Manila, April 03, 2022 – Armada Brands, a Philippine e-commerce aggregator, raises $1.3M in pre-seed funding to invest in e-commerce entrepreneurs looking to scale their brands.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an emergence of 70 million new online shoppers in Southeast Asia, according to a report from Facebook and Bain & Company. The report predicts that by 2026, there will be a whopping 380 million shoppers across the entire region. This presents a significant opportunity for entrepreneurial Southeast Asians with exciting products to sell.
However, not all eCommerce brands are equipped with the know-how and bandwidth to capitalize on this momentum and ride the tidal wave of new consumers. Be it running out of stock, having to hold back on their advertising spend and product expansion plans, or being overwhelmed by nonstop requests from customers, entrepreneurs are often unable to unlock the full potential of their brand. They lack capital, operational capacity, and scaling capability.
This is where Armada Brands lends a hand. Their offer: To help entrepreneurs turn their brand vision into reality, by pairing the brand’s founder with a resourceful operator.
As an e-commerce aggregator, the startup company invests in 5-star D2C brands with high potential and offers them capital alongside day-to-day operational support through their professional team of experts, infrastructure, and technology – from commercial management such as branding, digital marketing, and channel management, to operations such as warehousing, fulfillment, and customer service. Entrepreneurs contribute product ideas, consumer knowledge, and a compelling and authentic brand story to engage with their followers. Together, they then build the brand and scale it all throughout Southeast Asia, with the aim of growing sales and profits by 10x+ within 1-2 years.
Unique to Armada Brands is their partnership model. Typical to other aggregators, entrepreneurs get the first payout. However, unlike other aggregators, Armada purchases less than 100% of their brands, while the entrepreneurs retain a sizable stake in the company so that their heads — and pockets — remain in the game. After all, Armada Brand is entrepreneur-focused: helping partner entrepreneurs turn their vision of the brand into reality.
Armada has recently closed its first investment into a fast-growing and well-loved fashion brand started and run by a Filipina mum with a strong entrepreneurial drive alongside a treasure trove of new and hot product ideas. Armada will support her in pushing the brand in the direct-to-consumer (D2C) as well as marketplace channels, expanding the product assortment, and bringing the brand into the US market.
The new injection of capital will go towards making additional investments in the weeks ahead and building up a team of top e-commerce talent that will then support these brands. There are dozens more up-and-coming brands in the pipeline, of which some have already passed due diligence and are in advanced discussions to close a deal.
Helming the company are two co-founders with a deep background in deal-making, M&A, e-commerce in Southeast Asia, and venture building. CEO Andreas Hufnagl is a former McKinsey consultant and private equity investment professional and COO Gelo Torres is an e-commerce professional and entrepreneur who had previously built a globally successful brand.
The pre-seed funding round of $1.3M was co-led by the venture capital firms M Venture Partners and Foxmont Capital Partners. Kaya Founders—the early-stage investment firm helmed by Paulo Campos (Co-Founder & Chairman of Zalora Philippines) and Lisa Gokongwei Cheng—was Armada’s earliest backer, and topped up on their investment. Finally, the round saw participation from top VCs such as Antler and Sketchnote. Business angels and advisors include Constantin Robertz (Co-Founder & CEO Locad), Jannis Dargel (Co-Founder & COO Locad), and other senior executives from marketplaces and enablers across Southeast Asia.
“Together, they possess the necessary know-how to partner with and aggressively scale online native brands, starting in the Philippines which is in itself a massive opportunity,” said the founding partner of M Venture Partners, Mayank Parekh, who is joining the board of Armada.
With thousands of growing target brands already in the market and thousands of new brands joining monthly, Armada Brands aims to position itself as a next-generation D2C brand house, with an armada of 100+ category-leading brands across Southeast Asia, led by visionary eCommerce entrepreneurs.
Armada invests in successful e-commerce brands run by local entrepreneurs. The company provides growth capital to finance working capital and operating expenses. It forms a partnership with the entrepreneurs to drive significant growth in sales, combining the credibility of the founder with the resourcefulness of the eCommerce aggregator.