aruna fisherman

Aruna – How the “Alibaba” of Fishery plan to seize a trillion dollar market

Original Post by 7.5 Degrees

Next you will see:

  1. The “Alibaba” of Fishery, fishermen life turns for the better
  2. Inviting the local heroes to go to the countryside and persuading its competitors to change careers
  3. China has Alibaba, Indonesia has Aruna

In April 2019, Alipay and National University of Singapore held an innovation challenge (Alipay-NUS Enterprise Social Innovation Challenge), the winner of the competition is from Indonesia’s fishing B2B e-commerce Aruna. Indonesian President Joko Widodo openly praised Aruna at the ASEAN summit for helping fishermen increase their income by 20 per cent, an innovation that should be taken seriously. In August 2020, Aruna once again draws our attention as it received US$5.5 million in new fundraising round and achieved an 86-fold increase in revenue during the pandemic compared with the same period a year earlier. How does the “Alibaba” of fishery Aruna do it  ?


Aruna co-founder: Indraka Fadhillah (left), Utari Octavianty (middle) & Farid Naufal Aslam (right)


1. The “Alibaba” of Fishery, fishermen life turns for the better

“My parents have always worked in the fishing industry, but the family is not in good financial condition. They sent me to college in the hope that I would get a good job and stop being like them.” But Utari Octavianty, Aruna’s co-founder, said he was puzzled: Why is Indonesia’s fishing resources so rich, yet its fishermen’s lives so simple? Indonesia has the second longest coastline in the world. The fishermen work hard along this 50,000 km coastline and the fishery market creates economic value of about US$1 trillion, but the average monthly income of fishermen is only US$84, and the number of fishermen is down 50 per cent from a decade ago.


Utari Octavianty, co-founder of Aruna


Upon investigating the reason behind it, Utari identified the pain points as well as a commercial opportunity. Lacking a transparent pricing benchmark, fishermen often ends up being exploited by the distributors. Layers and layers of supply chain further reduce the fishermen’s profits. In addition, the quality control of fish products is not managed well by fishermen, which lowered the quality of fish products and also affected its price. According to Utari, all of these factors contribute to a spread of more than 70% and so what’s missing in the middle is a platform that connects fishermen directly to their customers. Utari, who has a deep affection for the fishing industry, is determined to change that image and create a better life for the fishermen.

After graduating, Utari partnered with university friends Farid Naufal Aslam and Indraka Fadhillah in 2016 to create the Alibaba of Fishery – Aruna, to provide electronic trading platforms for fishermen and global business buyers. In addition to helping fishermen export 95 per cent of their seafood to East Asia, North America and the Middle East, Aruna also supplies restaurants, supermarkets and hotels in Indonesia. Moreover, Aruna partners with e-commerce platforms such as Tokopedia, Bukalapak, Shopee and Grab Mart, selling fresh seafood and processed seafood to consumers. With no traditional middlemen making the difference, the fishermen receive more money. With Aruna’s help, the average monthly income of fishermen has tripled to a range of US$240 to US$1035 a month.


Aruna fisherman fishing


Aruna’s has two kinds of revenue models, the primary one is to extract 10% – 20% of the commission from the transaction flow, followed by the subscription fee charged to the businesses. At the same time, in order to encourage fishermen to sell more to Aruna, Aruna also provides points to fishermen according to the number of transactions. Fishermen can go to Aruna’s offline store to exchange points for fishing gear and other supplies. Aruna currently has more than 30 offline stations throughout the island, and 2,000 fishermen from 16 provinces use Aruna.

2. Inviting the local heroes to go to the countryside and persuading its competitors to change careers

According to Utari, Aruna is characterized not only by technology empowerment, but also by community empowerment. The fishing community behind Aruna has three types of users: the fisherman who does the fishing, the fisherman’s wife who processes the seafood, and the local heroes or otherwise the account manager who teaches the fishermen how to use the Aruna mobile app. It is understood that Aruna’s account managers are mostly from fishermen’s families of millennial youth. They are more familiar with smartphones, which can help fishermen upload photos of fish products to platforms and help fishermen process transaction information.


