Singapore-based startup Raena has announced it has raised $9 million Series A funding. The round was led by Alpha Wave Incubation and Alpha JWC Ventures, and also saw participation from AC Ventures and existing investors – Beenos, Strive, and Beenext.
Raena said it will use the funding to grow its team from 15 to 100 members over the next three months. It aims to enable more entrepreneurs and partner with more beauty and health brands across the world to help them enter Indonesia, and eventually South East Asia and the GCC/MENA regions.
The startup identifies, sources, and aggregates products directly from brands/local manufacturers, and then sells them to micro-entrepreneurs online along with a full stack tech platform.
“We realised the problem was two-fold – brands are keen to enter emerging markets such as Indonesia but there are limited distribution partners. On the other hand, platforms such as Shopee, Instagram, and WhatsApp have made it easy to sell to end consumers, but the backend supply chain has not kept up with the needs of these micro-entrepreneurs,” said Guo Xing Lim, Co-founder, Raena.
The startup was founded by Sreejita Deb, a Google, Harvard, and Amazon alumnus, and Guo Xing Lim, alum of Procter and Gamble and Alibaba. They were joined by Widelia Liu, a Cambridge, Wharton, and RBS alumnus who founded and grew her own apparel brand before joining Raena.
In a press statement, Sreejita said: “We’ve grown because we are solving a universal problem – matching ambition to access. The entrepreneurial ambition and passion we’ve seen across our group of micro-entrepreneurs is unlimited.”
“We are agnostic to the front-end platform chosen by the micro-entrepreneurs and our prime focus is to increase their income by supplying them with a wide inventory at low prices, high product quality, and data-driven insights. We solve these problems by aggregating brands from vetted suppliers on our mobile app while eliminating middlemen,” she added.
The startup caters to a $20 billion market opportunity in Indonesia. The company started as a result of its differentiated value proposition, its monthly revenue has grown 50x over CY20. The startup said it continues to clock double-digit growth month-on-month. It also claims to have displayed robust unit economics, as reflected in a 15x LTV/CAC ratio across its entire micro-entrepreneur base.
“We think South East Asia and the GCC/MENA regions provide massive market opportunities for micro-entrepreneurs in the beauty and health categories. Raena has validated this through its rapid growth across its micro-entrepreneur base and revenue while maintaining healthy unit economics and capital efficiency,” said Anirudh Singh, Managing Director, Alpha Wave Incubation.
In addition, the company has also launched exclusive, private label brands, which have shown strong traction among consumers.
“We really resonated with the founders’ vision of enabling female entrepreneurs in rural Indonesia through democratising access to high-quality beauty products. Not only that, Raena solves pain points for brands who want to enter the region and for entrepreneurs who are looking for consistency. Serving these two segments, Raena is tapping into a large market that keeps expanding as the middle-class size grows in Indonesia as well as Southeast Asia. With the founding team’s expertise and our support, we believe that Raena can grow to become the dominant player in the regional beauty space,” said Chandra Tjan, Co-founder and general partner at Alpha JWC Ventures.