Social commerce — the process of buying and selling products or services directly through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok — is becoming the most natural way for consumers to make purchases since people use social media and messaging apps almost every day.
SleekFlow, an omnichannel social commerce platform that helps businesses build customer flow automation from messaging and live video to transactions, has closed $8 million Series A funding led by Tiger Global Management. Transcend Capital and AEF Greater Bay Area Fund, managed by Gobi Partners GBA, also participated in the round.
“Consumers now spend 80 percent of their time on social platforms, and it is already a habit to discover and buy products directly from here,” said founder and CEO of SleekFlow Henson Tsai. “SleekFlow aims to drive this e-commerce revolution by being the top social commerce unified hub — merging conversations, product catalogs, payment solutions, and order management into one for businesses.”
Founded in 2019, SleekFlow now serves more than 5,000 businesses across the globe, including NARS Cosmetics, Bossini, Lalamove Hong Kong and PSB Academy. The company claims that it saw approximately 500% revenue growth after its recent pre-Series A funding backed by Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AHKEF) in May 2021. (SleekFlow did not provide its baseline for that growth.)
The Hong Kong-headquartered startup will use the fresh capital for its market penetration into Southeast Asia, specifically Singapore and Malaysia, as well as the U.K. and other countries in Europe. In addition, the latest funding will enable SleekFlow to enhance its product development with fintech and data analytics functions, one-click checkouts via social media platforms, and easy in-chat payment integrations for online to offline (O2O) and e-commerce brands’ seamless workflow.
The startup has recently launched a fintech product social-to-payment feature to provide a comprehensive solution for both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar businesses. In Southeast Asia alone, about 90% of digital merchants use digital payments for profitability and survival, the company says, adding that the chat-to-checkout tool is significant in driving sales and conversions from various digital sales channels. SleekFlow also introduced a new sales and analytics and customer service performance tracking that helps users track and analyze consumer profiles and behaviors for personalized communications after its partnership with Shopify last November.
The global social commerce market is projected to rise to $6.2 trillion by 2030.
According to the company, one in five dollars spent on retail in Southeast Asia is transacted through social media, and more consumers are looking to businesses offering convenient communications. SleekFlow integrates multiple messaging channels such as Official WhatsApp Business API, Facebook Messenger, Instagram chat, SMS and Telegram to address the challenges of managing multiple messaging and social media platforms.
“Despite the economic downturn, the social commerce market is going stronger than ever, reaching $474 billion in 2021,” Chibo Tang, managing partner of Gobi Partners GBA said in a statement. “Eight in 10 U.S. businesses anticipate increased sales via social media within the next three years. SleekFlow’s innovative solutions will help these global commerce businesses meet the evolving needs of customers who are turning to social channels to purchase more than ever before.”
SleekFlow now has a team of 60 members in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and the U.K.