Korea’s Backpackr Handicrafts Market Set to Expand in Southeast Asia • TechCrunch

Korea’s Backpackr Handicrafts Market Set to Expand in Southeast Asia • TechCrunch

Korea’s Backpackr Handicrafts Market Set to Expand in Southeast Asia • TechCrunch

About ten years ago, Donghwan Kim helped his cousin, a ceramist, to 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 start a marketplace for handmade goods in South Korea called Backpackr himself.

Today Backpackr, which operates a craft market called idus, raised a $16 million (20 billion won) extension to its Series C funding, two and a half years after its first Series C, which was 24 million dollars (about 30 billion won). won).

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

The new capital will help Backpackr make inroads 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 the Etsy of Asia, Kim said in an interview with TechCrunch. Backpackr also plans to use the proceeds to invest in R&D to advance its artificial intelligence-based search and recommendation system, as well as hire additional employees.

The startup intends to sell products made in South Korea overseas and bring handicrafts made in Southeast Asia to South Korea through its platform. Other countries like Japan and the United States are on his radar for the next destinations, according to Kim. Backpackr will have to compete with other craft markets in Asia like Minne and Creema in Japan, Pinkoi in Taiwan and Carousell in Singapore. The Asian Handicrafts Market Size is Expected to Reach $307.8 billion in 2027compared to 149 billion dollars in 2021.

The company not only has idus as its main business, but also operates a crowdfunding platform called tumblbug which it acquired in 2020. Backpackr also launched a Patreon-like creator subscription service, Steadio, to connect artists with their fans, said Kim. Backpackr’s model is to aim for a one-stop platform for its creators, which is the company’s main differentiator, Kim pointed out.

“We want to make it a one-stop-shop platform for creators, allowing our users (creators) to open their own internet shops selling their handicrafts, including handicrafts and all things homemade like bakery , soap, candles, jewelry, perfume, bags, furniture. , home decor and art, help fund their products and connect creators with fans to offer online or offline courses “Kim told TechCrunch.

Backpackr, which had around 60,000 creators in November last year, said it surpassed $804 million in gross merchandise volume in November and broke even in the second half of last year, although it has always recorded losses during the financial year. of 2022. The outfit expects to turn a profit this year, Kim said.

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