Goxip, a Hong Kong-based fashion discovery app, has gone public with a US$1.62 million seed round raised from Chryseis Tan, the daughter of Malaysia’s Berjaya Group Founder Vincent Tan, and Ardent Capital.
Goxip Co-founder and CEO Juliette Gimenez told e27 the funding, one of Southeast Asia’s largest seed rounds, was inked in November 2015 but the company did not go public in order to focus on a complete product revamp.
“We wanted to announce to the public at the same time so people could download at the same time. It is hard to ask [potential customers] to look at screenshots,” she said.
A major reason for the announcement today is the launch of its Android app in late-April to be followed soon by the launch of an iOS app in a couple of weeks. Goxip also launched a fully-developed desktop platform in April.
The company has launched in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the UK and the US.
“E-commerce is very international. So you can see localisations for currency and if you click, for example Singapore, you will see different products. But honestly, most of the retailers we work with ship internationally anyways,” said Gimenez.
The platform currently hosts 2 million products from 15,000 brands.
Moving forward, Goxip will continue to use the funding for technology development, market integration and aggressive hiring.
“We got a hot shot CTO on board, [he] was the previous CTO of Linio (Rocket Internet’s Latin American equivalent to Lazada), so we are very lucky to have him on board,” said Gimenez.
How it works
The pièce de résistance of Goxip is the ability upload a photo of an article of clothing and be shown items of similar style ready for purchase.
Once uploaded, the picture can be cropped and filtered through a recognition software that automatically suggests similarly styled clothes for the user.
So, rather than spending time in a typical e-commerce store searching for ‘red, luxury, dress’ to find that sexy red dress Beyoncé wore in the ‘Formation’ video, a user can just upload a picture to find something similar (and possibly more affordable).
Users are also presented with an instagram-style feed to find inspiration for fashion and the platform has a social aspect as well.
According to Gimenez, most people don’t actually buy the exact item that originally brought them into the platform. Rather, they get sidetracked and explore other items via the discovery function and wind purchasing something different that suits their fancy.
Eventually, Gimenez said Goxip will target the beauty sector to bring makeup into the ecosystem.
Raising money before going to market
Goxip pulled-off the feat of raising a significant chunk of change before having a product in market. This, along with waiting half-a-year to announce funding, suggests the company had taken a deep breath and was diving into its own product.
Now that it has risen to take a breath, Gimenez said the key to raising money was having a large vision, and finding investors that agreed with the sentiment that the fashion-tech industry was in need of disruption.
“I think everyone seems to share the same frustrations, when we talk to investors they agree that ‘yeah it’s kind of annoying when I read a magazine and I can’t find the item’,” she said.
But Goxip isn’t necessary disrupting the fashion industry as a whole. Corporate retailers (and e-commerce startups) see the discovery app as another channel in which to sell goods. It is a constant struggle to find the correct target audience for a fashion-line and Goxip can help them pinpoint who wants a black dress or white shirt.
“Facebook cannot get to the deeper side. I think investors that we speak to see the success of Instagram. It is so fashion driven. But then [we hear] the same problem which is ‘I don’t get to buy what I like,’” said Gimenez.
Launching a marketplace
As part of today’s announcement, Goxip revealed plans to start a C2C marketplace, targeting what Gimenez called ‘Insta-shops’.
Insta-shops are a relatively common phenomenon in which average people (I personally know three such examples) leverage Instagram, Facebook and offline connections to sell fashion items that are not easy to find through traditional outlets or may have been hand-made.
The problem is, after the photo inspires someone to buy the product, the next steps can be clunky (emailing, calling, sharing addresses, and paying all completed through separate channels).
“We want to give C2C merchants another mobile channel to distribute their products because currently most transactions are done on media platforms such as Line, Facebook and Instagram which inherently struggle with a broken fashion discovery process built on search,” said Gimenez.
An ‘eBay powerseller’ herself, Gimenez imports stuff from Korea, and her experience on eBay makes her hopeful the Goxip marketplace can be the all-in-one solution to this problem.
The company will launch the marketplace in Hong Kong and Malaysia before exploring expansion it into other parts of Southeast Asia.
Gimenez said Goxip is eyeing a Series A in the near future because, “marketplace is a big game to dive into”.
A veteran of the entrepreneurial lifestyle, Juliette Gimenez, and Goxip, are building a product that, if all goes well, will make life a little bit easier for the ‘little guys’ in fashion.
“There are always new street stalls selling clothes online and offline. The beauty of Southeast Asia is everyone can become an entrepreneur and Goxip wants to be a part of growing the community,” she said.
All photos courtesy of Goxip and aCommerce.
Disclaimer: Ardent Capital is an investor in Optimatic Pte Ltd, the parent company of e27