Swapit got covered by WHub

swapit-blog-communicationThanks a lot to the great people at WHub! They’ve put together a comprehensive article about 6 E-commerce startups from Hong Kong that raised funds and Swapit is one of those 6 startups!

While Swapit is only one of many e-commerce startups in Hong Kong, we feel honored to be mentioned in the same breath as great companies like GRANA, Shopline, Yeechoo, Bindo and Goxip.

swapit_partners_whubIf you’d like to read the full post, you can do so here: 6 E-commerce startups from Hong Kong that raised funds.

More coverage of Swapit in local and international media can be found here: Swapit Media Coverage

Did you try Swapit yet? Download it for free from: http://get.swapit.la

Press Release: Hyper-local Marketplace App Swapit Secures Follow Up Funding from Private Equity Investor

swapit-blog_leapWe’re proud to announce Swapit’s second investment from a private equity investor who brings a lot of domain knowledge to the table. Only 2 months ago we received investment from Aria Ventures.

We’re excited to grow our group of partners which not only provide capital, but also extensive domain knowledge and vast strategic experience in our markets.

Here is the official press release:

Leading Marketplace Platform Will Use Funds to Accelerate Growth.

HONG KONG, Feb. 22, 2016 – Swapit, the unique hyper-local marketplace for trading pre-loved items, announced today they have raised an undisclosed amount of funding from private equity investors. This follows the seed funding they had raised from Aria Ventures in December 2015. The financing will be used to fund Swapit’s continued market domination in Hong Kong, regional market expansion and for further investment in its proprietary technology platform.

“Swapit has shown fantastic growth over the past quarters and months and we are happy to see other investors following our lead investment.” said Kevin Kwong from Aria Ventures. “Patrick and the team are dedicated to bring their hyper-local marketplace to the broad masses and create a global market leader. Swapit is a great example of a Hong Kong startup, which has a global vision and executes perfectly on their roadmap while being based out of Asia’s world city Hong Kong.”

“This follow-up investment proves that our compelling vision for a hyper-local marketplace is being shared by many investors. We have been growing 100% month over month, over the past quarters and we are planning to accelerate that growth. With our current financing, we are well positioned to become the market leader in Hong Kong and across Asia Pacific.” said Patrick Kosiol, CEO of Swapit. “We’re excited to grow our group of partners which not only provide capital, but also extensive domain knowledge and vast strategic experience in our markets.”

Founded in 2015 in Hong Kong, Swapit operates a hyper-local mobile marketplace that brings together buyers and sellers, who are already nearby each other. By providing an exclusive real-time experience combined with their award-winning design, Swapit has already attracted thousands of traders across the territory. Furthermore, Swapit has been accepted into industry-leading accelerator programs, such as SoftLayer Catalyst, Microsoft BizSpark and Facebook’s FbStart, which provide access to over US$200,000 worth of products and services.

About Swapit

Swapit Limited is a technology-driven company that is revolutionizing the way people trade pre-loved and new goods in densely populated areas. Led by mobile entrepreneurs with a combined industry experience of over 40 years, Swapit is built from the ground-up, as a largely scalable business to ensure rapid growth and high margin revenue generation. By focusing on a superior customer experience, the Swapit team makes product decisions purely based on excelling customer happiness. For more information, visit: http://www.swapit.la

The Swapit logo is available at: http://press.swapit.la

About Aria Ventures

Aria Ventures, a division of The Aria Group, provides early stage seed funding to technology startups globally. Its mission is to find talented entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that have the potential to be a significant disruptive force in their respective industries.

The Aria Group is a Hong Kong-based family office with a multi-strategy investment platform and invests in various asset classes globally, including fixed income, equities, real estate, private equity and other alternative investments such as hedge funds. For more: http://www.ariagp.com/

A PDF version is available as well.

This press release can also be found on PRLOG at Hyper-local Marketplace App Swapit Secures Follow Up Funding from Private Equity Investor

 

Swapit Funding Round – Press Coverage

Just recently, we announced some seed funding for Swapit. There has been an overwhelming response by the media. Here are some selected quotes of that coverage:

Hannah from e27 said:

Swiping away the competitors

Read the full article on e27.

Michael from TechInAsia wrote:

Swapit from Hong Kong threw its mobile gauntlet in the fight this year, and now it’s armed with some seed funding

Read the full article on TechInAsia.

Jorge from Top Funded knows what’s to come:

Swapit […] has no doubt got a boost in its armory

Read the full article on Top Funded.

According to the Tech News Today, Swapit is one of

5 Hottest E-Commerce Startups to Look out for in 2016

Read the full article on Tech News Today.

Following our announcement and media coverage, we were approached by several media for an interview. Of course, we’ll always try to make time for that. For instance, our #StartupPassion friends at WHub had some questions and I was happy to provide them with answers. Here is a quote from the interview:

How do you see your project in 2 years?
In 2 years time, we will have revolutionized the way everyone trades pre-loved and new items with people who are nearby right now. Our market share will be dominant in two to three densely populated cities in the region. […]

Read the full interview on WHub.

