"Fastlane", a one-stop service platform for brands to go overseas, has recently received nearly 10 million US dollars in Series A financing led by Baidu Ventures and LB Investment. It is understood that this round of financing will be mainly used for product research and development, resource expansion and team building.
"Fastlane" was established in 2018. It is a comprehensive service company for DTC brands going overseas. It is committed to providing brand strategy, marketing communication, official website construction, digital operation, order fulfillment, business localization and other full-link services for the globalization of innovative brands. digital tools. According to official information, the compound annual growth rate from 2018 to 2020 will exceed 500%, and the GMV in 2020 will exceed US$100 million.
In 2019, the company became the first Shopify Plus enterprise service partner since the establishment of the Shopify China team. Since its establishment, "Fastlane" has maintained long-term cooperative relations with leading brands such as ZTE, RELX, Xiaomi, Stone Technology, Xiaopeng Motors, etc., and successfully helped China Zhizao achieve localized operations in markets such as Europe, the United States, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East. And reached cooperation with emerging international innovative brands represented by Nothing.
Restructuring the supply chain due to the epidemic has led to the concentration of cross-border demand. Coupled with the further improvement of overseas infrastructure, Chinese brands are ushering in a new golden period of rapid development when they go overseas. According to official data, there are currently more than 600,000 cross-border e-commerce-related enterprises in my country, and more than 42,000 cross-border e-commerce-related enterprises have been added this year. According to customs statistics, the scale of China's export cross-border e-commerce transactions will reach 7.73 trillion yuan in 2021, and it is expected that the transaction scale may exceed 9 trillion yuan in 2023.
Although the popularity of Chinese brands going overseas continues to heat up, they still face many challenges. Although there are nearly 10,000 medium and large-scale enterprises with annual revenue of over 100 million US dollars in my country, there are still relatively few who have truly gone overseas as "brands" and achieved success. "Some companies, including large groups represented by Huawei and Haier, innovative companies represented by DJI, and export-oriented development companies represented by SheIn, Transsion, etc., have sufficient resources and have the means and determination to build Full link capability.” Liao Langsha, co-founder and CEO of “Fastlane” told 36氪, “However, in recent years, a large number of small and medium-sized brand merchants who have gone overseas with the cross-border boom are generally faced with a lack of professional talents, weak local market insight, and difficulty in covering Problems such as regional sales and contract performance networks, lack of understanding of local laws and regulations, etc., the road to the sea still has great uncertainty."
According to Liao Langsha, "Fastlane" mainly serves innovative companies with strong product capabilities. It follows the concept of "growing together with brands and concentrating on improving startup efficiency", and provides one-stop overseas solutions "from 0 to 1" .
The business of "Fastlane" is mainly divided into four major sectors:
First, use digital means to carry out local user insights and internationalization path research, and do a good job in the pre-assessment of products and the formulation of overseas strategies;
Second, provide full-link marketing services for brands, taking into account short-term sales effects and medium- and long-term brand equity precipitation;
Third, help brands build a global sales network. Online channels focus on the continuous construction and operation of self-operated and independent stations on the brand’s official website. Offline channels first determine the most matching grain production area, and then gradually cover local distribution in major regions of the world. Network, and cooperate to improve contract performance docking, payment management, after-sales system construction, etc.;
Fourth, with the expansion of business, "Fastlane" will also simultaneously provide full-link digital operation and supervision tools and services.
In Liao Langsha's view, overseas brands should locate the seed user group based on the core consumer demands that they want to solve at the beginning of the product definition. Only by targeting precise subdivisions can the seed user group precipitation and expansion be efficiently and self-consistently completed; At the same time of continuous delivery on the production and research and supply side, it is fundamental to achieve brand globalization and long-term stable growth by doing well and implementing localized communication and sales strategies in each region. "Made in China today very much requires confidence and patience."
"Fastlane" has customized corresponding overseas plans for different types of overseas enterprises: 1) For larger-scale brands, "Fastlane" is deeply involved in operation and management, and jointly formulates and implements the Go-To-Market (GTM) plan, focusing on Improve brand awareness and reputation, and manage the sustainability of brand investment; 2) For high-potential product teams and manufacturers seeking overseas services and financial support, "Fastlane" adopts a long-term strategic cooperation approach, assisting from 0 to 1 It builds a localized brand; 3) For customers who are transferred from a third-party platform to an independent station, they adopt a joint operation method to help them build an independent station and provide operation guidance.
Liao Langsha, for example, in 2018, a fast-moving consumer electronics product reached a strategic cooperation with "Fastlane" when its overseas business team was just starting to build. Within two years, the monthly sales of DTC increased by 6900%, and the omni-channel sales network complemented each other. for drainage pipes. In the same year, "Fastlane" also reached a comprehensive cooperation with another mobile phone brand. "Fastlane", as the brand's early overseas business team, jointly operated the brand. During the three-year cooperation period, the average sales volume of each generation of products increased by more than 200%.
It is understood that the team members of "Fastlane" come from 8 countries including China, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and South Korea. The founders are all from OnePlus. They have worked together for many years and participated in the creation of classic cases of global independent stations. Different types of brand operation modes, as well as observations and attempts based on industry perspectives, have accumulated a lot of practical experience in brand overseas and DTC.
Pang Yunxing, managing partner of LB Investment, said: China has moved from "Made in China" to "Brand from China". Although the overseas market is very large, it actually consists of a number of different markets of different sizes, such as different languages. , culture and religion, consumption habits, customer portraits, differences in local infrastructure levels, etc. Chinese brands have relied on channels to sell well in the past, and they need a lot of help when they reach the DTC stage, such as how to achieve product localization and how to do a good job in customer operations. The Fastlane team is based on the needs of overseas users and is deeply localized; at the same time, after long-term accumulation, it has been able to realize data-based operations. With the help of Fastlane, more and more Chinese smart brands will be recognized by the world. LB Investment is Korea's top VC fund, with a number of investment projects such as Korea's largest trendy e-commerce, celebrity platform, brand incubation company, and consumer brand. LB Investment will also continue to support Fastlane's localization capacity building.
Wen Yongteng, Vice President of Baidu Venture Capital Investment, said: Chinese brand internationalization and brand DTC are two promising directions in the cross-border e-commerce field. As a leading domestic one-stop service platform for overseas brands, Fastlane has accumulated a large number of industry best practice experiences of leading brands going overseas, and built an excellent digital system on this basis. We believe that with the unremitting efforts of the entire team, Fastlane will continue to create more value for the globalization of Chinese brands and become an important promoter in this field.