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Alpha JWC Ventures and January Capital Invest In Aemi Aemi raised $2 million from the two firms with participation from Venturra Discovery, FEBE Ventures, and other angel investors

By Saptak Bardhan

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Alpha JWC Ventures and January Capital on Thursday announced co-led investment in Aemi, an online business-to-business (B2B) marketplace connecting social commerce entrepreneurs to major and niche Asian health and beauty brands. Aemi raised $2 million from the two firms with participation from Venturra Discovery, FEBE Ventures, and other angel investors.

"For now, we are focusing on the health and beauty category, which has a big market opportunity, being poised to double by 2025. It also presents superior economics compared to other categories like FMCG, which would not only be beneficial for us but also for our members. Furthermore, with its unique consumer behavior, health and beauty is the perfect playground for micro-retailers and creators, and thus our business offerings," said Kim Vu, co-Founder and CEO, Aemi.

During their market survey, the founders found that Vietnam's social commerce scene is primarily made up of individual micro-entrepreneurs with little experience or support in technology, capital and business know-how. They have to go through multiple middlemen and service providers, which lead to challenges in product authenticity and supply chain. Besides low efficiency, as small individual buyers, they are unable to acquire goods at the best prices to maximize profits. Most people in Vietnam cannot be separated from social media platforms. The majority of the country are avid social media users, especially Facebook, where people not only post, chat, and share, but also trade. In fact, most small brand transactions in Vietnam are conducted through social media, with unorganized social commerce on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and local messaging Zalo representing more than 60 per cent of online e-commerce gross merchandise value (GMV) in Vietnam, according to a statement given by the company.

"Social commerce has proven to be effective in developing markets with closely-knitted societies like Indonesia and we believe Vietnam would also benefit from a similar model, with Aemi paving the way. Starting with health and beauty, Aemi is building a comprehensive trade ecosystem enabled by technology, providing excellent experience for brands, sellers, and customers. With a great combination of its network, strong go-to-market strategy, and the founders' experience suited for developing market, we are confident in Kim Vu & Hieu Nguyen's journey to revolutionize the beauty industry in Vietnam and beyond," says Christa Soesanto, vice president of investment, Alpha JWC Ventures.

Aemi empowers every social seller with authentic product assortment and a toolbox of inventory and marketing tools to offer operational support for their customers. It brings in an all-in-one B2B commerce platform where sellers can procure products from various brands and get support to conduct their businesses. Aemi's bulk order also provides the company, and by extension its members, access to the best deals from brands and service providers. Aemi also provides business support services, like content marketing, to its members to help them scale. Aemi's platform was launched in April 2022. In three weeks, it has cultivated a community of around 1,000 social merchants and onboarded more than 20 brands, including La Roche-Posay, Paula's Choice, and Skin1004. It looks to onboard fifty more brands in the coming months. With the two co-founders being Vietnamese with extensive experience in the local market, plus the consumer behavior in the country being very conducive for social commerce and its solutions, it is only natural that Aemi picks Vietnam as its starting point.

Saptak Bardhan

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