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Jeff Bezos invests in Indonesian eCommerce startup Ula

NEW DELHI, INDIA – JANUARY 16: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at the Amazon’s annual Smbhav event at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, on January 16, 2020 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images)

Original post by TechCrunch

Indonesian eCommerce startup Ula, which has raised over $30 million and courted many high-profile investors since launching last year, has now won the trust of the world’s richest person.

The founder of Amazon has invested in the one-and-a-half-year-old startup’s new financing round, his first in the Southeast Asia region.

The Jakarta-headquartered firm — which counts B Capital Group, Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Quona Capital among its existing investors — is in the advanced stages of talks to finalize a new round of over $80 million. Leading Southeast Asian funds Northstar group, AC Ventures, and Citius also invested in the new round.

Jeff Bezos has agreed to invest in Ula through his family office, Bezos Expeditions, people said, requesting anonymity as the matter is private. B Capital Group, Tencent, and Prosus Ventures are positioning to co-lead the round, which could close as soon as this month.

Bezos’ interest in Ula, which operates a business-to-business eCommerce platform, comes at a time when Amazon has either not entered most Southeast Asian nations — or maintains a limited presence there.

Ula helps small retailers solve inefficiencies that they face in the supply chain, inventory, and working capital. It operates a wholesale eCommerce marketplace to help store owners stock only the inventory they need and also grants them working capital.

The startup was founded by Nipun Mehra (a former executive of Flipkart in India and ex-partner at Sequoia Capital India), Alan Wong (who previously worked with Amazon), Derry Sakti (who oversaw consumer goods giant P&G’s operations in Indonesia), and Riky Tenggara (formerly with Lazada and aCommerce).

“We launched in 2020, with a single-minded mission to empower small, neighborhood retailers with technology to increase their income. We take a long-term approach to solve the underlying problems of traditional retailers by investing in technology, supply chain, and data-enabled credit offering,” said Nipun Mehra, co-founder, and chief executive of Ula, in a statement.

“Ula’s new investors come with global expertise and share this long-term mindset of the company. We are grateful to them for believing in Ula’s mission and hope to learn from their experience re-imagining retail in other emerging markets” he added.

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