Korean beauty distributor Althea raises $3.5 million for expansion
Althea, a Korea-based company that exports and sells cosmetics and beauty products to Southeast Asia, has closed a $3.5 million Series A round for expansion.
This new funding round is provided by a range of investors that include Mirae Asset Ventures, Posco Ventures, 500 Startups, Tekton Ventures and Cherubic Ventures with the aim of carrying out that market expansion, adding to the company’s 25 staff with new hires, and investing in marketing and logistics.
Launching in 2015, Althea is riding the K-Pop wave into Southeast Asian markets. Founded by duo Frank Kang and Christopher Cynn, with CFO Jae Yoon Kim, the Korean startup sells cosmetics to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines with plans to enter Thailand and Vietnam before the end of this year.
Althea's point-of-difference centres on bringing new products to market in the region, thanks to a sourcing team on the ground in Korea, CEO Frank Kang told TechCrunch in an interview.
Kang told TechCrunch there are around 10,000 Korean beauty brands today, and Althea provides a them a route to overseas sales.
“Our plan is to really build a brand, so we’re really focused on trendy items with a lot of potential [and] products that have not been introduced yet,” Kang explained. “The aim is to be the number one marketing generation platform for Korean brands in Southeast Asia.”
Althea claims 500,000 monthly unique visitors and an annualised run rate of over $10 million in revenue. The company said it is growing at 30 percent per month and is on track to reach profitability by the end of this year.
The group has an office in Kuala Lumpur, but exports all products directly out of Korea. While it is focused on Southeast Asia for now, there are plans to expand beyond the region in the future.
“Our business is scalable so we can consider any market and any country, but we want to focus on Southeast Asia because it is the second largest region for Korean exports behind only China. We really want to conquer this market first [since the] competition is stronger in China and the U.S.,” he said.
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