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Online fashion retailer Grana raises US$10 million

International direct-to-consumer fashion brand Grana is raising US$10 million in a Series A funding round led by Alibaba Group under the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund.

It is one of three startups to attract support from the fund in its second round of investments.

There is also participation from existing investors Golden Gate Ventures and Hong Kong-based MindWorks Ventures to support expansion plans in Grana’s highest growth market, the US, and to build out its product offering into new categories with sportswear, bags and accessories.

Since launching in October 2014, the startup has had more than 15 per cent month-on-month growth in sales. Following the first-quarter announcement of its $6 million in seed funding this year, led by Golden Gate Ventures, MindWorks and Bluebell Group, the Grana team is moving into a new 1672sqm centralised warehouse in Hong Kong this month to manage business growth, and plans to double its headcount to 100 employees by the end of next year.

Grana started out in a 46.5sqm warehouse.

“We’re honoured to have Alibaba as a lead investor, and the continued support of existing strategic investors,” CEO and founder Luke Grana said.

With the new round of funding, Grana plans to expand its presence in the US 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 New York team to cater for its increasing customer base in the market.

China venture

To help strengthen Grana’s market reach in Asia, Alibaba is also partnering with the brand for its market entry plan into Mainland China.

“Grana has proved itself as an international e-commerce brand that uses a data-driven approach to optimise its business offering and create an excellent customer experience,” Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund executive director Cindy Chow said. “They have a creative and energetic business culture which really resonates across their omnichannel and is indicated through their rapid growth.”

Grana ships directly to customers across 12 countries within two days from its centralised warehouse in Hong Kong. Its range includes Peruvian Pima t-shirts, Chinese silk tops and Mongolian cashmere sweaters.

Worldwide retail e-commerce sales are forecasted to reach $3.6 trillion in 2019, according to research company eMarketer, with the Asia Pacific projected to account for 41 per cent of this, followed by the US on 21 per cent.

New markets

To further drive Asia Pacific as a global e-commerce hub, Grana’s 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.

The Series A round closes at the end of this month, and Grana plans to debut its new Italian shirting, silk bomber jackets and transitional knitwear collection this season.

Founded by Luke Grana and Pieter Paul Wittgen in October 2014, Grana ships directly within two days to 12 countries – Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.

Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund is a not-for-profit initiative launched by Alibaba Group last year with the mission of helping Hong Kong-based entrepreneurs and young people realise their dreams and visions for their businesses and communities.

Grana is one of three startups to benefit in the second round of investments made by the $129 million fund since its launch last November.

The other beneficiaries are food delivery firm Nosh and recipe video site DayDayCook.

Nosh is a certified partner of online catering service Maidan, Rocket Internet’s food delivery service Foodpanda, and London-based food delivery app Deliveroo.

This story first appeared on our sister site, Inside Retail Asia.

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