Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Malaysian e-commerce company RPG Commerce secures funding to develop, expand its brand-portfolio

Malaysia – RPG Commerce, a Malaysia-based direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce company, has secured US$ 29 million in a Series B funding round led by East Ventures, UOB Venture Management, Vertex Ventures SE Asia & India (VVSEAI), and RHL Ventures. VVSEAI previously led RPG Commerce’s Series A funding and has continued to invest in this current round.

The funds raised will be channeled into future-proofing the company’s technology and development processes, as well as developing and expanding RPG’s brand-portfolio to create revolutionary consumer products. RPG currently hosts a suite of 10+ in-house international brands, including apparel & homeware brands Thousand Miles, Bottoms Lab, Montigo, Cosmic Cookware & more. 

RPG Commerce’s multi-brand business model launches, operates, and optimizes a globally successful suite of DTC brands by owning the development, production, and delivery processes end-to-end. Striving to create an exceptional standard of living for customers by creating innovative solutions to everyday problems, RPG is powered by cutting-edge back-end technology and a leading team of creative visionaries, which has resulted in a rapid brand portfolio expansion and customer base growth of 300% over the past year.

Melvin Chee, co-founder and CEO of RPG Commerce, shared, “RPG Commerce’s mission is to provide value that exceeds the expectations of our customers. We are proud to have delivered game-changing, customer-centric products and services by creating high-quality essential items through our DTC model that are accessible at their fingertips and delivered straight to their doorstep. With this round of funding, we aim to rapidly expand our talent pool across the entire organisation and enhance our technological capabilities in addition to expanding our suite of brands to further disrupt the consumer landscape.”

Evolving beyond its primary DTC business model, RPG’s ‘shared backend infrastructure’ enables other businesses and brands to leverage RPG’s technology framework through partnerships. Passionate about supporting independent businesses with in-demand products and solutions, RPG is also looking forward to empowering smaller businesses through incubation programs and acquisitions to expand its range of consumer-centric products across different verticals. 

Meanwhile, Willson Cuaca, co-founder and managing partner of East Ventures, commented, “RPG takes a multi-category, multi-brand approach, while retaining the roll-up model as an option, making them a unique and successful player in the e-commerce landscape. It is critical for DTC businesses to build traction internationally to ensure success, and RPG stands out as a company that has been able to grow a loyal customer base across the US, Canada, and Europe by building consumer trust through quality products and supply chain innovation. “

Cuaca added, “We are excited to support RPG on the next leg of their growth and are looking forward to watching the brand expand their portfolio and grow in new markets across Southeast Asia.”

Marketing Featured Global

Hivestack, Xandr form partnership for programmatic DOOH

Montreal, Canada – Hivestack, a programmatic digital out of home (DOOH) ad tech company has announced a strategic global collaboration with Xandr, a data-enabled technology platform powering a global marketplace for premium advertising. 

Through the partnership, the Hivestack Supply Side Platform (SSP) will be integrated with Invest DSP, the company’s demand-side platform, allowing Xandr‘s advertisers to access Hivestack’s premium global DOOH inventory via RTB transactions via Open Exchange and Private Marketplace (PMP) deals.

Bruno Guerrero, COO of Hivestack, said that as the future of DOOH advertising continues to be redefined, their omnichannel DSP business partners are increasingly important to their mission.

“We are thrilled to announce this crucial global alliance with Xandr and look forward to collectively driving the DOOH industry further in terms of technology and innovation,” Guerrero said.

Dylan McBride, head of global partnerships at Xandr, commented “The growth we have seen for the DOOH channel is evidence of the exciting opportunity advertisers today have to leverage data, measurement and precision in their OOH advertising strategies. We are excited to announce our collaboration with Hivestack who have proven to be at the forefront of this innovation.”

The collaboration is said to launch immediately across key global markets.   

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

P&G, Singapore EDB to bolster innovation ecosystem with iLab 2021 launch

Singapore – Consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble (P&G) has launched iLab 2021, alongside with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EBD), in an effort to strengthen the country’s innovation ecosystem.

iLab 2021 is a 3-day virtual innovation festival, which will see start-ups from Singapore and across the region come together to collaborate with P&G and develop innovations that can overcome real-world challenges faced in the areas of advertising, retail, and supply chain.

The launch was officiated and witnessed by guest-of-honor Heng Swee Keat, deputy prime minister and coordinating minister of economic policies and minister for finance in Singapore along with Rafik Mansour, Chargé d’Affaires in the U.S. Embassy in Singapore; Ted Tan, deputy CEO of Enterprise Singapore and Cindy Koh, executive vice president at the Singapore Economic Development Board.

The event is held at P&G’s i-Singapore Digital Omni-Channel Center (i-SiDOC).

During iLab, selected start-ups will ideate and brainstorm with P&G to help solve challenges using technology in domains such as AI personalization, gaming, social commerce, and supply chain resiliency. Selected start-ups with promising approaches will then work with P&G to roll out pilots across P&G’s markets in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

Through the support from the EDB, P&G will also mentor start-ups and create cross-exchanges through networking engagements. By partnering with start-ups and technology companies, there is room to experience, learn from each other and grow together.

Magesvaran Suranjan, president for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa at Procter & Gamble believe that Singapore is home to one of the strongest, and most vibrant innovation ecosystems in the region, with a diverse pool of talent constantly striving for new ideas and solutions to solve future challenges.

“In the post-pandemic future, the pursuit for innovation is crucial for the recovery and advancement of our economy. Our vision for P&G in the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa region is to become the company of the future and leverage Singapore as the innovation hub for P&G and our industry, leading digital transformation and powering innovation across all aspects of our business,” Suranjan stated.

