Just as Pinterest did, in an apparent grab to establish dominance overseas in Asia, OrderWithMe is partnering with a powerful local strategic—Rakuten.
The Dallas startup isn’t taking $100 million at a $1 billion valuation (it has done limited fundraising, between angel investors and $3 million Series A round it reeled in from SOS Ventures and Infinity Ventures). It isn’t even a consumer-facing business like Pinterest–OrderWithMe looks to provide smaller retailers an option to order from foreign manufacturers they otherwise might not be able to access. Even though OrderWithMe has been making big waves in China, it might not steal as many headlines as the social investing scene has in the US.
So far, much of the capital OrderWithMe raised has gone into the company’s establishment of quality inspection for the vendors it does approve for group buying—and, with Rakuten’s partnership, the Techcrunch Disrupt Beijing winner may need a fresh batch of capital soon to continue building scale.
Its partnership with Rakuten adds 38,000 potential buyers to OrderWithMe’s network, CEO and co-founder Jonathan Jenkins told peHUB. Jenkins co-founded OrderWithMe with his wife Danielle, while living in China after graduating college.
“It isn’t about just linking businesses to opportunities in China—we’re trying to streamline order processes for small retailers here,” Jenkins said. He said the partnership with Rakuten has no impact on the company’s commitment to serve US businesses.
As its team of 30 in China will ramp up development (and possibly grow) to match anticipated demand, the US-based online merchant supply outfit OrderWithMe is rolling out the new products—literally, in fact.
On the heels of the big news that the company is partnering with the strategic game-changer, Jenkins, along with some of his US colleagues, is embarking on a cross-country RV tour, where they’ll hand out $1 million in free products at various small businesses along the way. Keep an eye on the startup’s Twitter feed as its ‘roadshow’ develops.
Image Credit: OrderWithMe