Source: Forbes

Dropee, a B2B e-commerce marketplace based in Malaysia, raised $7 million in Series A funding led by returning investor Vynn Capital, a Kuala Lumpur-based venture capital firm, to help digitalize small businesses.

Besides Vynn Capital—which has backed Carsome, Malaysia’s first tech unicorn startup—other investors in Dropee included LKF Capital, the corporate venture arm of Hong Kong nightlife tycoon Allan Zeman’s Lan Kwai Fong Group.

“With this Series A round, we’re doubling down on helping micro and small local businesses to adopt digital solutions so they’re able to bring down their operating costs, have more access to financing support, and increase their business longevity,” says Dropee CEO Lennise Ng.

Another chunk of the funding will help Dropee use artificial intelligence to develop its “product recommendation engine” for smaller companies, adds Ng. “The plan for the next three to five years is to make sure every retail mom-and-pop store stocks up the right products across their shelves at all times,” she says.

Founded in 2017, Dropee says some 80,000 small and medium-sized businesses use its services. Dropee made the inaugural Forbes Asia 100 to Watch list last year.

The startup’s growth tracks global supply chain disruptions triggered by the pandemic. Supply chains have grappled with high demand, seaport congestion and manufacturing delays, along with extreme weather events and a blockage of the Suez Canal last year, according to trade publication Supply Chain Dive.

“The firm’s e-commerce solutions have been particularly helpful for wholesalers and retailers during the pandemic, helping to drive growth in Dropee’s revenue,” says Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist with research firm IHS Markit.

Dropee previously raised $1.3 million in funding in 2020, says Ng. Before that, it raised $350,000 in funding in 2019. “The successful business model has attracted several rounds of venture capital financing,” Biswas says.