There are a couple more interviews and features lined up to be published in other media.

Press Release: Hyper-local Marketplace App Swapit Grabs Seed Funding from Aria Ventures

swapit-blog_leapWe are proud to announce Swapit’s first investor who shares our passion and chose to join Swapit on our journey ahead.

Aria Ventures is taking a leap of faith with us and we appreciate the trust they put in our team and execution.

Here is the official press release:

Leading Marketplace Platform Will Use Funds to Dominate Local Market and Prepare for APAC Expansion.

HONG KONG, Dec. 10, 2015 – Swapit, the unique hyper-local marketplace for trading pre-loved items, announced today they have raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Aria Ventures, a division of The Aria Group (ARIA). The financing will be used to fund Swapit’s continued market domination in Hong Kong, regional market expansion and for further investment in its proprietary technology platform. Kevin Kwong, CEO and Managing Partner at ARIA, will join Swapit’s board of directors.

“Swapit has rapidly developed a leadership position in the fast growing mobile-first market for trading pre-loved goods.” said Kevin Kwong. “What Patrick and the team have developed over the past months is impressive, and we’re excited to be working together to create a global market leader. Swapit is a great example of the type of founder-led, capital-efficient business that we like to invest in.”

“With their headquarters in Hong Kong and extensive investments in the region, ARIA is an ideal partner as we continue to scale our business regionally into specific markets in the Asia Pacific region.” said Patrick Kosiol, CEO of Swapit. “We’re excited to have a partner on board that provides us not only with capital, but also vast strategic experience in our market.”

Founded in 2015 in Hong Kong, Swapit operates a hyper-local mobile marketplace that brings together buyers and sellers, who are already nearby each other. By providing an exclusive real-time experience combined with their award-winning design, Swapit has already attracted thousands of traders across the territory. Furthermore, Swapit has been accepted into industry-leading accelerator programs, such as SoftLayer Catalyst, Microsoft BizSpark and Facebook’s FbStart, which provide access to over US$200,000 worth of products and services.

About Swapit

Swapit Limited is a technology-driven company that is revolutionizing the way people trade pre-loved and new goods in densely populated areas. Led by mobile entrepreneurs with a combined industry experience of over 40 years, Swapit is built from the ground-up, as a largely scalable business to ensure rapid growth and high margin revenue generation. By focusing on a superior customer experience, the Swapit team makes product decisions purely based on excelling customer happiness. For more information, visit: http://www.swapit.la

The Swapit logo is available at: http://press.swapit.la

About Aria Ventures

Aria Ventures, a division of The Aria Group, provides early stage seed funding to technology startups globally. Its mission is to find talented entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that have the potential to be a significant disruptive force in their respective industries.

The Aria Group is a Hong Kong-based family office with a multi-strategy investment platform and invests in various asset classes globally, including fixed income, equities, real estate, private equity and other alternative investments such as hedge funds.

A PDF version is available as well.

This press release can also be found on PRLOG at Hyper-local Marketplace App Swapit Grabs Seed Funding from Aria Ventures.

Swapit Competitor “letgo” Raises $100M in Series A – First Founding Round

One of our competitors in the USA called “letgo” just raised USD $100M “To Take Over Classifieds In The U.S.” according to TechCrunch. We have of course seen, tried and been monitoring letgo’s progress over the past months. As for our regional competitors in Asia, I also feel about letgo, that is merely a “beautified Craigslist” on your phone. However, they must be having some Unique Value Proposition that convinced their investors to throw a very large amount of money at them.

The most interesting point though, is that we found these news through Owler which posted: letgo raised 100M funding in Series A from Naspers. Interestingly, swapit is mentioned as the #2 competitor to letgo. That is an honor to us and it absolutely validates our approach and vision for the second hand market. While we are focusing on Hong Kong and Asia regionally, as opposed to the USA like letgo.

We don’t ask for $100M (which would be great too, by the way). So for investors swapit could be a bargain right now. Check out our recent blog post: Seed Round Fund Raising has Started for SWAPIT Hong Kong

Swapit Secures Support from SoftLayer Catalyst Program

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 11.25.41 amSwapit has just joined the SoftLayer Catalyst Program at their highest tier for startups. We are very excited to have been accepted to SoftLayer’s very own startup incubator who’s core mission is

to enable next generation technologies and empower the entrepreneurs that will bring them to market.

We are thrilled to get access to the benefits that come with SoftLayer Catalyst:

  1. Access to a significant USD infrastructure credit on the SoftLayer platform.
  2. Mentorship access to “pick the brains of the industry veterans and über-genisues”.
  3. Incubator Integration, which allows us to collaborate and access more support outside, but affiliated with the SoftLayer incubation eco-system.

