SINGAPORE, 08 September 2021 - Today, Rainforest, Asia’s leading e-commerce brand aggregator, announced that it has closed a US$20 million Pre-Series A round led by Monk’s Hill Ventures. Other investors participating in the oversubscribed round are January Capital, Crossbeam Venture Partners, Amasia, Lo & Behold Group together with existing investors Nordstar and Insignia. Accial Capital is the debt provider for Rainforest, providing a previously announced US$30million debt facility.
The fresh funds will be used to double down on Rainforest’s aggressive growth strategy as it looks to acquire more Asia-based e-commerce brands, helping them to scale up and expand beyond its markets across Europe and America. By the end of 2021, the company plans to grow its current portfolio of e-commerce brands by three times. Rainforest will also be expanding its key leadership team with strategic senior hires adept in acquisitions, branding and marketing, product development, supply chain, operations, and strategy.
JJ Chai, CEO and Co-Founder of Rainforest, shared, “We are happy to be backed by Monk’s Hill Ventures, and have Peng join the board as an experienced founder turned investor. With this round of funding, we look forward to providing well-deserved exits for more brand-builders across Asia and continue to scale up the brands they created with a world-class team at Rainforest”.
Rainforest now has over US$50 million for acquiring high-potential, e-commerce brands in Asia that are revenue-positive and category challengers in their niche, focusing on the home goods, mother & kids, personal care, and pet categories. Using its robust proprietary tech to manage operations, Rainforest works with its brands to improve inventory management, cost optimizations, and expansions to new marketplaces and channels – at scale. To date, Rainforest’s portfolio has seen over 50 per cent improvement in annual growth rates post-acquisition. Recently, the firm also acquired a China-based brand for US$3.6 million as part of its latest initiative to expand its services into the Chinese market, especially with China-based merchants representing 75 percent of new sellers on Amazon early this year, a number that is projected to grow.
To spearhead Rainforest’s growing footprint in the region, the company has also strengthened its leadership bench with two key hires; Yev Ivanko, Vice President, Acquisitions, and Christine Ng, Vice President, Brands. Each brings with them over 15 years of experience in international expansion and business development.
Yev joins Rainforest following a series of leadership roles in the startup ecosystem. He was previously Co-Founder and CEO at NimbleSeller, a platform solving working capital problems for SMEs, and is currently a startup mentor at PwC Singapore’s Venture Hub and a startup advisor at EBRD.
Christine brings to the team over 15 years of experience in marketing, branding, and growth marketing from the consumer and retail sectors in the Asia Pacific region including Sephora, ShopStyle, Luxola, and Shopbop. She also previously led global marketing activities for two startup unicorns - Away and Classpass.
Peng T. Ong, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Monk’s Hill Ventures shared, “As one of the largest Amazon sellers in Southeast Asia, Rainforest is tapping into the rise of marketplace sellers off the back of a large, fast-growing e-commerce market. JJ and his team have demonstrated thoughtfulness while being formidable operators in acquiring and significantly growing e-commerce brands. We are excited to work with JJ and his team to scale and to be the leading buy-and-build e-commerce brand player in Asia,”
Rainforest has seen a momentous 2021 following its successful seed fundraise of US$36 million in May, including a US$6.55 million equity and US$30 million debt rounds. The seed fundraise was led by Nordstar, with participation from Insignia Venture Partners and Accial Capital as the debt provider. Since its operational launch in January 2021, Rainforest has successfully acquired six e-commerce brands mostly based in Asia, with a target to triple its portfolio by the end of 2021.