Meanwhile, Karthik Natarajan, senior vice president and CFO at P&G Asia Pacific, Middle East, & Africa, commented, “We are very thankful to have the support of like-minded partners in this exciting journey, especially the close partnerships that we enjoy with the EDB and ESG. 

He added, “At P&G, we always endeavor to lead the change across all aspects of our operations, and support our partners, employees, and other stakeholders. With the opening of iLab, it sets the base pillar for P&G as a company of the future – our visionary framework towards creating a better future for everyone.”

iLab focuses on three different streams – ‘Future of Advertising’, ‘Future of Retail’ and ‘Future of Supply Chain’. These three areas represent the evolving consumer and retail needs, transforming media ecosystems and revolutionary changes in supply chain. These areas are ripe for piloting innovative processes and technologies to improve how consumers live and work.

Prior to the inauguration of iLab, 100 start-ups were assessed to solve real business challenges set by P&G. From this, the top 27 start-ups have been curated and shortlisted to participate in the 3-day festival. iLab 2021 will be held virtually over three days, from 4-6 May 2021, where these start-ups will showcase their solutions and share more about how they envision themselves tackling the given problem.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Informa Tech, IMDA, STB join forces for ‘Asia Tech X Singapore 2021’

Singapore – A new flagship technology event is on its way this year, as integrated research provider Informa Tech, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) have entered in a memorandum of intent (MOI) to host the event on July 13 to 16 this year at the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Expo.

The event, called ‘Asia Tech X Singapore 2021’ or ‘ATxSG’ for short, will convene government, tech, and business leaders for dynamic and open conversations on technology’s pivotal role in tackling some of the region’s biggest challenges, and powering digital innovation for the advancement of Asia. 

“As technology media and event specialists, we are keenly aware of how bringing together the technology ecosystem on a global platform to share their knowledge and talent can be a powerful tool to drive the change we want to see in the world,” said Carolyn Dawson, managing director for Informa Tech

“We are excited to tap into our international networks to bring tech leaders to Asia; facilitate conversations around the use of tech for good and share new insights on innovations that will make an impact in the region,” added Dawson. 

The upcoming event will be hosted in a hybrid format and will feature event segments such as ‘ATxSummit’ – an invite-only conference hosted by IMDA, ‘ConnecTechAsia’ – Informa Tech’s B2B trade show in Asia, and ‘Elevating Founders Asia’ and ‘accelerateHer Asia’ – highlighting the startup ecosystem and diversity in tech respectively. ATxSG will also feature a host of fringe events to be announced in due time. 

“ATxSG is looking at delivering that uniquely Singaporean experience while bringing together government and digital leaders to discuss how the public and private sectors can converge and propel Asia’s digital economy to the top of the list. We look forward to engaging in face-to-face, ground-breaking conversations on creative tech, talent and governance with the vision that ATxSG will shape the outcome of our region’s shared digital future,” said Howie Lau, assistant chief executive of IMDA’s media and innovation group

IMDA has been active in the past to promote digital transformation strategies in the country, which included the promotion of local media talent, and providing training with Shopee’s parent firm Sea for 500 trainees.

Meanwhile, Yap Chin Siang, deputy chief executive for STB commented, “We are delighted to partner IMDA and Informa Tech to launch ATxSG in Singapore, an event which takes full advantage of our position as a trusted Global-Asia hub. In a time of great disruption, Singapore’s vibrant knowledge economy and focus on innovation make us an ideal platform for like-minded people to exchange ideas and spark new possibilities in the digital space.”

Yap added, “We will continue to work closely with our industry partners to reimagine the future of Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions & Exhibitions (MICE) and set Singapore apart as the world’s leading destination for safe, trusted and innovative business events.”

STB has also been proactive in many marketing partnerships that utilize technological practices in promoting tourism, such as their partnership with American game company Niantic to use the game ‘Pokemon Go’ to promote local tourism, and their partnership with travel booking platform Klook to promote ‘staycation’ bundles for tourists.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Nestlé partners with innovation platform Plug and Play in driving innovation efforts across SEA

Jakarta, Indonesia – Food and nutrition company Nestlé has teamed up with Plug and Play, a Silicon Valley-based innovation platform, in an effort to boost innovation opportunities and efforts in the Southeast Asia region.

The recent partnership entails Nestlé enabling the leverage of Plug and Play’s innovation expertise and ecosystem of startups, corporations, and investors, enabling the company to accelerate its innovation capabilities for future food technologies and solutions.

The Plug and Play Program was devised by the Indonesia president Jokowi Widodo in 2016 to drive the country’s innovation efforts within its startup ecosystem. Since then, they have created a thriving ecosystem of like-minded innovators where corporations, startups, investors, and government entities can collaborate to drive further innovation.

“I have witnessed the decline of many traditional and conservative companies because they failed to adapt to rapidly evolving industries. We are really proud that Nestlé Indonesia is partnering with us to embark on this pursuit of innovation and transformative excellence in the food industry,” said Halim Hartono, director of GK-Plug and Play.

Meanwhile, Guy Kellaway, communication director of Nestlé Indonesia commented, “For over 150 years, we have continuously focused on innovating our brands, products, systems, and technologies in order to remain relevant, and competitive. We look forward to this exciting partnership with GK Plug and Play which will drive our innovation efforts in the region.”

Nestlé is the sixth company to join the Plug and Play program, which has seen partnerships with automotive conglomerate Astra International, financial institutions Bank BNI, and Bank BCA, coal supplier ITM, pulp and paper company Sinar Mas Group, and the Global Innovation Alliance.