The giant UK postal service Royal Mail has placed a multi-million dollar bet on a Melbourne startup providing back end management systems for e-commerce platforms.
Market Engine only launched late last year, raising $1.2 million privately to get its tech platform up and running, but has already made huge inroads, working with companies such as Malaysian-based Royal Selangor, New Zealand’s Ecostore, and locally, Vitality Brands (for the Cancer Council’s sunscreen range) to launch localised storefronts on Alibaba’s Tmall and JD online retail platforms in China.
Market Engine’s technology lets a business target international markets via a fully translated online shopfront. The company’s market management system lets businesses control price, brand, quality and stock through direct online shops in different markets across the world. It offers real time functionality in English and local currencies, and translates into Chinese language and RMB.
The Royal Mail won’t say specifically how much it has invested beyond a multi-million dollar figure, but Market Engine CEO Roy Hui says the capital will go towards expansion into international markets, marketing and further development of the company’s proprietary technology platform.
Company chairman Adrian Giles said the Royal Mail’s investment was a “significant vote of confidence in our technology and business model” and embodied a growing interest by western companies in penetrating new markets such as China.
“There are massive opportunities in China’s booming e-commerce market and elsewhere. Pairing our technology platform with the postal service’s extensive distribution network removes the traditional barriers of selling products overseas,” Giles said.
Market Engine is also working with a number of national postal services, including Australia Post, Canada Post and Post Nord, to white label its technology.
Royal Mail Parcels managing director Nick Landon said: “We think we can leverage our scale and expertise to help Market Engine expand and accelerate its entrance into new markets, while identifying opportunities to incorporate its technology solutions within Royal Mail’s existing operations.”