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iPrice and its plan to ride the pandemic-driven online shopping wave: Q&A with the new CEO Paul Brown-Kenyon

CEO Paul Brown-Kenyon says iPrice will further strengthen its Google presence and extend the partnership strategy with media platforms, social media, and super apps.

Paul Brown-Kenyon, new CEO of e-commerce aggregator platform iPrice. Photo courtesy of iPrice.

Paul Brown-Kenyon only started his role on June 15. The Malaysia-based product discovery and comparison platform iPrice appointed him new CEO, after having served before as president and COO.

In the new job, Brown-Kenyon will primarily be supporting consumers, merchants, and partners in tapping the e-commerce market. The former CEO and co-founder David Chmelař will be taking the role of executive vice-chairman.

Founded in 2014, iPrice started out as a site for consumers to get vouchers and coupons. With online shopping picking up pace in Southeast Asia, the company has become an e-commerce aggregator that is comparing prices. It claims to have 1.5 billion product listings from more than 1,500 merchant partners, with about 20 million monthly visits. The platform now operates in six Southeast Asian markets—Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia—in addition to Hong Kong.

Brown-Kenyon recently told KrASIA about his plans for the company.

KrASIA (Kr): Congratulations on your new appointment! How are you planning to scale up iPrice, especially after the Series B funding back in March? What will the funds be used for?

Paul Brown-Kenyon (PBK): Thank you. Over the last five years, iPrice has built the largest regional platform to help users find the best offers online through coupons, price comparison, and product discovery services. The Series B funding round we recently closed will allow us to continue investing in our platform to cement its position at the center of the Southeast Asian e-commerce.

The additional funding will allow us to invest further in our Google presence, which we believe will remain a key starting point for many online shoppers. The investment will also allow us to extend our partnership strategy—with media platforms, social media apps, and super apps—to provide e-commerce content for their audiences. We’ll share more on the specifics over the next 12 months.

Kr: E-commerce platforms across the region are reporting an increase in traffic and transactions, how does this affect iPrice’s business? Do you see growth as well?

PBK: Whilst we have seen continual growth in e-commerce over the last five years, this has accelerated in 2020 as consumers have turned to online commerce as countries imposed lockdown measures. For example, our websites have witnessed a 60% increase in traffic over the past two months. Given our role in helping consumers find the best online deals from the plethora of merchants and market places, this increase is clearly great for our business.

Kr: With the Series B investment, iPrice claimed to be “more than just an aggregation platform”, and you wanted to connect the super apps to e-commerce merchants. You also planned to add professional reviews. Can you elaborate more about these plans, how far has it been implemented?

PBK: We see our role at its core as helping online consumers navigate a complex e-commerce environment. We do this by providing price comparison and product discovery services. As the e-commerce environment continues to develop, and customers become more sophisticated, we need to evolve the information we provide to help the user make more informed choices. As an example, with international supply chains initially impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns, we updated our site with additional information to help our users select products sourced locally, avoiding issues with international delivery.

Whilst to date, we have focused on the Google ecosystem, consumers in Southeast Asia are often starting their e-commerce journeys in other ecosystems. As such, we are investing to ensure our services are available on these platforms as well.

Kr: What are your targets for this year? It seems that iPrice has been doing well with its main business unit being profitable. Where will be the priorities?

PBK: For the next 12 to 18 months we are concerned with both growth, and also moving the company into profitability.