INVESTMENT IN MARKATO
Transcend Capital Partners is proud to announce our recent investment in Markato, a Hong Kong-based B2B marketplace that brings overseas independent brands into the Asian Market.
Traditionally, the B2B wholesale market has not been favorable for both small multi-brand (SMB) retailers and independent brands. Brand discovery and relationship management have always been pain points for SMB retailers. On the other hand, independent brands lack the time, resources, and knowledge to establish and manage sales channels and relationships, especially for overseas distribution. With e-commerce and digital infrastructure evolving rapidly during the pandemic, Markato seized the opportunity and tapped into the wholesale market in APAC, connecting small multi-brand stores with independent brands globally.
Founded earlier this year, Markato is a B2B wholesale marketplace that connects multi-brand retailers in APAC with independent brands curated globally, with a particular focus in the Home & Living, Accessories, and Beauty & Wellness product categories. For retailers, Markato gives personalized product recommendations, which makes brand discovery easier. Retailers can then buy at wholesale prices from independent European, American, and Australian brands. Markato offers a 60-day buy now, pay later option and 90-day free returns, which reduces inventory risk for retailers and encourages them to try out new products. In turn, independent brands get to establish overseas distribution presence with minimal customer acquisition and operating costs, while getting analytics that help them make decisions on production and pricing. Markato also integrated with payments infrastructure and secured low cross-border rates which save on transaction and shipping costs.
Markato just launched in Hong Kong last month, with 200 independent brands onboarded and more than 4,000 products already listed on the marketplace. Wholesale customers can shop on Markato from a curated collection of candles and home fragrances, kitchen items, art and décor, as well as jewelry, skincare, and bath and body care products. Some examples of the independent brands Markato works with include ceramic brands Jore Copenhagen and Ini Ceramique, natural wellness line Nala Care, candle studios Ambustum and Stan Editions, and jewelry brand Gisel B. About 80% of the brands Markato offers were previously not available in Asia, and 90% are sold exclusively through Markato.
The seed fundraising round is led by US-based VC Lightspeed Venture Partners, along with other venture capital and strategic investors, including Transcend Capital Partners. The funding will be used to further optimize the platform, fuel regional expansion in APAC, and support brand and customer onboarding. Markato plans to expand into Singapore next, and onboard 2,000 buyers and 2,000 brands over the next few months.
We are beyond excited to be working with Markato to empower independent brands and SMB retailers.