Aruna Account manager ( local heroes ) is teaching fishermen to use the App


Account managers, or offline agents, are particularly common in rural Indonesia. Since rural users are not well educated in finance and technology, some banks will send account managers to the countryside to promote their financial products and teach them how to use these products. Indonesian e-commerce firm Kudo which got acquired by Grab and Indonesian fintech firm Payfazz that received new funding earlier adopt similar marketing strategy. Start-ups like Aruna is no exception. Fishing villages in Indonesia are generally located in remote areas, where it is not easy to promote e-commerce because most fishermen are not proficient in modern intelligent technology. At this time, it is necessary to have a person who can help fishermen to be familiar with the operation of e-commerce and help to complete the online transactions.

To solve the problem of user education, Aruna has to deal with competitors. In the same week that Aruna announced the news of its fundraising round, eFishery, another platform focused on Indonesian fisheries, announced the completion of series B financing, suggesting that the trillion-dollar fishing market had already been targeted by entrepreneurs. But eFishery is not a direct competitor to Auna, because the former focuses on fish farming and the latter on fish products, Utari said.

Arunas most direct rival is the traditional offline distributor and middleman. They hold information of the fishermen in every area, and the fishermen are also very familiar with them, he said. In order to compete with these middlemen, on the one hand, Aruna needs to strengthen its ties with the existing fishermen’s community; on the other hand, Auna needs to convince its competitors and persuade middlemen to become employees of Aruna. They can be local heroes, an account manager who goes to the countryside, or they can join the quality control group, since they not only know how to deal with fishermen, but also know how to distinguish the quality of fish products, Utari said.

3. China has Alibaba, Indonesia has Aruna

In the process of development, Aruna overcame plenty of obstacles, but the COVID-19 situation this year still poses as major roadblock. The international logistics blockade brought about by the pandemic has directly cut off the financial routes of many export traders. Utari points out that the biggest problem is in logistics, but consumer demand for seafood is still there. In order to reduce the impact of the pandemic on the overall business of Auna, Aruna launched the domestic business Seafood by Aruna, a year in advance in order to supply domestic retailers and ecommerce. In addition, Aruna continues to negotiate with the government to request the opening of green logistics channels to ensure the smooth export of seafood. As a result, Aruna’s revenue rose 86-fold in this special period from a year earlier.

Utari is not only confident but also ambitious about the future. “Each country has its own advantages, entrepreneurs use this advantage to create a global company. For example, China’s manufacturing industry is developed, and then there is Alibaba. Indonesian fishing industry is developed, so we have Aruna.” While Alibaba’s purpose is: let the world have no difficult business, Aruna’s purpose can be summed up as: let the fishermen have no difficult business, let the sea create a better life for the fishermen.

It has a big impact on us, Utari said of Alibaba. After winning the Alipay-NUs Innovation Challenge, the Aruna team was invited to Hangzhou to visit Alibaba’s office and listen to Alibaba’s growth history. “Alibaba has turned China from a less digital country into a very digital country. If Alibaba’s business can succeed in rural areas, I believe we can too.”


Indonesian group-buying startup bags seed funding from AC Ventures

Original Post by Tech in Asia

KitaBeli, an Indonesia-based social commerce startup, said it has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding led by East Ventures. AC Ventures and some angel investors also participated in the round.

Founded in March this year, KitaBeli is a startup that sells daily essentials, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), and other household items. But unlike other ecommerce platforms that also sell the same products, it allows users to buy in groups with their friends and get discounts, similar to Pinduoduo’s group-buying scheme.

According to the company, rice and noodles are the best-selling items on its platform. It usually sources its products from wholesalers.

KitaBeli refused to share its transaction figures, but claimed that the average customer buys more than 6x every month. It also claimed that 95% of customers’ orders are delivered within two days.

The startup said it plans to use the new funds for product development and regional expansion to Tier 2, Tier 3, and Tier 4 cities in Indonesia. Currently, it serves customers only within the Greater Jakarta area.

What problem is it solving? According to Prateek Chaturvedi, co-founder of KitaBeli, he founded the company after observing how social Indonesians are. “They love to share information about deals, discounts, and purchases with their friends and family. We saw that other platforms have not been able to tap into this behavior,” he said.

Most of the company’s earliest users came from online groups of mothers and housewives. Since then, almost all of its new users are people who have been invited to the app by old customers.

