Indonesian beauty e-commerce and social platform startup Sociolla has announced the closing of a $12-million funding round led by EV Growth, a new fund established by East Ventures, Sinar Mas Digital Ventures and Yahoo Japan’s YJ Capital.
The round was joined by existing investor istyle and an undisclosed institutional investor from Singapore, the startup said in a statement.
Sociolla was founded in 2015 as a beauty-focused e-commerce portal in Indonesia. It later expanded into what it calls ‘beauty online experience’ with the launch of its publication, Beauty Journal.
The company claims more than 12 million unique users visited Sociolla’s website in 2017, or about 1 in every 9 women in its target market in Indonesia.
Sociolla said that the latest fund infusion will partly be used to further develop its newest platform, SOCO, that will integrate Sociolla and Beauty Journal to provide users with a more optimal, relevant and personalized experience.
“SOCO is short for Sociolla Connect and is a social platform that complements Sociolla’s mission to help shape the future of beauty industry through technology. We believe that the presence of SOCO will complete the two beauty platforms that already exist by connecting the three focusing pillars of Sociolla which are Content, Commerce, and Community and create a sustainable and integrated beauty ecosystem in this digital era,” said Sociolla co-founder Chrisanti Indiana.
Part of the proceeds from the round will also be used for marketing the beauty brands distributed by Sociolla. The company says it has already signed a distribution agreement with seven leading beauty brands from Asia and Australia and is now looking to work with more popular beauty brands that are interested in entering the Indonesian market.
The latest investment follows Sociolla’s undisclosed Series B funding in January 2017 from East Ventures and istyle, a Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed company that operates a popular beauty website @cosme that attracts over 14 million users per month in Japan.
Sociolla competes with Orami, which in 2016 secured a $15-million round of investment, and LYKE, which raised $4 million in Series A funding from a German VC fund later in the same year.
EV Growth believes that Sociolla’s continued partnership with istyle, which last year acquired US beauty website www.makeupalley.com, will hold the startup in good stead for the future in a women-focused niche-market.
”From the viewpoint of market opportunity, we believe the beauty sector is very promising. Beauty tech is proven by istyle in Japan and support from istyle will be fruitful for the future of Sociolla. We’re excited to cooperate with leading beauty tech company, Sociolla, in this region and we’d like to provide a lot of consumer tech’s learnings from Japan to grow together,” said Shinichiro Hori, Partner at EV Growth.
The investment in Sociolla is the first of EV Growth’s publicly announced investments since its official launch in March of this year. The joint venture fund is targeting to raise $150 million to invest into growth stage startups in Southeast Asia, with a special focus on Indonesia. It would typically invest $5-15 million in each startup.