SINGAPORE -- Southeast Asian parenting community platform theAsianparent on Thursday announced closing a Series C round to finance expansion into new markets and an upcoming foray into e-commerce.
The company did not disclose how much it raised, beyond saying the amount ran into double-digit millions of U.S. dollars and that the round was oversubscribed.
Investors included Chinese conglomerate Fosun, technology giant JD.com, Southeast Asia and China-focused ATM Capital and alternative asset manager Redbadge Pacific, along with Series B backers Global Grand and WHG Capital.
Targeting urban parents and parents-to-be, theAsianparent -- as well as its Indian sibling theIndusparent -- is a combination of content platform and online community. It claims to have more than 23.5 million active monthly users, which it intends to grow to 30 million by the end of 2019, and 45 million by the end of 2020.
Launched in 2009, theAsianparent currently operates in 12 countries and regions, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, India, Taiwan and Japan.
Platform operator Tickled Media is planning to expand into new markets in Asia and Africa, founder Roshni Mahtani told DealStreetAsia.
In Africa, it has focused on Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa due to their high internet penetration and growing populations, the latter directly translating into more potential users, she added.
Also in the works is an e-commerce venture primarily targeting mothers. The business will offer a mix of in-house brands and third-party products, and initially target Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.
Part of the Series C proceeds will be used to accelerate development of an app that was launched in September 2018.
Tickled Media anticipates revenues of about $10 million by the end of 2019.
For Mahtani, the Series C fundraising is a personal triumph as much as a professional one.
This was no ordinary funding round, as it involved an emergency trip to the hospital between flying out for meetings with potential investors. Mahtani was suffering severe pain due to what was later confirmed as toxic shock syndrome.
What made the ordeal less frightening, she says, was that her husband, Darius Cheung, also an entrepreneur, was by her side throughout as she traveled from Jakarta to Singapore to meet investors
She was admitted to the city-state's National University Hospital for treatment between meetings.
Cheung is the founder of Singapore-based property listing site 99.co, hence no stranger to the pressures of running a startup, in general, and fundraising, in particular.
"My husband understood why I'm doing this and he was supportive even when I was not resting, because he knows how important this is for me," she said.
Mahtani remains the biggest shareholder of Tickled Media, followed by venture capital company Vertex Ventures and China's Fosun Group.
DealStreetAsia is a financial news site based in Singapore that focuses on corporate investment activity in Southeast Asia and India. Nikkei recently announced the acquisition of a majority stake in the company.