By Anushia Kandasivam | Mar 22, 2018
- A one-stop e-commerce solution for SMEs to build their online business
- Strategic investments and sharing opportunities to enable more growth
MALAYSIAN commerce technology venture builder Commerce.Asia Ventures launched its flagship offering Commerce.Asia Enterprise on March 21. The e-commerce solution was developed with the specific purpose of enabling small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to move their business online quickly and efficiently.
“There is great potential for e-commerce to be the economic booster for the country as the Malaysian digital economy already accounts for 18.2%of the country’s GDP as of 2016,” said Commerce.Asia founder and executive chairman Ganesh Kumar Bangah.
Although 90% of Malaysian businesses are SMEs, only 28% have an online presence. “It is essential that businesses embark on an omni-channel strategy that combines a physical and online presence as they are losing out on a vast market of online buyers by not having any online presence,” he said.
However, he said that while there are many e-commerce and technology enablers today, there is still no easy way for SMEs to move online as it takes an enormous amount of knowledge, time and resources to do so, which they, especially micro-SMEs, do not have.
“This is why we are launching Commerce.Asia Enterprise, a one-stop solution to help bridge the gap between SME merchants and technology enablers,” announced Ganesh.
Commerce.Asia Enterprise is a fully-integrated one-stop point to connect SMEs to a full suite of solutions and services. SMEs are able to build their online store, set up a payment gateway, manage inventory, warehousing, shipping and delivery, manage their orders and products and do social media marketing. They are connected to up to six local and four regional and global marketplaces.
Basically, Commerce.Asia Enterprise automatically manages all aspects of the online business for the SME.
“We are confident that our flagship solution Commerce.Asia Enterprise will be an accelerator in the ongoing efforts to push the nation’s digital economic growth which is at a crucial stage, by helping Malaysia’s SMEs venture into e-commerce in line with the government’s Digital Free Trade Zone initiative.
“Businesses need to transform the way they do business and understand that the future is already focused on omni-channel marketing. Unless they grasp these opportunities and join in the online e-commerce movement, they will lose out,” said Ganesh.
Commerce.Asia provides multiple packages to SMEs, catering to different budgets and service levels. The lowest service fee is RM5,000 (US$1,276), which includes services such as a free webstore and syncing to a marketplace, while the highest service fee is RM25,000 (US$6,383), which includes integration to multiple global marketplaces and various value-added services.
Commerce.Asia has been operating in “stealth mode”, as Ganesh put it, for the past year. It already has a little more than 20 merchants using Commerce.Asia Enterprise and expects to have 100 by the end of this year.
The company will continue to focus on Malaysia this year, though it already has inbound requests from foreign partners and merchants. Ganesh revealed that Commerce.Asia is looking at opening in those other Southeast Asian markets in the next six to 12 months, stopping short of revealing exactly which markets.
To spearhead its endeavours, Commerce.Asia is investing into two existing Malaysia e-commerce enablers – SiteGiant and Komuten. Both are based in the northern Malaysian state of Penang.
SiteGiant is an e-commerce platform that powers online stores and sales on several marketplaces and channels. It also provides integrated inventory and order management. It is integrated into all major local and global ecommerce marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay, Qoo10, Lazada, 11street, Lelong, Shopee, Logon and YouBeli.
SiteGiant has more than 2,000 merchants and handled more than RM200 million in gross merchandise volume (GMV) last year.
Kumoten is a pioneer Malaysia-based dropshipping platform that aggregates products from various platforms and wholesalers, and integrates products for sale by online resellers. It currently has more than 100,000 active SKUs (stock keeping units) and more than 22,000 registered resellers.
The investments involve more than just funding and the mentorship provided by Ganesh. SiteGiant will be the core tech platform that powers all the merchants signed up with Commerce.Asia Enterprise.
Ganesh explains that Commerce.Asia will package SiteGiant’s services with other managed services by the former as well as services provided by other technology enablers that Commerce.Asia will invest in.
Kumoten will provide products to micro entrepreneurs on Commerce.Asia Enterprise and will channel sales for merchants on the platform.
SiteGiant chief executive officer Stanley Lim said that while the startup knew that it had built something good, it was facing a challenge: “The question was how we could bring these meaningful services regional to help more merchants solve their problems? I didn’t have the answer until I met Ganesh. Commerce.Asia is providing mentorship, capital and market access, and we can see synergies where we are helping each other grow regionally.”
Kumoten chief executive officer Isaac Leong added that as Kumoten aims to be a million-dollar company, it wants to go global. “We need someone with the experience, capacity and network to help propel us to that level. With a good coach and mentor, I think we are in the right place and right platform to achieve that,” he said.
“I am basically providing mentorship and strategic advice on how to grow. I’m a big believer in SunTzu, who said if you have your strategy right, you will win the war. So, my focus is strategy, their focus is tactics. Their job is to execute, mine is to guide them in the right direction to execute,” quipped Ganesh.
In a move to “share the opportunities”, Commerce.Asia is seeking equity crowdfunding (ECF) on Malaysian ECF platform PitchIn. Investment is for a 13.4% equity stake to a target of RM3 million (US$765,882), with another RM2 million (US$ 510,624) being raised from private placements, bringing the total target investment to RM5 million (US$1,2 million). The campaign will launch on March 27.
According to Ganesh, Commerce.Asia already has a 50% commitment to the ECF campaign, which it gained in 1.5 weeks of promoting it.
He also announced that Commerce.Asia has a clear plan and strategy to invest in 20 more technology enablers and is in the midst of finalising plans to raise another RM100 million (US$25.5 million) to invest in these enablers. It hopes to raise the funds in the next one year.
“What we’re announcing today is just the beginning. Watch this space.”