Retail in Asia


Philippines’ Etaily secures USD17.8M investment to fuel growth in Southeast Asia

Philippine-headquartered commerce platform enabler Etaily has secured USD17.8 million in a Series A funding round, led by SKS Capital from China and Taiwan, and co-led by Pavilion Capital from Singapore, as it scales its ecommerce entry platform to enable brands to connect with consumers across Southeast Asia.

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The number of digital consumers in Southeast Asia is expected to reach 402 million by 2027, up from an estimated 370 million in 2022, with the Philippines leading the growth, followed by Vietnam and Thailand. The Philippines is projected to be the fastest-growing economy among developing economies in East Asia and the Pacific in 2023, according to the World Bank. 

Based in the Philippines, Etaily, which already works with the likes of Levi’s and Crocs, has swiftly positioned itself as a platform for both global brands aiming to expand their online presence throughout Southeast Asia, as well as its own brands built in-house, since its founding in 2020. The start-up’s ecosystem encompasses the entire customer journey, from the development of lifestyle products to efficient delivery to a local and regional customer base. 

The Philippines has been recognised as the fastest-growing global e-commerce market in 2023, with a remarkable year-on-year growth rate of 25 percent, according to Etaily. Source: Shutterstock

Notable investors in this round included SBI ICCP Fund from Japan, Kaya Founders, the Philippines’ Magsaysay and Chan families, Foxmont Capital, and JGDEV. The cap-table also features SEA retailers and conglomerates such as Ayala Corporation as well as angel investors Paulo Campos, co-founder of Zalora, and Anthony Oundijan, managing director at Boston Consulting Group.

Retail in Asia speaks with Etaily’s co-founder and CEO, Alexander Friedhoff, on capitalising on Southeast Asia’s e-commerce market growth. 

RiA: Tell us about Etaily and why you founded the platform. 

Alexander Friedhoff: My journey in the world of retail began at one of Germany’s most prestigious shirt-making companies, van Laack. During my tenure there, I had the opportunity to work in various roles, from manufacturing and product development in Vietnam as well as in business development and eCommerce implementation around the globe, from subsidiaries in Australia to the headquarters in Germany. This experience provided me with insights into the complexity of retail, manufacturing, and global brand strategy. I [also] had the unique opportunity to work at Zalora, the Asian e-commerce platform that reigns supreme in the fashion and lifestyle sector across Southeast Asia, building the Fulfillment by Zalora program. Zalora allowed me to dive deep into the ever-evolving landscape of e-commerce and global fashion in the Asian region. These experiences  — as a business builder, retailer and enabler of digital global bands — spurred me into the world of entrepreneurship, and in 2020 etaily was born to help retailers going online. 

RiA: Etaily is focussed at the moment on the Philippines. Why this market, and what opportunities are you seeing here?

Friedhoff: The Philippines is now the fastest growing e-commerce market globally. In fact, retail e-commerce growth rates in the Philippines are set to surpass all other markets in the region. 

Digital penetration has reached well over half of the nation’s population with 67 million internet users and the same number of social media users. This rapidly expanding digital culture is facilitating online businesses. 

Along with many of its neighbours, the Philippines has a growing tech-savvy population, an exploding digital economy and an increasingly integrated regional trading network, all of which is helping to fuel the emergence of this new soon-to-be wealthy demographic. Philippines is urbanising, has a growing middle class, and a large and young population, which leads to a very strong consumer demand.

RiA: What are some of your key objectives in the short term?

Friedhoff: Etaily will reach gross sales of USD40 million this year, with targets of +USD100 million in the coming years. Besides that we are supporting our brand partners with more value generating activities along the supply chain, monetized through subscription models.

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RiA: Do you see Etaily expanding further across the region in Southeast Asia?

Friedhoff: We are an Asia first company, having its origins in the Philippines. For the next phase of Etaily we are targeting a mix of organic and non-organic growth. Ultimately we keep our consumers at the center of our attention and want to simplify their life, thus we are strong believers in building a regional cluster of Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore, so that our enterprise partners do not need to manage an army of partners, and have Etaily as a one stop solution for entering in the Southeast Asians eCommerce market.