We will tap into all three of these benefits to grow swapit as fast as possible.

Since, we have launched our investor outreach for our funding round, we have received absolutely great feedback and accomplished to join several programs that help us cover costs, validate our business model and raise our valuation.

Seed Round Fund Raising has Started for SWAPIT Hong Kong

swapit_marketing-dollarTwo days ago, we have officially started our fund raising process by reaching out to 25 interested parties. As there is a lot of confidentiality involved with this process, I won’t be able to share much of the details publicly. I do however, want to share our experience during this period as much as I can, while keeping confidential information, well confidential.

Long story short, I have sent out our updated Executive Summary and Pitch Deck to our potential investors. Some have provided great feedback and interest immediately, and others have promised to revert back to me within the next couple of days.

7 Follow Ups

swapit-blog_requestOf course, you should never wait too long for someone to get back to you. As an entrepreneur who is looking for funding, you’re basically a B2B sales person, but you’re selling your company, product and vision, instead of a service or a product. A lot of research had been done on sales techniques and in terms of “follow ups” a rather important statistical fact has emerged: It takes on average about 7 follow ups with a prospective party to sell a product or a service to that party. Of course, sales cycles are very different for enterprise products, consumer products and especially for fund raising. However, the main message to take away from this, is: Always follow up. Sometimes, the party you’re communicating with, is just busy and perhaps has forgotten about your message. Sometimes, they just didn’t understand your message at first glance and they deferred to process it to a later stage. Perhaps they have disregarded your message because they’re not interested right now. Doesn’t mean they might be interested later, right? Or perhaps the most silliest of all things happened: your email just went into their spam filter and they didn’t even get to read your message in the first place. There are so many possible reasons that do require a follow up on your side. So again, always follow up. My follow up schedule, for example, is about a week after I last contacted a person. So that’s what you can expect from me.

Experience in Raising Funds Successfully – and failing to execute

swapit-blog-interestsOf course, an executive summary and a pitch deck is by far not enough to provide to investors. You got to get down to the nuts and bolts and make sure your plan of going forward is rock solid. In the end, it is all about the alignment of capital to milestones.

Luckily, we have a bit of experience in fund raising. While we’ve done it once so far (all other companies were successfully bootstrapped) and the main work was done by our third co-founder at the time, we still have some resources we can look back to. This helps in getting the right papers done, covering the important topics. Back in 2012, we had this crazy startup called TreeCrunch, which did natural language processing of answers to open-ended questions. The founders funded the company with a significant amount, we got some grants from some organizations locally and we raised a pre-seed round of about USD $100,000. We have made a lot of mistakes in that process; especially at the time of running the company. We probably asked for too little in terms of funding and after that round, we didn’t continue to raise funds early enough. At the same time, our product and service roll-out was delayed and our customer acquisition funnel was not very successful in turning 30 mostly Fortune500 trial customers into paying customers. Thus, TreeCrunch ran out of money and had to cease operations. Lessons learned: raise enough and make sure to offset your cashburn as early as possible by generating revenue.

Why We Raise

Let’s fast forward 3 years and get back to swapit today. We have learned our lessons from that failure – and I am happy to tell anyone more about that and others over a beer. Now it is about time to get swapit kickstarted.

swapit_marketing-chart-growSwapit is essentially a marketplace app. Every marketplace lives from its marketplace liquidity, i.e. surpass the critical mass of demand and supply. We are at the forefront of marketplaces for pre-loved items in Hong Kong and our technological approach is superior to all of our competitors, regionally and internationally. Yet, that all does not matter if there is no liquid marketplace with active trades happening. We have worked hard to get to the point where we are right now and we are coping well with the ever increasing numbers of traders and transactions.

In order to continue growing at an exponential rate, we need to invest heavily in our marketplace liquidity. That includes fostering and nurturing our community of existing traders as well as attracting new traders to our platform. Therefore, we are planning to spend roughly 75% of the amount we are raising on building that marketplace community. This includes attending & sponsoring events, exhibitions, running events ourselves, attend & exhibit at street markets, as well as general marketing efforts like advertising (mobile, social, offline, print) and merchandise. All that is coupled with incentives to socially share their engagement with swapit and spread the word virally across different social media to their social circles.

Furthermore, swapit is currently Android-only, by choice. While the majority of our target audience are Android users, we do also have a large audience of interested folks who have an iPhone / iPad. Thus, roughly 20% of the funds we raise will go towards creating an iOS app.

swapit-blog_leapThese combined efforts entirely focus on capturing the Hong Kong market to its fullest extend. We believe, the funds will be sufficient to achieve those goals and be the dominant marketplace for pre-loved items in Hong Kong. To accomplish that we need to stop walking and start running. Running fast! Perhaps you’d like to take that leap together with us?

Interested to know more about our funding round?
Send me an email to patrick@swapit.la and I am happy to send you some details directly.

Haven’t tried swapit yet? Download it from http://get.swapit.la