Start Today Ventures Investment in Pomelo – Building Southeast Asia’s leading fast fashion brand
Southeast Asian consumers are changing the way they discover and buy fashion goods. High social media and mobile adoption equip the region’s expanding working-age population with instantaneous awareness of latest fashion trends from around the world, while increasing aspiration and spending power creates a desire for high-quality brands that keep up with the latest trends. We estimate that a potential US$20B addressable market exists for brands who can build a relationship with online fashion shoppers in Southeast Asia.
Looking around the world, we observe the creation of new digital fashion retailers with annual revenues in excess of US$100M, e.g. ASOS and Boohoo from the UK, Everlane and Bonobos from the US. In contrast, fashion retail in Southeast Asia is still dominated by traditional fashion retailers, with local online marketplaces lacking the depth to satisfy fashion buyers. Room exists for a player that can deliver the latest trends, while maintaining a high quality customer experience.
Pomelo is a Southeast Asian digital fast fashion brand with a particularly strong appeal to 18-35 years old digitally-proficient women. Through its website and mobile application, customers can always access on-trend, high-quality, yet affordable clothing that serves different aspects of daily urban life; such as work, casual, athletic, and basic wear. Pomelo’s digital capability is also deeply integrated into its value chain. Each new collection comes from a collaboration between Pomelo’s in-house designers and its proprietary data analytics platform that captures the latest local and international trends. The collection then goes through an automated process that rapidly brings its designs from prototype to production. Pomelo also provides value added services such as free shipping, 48 hours guaranteed delivery, 365 days free returns, 24/7 customer support, in order to provide a superior customer experience.
Pomelo has established a presence well beyond its home country. Although the company primarily focuses on Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia, it has also processed orders from more than 40 countries worldwide. During late 2017, Pomelo also began establishing physical stores to further integrate Pomelo offline-online retail experience, with plans to add more branches in the coming years.
Pomelo is led by David Jou and Casey Liang. They co-founded Lazada Thailand, before starting Pomelo in 2013. They are supported by a management team with extensive experienced in online retail, including Meg Mistry, ex-regional creative director at Zalora, Salisa Landy, who was the head of luxury e-Commerce at L’Oreal Thailand, and James Lamrock, who led Sephora and aCommerce logistic operation in Southeast Asia.
Start Today Ventures joins Pomelo’s Series B round alongside a set of investors who are highly familiar with Asia’s retail landscape, such as JD.com, Provident Capital, Lombard, and Central Group. Reina Nakamura will lead the investment for Start Today Ventures.