Taiwan-based social commerce platform LinkBy revealed today that it raised $1.54 million in an oversubscribed Series Pre-A funding round.
The round was led by global venture capital firm Hive Ventures. The other investors who participated ranged from institutional/corporate investors which include Artesian Capital and Animoca Brands to private investors like Michelle Ho (Board Chairman of Hanshin Department Store), Chu Huang-Wei (co-founder of Pixnet), and Ho Fei-Peng (CEO of Cite Media Holding Group).
Keegan Huang, Co-Founder, and CEO of LinkBy, believes that commerce has been built on trust.
“We believe smaller but more engaged trusted networks bring that trust element back into e-commerce,” Huang said.
He added that Key Opinion Consumers (KOCs) are the trusted leaders at the heart of these communities on social media.
The boom in social media and e-commerce adoption has been spurred by COVID-19 restrictions. This has left emptied offline stores and unreliable online sales channels have forced retailers across the board to rethink how they acquire consumers.
Yan Lee, Hive Ventures’ Founding Partner, said LinkBy stands out for its innovative use of image recognition, natural language processing (NLP), and social listening tools to enable seamlessly, smarter social selling which they see as a key aspect of future hyper-connected societies.
They believe that the company has a lot of potentials to be “a trailblazer in the social commerce market”.
For her part, Ho, Board Chairman of Hanshin Department Store, said that the retail industry now is digitalized where a person can be a point of sales.
LinkBy’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform helps KOCs rapidly establish shoppable digital presences and provides them with access to an Amazon-like marketplace for global brands ranging from fitness apparel to cosmetics.
The company sees a massive opportunity especially across the Southeast Asia region where social commerce sales accounted for around 44 percent of the $109 billion e-commerce market in 2020. A projected compound annual growth rate of 28.4 percent is seen from 2021 to 2028.