By 2015, 100 Million Chinese will be traveling globally and spending in excess of $100 Billion each year." - Christine Lu, CEO
New York, NY (PRWEB) September 07, 2011
Affinity China, a private loyalty, reward, and lifestyle network for Chinese traveling overseas today announced it closed $600,000 in seed funding. Venture capital firms RRE Ventures and 500 Startups led the round alongside strategic investor Loeb Enterprises.
Last year, the luxury market in China grew to over $26 Billion, with more than half of those dollars spent while traveling outside of China. Affinity China enters this market to meet the needs of a growing population of Chinese who have access to financial capital and seek a dedicated resource to fulfill their lifestyle desires. Affinity China also released today a video describing this emerging market:
This is the first funding announcement for Affinity China, and follows the private beta launch earlier this year of the Affinity China platform. Through the platform, members of Affinity China can access exclusive offers and opportunities from global brands – ranging from a weekend in the Hamptons with Hinckley Yachts to a private reception with Women's French Open Champion Li Na at New York’s Mandarin Oriental.
“At the center of our strategy, we cater to the increasing numbers of Chinese who are traveling the globe – many for the first time – in search of a special experience they can bring home,” said Christine Lu, CEO of Affinity China. “As more Chinese buyers are going global, we’re pleased to have the backing and support of investors that understand how to use technology to reward and motivate consumers.”
“We believe that the right team at the right time will find a way to deliver value in this market,” said Jim Robinson of RRE Ventures. ‘The Affinity China team has made great strides in the past few months and we’re looking forward to what comes next.’”
Built on a scalable platform and using a growing network of global partners, Affinity China’s charter members have been selected for their prestigious positions and influence in the Chinese business world. Each new member will be welcomed to Affinity China with initial benefits such as complimentary membership to some of the world’s most prestigious clubs and golf courses, as well as access to member only events, such as the Li Na reception last week.
Charter members will be invited into a scalable network that will give them access to targeted offers according to their specific interests and tastes – this in turn enables the Affinity China team to understand the sophisticated and changing needs of its members.
“Affinity China is connecting a global audience of affluent consumers with amazing online & offline experiences that bring the world closer to their doorstep.” said Dave McClure of Silicon Valley’s 500 Startups fund.
Distribution through digital channels is an important part of the company’s plan, as is identifying the right set of partners and offers to carry to China via the Affinity China platform.
“The new capital will be used to accelerate growth in brand partnerships, technology build out, content development and member acquisition.” Lu added. “We’re also relying on the expertise of our investors to help us forward.”
Loeb Enterprises adds to that that expertise, with more than 20 years of direct marketing savvy: “With Affinity China’s global experience and relationships, we look forward to helping them further develop partnerships and expand their business around the world,” added Michael Loeb, Managing Partner and CEO.
Up next for Affinity China? A service that connects the best minds and experience inside China with brands that need a solid introduction to the China market. “We’re all about the network,” said Lu, “and that means bringing the right people together across borders to let business happen.”
About RRE Ventures:
Founded in 1994, RRE Ventures is a leading New York City-based venture capital firm. RRE focuses on helping extraordinary entrepreneurs and management teams build great companies in large, dynamic markets with a particular interest in companies that enable one of New York City’s seven key industries. RRE has $850 million under management across four funds and maintains a network of Senior Advisors who offer our portfolio companies unparalleled access to the highest levels of leadership across many global businesses and organizations. RRE is located in midtown Manhattan and has invested in over 40 New York metro area startups. For more information, visit http://www.rre.com.
About 500 Startups:
500 Startups is an early-stage seed fund and incubator program located in Mountain View, CA. They invest primarily in consumer & SMB internet startups, and related web infrastructure services. Their initial investment size is typically $25K-$250K.
Selected areas of interest include financial services & e-commerce, search/social/mobile platforms, personal & business productivity, education & language, family & healthcare and web infrastructure.
About Loeb Enterprises:
Loeb Enterprises is a New York based business development lab and private investor, focused on cultivating opportunities in emerging media and consumer marketing. Loeb Enterprises, led by entrepreneur and highly successful CEO Michael Loeb, maintains a team of world-class operators, direct marketing executives and technologists that apply themselves to a select number of strategically important businesses each year. These companies vary by stage—from pure start-ups to mature businesses in need of reinvention—but are alike in that they leverage Loeb’s proven blend of business vision and operational skills toward superior value creation.
Prior to creating Loeb Enterprises, Michael Loeb co-founded the Synapse Group, Inc., with priceline.com founder, Jay Walker. Under the leadership of Mr. Loeb, Synapse grew to become the nation’s largest audience generator for the consumer magazine publishing industry, working with over 300 partners in six major industries and through several channels of sales. Leveraging these partner relationships, Synapse expanded its footprint into newspaper and trade publication subscriptions, as well as the marketing of software, DVDs and merchandise. In 2001, Time Warner acquired a controlling stake in Synapse in a transaction valued by the Wall Street Journal to be in excess of $500 million. Along with Mr.Walker, Mr.Loeb was a founding investor in Priceline.com.
About Affinity China:
Affinity China is a private network combining high-touch and high-tech to provide access to unique lifestyle and travel opportunities for its members. The team of founders brings more than 30 years of experience in cross-border business, travel and entrepreneurship in technology start-up companies. Affinity China’s initial partners are internationally recognized brands and media organizations that provide strategic counsel and support to provide exclusive offers and opportunities for its member network. The Company’s investors include Loeb Enterprises, RRE Ventures and 500 Startups. More information can be found at http://www.affinitychina.com or on Twitter @AffinityChina.
Chris Noble, 646.450.6625 noble(at)affinitychina(dot)com