GRANA, an international direct-to-consumer eCommerce fashion retailer, recently announced it is raising US $10 million for its Series A round led by Alibaba Group under The Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, with participation from existing investors Golden Gate Ventures, and Hong Kong-based MindWorks Ventures to support expansion plans in its highest growth market – the US and build out its product offering into new categories with sportswear, bags and accessories.
Since launching in October 2014, the start-up continues to see over 15% month-on-month sales growthfor its modern twist on timeless wardrobe essentials.
Following the Q1 announcement of its US $6 million in seed funding earlier this year, led by Golden Gate Ventures, MindWorks and Bluebell Group, the GRANA team will move into a new 18,000 square-foot centralised warehouse in Hong Kong this month to manage business growth and plans to double its headcount to 100 employees by the end of 2017.
“It all started in a 500 square-foot warehouse and now we’re moving into a bigger warehouse and celebrating our two-year anniversary this month, it’s a really exciting time for us,” said Luke Grana, Australian CEO and Founder of GRANA.
“Our success is a testament to the amazing and talented in-house team, who have dedicated themselves to making quality products and creating a brand that drives so much word-of-mouth and online advocacy for us. We’re honoured to have Alibaba as a lead investor and the continued support from existing strategic investors.”
What will GRANA use this funding for?
With the new round of funding, GRANA plans to expand its presence in the US, its largest international market through setting up its first pop-up showroom experience in New York for customers to try offline and buy online, as well as build a local New York team to cater for its increasing customer base in the market.
To help strengthen GRANA’s market reach in Asia, Alibaba is also partnering with GRANA for its market entry plan into mainland China.
“GRANA has proved itself as an international eCommerce brand that uses a data driven approach to optimise its business offering and create an excellent customer experience. They have a creative and energetic business culture which really resonates across their omni-channel and is indicative through their rapid growth. It is a very promising start-up and we are looking forward to building a long term partnership”, said Ms Cindy Chow, Executive Director at The Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund.
The Series A round will close at the end of October. GRANA also plans to debut its new Italian shirting, silk bomber jackets and transitional knitwear collection this season.
Why has GRANA attracted this funding?
The fast-growing company currently ships directly to customers across 12 countries from its centralised warehouse in Hong Kong within 1-2 days.
GRANA clothing is known for its highly constructed no label wardrobe essentials, using the finest fabrics from around the world, and honest pricing – starting with Italian Sensitive underwear through to Mongolian Cashmere Sweaters ranging from US $11 – $142.
“I have seen the GRANA team grow from two co-founders, to a large growing team with an office culture that mirrors the enthusiasm of their most passionate customers,” said Vinnie Lauria, Managing Partner at Golden Gate Ventures.
“GRANA has re-imagined how to build a global brand, city by city, mixing pop-up stores and a simple online platform to build a massive community following. This latest round confirms our belief in their potential in the global market.”
Worldwide retail eCommerce sales is forecasted to reach US $3.6 trillion in 2019 according to eMarketer, reporting that Asia Pacific is projected to account for 41% of global retail eCommerce sales followed by 21% from North America. To further drive Asia Pacific as a global eCommerce hub, its business strategy will focus on looking into new markets for shipping with DHL and opening pop-up locations in key markets over the next 12 months.
“We have a very strong partnership with the GRANA team and enjoy working with them as a global shipping partner. Since conducting its beta launch in 2014, the shipment volume we have handled has been growing exponentially,” Ecila Chan, Vice President Commercial at DHL Express Hong Kong, remarked.
“As an International Specialist, we provided next day delivery for GRANA to eight countries when it first launched and now expanded express delivery to twelve countries with more to come. The new funding is a great accomplishment for such a young company”