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

 

Advertisements

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.

Recap: Tech in Asia Tour 2015 HK Event & British Chamber Business Angel Programme Vetting

Yesterday was a busy day. The swapit team attended the Tech in Asia Tour 2015 event and I presented to the vetting committee of the British Chamber of Commerce’s Business Angel Programme. Let’s reflect a bit on the experience of those events and especially the feedback we received about swapit.

Tech in Asia Tour 2015 HK Event

IMG_7737_edit

Tech in Asia is a media, event, and startup platform company. They host an annual event in Singapore that used to be called “Startups Asia” and has now been re-branded to Tech in Asia Conference. As it’s a startup event, they are having startups presenting themselves there. The event was split up into two parts:

(1) Investor Panel

Comprised of some of Hong Kong’s most active investors (Tytus from Fresco Capital and Simon from Nest.vc, for example) as well as Asia-based investors (Vinnie from Golden Gate Ventures), their panel discussion was interesting.

swapit-blog_hkThe most interesting part in that panel discussion was the point of: start locally, but expand globally. That’s exactly what we are planning with swapit. We are absolutely aware of the fact that launching swapit in Hong Kong will not be enough in the long run. However, it is important to get our home market right and be the absolute market leader in this field here.

(2) Startup Pitches

It was great to see some established startups like Notey as well as brand new ones to pitch their ideas to the panel of judges. Some pitches were great, others were hard to listen to could improve their pitch, but even others started slow and then peeked my interest during their pitch. Like Cafe X for example. While I personally believe their approach might be challenging to turn into a profitable and widespread business, I still find the combination between hardware & software, and the goal of making our lives more efficient, very interesting.

This Hong Kong “Tech in Asia Tour” event was one of several all across Asia to gather startups to join the main conference in Singapore in early May this year. I just wonder why startups from other countries, like Japan for example, were pitching there even though they have their very own Tour event in Tokyo. Of course we had applied to pitch at the event as well, but we were not accepted. I am still trying to get feedback as to why we had not been accepted, but haven’t received any such yet. Perhaps we should apply for the Tokyo event?

Anyhow, at the same time, we took this opportunity to talk to other guests at the event. We were interested in people’s first reaction to swapit and our approach to buying and selling pre-loved items. Furthermore, we were looking to recruit more beta testers for our beta 3 of swapit which will launch soon! Remember: After the beta is before the beta!

British Chamber of Commerce Business Angel Programme – Vetting

Earlier that day, I was invited to pitch swapit to the vetting committee of the British Chamber of Commerce’s Business Angel Programme. That was a very interesting experience.

I believe the pitch went considerably well – especially as I finalized the pitch deck two hours before the pitch. As with most pitches, there are always two parts to it: the pitch itself and usually a Q&A session afterwards. That Q&A is often being used to “grill” the person pitching on inaccuracies of the pitch or points that were not very clear. To sum it up, we have two crucial points that we need to work on until the next pitch:

swapit_marketing-dollar(1) Make Money

I really can’t emphasize this enough: MAKE MONEY. Obviously, we have a plan moving forward in how we want to recover our development costs and build a profitable business out of swapit. We are absolutely sure that monetization is an important part of our business. At the moment, though, we are focusing on creating the best user experience for our users. Thus, we have not finalized any monetization plans yet, but we have ideas around 4 different ways of monetizing swapit – eventually. The one main approach that I find most interesting is to charge a commission on higher priced items.

Especially, as we are not looking at integrating any payment solutions into our app — in the foreseeable future — we don’t have a transaction occurring inside our app and therefore, it is hard to charge that commission to the user. In the end, we are only in beta 2 of swapit and our plan going forward in the near future contains analysis and feedback from our beta testers in terms of how they are comfortable with paying for our service.

That was obviously, a point the vetting committee grilled me on. And they are right! We need to find a way to monetize swapit and lock down a commercialization model that is predictable and scalable. Otherwise, we won’t be able to convince any investor to trust us with their money and generate value for them.

(2) Value Proposition to Convert Users of Free Services

The second point the vetting committee pointed out is: How can we convince users of other free services (Facebook groups, Asiaxpat, Geoexpat, Yahooo! forums, Craigslist etc.) to move away from what they are using right now and use swapit instead.

It’s a valid question. I thought, I had pointed this out in my presentation already, but obviously, our value proposition was not clear enough on that. Especially, when you combine this question with the commercialization ‘in-limbo’ question earlier — it becomes a challenging issue to tackle.

While I believe that our location-based capabilities (find nearby items, navigate to far away ones), immediacy in communication (instant messaging) and ease of use (post just with your phone, incl. taking photos) are some very valid arguments for using swapit instead of old-school forums — they might not be compelling enough to convert those users over to swapit.

We do obviously have to work on this value proposition and we will do that.

Let’s see what comes out of the vetting process and if we will be invited to the main event that allows us to pitch to the members of the Business Angel Programme of the British Chamber of Commerce in two weeks time. If the issues the vetting committee has pointed out were too much of a concern for them, we are happy to re-apply in their next round.

In any case, we will work on those points and we will nail them down to provide a compelling pitch to potential investors.


Signed up for the swapit beta yet? Request your invite here: http://swapit.la