BREA, CALIF. — Yami, a direct-to-consumer marketplace for Asian foods, beverages and other products, raised $50 million in a Series B funding round co-led by Altos Ventures and Balsam Bay Partners.
Alex Zhou, founder and chief executive officer, launched Yami nine years ago after studying in Kansas, where the closest Asian grocery store was two hours away. The online marketplace offers more than 260,000 SKUs spanning Japanese, Korean, southeast Asian and Chinese brands. Its selection includes pantry staples like seasonings and oils, packaged entrees and side dishes, snacks and beverages, plus beauty products and household goods.
The company has surpassed 2 million customers and now offers more than 4,000 brands.
“For nearly a decade, we have been the most authentic and expertly curated online marketplace providing the most sought-after Asian products to consumers across North America,” Mr. Zhou said. “During my time as a foreign student living in the Midwest, I experienced the difficulties of finding and purchasing my favorite Asian products. Now, with the number of people who identify as Asian in the United States nearly tripling in the past three decades, we aim to be the No. 1 resource for these customers along with all Americans.”
A 2021 analysis by the Pew Research Center found the Asian American population has grown 81% since 2000 and is projected to triple by 2060, becoming the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States. One-in-ten Asian Americans currently shop online through Yami, according to the company.
Yami will use funds from the Series B round to introduce new technology that will allow for hyper customization for shoppers from different backgrounds, as well as competitive pricing. The technology also will give vendors and sellers more insight on product sourcing and inventory forecasting.
Joining Altos Ventures and Balsam Bay Partners in the Series B round were J.P. Morgan and Series A lead investor GGV Capital.“Yami uses the strength of global e-commerce to provide the comforts of home or cultures that you love no matter where in the world you are,” said Hans Tung, managing partner at GGV Capital and a member of Yami’s board. “The company’s growth is impressive thanks in large part to the loyalty of its US customers.”