What are the opportunities? Based on Google’s recent e-Conomy Southeast Asia report, the ecommerce market in Indonesia is predicted to reach US$82 billion in 2025. But despite the existence of ecommerce giants like Tokopedia and Shopee, the country still saw the rise of social commerce startups that are trying to attract users – mostly those who are living outside of Greater Jakarta – and boost transactions in a different way. Most of these startups are reaching customers via a network of agents and resellers.

KitaBeli is quite different from the pack because it focuses on the direct-to-consumer approach through group-buying schemes.

“KitaBeli introduces group buying to one of the fastest-growing ecommerce markets,” said Willson Cuaca, co-founder and managing partner of East Ventures.

According to Adrian Li, managing partner of AC Ventures, FMCG ecommerce in the country still has significant room for growth, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. KitaBeli’s group-buying approach can create a sticky user experience that could result in high frequency of transactions, he added.

Who are the team members? KitaBeli was co-founded by Prateek Chaturvedi, Ivana Tjandra, Subhash Bishnoi, and Gopal Singh Rathore.

Chaturvedi was the founder of the Indian SaaS startup GetFocus, and Bishnoi and Rathore were his employees at that company. The startup was acquired in 2018 by Indonesian point of sales (PoS) startup Moka, where Tjandra is a former executive.

Currently, the startup has 35 employees that are split between India and Indonesia. Its operations and marketing teams are based in Jakarta, while its technology team works from


VCs compete to invest in BukuWarung – Indonesia’s account king that offers to digitalize bookkeeping for 900,000 MSMEs

Original Post by 7.5 Degrees 

Next you will see:

  1. Indian entrepreneur who spotted opportunity in Indonesia
  2. Enabling 900,000 MSMEs in Indonesia
  3. Get a lot of VC big coffee to invest first

In Indonesia, 60 million MSMEs contribute 60% of the country’s GDP but these small and medium-sized enterprises that create great economic value are still operating manually and relying on manual accounting. Abhinay Peddisetty and Chinmay Chauhan, two longtime Indians working in Southeast Asia, are determined to change that. In 2019, BukuWarung, an accounting application focused on electronic bookkeeping was launched to help microenterprises manage their cash flow and credit transaction records.

Although BukuWarung was founded only a year ago, it has gained East Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, Tanglin Venture Partners, AC Ventures, Quona Capital and other prominent Southeast Asian VC investment. Compared to the mature accounting software application market in China, what kind of business model can BukuWarung offer?


Founder of BukuWarung Chinmay Chauhan(left) & Abhinay Peddisetty(right)


1. Indian entrepreneur who spotted opportunity in Indonesia

Abhinay Peddisetty, co-founder of BukuWarung, said: “SMEs have long relied on pens, paper and calculators to record financial data such as revenue, expenditure and outstanding accounts, But this approach is so backward that banks and financial institutions will not agree to provide financial services to them.” He and his co-founder, Chinmay Chauhan, both come from small business families in India and have a deep sense of the challenges small businesses face in managing their cash flow and keeping track of their credit records. After working in Southeast Asia for 7 years, Chinmay, who worked at travel unicorn Grab, e-commerce company Kudo in Indonesia, and Carousell in Southeast Asia, found out that there is also a huge gap in digitalization for Indonesian MSMEs.


Chinmay Chauhan, co-founder of BukuWarung


“Every working experience has been meaningful, which has brought me into contact with various micro-entrepreneurs such as the driver of Grab, the agent of Kudo, the seller of Carousell etc. It also helped me understand what SMEs really need. In addition, I have met many excellent colleagues in every work experience, some of them later became Buku Warung angel investors.”  Chinmay observed that millions of SMEs in Indonesia use Whatsapp and Facebook, but rarely use enterprise related app, which affected their growth in online businesses. As a result, this also creates a bigger opportunity to do enterprise services.

At the same time, they are seeing players in India already working on financial enterprise services such as the billing application Khatabook and the credit management application OkCredit. “Now that we have similar problems in Indonesia, we decided to solve them.”, according to Chinmay. It took Abhinay Peddisetty and Chinmay Chauhan more than three months to visit several different regions in Indonesia before the official launch of BukuWarung, They have also spoken to more than 400 merchants one-on-one about the challenges they face in bookkeeping, credit history and computing.

