Korean handmade items market Backpackr gears as much as broaden into Southeast Asia •

A couple of decade in the past, Donghwan Kim helped his cousin, a ceramist, search for gross sales channels, like flea markets, to promote his ceramics. However they’d a tough time finding an appropriate platform, so after a few yr, Kim determined to create a market for handmade items himself in South Korea referred to as Backpackr.

At this time, Backpackr, which operates handmade market referred to as idus, has raised a $16 million (20 billion received) extension to its Collection C financing, two-and-a-half years after its first Collection C, which was $24 million (about 30 billion received).

The startup is now valued at roughly $240.1 million post-money, in accordance with sources conversant in the scenario. Backpackr mentioned it has raised a complete of $56.8 million since its 2012 inception however declined to reveal its valuation. Returning investor Altos Ventures led the extension together with Stone Bridge and new buyers Axiom Asia and Vanderbilt College. 

The brand new capital will assist Backpackr make a foray into Southeast Asia, together with Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines, within the second quarter of this yr with an ambition to grow to be the Etsy of Asia, Kim mentioned in an interview with Backpackr additionally plans to make use of the proceeds to spend money on R&D to advance its synthetic intelligence–powered search and advice system, in addition to rent further staff. 

The startup intends to promote merchandise made in South Korea abroad and convey handmade merchandise made in Southeast Asia to South Korea through its platform. Different international locations like Japan and the U.S. are on its radar for the next locations, in accordance with Kim. Backpackr must compete with different handmade marketplaces in Asia like Japan-based Minne and Creema, Taiwan-based Pinkoi and Singapore-headquartered Carousell. The market measurement of Asia’s handmade merchandise is projected to succeed in $307.8 billion in 2027, up from $149 billion in 2021. 

The corporate not solely has idus as a main enterprise but in addition operates a crowdfunding platform referred to as Tumblbug which it acquired in 2020. Backpackr additionally has launched a Patreon-like creator subscription service, Steadio, to attach artists with their followers, Kim mentioned. Backpackr’s mannequin is to purpose for a one-stop-shop platform for its creators, which is the corporate’s key differentiator, Kim identified. 

“We need to make it a one-stop-shop platform for creators, letting our customers (creators) open their very own web boutiques promoting their craftworks, together with handicrafts and something selfmade like bakery, cleaning soap, candles, jewellery, fragrances, baggage, furnishings, house decor and artwork, assist them crowdfund for his or her merchandise and join the creators with followers to supply on-line or offline courses,” Kim instructed  

Backpackr, which had about 60,000 creators as of November final yr, says it surpassed $804 million in gross merchandise quantity in November and handed a break-even level within the second half of final yr, although it nonetheless posted loss-making within the fiscal yr of 2022. The outfit expects to generate earnings this yr, Kim mentioned. 

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