The round was co-led by Chinese ecommerce giant JD and Indonesian investment firm Provident Capital Partners. US private equity firm Lombard Investments also participated.
Founded in 2014, Bangkok-based Pomelo started off with selling Korean fashion via its website and works with designers to create house brand products.
In September 2014 it raised US$1.6 million in pre-series A funding – an uncharacteristically large amount for a Southeast Asian ecommerce startup that early in its lifecycle.
By October last year, it has raised total funding of US$11 million after a series A follow-on from Jungle Ventures, 500 Startups, and others.
Pomelo claimed in a press release that today’s investment is the largest series B fundraise yet by a Thai startup. This chimes with Tech in Asia’s data, which shows the previous record to be the US$17.5 million raised by payments company Omise in its July 2016 series B round (Omise followed this up with a US$25 million token sale earlier this year). Bangkok-based Zilingo – a rival fashion site – secured US$17 million in its series B round in September this year.
JD’s investment in Pomelo is notable as the Chinese company has increasingly focused its attentions on Thailand – and on Southeast Asia more broadly – of late. In September, it set up a US$500 million joint venture with Thai brick-and-mortar retail giant Central Group. It also invested in Indonesian ride-hailer Go-Jek, as part of a funding round reportedly worth US$1.2 billion led by JD compatriot Tencent.
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