2 .Enable 900,000 MSMEs in Indonesia

When it comes to financial type of enterprise application, China primarily focuses on financial SaaS products, and the market development has reached a relatively mature stage. Financial SaaS has different functions depending on the size of the customer. According to the introduction of linear capital, the financial management SaaS product functions of such small and micro enterprises in China are mainly divided into three categories: agent accounting, travel reimbursement, cost control. Examples are Zhang Wang, Yun Zhang Fang, Yi Kuai Bao, Fei Kong Bao etc. For larger enterprises, the financial SaaS product service chain is also longer, to provide one-stop financial cloud services for enterprises.

Source: Linear Capital


However Indonesia’s MSMEs are lagging far behind China, and the financial services they need are actually more basic. A more primitive approach is required to analyze the market’s pain points: how do we shift from a manual accounting model that relies on pens, paper and calculators to an online digital model. As a result, Abhinay Peddisetty and Chinmay Chauhan decided to start devising a solution that offers electronic bookkeeping.


Replacing traditional bookkeeping with BukuWarung


BukuWarung is a basic accounting application that helps microenterprises manage their cash flow and credit transactions through electronic bookkeeping, recording data on credit, spending, sales, etc. At the same time, BukuWarung is able to generate financial reports based on these data records to help companies understand the cash flow changes. Recording credit transactions is a very important part of merchant management funds. Credit here usually refers to the credit loans given by small businesses to customers or suppliers, which can also be regarded as a form of credit. If these accounts cannot be recovered in time, it will affect the cash flow of businesses.

Replacing traditional bookkeeping with BukuWarung


“Because they are familiar with the people around them, small businesses often allow customers credit, up to 1 million rupiah (about 471 yuan). But at the end of the month when it is time to collect the money, businesses will go to their customers’ homes personally to ‘chase the debt’. Some business owners might feel embarrassed.” Chinmay points out the difficulties merchants face in collecting money. BukuWarung calculates monthly receivables based on credit records and sends automated payment reminders via text message or WhatsApp to get them to pay back on time. This not only avoids the embarrassment of face-to-face collection, but also allows businesses to increase the speed of collection three times. In order to better record credit transactions, Buku Warung also acquired Lunasbos, an Indonesian credit recording app.


Merchants using BukuWarung


In the process of talking to merchants, Chinmay learned that most people still use pay-per-view traffic and low-end smartphones, therefore he thinks BukuWarung should be designed to be as lightweight as possible and work well with poor network reception or even without  network. BukuWarung is half the size of the other contenders at 6MB. “BukuWarung is simple to use, has low memory, and is fast, especially popular with small and micro businesses. BukuWarung has a higher usage rate than any enterprise service App.” Chinmay confidently remarked about BukuWarung.

So far, BukuWarung has served 900,000 MSMEs in 750 cities and towns in Indonesia, Covering street stalls, grocery stores, mobile recharge points, wholesalers, traders, online sellers, more than 50 different categories of businesses.

3. Get many VC big guy scrambling to invest

In April this year, BukuWarung carried out seed round financing, led by Indonesia’s early venture capital East Ventures, Southeast Asian venture capital AC Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, Tanglin Venture Partners and so on. Michael Sampoerna, founder of Snapdeal, an Indian ecommerce, was also involved in the investment, after investing in Khatabook, an Indian bookkeeping software. In addition, angel investors from Grab, Gojek, Flipkart, Xendit, PayPal, Rapyd, Alterra and ZEN Rooms have also invested in BukuWarung. Three months later, BukuWarung followed the pre Series-A round of financing, led by Quona Capital, which focuses on emerging market financial technology, and many existing investors continue to do so.

After a year or so in business, BukuWarung has attracted many big VC’s attention. At the same time, BukuWarung participated in the Startup Acceleration Program of the American Seed Accelerator Y Combinator. Y Combinator partner Gustaf Alströmer is bullish on BukuWarung – “There is a big opportunity for emerging markets to build digital infrastructure, especially in the post-pandemic era. We see BukuWarung following the path taken by the Indian financial apps Khatabook and OkCredit, and we believe it will also empower Indonesian microenterprises.”.

