After graduating from high school in 2007, Alex Zhou, the founder and CEO of Yami, relocated to the Midwest for college. He discovered that he had limited access to Asian goods and products.
When Zhou wanted to buy his favourite Asian products at the nearest Asian market, he had to drive two hours to get there. Following his relocation to Los Angeles, he was inspired to create Yami, a direct-to-consumer marketplace for Asian food, skincare items, and household goods in the United States.
It is the goal of Yami to provide an authentic presentation of Asian culture, tradition, and products to both Asian Americans and non-Asian Americans who are interested in Asian culture and traditions. With over 4,000 brands and more than 260,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs), Zhou stated that Yami offers more than 260,000 SKUs throughout the food, beauty, health, and home sectors.
Altos Ventures and Balsam Bay Partners co-led the $50 million Series B round, which included participation from existing investors J.P. Morgan and GGV Capital, according to a company announcement made on Wednesday. According to Zhou, the Series B increases the company’s total funding to $60 million. He did not disclose the company’s worth.
According to Zhou, the latest round of money will be used to continue the company’s expansion in the United States, including the establishment of a second warehouse in New Jersey to reduce the time it takes to deliver packages.
In addition, Zhou told TechCrunch that the company aims to invest in technology such as artificial intelligence and big data, which would help it strengthen its supply chain while also improving the consumer experience. As a result of its new technology, it will be possible to provide hyper-personalization, meaning that artificial intelligence and real-time data will give more relevant products and competitive prices to buyers from a variety of backgrounds. Sellers and vendors will have greater knowledge into product sourcing and inventory forecasting at the same time, according to Zhou.
Following its continued success in the United States, Zhou stated that Yami is considering expanding its service to Canada as soon as next year, which might happen as early as next year.