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aCommerce considers initial public offering

New start-up aims to enter stock market once its revenues hit $100m mark

New start-up firm aCommerce plans to launch an initial public offering once it hits US$100 million (Bt3.2 billion) in revenue.

The firm was established last year with $1 million in registered capital from Ardent Capital and raised $3.1 million in the second round of funding from NTT DOCOMO Ventures and CyberAgent Ventures.

aCommerce is now operating in four countries - Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines - and plans to enter two more - Malaysia and Vietnam - this year after mobilising more than $4 million to strengthen its services in the six countries.

Regional CEO Paul Srivorakul said that the ultimate goal was to launch an IPO.

"However, launching an IPO is our four-year plan. We're eyeing the stock market in Asia because we are already focusing on the continent. We are now in the process of closing our funding and cannot disclose the details. But, it is a significant change and will help us go deep into the existing markets and help us expand into two more," he said.

Over the past 10 years, Paul has built and sold many companies - Impact Interactive, New Media Edge, AdMax Network and Ensogo - but this time, aCommerce is not for sale.

"This is our long-term business commitment. We want to be big and be able to acquire small companies in e-commerce and related businesses. We see that in the near future there will be a lot of start-ups. We want to acquire them to fulfil the e-commerce ecosystem," he said.

aCommerce is an e-commerce enabler that helps drive the growth of e-commerce with fulfilment services comprising an end-to-end solution from web design and development to payment and logistics.

"Logistics is the last mile of e-commerce, especially in this region where infrastructure is not good enough. It is the biggest challenge for the growth of e-commerce. It is our opportunity and challenge.

"We feel that if we build the infrastructure of e-commerce, it will grow faster on top of it. If logistics and payments get fixed, e-commerce in Southeast Asia will grow better," he said.

E-commerce in Southeast Asia is now only 1 per cent of the retail business, but it is expanding about 30 per cent per year. There is a huge opportunity to grow. The bottlenecks are logistics and payments.

aCommerce offers three main services - marketing, technology and operations such as logistics and warehousing. After operating only 10 months, it has won 30 brand and retail clients from all four countries.

aCommerce is set to offer a one-stop-shop service model including a fully integrated order-management system and warehouse management system with its own warehousing and delivery.

"We can manage your entire logistics process and provide everything from custom packaging, storage, picking and packing, returns and next-day delivery.

"Our solutions are tailored to the new breed of digital consumers who want to buy products anytime, anywhere and on any device.

"We offer real-time tracking for end users to get their personalised dashboard where they can watch their packages being delivered in real time. And we give our client's customers choices, offering cash or credit card payment on delivery," he said.

Paul has been setting up businesses for a decade now, and every business he set up was successful before it was sold to investors. It looks like it was his strategy to build a new business and then sell it, because he built and sold, built and sold four times.

He says he did not always plan to build and sell businesses except for the last one - Ensogo, which he admits he built to sell.

However, he said, aCommerce was a long-term business that he will build through the IPO model rather than let it be taken over by investors or bigger competitors.


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