When it comes to the outbreak, Chinmay believes that this particular period has indeed allowed BukuWarung to develop further. “From my first visit to Southeast Asia seven years ago, I have observed a steady increase in Internet penetration in Indonesia every year. In the past six months, due to the impact of the pandemic, more and more enterprises choose to carry out online business to gain more customers. In such a special period, they need to have a good product to help them manage the cash flow.”

Meanwhile, BukuKas, an Indonesian electronic bookkeeping app, received a seed round led by Sequoia India in May and announced last week that it had secured US$9 million in pre Series-A round financing. In early August, Credibook, an Indonesian debt management application, received seed funding from Singaporean venture capitalist Insignia Ventures Partners and Indonesia fintech company Payfazz. Whether its BukuWarung, BukuKas or Credibook, they are all very young, and they all target the accounting needs of Indonesia’s MSMEs. Chinmay said “It is a very big market that can accommodate a lot of players. And what we should compete truly, is converting the merchants’ manual bookkeeping habits into digital bookkeeping.”



Fishery startup Aruna nets $5.5 million in fresh funds

Original post by The Jakarta Post

Aquaculture startup Aruna has announced it had closed a US$5.5 million deal in the latest funding round with its current investors, on the back of the company’s astronomical surge in revenue in the first half of the year

Aruna raised the funds from top Indonesian venture capital firms AC Ventures, East Ventures and SMDV, the venture capital arm of the Sinar Mas Group.

The fishery startup plans to use the fresh capital injection to expand its  community of fishers to help improve productivity, product quality and standards. The aquaculture platform currently works with thousands of fishers in 31 coastal areas across Indonesia.

Aruna also intends to use the capital to scale up its domestic business-to-business (B2B) market as well as its export market to East Asia, Southeast Asia, Middle East and North America.

“E-commerce helps create fairness and transparency in the fishing industry, as well as a more efficient supply chain. [In] reaching more coastal areas across Indonesia, Aruna is supporting economic equality in Indonesia,” Aruna CEO and cofounder Farid Naufal Aslam said in a statement on Wednesday.

Farid stated that the company’s revenue in the first half of 2020 grew 86 times compared to the same period in 2019, on the back of strong global demand for fresh seafood products despite the pandemic.

“This is a company that has been positively impacted by the [health] crisis and we are excited to double down on them,” said East Ventures cofounder and managing partner Willson Cuaca.

Aruna also launched a home delivery service for seafood products called Seafood by Aruna to capitalize on the rising demand for food deliveries during the health crisis.. The service is currently available in Greater Jakarta, Bandung in West Java and Balikpapan in East Kalimantan.

Meanwhile, Aruna is seeking new partnerships with resellers after launching its official stores on online marketplaces Tokopedia, Shopee, Bukalapak and GrabMart, as well as online grocery stores Sayurbox, Nalayan and Delisari.

Another Indonesian aquaculture startup, eFishery, recently announced it had closed its series B funding round led by Go-Ventures, the venture capital arm of Gojek, and the Northstar Group. The company reported that it had quadrupled growth and profitability in the last two years.


Bookkeeping startup BukuWarung raises pre-A funding from Quona, AC Ventures

Original Post by The Jakarta Post

Accounting application for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) BukuWarung announced Tuesday that it has raised an undisclosed amount from pre-series A funding, bringing its total funding to date to an “eight-digit figure”.

The new round of funding was led by fintech-focused venture firm Quona Capital, along with East Ventures, AC Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, Tanglin Ventures Partners and Michael Sampoerna.

“Micro-businesses have always been underserved in Indonesia and have very little access to quality financial services. They have long relied on pen, paper and calculators to track cash and credit transactions,” BukuWarung’s cofounder Abhinay Peddisetty said in a media statement on Wednesday.

Small businesses, which make up around 60 percent of the country’s economy, are suffering from slumping sales due to the coronavirus outbreak that has pushed customers to stay home and has hurt demand.

The government aims to have 10 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) go digital by the end of the year to help ease the financial impacts of the pandemic, Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Teten Masduki said earlier this month.

BukuWarung claimed it has more than 600,000 SME clients across more than 750 cities, mostly in tier two and three cities in Indonesia, and aims to build digital infrastructure for 60 million MSMEs in the country.

