Yetang, a Chinese site that sells fashion and lifestyle products by smaller brands and designers around the world, has raised $5 million led by DCM. While smaller e-commerce sites face plenty of competition from formidable rivals like Alibaba’s marketplace Taobao, Yetang co-founder Natasia Guo says her startup’s goal is to figure out how to make shopping more appealing than at other online stores.
“Seventy-four percent of our customers have stated that they usually shop for clothes and accessories on Taobao. So the important question for us is, why don’t these people shop on Taobao all the time, but come to Yetang some of the time?” she tells TechCrunch. “We believe that new and unique products and a fun shopping experience sets Yetang apart, and we will be working hard to make these qualities into competitive advantages.”
In 2014, the first full year Yetang operated, it sold 110,000 products from 800 designers in 34 countries. Guo says its revenue grows 100 percent every three or four months. Yetang is currently focused on expanding within China, but 20 percent of its products are made by overseas designers, and it would like to increase that number.
Yetang will use its new capital (it has raised just under $6 million in total so far) to improve their site’s technology and make it faster for customer’s to access goods from designers and brands in other countries.
“Youth in China are pretty in sync with global trends. If a cool product trends on Pinterest, that product will be syndicated on Weibo and Weixin in 24 hours,” says Guo. “If that product is from a global brand, Chinese consumers already have plenty of ways to shop for those products. It gets much more difficult if that product comes from a boutique brand or an indie designer. We want to make buying from international independent designers as easy for the Chinese consumer as buying from major global brands on Taobao.”
Yetang will also make it easier for shoppers to discover products they are interested in from among the 30,000 different items that are currently available on the site.
As part of its new funding round, DCM China general partner Hurst Lin, who co-founded and served as chief operating officer at Sina Corp., will join Yetang’s board. Lin, who has previously worked with Chinese e-commerce companies like VipShop, 58.com, and Tuniu (all of which have gone public), can help Yetang figure out how to scale up, says Guo.