Korean internet giant Naver backs e-commerce aggregator New Vessel in funding round – TechCrunch
According to eMarketerJapan and Korea’s e-commerce markets were estimated at $144 billion and $121 billion, respectively, in 2021. Despite the large e-commerce market size, both countries have fewer e-commerce aggregators than other countries with smaller markets, trade aggregator new ship noted.
The startup announced today that it has raised an undisclosed funding round co-led by South Korean internet giant Naver, CKD Venture Capital and Wooshin Venture Investment, with participation from Lighthouse Combined Investment and S&C Networks to conquer the market in South Korea and Japan.
The new funding will be used to acquire Korean and Japanese e-commerce brands and hire additional experts in brand management, marketing and supply chain management, New Vessel CEO Jaebin Lee told TechCrunch. The startup is currently looking for brands that generate at least $1 million in annual revenue with 15-30% margins, Lee said, adding that the size of the acquisition would be between $1 million and $2 million. The company plans to increase its Series A funding in June after making acquisitions in the first half of this year, Lee noted.
New Vessel was founded in September 2021 by Lee, who has over 10 years of M&A experience as a lawyer and investor, and Kyuyong Lee, who previously worked for Japanese e-commerce Rakuten and Korean e-commerce Coupang.
In recent years, the two co-founders have seen the growth of global aggregator giants, including Thrasio and Perch. They noticed that the e-commerce aggregator industry in South Korea and Japan was just getting started, even though the e-commerce markets in these countries rank among the best in the world. This represents great potential for local aggregators in regions, Lee said.
“It’s just a matter of time. The e-commerce aggregator market [in South Korea and Japan] is filled with untapped potential,” Lee said.
The startup said it will partner with leading e-commerce sellers in Korea and Japan to propel their growth by providing proven optimization strategies and sales expansion tactics. New Vessel aims to help US-based sellers expand into Korea and Japan and vice versa, allowing Korean and Japanese brands to enter the US market, Lee said. New Vessel recently formed a strategic partnership with U.S. and South Korea-based mobile phone accessories maker Spigen to bolster its operational strength.
“The vast majority of online brand sellers in Korea don’t know that selling their brands is even a possibility. We believe that our partnerships with brand owners will bring value not only to sellers, but also to consumers as a whole by filling the market with great products at affordable prices.
Meanwhile, global e-commerce aggregator Thrasio entered Asia by setting up an office in Japan last March to acquire Japanese e-commerce brands.