He went on to say that by using BukuWarung, merchants could receive credit repayments three times faster, improve their cash flow through automated payment reminders and be able to save on average Rp 110,000 (US$7.63) in bookkeeping expenses.

“Our product is designed for merchants that may not have a lot of space on their devices or weak data connectivity,” said BukuWarung cofounder Chinmay Chauhan, adding that the company served more than 50 different categories of businesses, including mom and pop convenience stores, grocery stores and mobile top-ups, among other businesses.

Serving micro-businesses is important to the growth of inclusive emerging economies, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Quona Capital cofounder and partner Ganesh Rengaswamy said.

“It’s never been more critical for businesses to migrate from manual tools to digital ones during this time, and BukuWarung not only allows underserved micro-businesses to focus on growth, but it also provides a platform to layer in additional services that benefit the businesses,” he said.

“MSMEs are the backbone of Indonesia’s hyperlocal economy and we really believe the next wave of innovative startups will come from digitizing this segment,” said East Venture managing partner Willson Cuaca.

BukuWarung received seed funding in April led by East Ventures as well as angel investment from Grab, Gojek, Xendit and PayPal, among other investors.

Start-ups in Indonesia have still enjoyed ample funding amid the COVID-19 pandemic. BukuWarung competitor BukuKas also received seed-funding in April from Sequoia India’s second accelerator program.

Other sectors such as edutech, e-groceries and P2P lending have also received investment despite the economic slowdown.


CoLearn is changing the pace of education in Indonesia: Startup Stories

Original Post by KrAsia

The company partners with Indonesia’s tutoring centers, which are an essential service for many students.

Tutoring centers are a popular choice for Indonesian students who are after supplementary lessons outside of school. But now, with Indonesia’s traffic getting worse and the fees for tutoring classes soaring, students are increasingly choosing to go online for their tutorial sessions. Education tech apps are seeing a surge in usage and traffic, and they are eating into the market share of the 619,947 brick-and-mortar tutoring businesses in the country.

But if something works, why not bring it into a new era with some updates? Marc Irawan and Abhay Saboo came up with the idea to provide tutors with the means to conduct their lessons online. The platform is called CoLearn. “Our app makes both teaching and learning easier by offering online classes, as well as livestreamed homework and exam assistance,” said CoLearn’s co-founder and CEO Abhay Saboo in an interview with KrASIA.


Both of CoLearn’s founders care deeply about ensuring the next generation receives the best possible education. Saboo had originally planned to set up a chain of tutoring centers called IQ Education in India in 2008. His friend, Irawan, ran his family’s management consulting business but taught STEM classes for kids on weekends. With their interests aligned, Saboo asked Irawan to help develop the coding content and curriculum for the tutoring centers he intended to open.

“I eventually gave up on the idea during a trip to visit my family in Jakarta. I realized how much I loved Indonesia and decided that this is where I want to build something that would have a positive impact on the country I consider home,” said the Harvard graduate.

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous nation, yet its students consistently rank in the bottom 10% in global benchmark tests. This may be partially explained by the fact that less than 15% of parents in the country have attended college, so despite their best intentions, they simply may not know what classes, preparation, or instruction their children need to become more competitive.

Parents tend to send their children to tutoring centers to help them improve their grades. However, not all of them have the time to drive their children to the classes because of their work. For the same reason, they may not be able to help their kids with their studies at home. Saboo realized that phones and tablets, which are already in nearly all households, could bypass that problem. The children could access tutors and materials in the comfort of their homes, according to their own schedules. No travel would be needed.

Irawan loved the idea. With Saboo’s help, he managed to convince his family that taking the plunge with CoLearn was the right thing for him to do.


CoLearn started by partnering with tutoring centers and providing them with interactive online functionality, such as the infrastructure needed for video classes. But Saboo observed that most students did not find pre-recorded videos to be all that engaging. The content just didn’t have the impact of offline classes.

Unlike other platforms that rely on ready-made video tutorials and online quizzes, CoLearn implements a hybrid of online and offline learning. This way, they can provide a better fit for each student’s needs and preferred learning methods. “For example, some teachers with more expertise and experience may teach larger groups, or, some students may feel more comfortable learning in small groups,” Saboo said.

