Categories: Technology
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2023-11-28 8:51 AM

Inflow Secures $2M Seed Funding: Revolutionizing Vietnam’s Garment Industry for Small Brands

  • Funding Success: Inflow raises $2 million seed funding, attracting investors like AppWorks, 500 Global, and Spiral Ventures, highlighting its growth.
  • Platform Features: Inflow's tech aids small brands with inventory forecasts, factory matching, and real-time updates, streamlining production processes.
  • Ethical Focus: Inflow ensures ethical manufacturing, vetting suppliers for global standards, promoting sustainable materials, and conducting frequent factory audits.
By Lethabo Ntsoane

In a significant development for Vietnam’s garment and textile industry, Inflow, a platform dedicated to assisting small garment brands, has successfully secured $2 million in seed funding. This investment is poised to bolster Inflow’s mission of providing small brands with access to Vietnam’s manufacturing prowess, ultimately enabling them to thrive in a market traditionally dominated by larger players.

The Landscape of Vietnam’s Textile and Garment Industry

Textiles and garments contribute a substantial 16% to Vietnam’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Despite the country’s manufacturing capabilities, small garment brands face challenges in leveraging this potential. Inflow aims to bridge this gap by offering a platform that not only provides visibility into manufacturers’ supply chains but also facilitates the entire design-to-production cycle. Moreover, it aids small brands in connecting with manufacturers willing to produce smaller quantities of garments.

Impressive Growth and Investor Backing

In a testament to its success, Inflow announced that its revenue has surged by more than 15 times in the last year alone. The platform has gained traction, being adopted by over 80 fashion brands across Southeast Asia. This accomplishment has attracted notable investors, including AppWorks, 500 Global, January Capital, Spiral Ventures, and Saison Capital, contributing to the $2 million secured in seed funding.

Empowering Small Brands Through Technology

Inflow’s platform serves as a game-changer for small garment brands, typically those with a yearly revenue of $200,000 and above. The platform provides a suite of tools, including:

  1. Inventory Forecasts: Utilizing historical data from customers and sales, Inflow assists brands in making informed decisions about the quantity of items to produce.
  2. Data-Driven Factory Matching: The platform streamlines the often cumbersome process of finding a trusted manufacturing partner. By assembling a network of pre-screened partners, Inflow significantly reduces the time it takes for small brands to find reliable collaborators.
  3. Merchandise Management: Inflow’s platform offers real-time updates on the manufacturing process, crucial for brands often based outside of Vietnam, enhancing communication and collaboration.

Fast-Tracking Production Cycles

One of Inflow’s key achievements is its ability to expedite production cycles. The platform and factory matching services aim to reduce sample production to just 7 days, with an overall 45-day turnaround. This agility enables small brands to adapt and scale production based on the performance of their products in the market.

Ethical Manufacturing Practices

Inflow emphasizes ethical manufacturing practices, ensuring that manufacturers and suppliers on its platform adhere to global standards. The company employs a rigorous vetting process and conducts frequent factory audits to guarantee ethical treatment of workers, a conducive working environment, and responsible material processing. Inflow also encourages clients to choose sustainable materials, further contributing to responsible and eco-friendly manufacturing.

Founder’s Vision: From Challenges to Innovation

Before founding Inflow, CEO Khanh Le spent 15 years in the fashion industry, including owning her own fashion brands in Vietnam. Her firsthand experience highlighted the traditional nature of the industry, making it challenging for small brands to find trusted partners.

Le identified a disparity between Vietnam’s high rank among clothing and textile exporters and the limited access for small brands. This realization sparked the idea for Inflow, which employs data-driven matching to help smaller fashion brands tap into Vietnam’s extensive network of factories.

In a statement, Le expressed, “Finding a factory within Vietnam, I realized it was really traditional and no different from 15 years ago. It’s still very difficult for a small brand to find a trusted partner and take advantage of production in Vietnam.”

Future Plans and Utilization of Seed Funding

The $2 million seed funding secured by Inflow will be instrumental in the company’s future endeavors. It will be allocated towards:

  1. Design R&D: Inflow aims to enhance its platform’s capabilities through continuous research and development, ensuring it remains at the forefront of innovation in the industry.
  2. Supply Chain and Manufacturing Tech: The funding will support the development of technology that enhances supply chain efficiency and manufacturing processes, further streamlining the experience for small brands.
  3. Market Expansion: Inflow plans to enable brands to bring new designs to market within 30 days, with minimum order quantities as low as 50 units. Additionally, the startup aims to establish sales channels in developed markets and forge partnerships with fashion export companies in regions such as the U.S. and Europe.

Industry Perspective: A Global Shift in Manufacturing

Vishal Harnal, managing partner at 500 Global, commented on the global garment industry’s diversification away from heavy reliance on China for manufacturing. Inflow’s fashion supply chain technology positions Vietnam to capture a significant portion of this onshoring opportunity. The platform offers a connected, convenient, and scalable solution, aligning with the changing dynamics of the global manufacturing landscape.

Inflow’s successful seed funding round signifies a pivotal moment for the platform and the broader landscape of Vietnam’s textile and garment industry. As the company continues to empower small brands with technology-driven solutions, it stands at the forefront of a transformative shift in the way fashion is manufactured and brought to market.

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Lethabo Ntsoane

Lethabo Ntsoane holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of South Africa. He is a Financial Product commentator at Rateweb. He is an expect financial product analyst with years of experience in reviewing products and offering commentary. Lethabo majors in financial news, reviews and financial tips. He can be contacted: Email: lethabo@rateweb.co.za Twitter: @NtsoaneLethabo