Online ethnic grocery delivery platform Weee! announced it has raised $315 million in a Series D round led by DST Global, with participation from Tiger Global Management, Blackstone Group and Arena Holdings. The Fremont, California-based company has raised a total of $415 million, with Bloomberg reporting a $2.8 billion valuation.
Weee! caters to ethnic communities, mainly providing access to Asian and Hispanic foods. Weee! currently offers free delivery, on orders of $35 or more, for more than 3,500 products, including 300 types of local, organic and seasonal produce. Services are available on both the East and West coasts and Texas, with plans to use the new capital for geographic expansion, along with product growth, talent recruitment and ethnic community engagement.
“Ethnic communities have been overlooked in the online and retail space. We believe the opportunity to provide these fast-growing communities access to exciting and affordable groceries is tremendous,” said Larry Liu, founder and CEO of Weee! “We are thrilled to leverage DST Global and our new investors’ strategic view on the future of retail and vast experience building and scaling technology companies to accelerate our mission.”
Liu founded the company after having difficulty finding Chinese ingredients in local stores when he moved to the U.S. in 2003. He built the application off the same social group buying processes that is often seen in Chinese communities on WeChat, a social media app used for messaging and mobile payment.
Individuals will create large buying groups for a specific good and will use the buying power of the group to offer discounts on various products. Liu was able to successfully pilot the Weee! business model in the U.S. through WhatsApp, a social messaging platform.
The retail sector for food and beverage continues to dominate the restaurant and bar sales since pandemic shutdowns in March. While online grocery sales dropped in February, the company expects continued growth within its niche.
Weee! aims to take advantage of these new buying trends, along with the Asian American purchasing power, reported to reach a total of $1.6 trillion in 2024. The company largely services Chinese Americans and is expanding into Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Hispanic products. According to a recent report, the grocery market for ethnic customers is expected to grow to $464 billion by 2030.
“Weee! has a unique understanding of how explosive growth can be achieved sustainably in the emerging online grocery space,” said Rahul Mehta, managing partner at DST Global. “The team’s back-to-basics focus on merchandising, everyday low prices and remarkable social shopping approach are what sets Weee! apart, and we’re excited to deepen our support for their mission.”