Backpackr, a Korean marketplace for handmade goods, expands into Southeast Asia
Donghwan Kim, a ceramist, helped his cousin to find sales channels like flea markets a decade ago to sell his ceramics. They had difficulty finding a platform that would suit their needs so Kim created a marketplace for haikus after about a year.
Donghwan Kim, a ceramist, helped his cousin to find sales channels like flea markets a decade ago. They had difficulty finding a platform that was suitable so Kim created Backpackr, a marketplace for handmade goods in South Korea.
Backpackr, a handmade marketplace called idus, has today raised $16 million (20 billion won) to extend its Series C financing. This is two-and-a-half years after its original Series C, which was $ 24 million (about 30 billion won).
Sources familiar with the matter estimate that the startup's current value is $240.1 million after money. Backpackr claimed it has raised $ 56.8 million since 2012, but declined to disclose its valuation. Along with Stone Bridge, Altos Ventures, a returning investor, and new investors Axiom Asian and Vanderbilt University, the extension was led by Altos Ventures.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Kim stated that Backpackr will use the new capital to expand into Southeast Asia. This includes Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand. Vietnam, Malaysia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Backpackr plans to use the proceeds for R&D to improve its artificial intelligence-powered search engine and recommendation system as well as to hire additional employees.
The startup plans to sell South Korean products overseas and bring handmade products from Southeast Asia to South Korea through its platform. Kim said that the startup is considering other countries such as Japan and the U.S. for the following destinations. The market for handmade products in Asia is expected to grow to $307.8 billion by 2027 from $149 billion in 2021.
The company has idus as its primary business, but also runs Tumblbug, a crowdfunding platform that it acquired in 2020. Kim stated that Backpackr has also launched Steadio, a Patreon-like creator subscription, to connect artists and their fans. Kim noted that Backpackr's goal is to be a one-stop shop platform for its creators. This is the company's key differentiation.
Kim explained to TechCrunch that she wanted to make the platform a one-stop-shop for creators. Kim said that users (creators), can open their own online boutiques selling handicrafts, such as soap, candles, jewelry, and fragrances. This will help them crowdfund their products and connect creators with fans to offer classes online or offline.
Backpackr, which was home to about 60,000 creators in November last year, said it exceeded $804 million in gross merchandise volume in Nov and reached a break-even point for the second half last year. However, it still reported losses in the fiscal year 2022. Kim stated that the outfit is expecting to make profits this year.pr