CoLearn’s app went live in January 2020. It features a practice platform with mock quizzes, giving students the space to learn independently, at their own pace, with hints and solutions to each problem. It also has a dashboard that helps tutors gain a better understanding of each student’s strengths and weaknesses. There are also tutorial videos as well as livestreamed classes.

As its user base grows, the startup is opening the platform to instructors who are not associated with tutoring centers. In just five months, the company has recruited 200 teachers for the platform, with 3,000 student users and 65 tutoring center partners—offering lessons in all subjects. Most of CoLearn’s users are students between elementary school and high school.

CoLearn’s partnerships with tutoring centers, and not only individual tutors, is what makes them stand out from other education tech companies.

Because of COVID-19, schools in Indonesia are closed, so education tech apps have become crucial in many households. CoLearn has seen livestreaming numbers on its platform go up 20 times, and expects even more people to sign up and log on in the coming months.

CoLearn is a member of the third cohort of Sequoia India’s accelerator program, Surge. The company has already received an undisclosed amount of funding from Surge, Alpha JWC Ventures, and AC Ventures. “We aim to become one of Indonesia’s favorite destinations for students in the next six to 12 months,” Irawan said.

In the long term, the pair would like to see students using CoLearn perform in the top of 50% of the benchmark test PISA, so that they are set up to compete on a global level. “Our priority now is to reimagine ourselves for a post-COVID world, so we can maintain and even increase our traction once current restrictions start to ease,” said Saboo.


Meet BukuWarung, the bookkeeping app built for Indonesia’s 60 million “micromerchants”

Original Post by BukuWarung

In Indonesia, there are about 60 million “micromerchants,” typically small store owners who sell food and other staple items, and have close relationships with their customers. Many often extend informal lines of credit to shoppers, but much of their financial tracking is still done with pen and paper ledgers. Chinmay Chauhan and Abhinay Peddisetty, the co-founders of BukuWarung, want to digitize the process with a financial platform designed especially for small Indonesian businesses. Their goal is to start with bookkeeping tools, before expanding into services, including access to working capital.

The startup is currently taking part in Y Combinator’s startup accelerator program. BukuWarung  has also raised seed funding from East Ventures, AC Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, Tanglin Ventures, Samporna, as well as strategic angel investors from Grab, Gojek, Flipkart, PayPal, Xendit, Rapyd, Alterra, ZEN Rooms and other companies.

Chauhan and Peddisetty met while working together at Singapore-based, peer-to-peer marketplace Carousell, where they focused on developing monetization products for sellers. Chauhan also worked on products for merchants at Grab, the largest ride-sharing and on-demand delivery company in Southeast Asia. But the inspiration behind BukuWarung is also personal, because both Chauhan and Peddisetty’s families run small neighborhood stores.

“We can look at this more deeply given the experience we have monetizing merchants at Grab and Carousell,” Chauhan said. “We also know good potential exists in Indonesia, where we can help 60 million micromerchants come online and digitize. From a macro level, we felt this would be a huge opportunity, and there is also the personal element of potentially being able to impact millions of merchants.”

Paper records not only make tracking finances a labor-intensive process, but also mean it is harder for merchants to gain access to lines of credit. Chauhan and Peddisetty told TechCrunch that their goal is to expand the company to financial services as well, doing for Indonesian merchants what KhataBook and OKCredit have done in India.

Since launching last year, BukuWarung has signed up 600,000 merchants across 750 cities and towns in Indonesia and currently has about 200,000 monthly average users. The founders say their goal is to reach all 60 million micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses in Indonesia. It has already made its first acquisition: Lunasbos, one of the first Indonesian credit-tracking apps.

While preparing to launch BukuWarung, the founders traveled through Indonesia, speaking to almost 400 merchants about their challenges with bookkeeping, credit tracing and accounting. Based on those conversations, the two decided to start by focusing on a bookkeeping app, which launched 10 months ago.

Despite a partial lockdown in Indonesia from April to June, BukuWarung continued to grow because most of its users sell daily necessities, like groceries. In smaller cities and villages, merchants often offer credit lines because their customers’ cash flow is very tight, and many do not have a regular monthly paycheck, Chauhan said. “Everyone is buying and selling on credit, that is something we validated in our research.”

