket under a number of companies in its portfolio. Yesterday it also announced that it would partner with Telefonica’s mobile carrier, O2, in Germany in a distribution deal for its Payleven mobile payment service, a Square-like dongle that attaches to a smartphone for smaller merchants to take card payments more easily.
That covers only the German market, but considering that Payleven is, like other Rocket companies, also looking for aggressive multinational expansion, it will be interesting to see if this extends to other major O2 markets like Spain and the UK, too — especially considering that one of its competitors, iZettle, is already working with EE in the UK in a similar distribution partnership.
Full press release below.
LAZADA receives investment from Summit Partners and launches marketplace
LAZADA, Southeast Asia’s largest online department store, today announced that it has received an investment of €20 million in its German holding company from leading growth equity investor Summit Partners (“Summit”). LAZADA will use the funds to continue developing its growth initiatives and expanding its product offering.
“We are very proud to have an investor of Summit’s calibre joining our shareholder base. They have extensive experience in supporting fast‐growing companies which will be of huge benefit as we continue to build out our offering and services to win the Southeast Asian market,” commented Maximilian Bittner, Regional CEO. Scott Collins, a Managing Director and head of the Summit Partners London office, added “We seek to invest in companies that build long‐term value, and LAZADA has shown dynamic growth in a short period of time. We are thrilled to be part of the LAZADA story.”
LAZADA recently launched its new marketplace platform in Malaysia on November 21st. The company has entered the country’s promising fashion market by offering more than one‐ thousand 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’s broad reach and extensive marketing expertise to drive additional sales while still controlling logistics and operations. LAZADA plans to roll‐out the marketplace platform in all its markets in the near future and continue to add partners to complete its product assortment and drive growth.
LAZADA (www.lazada.co.id, www.lazada.com.my, www.lazada.com.ph, www.lazada.co.th, www.lazada.vn) is Southeast Asia’s fastest growing online department store, with operations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. LAZADA is pioneering eCommerce across some of the fastest growing countries in the world by offering a fast, secure and convenient online shopping experience with a broad product offering in categories ranging from consumer electronics to household goods, toys and sports equipment. LAZADA is always striving to offer its customers the best possible offering – including multiple payment options, free returns and extensive customer service and warranty commitments.
About Summit Partners
Summit Partners (www.summitpartners.com) is a growth equity firm that invests in rapidly growing companies. Founded in 1984, Summit has raised nearly $15 billion in capital and provides equity and credit for growth, recapitalizations, and management buyouts. Summit has invested in more than 350 companies globally in the technology, healthcare and other growth industries. These companies have completed more than 125 public offerings, and in excess of 130 have been acquired through strategic mergers and sales. Summit Partners has offices in Boston, Palo Alto, London and Mumbai.
In the United States of America, Summit Partners operates as an SEC‐registered investment advisor. In the United Kingdom, this document is issued by Summit Partners Limited, a firm authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Summit Partners Limited is a limited company registered in England and Wales with company number 4141197, and its registered office is at 20–22 Bedford Row, London, WC1R 4JS, UK. This document is intended solely to provide information regarding Summit Partners’ potential financing capabilities for prospective portfolio companies.