Japanese flea market app Maipple gets seed funding to boost user growth...

Japanese flea market app Maipple gets seed funding to boost user growth in Taiwan

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See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo- / Taipei-based Maipple, the startup offering a fashion-focused flea market app in Taiwan under the same name, announced today that it has secured seed round funding from GX Incubate and three angel investors. GX Incubate is a fully-owned subsidiary of Japanese Internet company Gaiax (TSE:3775) and runs its fund focused on investing in sharing economy businesses. Financial details of the deal and the names of participating angel investors have not been disclosed.

Maipple was born out of the 11th batch of Taiwanese startup accelerator AppWorks. Launched in December, the app has been focused on dealing with consumer-to-consumer (C2C) transactions of fashion items in Taiwan. For payments between sellers and buyers, Maipple offers an escrow service, standing in the middle of both parties while the buyers are allowed to complete a payment by credit card, convenience store payment or bank remittance.

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Due to a time-limited offer upon launch of the app, no commission for escrow payments is required for now. For an item delivery, sellers can present several options from door-to-door delivery, the Taiwanese postal service and delivery to the buyer’s nearest convenience store. As for C2C services in Taiwan, there have been online auction sites like Yahoo Taiwan Auction and Ruten Auction backed by PCHome and eBay but Maipple claims that it is the first flea market app focused on selling and buying fashion items in Taiwan.

Given that the app can complete deals in a mobile environment, it reminds us of Mercari which has successfully seized many customers from Yahoo Japan Auction. Kotaro Nagamatsu, founder and CEO of Maipple, explained that he wants to boost promotion of the service leveraging over 300 women influencers which his company has acquired through the experience, helping Japanese apparel makers to market their brands in the Taiwanese market.

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Some of incluencers helping Maipple’s marketing effort in Taiwan.

The funds raised this time are to be used for promotional activities, enhanced system development and further expansion to other Southeast Asian markets. While Maipple will be focused on C2C deals for the time being, they want to expand to a B2C (business-to-consumer) business by helping Japanese fashion brands sell carry-over stock in Taiwan.

As a competitor in this region, Japanese startup Smaoku has recently introduced a mobile app that allows Japanese users to sell their secondhand brand items to buyers in Asian countries. For Southeast Asia, where Maipple plans to expand into from now on, there’s also other competitors such as Carousell. It will be interesting to see how the company can create a hype in user growth by leveraging the ‘Japan brand.’

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy