Boticca secures $4 million round of new financing

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Online jewellery site plotting new market expansion with backing.

Online jewellery and accessories retailer Boticca has today secured a second round of investment totalling $4 million (£2.6m), which will be used to grow its team and help the company enter new markets.

The company, which launched in late 2010, has secured cash from UK-based venture capital firm MMC Ventures and high net worth individuals in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including Turkish entrepreneur Sina Afra, who is also the chief executive and chairman of Markafoni and former European director of M&A for eBay.

This new round of funding is Boticca’s second, following a $2.3 million (£1.5m) seed round in June 2011 led by French Internet entrepreneurs’ fund ISAI, which has also contributed to this latest round.

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The company was founded by young entrepreneurs Kiyan Foroughi and Avid Larizadeh. They plan to use this fresh batch of finance to grow the Boticca team, further globalise by entering new markets and offering local language versions of its website, and accelerate its marketing investment to keep building its customer database which now stands at more than 400,000 users.

MMC Ventures partner Jon Coker said: “We are delighted to have invested in Boticca, we believe there is a huge opportunity for them in a fragmented market. We have been extremely impressed by Avid and Kiyan, their vision for the business and the culture they have built in the team and are very much looking forward to working with them.”

Boticca allows customers to connect with and purchase directly from professional small and medium brands all over the world. It works with more than 330 independent designers and emerging brands, and currently offers more than 10,000 products from 40 countries around the world on every continent. Leading brands on Boticca are said to make annual sales in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Boticca has become profitable since its first batch of finance, in particular on customer acquisition on a first-sale basis, a rare feat in the world of e-commerce.

Its sales and traffic have shown 150% year-on-year growth without any significant increase in marketing spend, with 30% of sales coming from mobile traffic.

Its co-founder and chief executive Kiyan Foroughi said: “We’re very excited by this new round of investment which is a testament to the pioneering and sustainable business model the entire team has built these past two-and-a-half years. We look forward to working with our new investors to continue our international expansion and give independent brands the recognition and distribution they deserve."

Boticca has been an international business from launch with 50% sales from Europe, 30% from North America and 20% from Asia Pacific and the Middle East. About 55% of all transactions are intercontinental, with the designer on one continent and customer on another and last month alone the company reports that its brands shipped their products to customers in 90 different countries. Its head office team of 20 employees based in London is described as "as culturally diverse as the website with 13 different nationalities represented and 14 languages spoken fluently".

Boticca co-founder and chief operating officer Avid Larizadeh said: “We’re so proud that Boticca has become the world’s luxury bazaar of fashion accessories – the go-to site for so many to shop, explore and meet designers from all cultures. We bring our customers on a journey across continents without leaving home, recapturing the lost commerce experience of the ancient Silk Road which connected adventurers with unfamiliar cultures through travel and trade. Our aim now is to expand so that we may connect even more people around the world with the best talent they otherwise would never discover.”
 

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