Japanese food marketplace Bokksu raising bridge
Bokksu is kicking off a bridge round financing to accelerate its growth on the way to a Series B in 2025, CEO Danny Taing tells Axios exclusively.
Why it matters: The demand for cuisines tied to specific cultures has grown due to the growing immigrant population and consumer wanderlust.
Of note: Bokksu has a subscription box offering that remains at the core of its business, driving most of its revenue.
Details: While Taing declined to comment on the amount of the fundraising, he says that he is putting together a term sheet and plans to have an initial close by the end of the year or early Q1.
- Proceeds will be invested in expanding the sales team (there is only one person currently) to hit revenue targets in preparation for a Series B sometime in 2025.
- There is already interest from investors, including strategics, he says.
- The bridge should be completed by the end of Q1.
By the numbers: New York-based Bokksu generates revenue in the eight figures and will grow about 40% year over year, Taing says.
Catch up fast: The Japanese food marketplace and snack maker raised a $22 million Series A at a $100 million valuation in early 2022.
- Over the summer, it bought competitor Japan Crate for an undisclosed price, though it wasn't announced until September, Taing says.
Zoom in: That acquisition got Bokksu, which had no exposure to physical retail, access to about 5,000 specialty markets and retailers, he says.
- It also added an office in Tokyo that with 30 employees rivals its New York office, which has about 35 workers, Taing says.
- Plus, Japan Crate had a younger gamer audience that marries well with Bokksu's older foodie customer base.
What's next: "A big goal for us is to become the online version of Trader Joe's, but for Asian food," Taing says.
- That means full steam ahead on Bokksu-branded or private-label versions of snacks, beverages and condiments like soy sauce, he says.
- It also wants to get its products into grocery retailers here in the U.S.
Flashback: Bokksu was born out of Taing's experience being both gay and Asian American and how that translated when he lived in Japan and then moved back to the U.S., he says.
- There was a need specifically for more Asian visibility and what better way to do that than through food, says Taing, who previously worked for retail tech company Rakuten.
The big picture: Online Asian grocers are growing in number, with the South Asian grocery market representing a $9 billion industry in the U.S.