Zort, a seller management platform, aims to launch an initial public offering (IPO) within 3-5 years to increase its capacity after recently raising 55 million baht in a Series A funding round.
The Series A funding was chiefly contributed by Krungsri Finnovate, a corporate venture capital arm under Bank of Ayudhya (BAY), and Buzzebees, a mobile customer relationship management (CRM) platform company.
"The pandemic over the past two years drove many merchants to pivot towards online platforms, while social commerce continues to grow," said Sawapop Tuamsang, chief executive of Zortout Co, which operates the Zort platform.
Despite the downturn, Thailand's e-commerce has continued to grow at a double-digit rate every year, with e-commerce expected to account for more than 10% of total retail sales soon, he said.
Established six years ago, Zort has 3,000 customers.
Last year Zort handled 45 million sales transactions worth 84 billion baht.
The platform helps merchants manage their sales orders, stock, logistics, payments and accounting across all online channels, including Lazada, Shopee, JD Central, Facebook and Line MyShop.
Zort expects to connect soon with short-video platform TikTok, Mr Sawapop said.
The company aims to launch an IPO within 3-5 years and plans to scale the customer base to 18,000 within three years, he said.
To achieve the goal, Zort will seek more business partners to boost its ecosystem, said Mr Sawapop. For example, it worked with Buzzebees to provide CRM services.
Zort aims to forge a complete ecosystem for customers, including sourcing products for them. The firm is looking to expand its foothold in the Philippines as part of its Asean growth strategy.
Sam Tanskul, managing director of Krungsri Finnovate, said the e-commerce sector is one of its strategic investment targets, along with the auto and fintech segments.
The company's Series A investment should drive opportunities for Zort's customers to access financial services, while allowing Zort to expand its overseas market via the network of BAY's Japan-based parent Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, he said.
Krungsri Finnovate is looking to invest in 10 startups this year, Mr Sam said.
Thailand should see 2-3 startups launching IPOs by 2023, including Finnomena, a fintech investment and wealth management platform, he said. One to two startups could become unicorns in 2024, said Mr Sam.
Nattida Sanguansin, managing director and co-founder of Buzzebees, said the company can support Zort in terms of CRM solutions, enabling vendors to understand their customers' behaviour and lifestyle.
Online merchants can create their own campaigns to serve customer needs and promote their businesses or products on more than 300 platforms of Buzzebees' partners.
Kobi Boonbanjerdsri, an angel investor who owns a stake in Zort, said early-stage investment has the potential to grow, while innovation and technology from startups can help businesses survive, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises.