iPrice Group raises RM42m in investment

The investment will be used to improve the group’s value proposition towards its users, says co-founder

by ASILA JALIL/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

IPRICE Group Sdn Bhd has raised a total of US$10 million (RM42 million) Series B investment which was led by ACA Investments Pte Ltd with the participation of Daiwa PI Partners Co Ltd, and returning investors LINE Ventures Corp and Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund.

Group CEO and co-founder David Chmelar (picture) said the investment will be used to improve the group’s value proposition towards its users, as well as expanding its number of partners.

The e-commerce aggregator platform has about 1.5 billion products available from more than 1,500 merchant partners. Last year, it made five million transactions with more than 20 million monthly visitors.

“We definitely aim to double (the transactions) every year in general. We have tripled it in the past, but it is good if we can double it this year,” Chmelar told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

iPrice aims to make shopping experience for consumers easier by being present in every avenue of online shopping.

“To pursue our next journey, we need to be where the consumers are. We need to engage with users directly on our platform, continue our strong presence in Google LLC as it remains a vital starting point for many shoppers and enable partners across the region such as media platforms, social media apps and all the emerging super apps to provide e-commerce content for their audience,” he said.

The platform is currently active in seven countries namely Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines, and operates three business lines which are price comparison for electronics and health and beauty; product discovery for fashion and home and living; and coupons across all verticals.

Indonesia currently tops the list for the most transactions made, said Chmelar, due to the size of the country and its population.

In Malaysia, Chmelar said the most searched categories on the platform are electronics and fashion, followed by health and beauty, and home and living.

Following the Covid-19 outbreak, Chmelar said the e-commerce industry saw an increase in purchase of “virus-related” products such as hand sanitisers and masks.

However, there is also a spike in cancellation rate as Chinese sellers have either stopped operations temporarily due to the outbreak or they are short of supply, he said.

“On some of those platforms, you may see that the masks are available and some customers may have made payments for them, but a few weeks later customers will get a message from the merchants stating that the order has been cancelled.

“So there is an increase in the number of orders, but also a decrease in the overall business,” he said, adding that the average cancellation rate prior to the outbreak stood at 15%.

Meanwhile, ACA is an affiliate company of Daiwa Securities Group Inc and a fund management company licensed in Singapore.

ACA CIO Tomohiro Fujita said in a statement that the e-commerce industry in South-East Asia is at its emerging stage and there is a huge potential.

“iPrice will play an important role, especially with its comprehensive coverage of markets in South-East Asia. It’s the prime gateway to online shopping,” he said.