Beenext leads $1.82m funding for influencer commerce platform RAENA

Singapore-based influencer commerce platform RAENA has closed a $1.82 million funding round led by Beenext and joined by Beenos and Strive, the company said in a statement.

The round also saw the participation of non-institutional investors such as Blume Ventures managing partner Sanjay Nath, and Shailesh Rao, a partner at TPG Growth and Rise Fund – ASEAN and India. Rao made the investment in his personal capacity.

Founded by former Google and Amazon executive Sreejita Deb, RAENA was launched in early April as a destination for Indonesian customers to purchase niche beauty brands from Japan and Korea. However, it later turned its focus towards the influencer marketing industry after partnering with two leading Indonesian beauty influencers to promote two products.

Now, the company offers services beyond paid promotions marketing for existing brands, and helps influencers launch brands and businesses of their own.

“While individual influencer led brands such as HUDA Beauty, Kylie Cosmetics have seen success, we felt the larger opportunity was to build an underlying infrastructure of capital, suppliers, operations, content and marketing best practices and distribution that any influencer could tap into to launch their own brand,” Deb said.

So far, RAENA has recruited seven influencers in the last two months and will be working with them to launch brands that are highly relevant for over 12 million followers.

“As early investors in companies such as Bukalapak and BerryBenka, we have been noticing the rising trend of Social Commerce in Southeast Asia and India. In addition, these markets are under-penetrated by global CPG brands and incumbents are iterating at a very lethargic pace. Raena is well poised to capture this market by building Social-first brands along with top influencers, and we are very excited to work with Sreejita again in this journey.” says Strive partner Nikhil Kapur.

In its efforts to acquire more social media influencers into its network in Indonesia, RAENA will see competition from existing players such as The Shonet, which recently raised a seed funding from Maloekoe Ventures.

Meanwhile, EV Growth-backed media startup IDN Media is also a player in the influencer network space through its IDN Creator Network business.