Lightspeed Invests In Markato: Empowering Independent Brands To Break Into Asia


Key Takeaway

Markato, a cross-border marketplace, has secured $5 million in seed funding led by Lightspeed to help independent brands break into the Asian market. The platform aims to streamline the process for retailers and brands by offering personalized recommendations, wholesale prices, flexible payment options, and analytics to aid decision-making.

Markato: Empowering Independent Brands in Asia

Markato, a cross-border marketplace, is on a mission to transform the e-commerce landscape in Asia. Founded by Brian Lo and Martin Li, former employees of Deliveroo and Uber, respectively, Markato seeks to simplify the process for independent brands looking to enter Asia’s retail market. Recognizing the enormous potential of the B2B wholesale business model in Asia, Lo and Li were inspired by the success of similar wholesale marketplaces.

Digitizing the Retail Journey

Traditionally, independent brands faced significant hurdles when trying to expand into new markets due to cultural and language barriers. Markato aims to digitize and streamline this process, much like Uber and Deliveroo revolutionized transportation and food delivery. By leveraging its cross-border marketplace, Markato offers boutique brands a centralized platform to manage their Asia wholesale operations.

Unlocking Opportunities for Retailers

For retailers, Markato provides a seamless experience by offering personalized product recommendations, wholesale prices from international brands, and innovative payment options. Retailers can now access European, American, and Australian brands and purchase their products at competitive prices. Markato further reduces the risk for retailers with a 60-day buy now, pay later option and 90-day free returns, encouraging them to explore new products and expand their offerings.

Empowering Brands with Data-Driven Insights

Brands partnering with Markato gain valuable analytics to inform their production, pricing, and customer acquisition strategies. Markato’s platform not only reduces customer acquisition and operating costs but also enables brands to gain insights into market demand. By harnessing these data-driven insights, brands can make informed decisions and optimize their overall business performance.

A Strong Start and Expanding Opportunities

Markato has already made significant strides, working with 200 brands, 80% of which were previously unavailable in Asia. Additionally, 90% of the brands on the platform are exclusively sold through Markato. The marketplace currently features over 4,000 products and aims to expand to 2,000 buyers and 2,000 brands in the coming months. With plans to expand across the region, starting with Singapore, Markato intends to leverage the $5 million seed funding to enhance its engineering, product, and business development teams. The company also aims to invest in proprietary technology, logistics infrastructure, and data analytics capabilities.

Lightspeed Believes in Markato’s Vision

Lightspeed, a prominent venture firm, recognizes Markato’s potential for transforming the end-to-end retail experience in Asia. Rahul Taneja, a partner at Lightspeed, believes the partnership with Markato will empower independent businesses in Asia and grant them access to the best global products. The strong progress seen on the Markato platform to date reaffirms the confidence in the startup’s ability to revolutionize the retail landscape in Asia.

Overall, Markato’s innovative approach, combined with Lightspeed’s investment, sets the stage for significant advancements in Asia’s e-commerce landscape. By offering a streamlined platform for independent brands and retailers, Markato aims to open doors to new opportunities and foster mutually beneficial partnerships in the ever-evolving retail market.

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