As the ecommerce battle rages on, Anchanto raises funding to get more retailers online
Anchanto, a Singapore-based ecommerce solutions provider, announced today it has raised new funding from strategic investors that are users of its services.
Anchanto operates on a software-as-a-service model, creating ways for retailers to tap into online marketplaces and ecommerce sites. It also serves logistics, fulfilment, and warehousing needs. In the clash between ecommerce giants and traditional retailers, it’s digging tunnels under the battlefield to get the two sides to come together.
Anchanto hopes to hit profitability by the end of 2017.
Much like Anchanto’s previous two funding rounds, the investment amount is undisclosed. “We don’t share this number because I believe it puts a certain pressure on a company’s team,” founder and CEO Vaibhav Dabhade tells Tech in Asia, only saying the investment size is about the same as the company’s series B, in November 2015. He says investors acquired less than 10 percent of the company’s shares in this round.
Japanese business process outsourcing firm Transcosmos, which was the sole investor in Anchanto’s previous round, leads this one as well, pouring in 80 percent of the money. It’s joined by Luxasia, a large omnichannel retail group that specializes in beauty products, and a third, undisclosed investor.
The investment is meant less to prop up Anchanto with cash and more to forge stronger links with the investors involved, Dabhade says. “I wanted to cement our relationship with these companies and, most importantly, secure their volume,” he explains. “I also wanted to show investors and the market that we are able to continue raising money. This will help us raise our series C round.”
Dabhade expects the next round to close by the end of this year. Around the same time, Anchanto hopes to hit profitability. “We can be profitable now if we wish, but we are investing in growth.” The company has doubled its headcount since the beginning of the year and plans to launch new features on its software platform, like machine learning applications to help sellers with inventory sorting and management.
Early this year, it launched a new platform, called SelluSeller, aiming to create a full ecosystem of services for online sellers and merchants.
Transcosmos and Luxasia are both Anchanto customers. Their interest in the startup doesn’t just show their confidence in it but also highlights the shifting attitudes of traditional retailers to online channels of distribution.
“Transcosmos is focusing on becoming an ecommerce enabler across the world,” Dabhade says. “They see Anchanto as their vehicle to expand into ecommerce using our cross-border capabilities, our warehouse network, our Selluseller software.”
Smaller online marketplaces will consolidate until there are perhaps two major ones in every market.
Established brands used to be very worried about channel conflict – where different channel partners of the same brand, for example retail and online, compete for sales and prevent each other from achieving their goals. “This was a very taboo phrase in commerce distribution, especially in cross-border,” Dabhade explains.
Now, however, these companies are figuring out how to reconcile these differences and embrace ecommerce. Luxasia in particular has made its intentions very clear by appointing Dr. Wolfgang Baier as group CEO last August. Dr. Baier was CEO of SingPost, part of the leadership team that helped turn Singapore’s postal service into an innovative ecommerce enabler. His role at Luxasia is described as similarly transformational.
“This next wave is all about the people who were on the fence [about ecommerce], going into it,” Dabhade says. He predicts that by 2019, smaller online marketplaces will consolidate until there are perhaps two major ones in every market in Southeast Asia. Cross-border complications will also be resolved to allow for easier transactions between different countries.
“Ecommerce will be a necessity, not just a luxury,” he says.
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