Online artisan bazaar gets funded


Launching out: E-commerce platform supporting local microbrands and artisanal products looking to break into the regional market.

LOCAL lifestyle social commerce platform Poptron has received US$1mil (RM4.04mil) in funding from a Nasdaq-listed company, which will prep it for regional expansion in the first quarter of this year.

The strategic investment will enable Poptron to scale its operations and further develop its technology, with a version 2.0 of its platform expected to be up this month.

The team will also begin its operations in Singapore within the next few months, giving them some headway into new markets.

Plans are also afoot for the company to raise another US$375,000 through an equity crowdfunding campaign on pitchIN.

The e-commerce site, launched last September, offers microbrands a platform to sell their high quality, natural and eco-friendly products or artisanal goods. Many of these brands have ethical, responsible and socially conscious aspirations.

Over 100 microbrands with more than 700 different types of product listings have since come on board, ranging from personal care, fashion items, arts and crafts, to pets necessities and home and living products.

There’s never been a better time to buy local. With businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic, consumer support is crucial for the survival of many of these brands.

Additionally, many of them have meaningful stories behind their products and entities that people can relate to.

“Before the movement control order, I used to frequent local arts bazaars and discovered a lot of interesting, high-quality products from small brands and businesses. Due to the pandemic, bazaars came to a halt, so these brands are depending on online sales, usually gathered from various social media platforms.

“Online demand generation became a critical area of focus, and it became quite evident that securing new customers online isn’t as easy as it seems, ” shares Poptron founder Brian Johnson Lowe.

The platform, he says, will help local artisans connect with the global market.

Lowe notes that there were almost 2.2 million microbrands globally in 2020, with a total available market of US$7.6bil.

Out of this, the serviceable available market for Poptron to tap into is worth US$3.8bil, which accounts for 1.5 million out of the expected 3.79 million microbrands in the global market in 2025.

Poptron aims to capture US$1.6bil of the market share with 600,000 microbrands generating its global revenue in 2025.

“With Poptron, we hope to gather all these brands in one place for consumers to discover. Our idea is to prove the value of this unique platform and increase the business returns of our merchants first, ” he adds.

Poptron helps sellers overcome key pain points in customer acquisition, business management and regional growth by using a single platform to handle everything from enquiries to shipping.

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