Xiaomi backer 5Y leads ex-BAce Capital managing partner’s social commerce startup Desty’s US$3.2M round

The Desty team

Desty, a startup providing social commerce solutions for Indonesia’s merchants, announced today it has secured US$3.2 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by Chinese VC firm 5Y Capital.

Formerly known as Morningside Venture Capital, 5Y is the backer of notable Chinese companies such as Xiaomi and Kuaishou. This marks 5Y’s inaugural investment in the archipelago.

Other participants in Desty’s latest round are Fosun RZ Capital, January Capital, IN Capital, as well as East Ventures, who is also Desty’s seed investor.

Also Read: YC-backed Super raises US$28M to grow its social commerce platform in Indonesia

The startup will use the funding primarily for team expansion and user acquisition. “We have our laser focus on serving online merchants and users in the ecosystem. We only have one goal, which is to make sure they can grow their business efficiently. Our team has over 15 years of experience with merchants and their digital operations, which we believe is key to the growth of the economy in Indonesia,” said co-founder and CEO Mulyono Xu.

Launched in October 2020 by Xu and Bill Wang (COO), Desty is a digital platform that helps merchants, influencers, and creators build a single online destination to promote and sell their products. Users can create landing pages optimised for links in bios and build their own branded online store in just several minutes for free.

Currently, the startup has two main offers: Desty Page and Desty Store. Desty Page is a landing page service optimised for links on social media accounts, especially Instagram, while the latter provides a platform for users to open an online store to complement their marketplace presence easily.

It has also established Desty Academy, a channel of information and training resources to help users grow their business with practical how-tos, best practices, and case studies.

Also Read: A look at the future of social commerce

It is essential for merchants and sellers to easily manage their multiple online presences in Indonesia’s dynamic e-commerce landscape. “We believe that as a merchant, users need options to do business, whether in the marketplace, in their own domain, and in social media channels. We are here to provide solutions for them, so that each channel can complement one another, instead of competing. This will result in less dependency on external parties and more sustainable business in the long run,” added Mulyono.

“Desty is creating a platform that enables merchants to go digital in five minutes. We have invested in similar companies in India and China, and these solutions create immense value. With a solid team behind Desty, we have no doubt it will change the whole landscape of small and medium enterprises in Indonesia and Southeast Asia,” said Tej Kapoor, co-executive president of Fosun RZ Capital.

“The Internet is all about links. Great internet companies build links. They link people to people, link online to offline, and link demand with supply. In the e-commerce world, there is a massive opportunity in linking social and content with e-commerce transactions. We have seen this great power when social and content meets e-commerce in China. We believe Desty can become the linking infrastructure in Southeast Asia’s e-commerce world and could contribute to a better ecosystem where social, content, and e-commerce transactions link closer and smoother,” said Hanson Hu, VP of Investment at 5Y Capital.

Desty’s launch and funding come at the perfect time to complement Indonesia’s massive e-commerce development during the pandemic. The nation’s online transactions jumped by 18.1 per cent to 98.3 million in 2020 while recording 12 million new e-commerce users.

Also Read: Leveraging social e-commerce to maximise your brand in China

In addition, Indonesian consumers’ most trusted shopping channels come in various platforms: marketplace (97 per cent), business’ own domain/website (91 per cent), and social media (82 per cent).

“Since our investment late last year, Desty has been paving the way for merchants, influencers, and creators to go online. As a result of the pandemic accelerating this shift to online, there is a continuously stronger use case for Desty and where they fit into the market. We are confident that Desty, backed by a team of experienced founders, will continue to create impact and provide value for the millions of Indonesian online sellers,” said Willson Cuaca, co-founder and managing partner of East Ventures.

Mulyono is one of Indonesia’s e-commerce veterans with years of experience at Alibaba Group, complemented by his expertise as a former VC at BAce Capital and President of EV Growth. His co-founder Bill Wang embodies 17 years of e-commerce experience under Alibaba Group.

Social commerce is a fast-growing industry in Indonesia. Thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the social commerce sector is witnessing a boom, and many offline companies have set up their own digital stores on social sites like Facebook.

In April this year, Super, a startup that uses social commerce and a streamlined logistics chain to lower the cost of goods, raised an oversubscribed US$28 million Series B led by SoftBank Ventures Asia. Other social commerce companies in Indonesia include KitaBeli, ChiliBeli and Woobiz.

Image Credit: Desty

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,Xiaomi backer 5Y leads ex-BAce Capital managing partner’s social commerce startup Desty’s US$3.2M round | e27
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