Korea’s Alwayz Secures $46M Funding to Revitalize Online Shopping Experience

Seoul-based e-commerce company Levit, known for its shopping app Alwayz, has recently raised $46 million in a Series B funding round led by DST Global Partners. The round included participation from new investor BOND and existing backers KB Investment, Mirae Asset Capital, Korea Investment Partners, GS Ventures, and Klim Ventures. With this funding, Levit’s total raised amount now stands at $67 million.

Unlike typical e-commerce platforms, Alwayz incorporates social features like short videos and gamification to enhance the shopping experience. Users can earn rewards by playing games and even receive real-life crops through the app. Alwayz also offers a “Shorts” feature that allows users to watch videos and get discounts on their purchases.

In addition to these features, Alwayz attracts customers with low-priced products. Through its consumer-to-manufacturer (C2M) model, the platform eliminates intermediaries and enables sellers to offer high-quality products at lower prices. Most sellers on Alwayz are producers or manufacturers.

Levit’s CEO, Jaeyun Kang, explains that the platform’s average product selling price is around 20% cheaper than other e-commerce platforms due to the efficient selling process and discovery-based shopping.

Levit leverages games and social features to engage users daily and expose them to a wide range of products. The company describes this user experience as a “discovery shopping experience.” To maintain the quality of products, Levit uses recommendation algorithms that assess items based on factors like conversion and customer repurchase rates.

Since its launch, Alwayz has gained 7 million users, with 2.5 million monthly active users and 1.3 million daily active users within one and a half years. Levit aims to reach 12 million registered users, 5 million monthly active users, and 3 million daily active users by the end of 2023.

Levit’s founders have ambitious goals to establish the company as the leading e-commerce company in South Korea and capture a significant share of the global discovery shopping market. While Alwayz competes with local peers like Coupang, Naver, and Kurly, its business model is more similar to Pinduoduo and AliExpress in terms of social features and lower-priced products.

Levit plans to bring its platform to the U.S. market this year. Daegwon Chae, general partner of BOND, commends Alwayz for its focus on user experience, engagement, and value, stating that disrupting the horizontal commerce market requires meaningful improvements in these areas.

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