Love, Bonito today announced the close of its Series C funding round, raising a total of US$ 50 Million. The round was led by Primavera Capital Group, a global investment firm whose previous investments include Alibaba, ByteDance, Yum China and Mead Johnson China. Adastria and Ondine Capital participated in the round too. Love, Bonito’s current investors include Openspace Ventures and Kakaku.com.
Proceeds from the fundraising will enable the brand to bolster efforts in existing omnichannel markets and supercharge international expansion in markets that collectively are experiencing triple digits year-on-year (YoY) growth. These key markets include Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines and the US. Furthermore, the company is exploring categories outside of fashion as part of its plan to create a female ecosystem.
Supercharging International Expansion
Since its launch in 2010, Love, Bonito has achieved impressive growth, expanding into 10 key markets which include those in Southeast Asia, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, and East Asia markets, namely Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan as well as Australia and the US.
To date, Love, Bonito has achieved overall growth of over 120 per cent YoY in international markets, and overall growth of 208 per cent for its online sales. The company believes the Asian diaspora communities have extremely high potential, especially in the US, where online revenue growth exceeded 1,200 per cent YoY as of September 2021.
With the latest funding, the brand will double down efforts within markets such as Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia that have omni-channel presence, while other markets such as Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines and the US will see an expansion in omni-channels, new business verticals, strengthening of local community engagement and key collaborations, as well as the continuous optimisation of user experiences.
“I am more excited than ever for what is to come in the next decade,” said Rachel Lim, Co-Founder of Love, Bonito. “The growth we see today would not have happened without #TeamLB and our #LBCommunity who consistently strive to support women in the different seasons of their lives. Being in the business of women has been our mission since day one, and we are finally venturing outside of fashion to bolster our offerings.”
Business of Women vs Business of Fashion
In line with the brand’s mission to empower the everyday Asian woman, plans are in place to increase offerings within the fashion line to include active apparel and accessories. The brand is also looking to venture into a content platform (LiBrary) as well as exploration into new categories (LaB) which will include wellness.
The category and product expansion strategy is informed and driven by data and community feedback garnered from several platforms, including the brand’s soon-to-be-launched artificial intelligence that delivers personalisation at scale for women globally, through data and machine-learning models. Other existing platforms that contribute to the insights and knowledge gathering include:
- LBCommunity+: Love, Bonito’s loyalty programme that provides customers an all-access community and rewards experience
- LBCreate: Love, Bonito’s social impact programme with the mission to bring women’s issues to the forefront and create actionable steps for the future
“We have built a strong foundation in understanding the everyday Asian woman in order to be pre-emptive in catering to her needs,” said Dione Song, CEO of Love, Bonito. “We are primed to become a true life partner for our community of women, in and beyond fashion. We have yet to see a womenswear brand from the region stand proud on the world stage amongst industry heavyweights and we want to be the first brand to achieve that, by being purpose-driven, community-focused and innovative.
“We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to our existing and new investors who bring deep consumer investment experience and recognise the potential of the Asian consumer, both within and outside of the region,” added Dione.
Lead investor Primavera provided a statement: “Love, Bonito has proven itself to be a one-of-a-kind, purpose-driven brand for women across all life-stages. Consumers are drawn by what the brand stands for and its mission to empower women around the world. Primavera is deeply impressed by how much the team has achieved over the last decade and looks forward to tapping into our understanding and experience in the global consumer sector to help elevate Love, Bonito to the next level. We are thrilled to join Dione and the rest of the team on this path-breaking journey.”
Love, Bonito’s first external institutional investor, Openspace said: “From day one, we believed in what the brand could achieve as a business led by women, for women. We are thrilled to now work alongside esteemed investors like Primavera to help write the brand’s next chapter.”
Series B lead investor Kakaku.com added: “We are delighted to be on the global stage with Love, Bonito, and will continue to support the brand’s data and tech strategies, especially on their entry into the Japanese market.”
In the next phase of its growth, Love, Bonito aims to shake up the fashion industry by creating a more meaningful impact on its community across all life stages. The brand is setting its sights on creating a thoughtful and well-rounded female ecosystem, supporting different facets of women’s needs within Asian countries and reaching further into the Asian diaspora communities across the globe.