SYDNEY–Taiwan’s Chailease Group has made a strategic equity investment in B2B ecommerce platform Ordre.com.
Chailease Group chairman Andre Koo told WWD the group’s three year-old venture capital/private equity arm CL Capital Management has made its first “multimillion dollar” fashion tech investment in Aeon International Holdings, the Hong Kong-based parent company of Ordre.
Launched by Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia founder Simon Lock in November 2014, Ordre boasts a portfolio of more than 100 designers and a retail network of 2427 organizations in 93 countries. The company was originally based in Hong Kong and has since moved its headquarters to Paris.
Koo, who also joins Ordre’s board, declined to reveal the size of the investment, but sources estimate it brings Ordre’s total funding to $10 million, following an early stage round led by Michael Alexander, chief executive officer of Jefferies Asia.
Chailease Group is a Taipei-based conglomerate with business interests across the medical, lifestyle, hospitality and property management and development sectors and over 70 offices in Taiwan, China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, with expansion plans for the Philippines, Cambodia and Switzerland.
The group’s principle business, the listed Chailease Holding Co Ltd, is Taiwan’s leading leasing services provider, with a market cap of 57.075 billion Taiwan dollars or $1.8 billion at current exchange.
“I am particularly excited about working with Chailease’s extensive networks in China to develop the Ordre platform in this very important marketplace for our future” said Lock, adding that immediate development plans include a Mandarin language platform; the introduction of a designer sustainability and social responsibility ratings system and tech upgrades.
Slated for a September release to target the spring 2017 show season, Lock is developing proprietary data capture software based on 3D laser scanning that aims to provide designers with the ability to produce high-res, 360-degree view images of their collections from a showroom or backstage using a piece of equipment called the “Ordre Orb”.
Separately at the spring 2017 shows, Lock also plans to conduct virtual reality trials, supplying key buyers with VR headsets.
“The 3D and VR side of the business – that’s something extremely new and extremely exciting for us” said Koo. “Chailease prides itself in being at the cutting edge of new business development practices in multiple industries. The Ordre platform is breaking new ground in the way the fashion industry is doing business globally and we look forward to working with Simon and his team to bring our understanding of various markets and our networks to be leveraged on behalf of the industry”.
Lock has also just named the first members of Ordre’s Global Advisory Board: Carmen Busquets, an early investor in Net-A-Porter, whose portfolio now includes Lyst, Moda Operandi and Farfetch; retail consultant Julie Gilhart and 7th on Sixth founder Fern Mallis.
According to Lock, Ordre is on track to achieve $20-30 million in wholesale gross merchandise volume in the coming financial year and a $600 million slice of what Lock estimates to be the $8 billion wholesale luxury fashion market within three years.