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fashion-beautyZalora, the Zappos-like fashion and beauty store for Southeast Asia, announced this morning that it has closed a $100 million financing round.

That’s a lot of lipstick and high heels.

Zalora focuses on 10 countries in Asia: Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The year-old startup says it has already achieved “annualized double-digit million USD revenues.”

“Our company is one of the fastest growing e-commerce companies in Southeast Asia and has bright prospects,” said managing director Michele Ferrario. “It is an honor for us that investors of such great repute have invested into an e-commerce company as young as Zalora”


It is indeed an honor when a year-old startup with two or three million dollars in annualized revenue scores a $100 million investment. And it’s an unusual honor as well. But there’s method behind the madness.

The investment was secured by the German holding company that owns Zalora, Rocket Internet, which claims to be “the largest, fastest and most successful international online venture builder.” Founded by the infamous Samwer brothers — who Jason Calacanis has called “despicable thieves” —  its modus operandi has been to take successful models from American startups and apply them globally.

Genius, perhaps, if not very original. And very, very successful.

Rocket Internet sold Groupon clone CityDeal to Groupon for $126 million in 2010 and eBay clone Alando to eBay for $50 million, among many other lucrative deals. That history is undoubtedly part of what led the investment group, led by Summit Partners, Investment AB Kinnevik, and the Verlinvest and Tengelmann Group, to participate in this $100 million round.

Rocket Internet's impressive portfolio of companies

Above: Rocket Internet’s impressive portfolio of companies

Image Credit: Rocket Internet

A big chunk, 25 percent, of Zalora’s revenue comes from mobile commerce, and the company says its app is the top lifestyle app in all the countries it serves, and the top app overall for Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

In other words, Rocket Ventures saw an opportunity to take a big slice of an emerging market, and is moving rapidly — and with massive investment — to own the space.

The capital will be used, Zalora said, to scale up operations and grow the number of local and international brands it carries.

The company has just delivered its millionth order.

photo credit: AehoHikaruki via photopin cc

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