For the past two years, Asian retailers have been forced to hold virtual meetings instead of attending trade shows or conferences in person to buy new brands and products due to the pandemic. A startup called Piba has created an online B2B wholesale platform that connects independent retailers across Asia with unique brands from around the world.
Piba says the lack of B2B-focused online wholesale solutions and technical infrastructure during the pandemic has been a barrier to B2B retail, wholesale business growth and expansion into new markets in Asia. The Hong Kong-based company aims to help Asian B2B retailers reduce inventory risk and achieve greater operational efficiency at lower cost through its platform.
The startup received $4.2 million in seed funding led by Headline Ventures. The new funding round brings the total to $5.8 million.
Piba CEO Jackie Lai, who has worked in technology and supply chain management for over a decade, told gaming-updates that she spoke about brands that are struggling to find new sales channels and partners, especially in Asia. I heard. There are high barriers to entry and expansion for brands looking to grow in Asia due to the wide range of languages, currencies, regulatory environment and business practices in the region, Piba said.
With the latest funding, Piba plans to double its staff and expand local offices to improve local language support in 11 Asian countries. Lai said localization efforts are not only focused on supporting multiple languages. Piba’s localization strategy means it has a better understanding of the demand for new products and categories, which means it can pinpoint potential products and brands, he says.
Piba co-founder Kevin Cho said the company will also strengthen its machine learning-based recommendation engine and improve proprietary technology for automated credit checks of its retailers.
“When it comes to hiring SMBs, our process involves using our proprietary credit risk technology that assesses the suitability of a potential retailer,” Lai told gaming-updates.
“One of the unique things about Peiba is that there is no upfront cost to put Peiba inventory on its physical or virtual shelves, as the company uses a sell-first, pay-later model,” Lai continued. Last week, Piba announced its partnership with Hong Kong-based Choco Up to enable Sell Frist, a late payment option for retailers on the Piba platform.
“We are digitizing new brand discovery, automating customer communication and management, and optimizing logistics and delivery by grouping orders,” Cho said. “All of this contributes to increased operational efficiency and reduced costs for all parties.”
Competitive shipping rates and quick discounts are another key experience, Lai says, allowing global brands to try or test their products in a whole new market.
Piba works with global brands including North America, Europe and Asia, helping them connect with Asian retailers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan.
Piba has 25,000 retail users, 10 times more than last year, and has 1,500 unique brands (a 3-fold increase from last year) with over 100,000 products on the platform. Lai told gaming-updates that retailers joining the platform range from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to large retailers with hundreds of physical locations. Lai noted that DFS Singapore, Slowwood in Hong Kong and Marais in Taiwan are among the few high-profile retailers that have ordered through Piba, with brands including Memebox, Skin 1004 and Leaders Cosmetics of South Korea.
“Our mission is to change the way independent retailers discover and interact with unique brands and bring Asian B2B wholesale supply chains into the modern era,” said Jackie Lai, CEO of Piba. “Peba’s main added value lies in how we reduce inventory risk for retailers with our 60-day return policy and a sell-first, pay-later model. This will allow retailers to adapt to the post-pandemic reality faster and with more confidence. ,
“Peeba is driving the next phase of global retail innovation. The platform brings both new and traditional brands to the world of local retail in Asia. We are excited to partner with Piba to expand our footprint to more markets in Asia,” said Akio Tanaka, partner and co-founder of Headline VC.