Southeast Asian parenting community platform theAsianparent on Thursday announced closing a Series C round to finance its expansion into new markets and an upcoming foray into e-commerce.
The company did not disclose how much it raised, beyond saying the amount ran into double-digit millions (US dollars) and that the round was oversubscribed.
Investors included Chinese conglomerate Fosun, technology giant JD.com, Southeast Asia and China-focused ATM Capital and alternative asset manager Redbadge Pacific, along with Series B backers Global Grand and WHG Capital.
Targeting urban parents and parents-to-be, theAsianparent – as well as its Indian sibling theIndusparent – is a combination of a content platform and an online community. It claims to have more than 23.5 million monthly active users, which it intends to grow to 30 million by the end of 2019, and 45 million by the end of 2020.
Launched in 2009, theAsianparent currently operates in 12 countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, India, Taiwan and Japan.
Tickled Media, the company that runs the platform, is now planning to expand to new markets in Asia and Africa, its founder Roshni Mahtani told DealStreetAsia.
In Africa, it has zeroed in on Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa due to their high internet penetration and growing population, the latter directly translating into more potential users, she added.
Also in the offing is an e-commerce venture primarily targeted at mothers. The business will offer a mix of in-house brands and third-party products and initially target Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.
Part of the Series C proceeds will also be used to accelerate the development of an app that was launched in September 2018.
Tickled Media anticipates revenues of about $10 million by the end of 2019.
Fundraising as painful as this
For Mahtani, the Series C fundraising is a personal triumph as much as a professional one.
This was no ordinary funding round, as it involved an emergency trip to the hospital and flying out for meetings with potential investors. Mahtani was battling severe pain due to what was later confirmed as toxic shock syndrome.
What made the ordeal less frightening for Mahtani, she says, is the fact that her husband Darius Cheung, also an entrepreneur, was by her side throughout as she travelled from Jakarta to Singapore to meet the investors.
She was admitted to the city-state’s National University Hospital (NUH) for treatment in between meetings.
Cheung is the founder of Singapore-based property listing site 99.co, hence no stranger to the pressures of running a startup, in general, and fundraising, in particular.
“My husband understood why I’m doing this and he was supportive even when I was not resting, because he knows how important this is for me,” she said.
Mahtani remains the biggest shareholder of Tickled Media, followed by venture capital firm Vertex Ventures and China’s Fosun Group.