Oct 4, 2016
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Grana secures $10m investment from Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund

Oct 4, 2016

Sydney's Luka Grana and his eponymous fashion e-tailer have secured a $10 million investment from the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund -- a venture capital fund owned by China e-commerce giant, Alibaba.

Grana secures $10 million from Alibaba Entrepreneur Fund - Grana.com

Grana, who has now received $16 million in capital raising since arriving in Hong Kong in 2013, will use the latest wad of cash to set up operations in China. As part of the latest grant, Grana must use Alibaba infrastructure to perform expansion into China.

Logistically, the Grana business will move into a 1700 square metre warehouse in October, in a bid to go from 50 to 100 employees by the end of 2017.

Another part of the agreement is that applicants must either become an Alibaba merchant or support them in some way, as founder Jack Ma, , looks to attract paying talent to the Alibaba marketplace.

However, Luke Grana told the Australian Financial Review he was under no obligation to use Alibaba's services and that its investment gave the giant no ability to veto his company's business plans.

"They're getting a seat on the board but Alibaba's shareholder agreement is the same as we used last time," he told AFR, citing a seed round led by Singapore's Golden Gate Ventures and Hong Kong's MindWorks Ventures back in 2015.

However, he said Alibaba's Tmall portal was "obviously a great platform through which to enter the Chinese mainland market...we could use our own site but it's easy to see the majority of sales are through the platforms with Tmall. Taobao, JD.com and wechat.com are leading the way."

Grana is one of the first round of startups to receive financial backing from the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund. The fund will allocate $170 million to business based in Hong Kong.

Grana was created out of need to produce quality fabricated clothing for men and women, at an affordable price.

Prices range from $15 for a cotton t-shirt to $99 for a cashmere sweater.

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