HK-Based Shopline Raised US$1.2M Seed Funding
Shopline, a DIY E-commerce Platform, Raises US$1.2 Million in Seed Funding to Fuel Growth and Expansion
Shopline (www.shoplineapp.com), a startup that offers a localized, DIY e-commerce solution targeting merchants in Asia, is announcing that it has raised US$1.2 million in seed capital in order to grow its operations. Having also completed the 500 Startups Accelerator program in San Francisco several months ago (Batch 10), this funding will allow Shopline to position itself as the go-to online shop builder in Asia, beginning with Hong Kong and Taiwan. They are also looking to expand into select markets in SEA later this year. This represents the first major round of funding for the startup since their launch in 2014. Participants include 500 Startups, Ardent Capital – founding investor of aCommerce, SXE Ventures – an early stage fund by Danny Yeung, co-founder of Groupon HK, East Ventures and COENT Venture Partners.
Shopline’s mission is to provide a completely localized solution for SMEs to quickly to launch their own e-commerce website in Asia. It has integrated regional payment gateways, delivery options and offers live localized customer support. In a few short months, Shopline’s growth soared and now boasts over 15,000 merchant shops created, with early adopters already averaging tens of thousands of USD in monthly sales through their shops. This shows huge promise for Shopline in a region where B2C e-commerce continues to mature and total sales are already exceeding that of North America. Additionally, with Shopline’s mobile approach to everything they build, it empowers the merchants that use their smartphones as their only means of accessing the Internet. Aside from organic growth, Shopline’s solid partnerships with payment gateways, existing platforms and agencies gives the company access to a large number of high quality merchants.
With Shopline, merchants are able to quickly set up a shop within a few minutes and begin selling immediately. The platform provides an easy-to-use admin panel for its merchants to manage their shops. Everything from basic settings, to uploading products, to configuring design can be done, and in the local language. Merchants can also grab a domain name and assign it to their shop directly, without additional cost. The platform has payment and delivery options that fit the local culture. Payment methods such as bank transfers and C.O.D. or delivery options such as convenience store pickups and local meet-ups are all commonplace for merchants in Asia, Shopline has all of these integrated. The system has payment gateways in place for credit card processing as well, and if the merchant does not have a payment gateway account, they can set one up directly within Shopilne. The company also offers its merchants marketing tools. Among them are capabilities to create professional marketing videos and social media integration. The opportunity here is to service non-tech savvy merchants in Asia, who do not speak English, and with limited budget. What is even more attractive about the platform is that it also does not charge any transaction fees. This lowers the barrier tremendously for local businesses to get online quickly.
In a region dominated by marketplaces, merchants are left with very few options when it comes to creating their own standalone e-commerce websites. “The brand building aspect of this is huge. Merchants in Asia can now create something that they are proud of, something they can place on their business cards, giving them credibility as a merchant. All without the need of technical skills. This holds especially true for fashion designers selling online. So it’s not just another profile in a crowded marketplace.” says Raymond Yip, Co-founder & CEO. With this round of funding, Shopline plans on aggressively growing the product and it’s merchant base in its core markets and expanding into S.E.A. thereafter. “This capital puts Shopline in a position to grow the team and to refine our product at a rapid pace. There are a lot of talented people in Asia, we’re excited at the possibilities.”
Shopline has already doubled their team in size in the past several months, bringing on board senior engineers and also marketing and customer success talent. “We’re constantly launching new features that we know works for our customers. Our ultimate goal is to become the go-to platform for merchants in Asia looking for an end-to-end solution. Localization is key, and understanding the local cultures is also a big part of that. We have the knowledge and the right partnerships to achieve this.”
Currently powering thousands of e-commerce sites in Asia, Shopline is the easiest way for anyone to create a fully featured, self-branded, online shop within minutes. It differs from other global services in that it is targeted at low-tech savvy merchants in Asia, providing native language support, and integrated with regional payment gateways. Also, the entire experience, both from the merchant’s perspective and the consumers’ side, is 100% mobile-optimized. Anyone can set up an online shop using just their smartphone. All of its shops are completely responsive and adapts to all screen sizes so the consumer experience is consistent on every device. With mobile usage skyrocketing over the past several years, they are focused on giving merchants in Asia a solution that will help them manage their business on the go, as well as for shoppers to purchase via their mobile devices.
Shopline was co-founded by Raymond Yip (CEO, NYC/HK), Tony Wong (CTO, Venezuela/Vancouver/HK) and Fiona Lau (COO, Hong Kong/Toronto) in late 2013. The trio brings a wealth of experience in business, management, engineering and design. Collectively, they have worked in both large and small companies, in industries ranging from finance and consulting to lifestyle and media. The team met at Startup Weekend 2013 in Hong Kong, where Raymond and Tony were winners of separate awards. Raymond built an extensive career managing technology and engineering between New York and Hong Kong. Tony was previously a co-founding member at a mobile startup in Asia, which was acquired. Fiona Lau is a CFA with strong business acumen and a great sense of economics and finance. She is also the chief marketer for Shopline, both online and offline.
Shopline is a graduate of the 500 Startups Accelerator (Batch 10, 2014)