Home Startups Korean handmade goods marketplace Backpackr prepares to expand into Southeast Asia • businessroundups.org

Korean handmade goods marketplace Backpackr prepares to expand into Southeast Asia • businessroundups.org

by Ana Lopez
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About a decade ago, Donghwan Kim helped his nephew, a ceramist, find sales channels, such as flea markets, to sell his ceramics. But they struggled to find a suitable platform, so after about a year, Kim decided to create a handmade goods marketplace of his own in South Korea called Backpackr.

Today called Backpackr, which operates handmade marketplace idushas raised a $16 million (20 billion won) extension of its Series C funding, two and a half years after the first Series C, which was $24 million (about 30 billion won).

According to sources familiar with the situation, the startup is now valued at around $240.1 million post-money. Backpackr said it has raised a total of $56.8 million since its inception in 2012, but declined to disclose the valuation. Returning investor Altos Ventures led the expansion along with Stone Bridge and new investors Axiom Asia and Vanderbilt University.

The new capital will help Backpackr embark on a foray into Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines in the second quarter of this year, with the ambition to become Asia’s Etsy to become. said in an interview with businessroundups.org. Backpackr also plans to use the proceeds to invest in R&D to improve its artificial intelligence-powered search and recommendation system and to hire additional employees.

The startup plans to sell overseas-made products in South Korea and bring handcrafted products from Southeast Asia to South Korea through its platform. Other countries such as Japan and the US are on the radar for the next destinations, according to Kim. Backpackr will have to compete with other handmade marketplaces in Asia, such as in Japan Mine and Creema, Taiwan-based Pinkoi and Singapore-based Carousell. The market size of handmade products in Asia is expected to increase $307.8 billion by 2027up from $149 billion in 2021.

The company not only has idus as its main activity, but also operates a crowdfunding platform called tumblbug who took over in 2020. Backpackr has also launched a Patreon-like creator subscription service, steadyto connect artists with their fans, Kim said. Backpackr’s model is to aim for a one-stop-shop platform for its creators, which is the company’s key differentiator, Kim stressed.

“We want to make it a one-stop shop platform for makers so that our users (makers) can open their own internet boutiques to sell their handicrafts, including handicrafts and anything homemade such as bakery products, soaps, candles, jewelry , fragrances, bags, furniture, home decor and art, help them crowdfund their products and connect the makers with fans to offer classes online or offline,” Kim told businessroundups.org.

Backpackr, which had about 60,000 makers in November last year, says it surpassed $804 million in gross merchandise volume in November and passed breakeven in the second half of last year, though it still posted a loss in its fiscal year from 2022. The outfit expects to generate profits this year, Kim said.

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