PE firm Navegar invests $12m in PH e-commerce enabler Great Deals

(L-R) Great Deals CEO Steve Sy and Navegar Managing Partner Javier Infante. Photo from Great Deals.

Philippines-focused private equity firm Navegar has invested $12 million in Great Deals E-commerce Corp, a local e-commerce enabler founded by Alibaba eFounders fellow Steve Sy.

In an announcement, Great Deals said it will use the proceeds of the fund on capital investments to further enhance the company’s IT, infrastructure, warehouse capabilities, and technology solutions.

The company is aggressively expanding its presence in the Philippines to emerge as the country’s version of Alibaba and Baozun, China’s leading e-commerce enabler.

Founded in 2014, Great Deals addresses the needs of brands seeking to venture online. The firm said it provides end-to-end services, handling everything from digital content, web design, analytics, and chat support to warehousing and fulfillment.

In 2018, the company dispatched 114,165 orders in one day and surpassed that figure in 2019 by fulfilling 233,038 orders in 2019. Its clients include multi-national companies Reckitt Benc, Nestle, Samsonite, Reebok, Crocs, L’Oreal, Abbott, and Unilever.

“We are ecstatic to continue building and implementing successful online retail, distribution and marketing strategies for our 250+ brand clients in partnership with Navegar,” Sy said.

As an Alibaba eFounder fellow, Sy had first-hand exposure to e-commerce and digital innovations, access to business leaders across Alibaba and China, among others.

The eFounders Fellowship program is jointly organized by Alibaba Business School and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Rocket Equities, a corporate finance and M&A advisory firm for fast-growing mid-sized companies in Southeast Asia, advised Great Deals all along in its fundraising process.

The funding comes as the Philippines continues to have a very low e-commerce penetration, at less than 2 per cent of gross domestic product, compared to China’s nearly 40 per cent and 25 per cent in the US, according to a Forbes report.

“There is no way to go but up for smart Philippines e-commerce. It is just the beginning. The best way for an investor to participate in this upswing is to partner with a successful business that has already established strong relationships with top brands in the market,” said Javier Infante, Managing Partner at Navegar.

Navegar, a Philippines-focused PE firm, held an initial close of its new fund in July 2019 and currently has $150 million in capital commitments. The fund – Navegar II LP – invests in middle-market, growth-oriented companies in the Philippines, with a target investment size of between $20 million and $30 million.

In 2018, Navegar exited its investment in the US- and Philippines-based outsourcing startup TaskUs, which was valued by Blackstone for a reported $500 million. The Philippine investor had invested $15 million in the startup in 2015.

Navegar’s current portfolio companies include The Bistro Group, a premium casual dining operator in the Philippines; Bo’s Coffee, a homegrown coffee chain; Bistronomia, an F&B group that operates premium Spanish restaurants; and Royale Cold Storage, a full-service cold storage provider in the Philippines.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.