Then there is the community aspect, where many merchants are close to their customers.

“This changes depending on the location of the business, but business owners have often known a lot of people in their neighborhoods for a long time, and when it comes to credit, they typically offer 500 Indonesian rupiah all the way up to about one million rupiah [about USD $70.56],” Chauhan said. But when it’s time to settle bills, which often means going to customers’ homes and asking for payment, many merchants feel hesitant, he added.

“They will never chase or call the person. The app we built sends automatic reminders to customers, and this ‘soft message’ really helps merchants not feel shy while at the same time professionally giving customer reminders.”

While talking to merchants, BukuWarung’s founders also realized that many were using pay-as-you-go data plans and lower-end smartphones. Therefore, their app needed to be as lightweight as possible and work offline so users could access and update their records anytime. This focus on making their app take up as little data and space as possible differentiates them from other bookkeeping apps, the founders said, and helps them sign up and retain users in Indonesia.

Chauhan and Peddisetty said the company will partner with financial tech companies as it grows to give users access to online payment systems, including digital wallets and financing.

In a statement to TechCrunch, Y Combinator partner Gustaf Alströmer said, “Building digital infrastructure for emerging economies is a huge opportunity, especially in the post-COVID world. We believe BukuWarung is a team that can take on this challenge. We have seen this journey before with Khatabook and OkCredit in India and see that BukuWarung is on a similar growth trajectory to empower microbusinesses in Indonesia.”


Logistics startup Shipper bags series A money to double down on Indonesia

Original Post by Tech in Asia

Shipper, an Indonesia-based logistics platform, has secured an undisclosed amount of series A funding in a round led by consumer internet group and tech investor Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers Ventures) to further scale in the archipelago.

Existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Floodgate, Y Combinator, Insignia Ventures Partners, and AC Ventures also participated in the round.

Launched in 2016, Shipper offers a one-stop logistics solution that offers a multi-courier shipping platform and distributed warehousing and fulfillment network. It aims to help solve three major problems in the industry: a confusing plethora of different warehousing and shipping options, a lack of pricing transparency, and below-average tracking systems.

Shipper will use the new funds to ramp up hiring to build out its data and tech capabilities, Budi Handoko, chief operating officer and co-founder at Shipper, said. The investment will also help the startup to continue expanding its solutions.

What is the startup’s funding history? Shipper closed its seed round in 2019, raising US$5 million from Y Combinator, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Floodgate, Insignia Ventures Partners, and Convergence Ventures.

How much traction has it gotten? Over the past year, Shipper saw about 10x to 15x in growth, Handoko told Tech in Asia. He also noted that logistics services in the country is in high demand and that technology is needed to make the fragmented network more structured.

See also: Indonesia’s logistics scene is growing fast. Here are the main players

The startup currently works with more than 100 express couriers and has over 30 fulfillment centers, with plans to expand its reach to new regions in its home market.

What challenges has it faced recently? Customers will continue to come and go as the Covid-19 pandemic hits businesses.

To address this, the startup will focus on further developing its technology to empower its logistics partners and meet customer demand.

What are its future plans? During the announcement of its seed round last year, Shipper revealed plans to expand into Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines soon. But with a pandemic-hit economy, the startup said it’s choosing to focus on Indonesia for now.

“As of today, all of our team is very focused on creating value for Indonesia and we’re not at the moment looking at external markets. But it is still a mission and vision of ours to create impact broadly across the region,” Handoko said.

Although the logistics market in Indonesia is projected to hit US$240 billion by 2021, the processes are still very inefficient. In tier-two and tier-three cities, shipping costs are still expensive – adding up to 40% more on top of a customer’s total purchase amount – becoming a major barrier to mass ecommerce adoption.

Other local logistics players addressing this market include Coca-Cola-backed Kargo and East Ventures-backed Waresix, among many others.


Indonesia’s Soul Parking raising from AC Ventures, Agaeti

Original post by Deal Street Asia

Indonesia’s compact motorcycle storage solution Soul Parking has raised an undisclosed amount in its seed funding round co-led by AC Ventures and Agaeti Ventures.

The round saw participation from a few strategic angel investors, a top executive from the company confirmed to DealStreetAsia.

While financial terms were not disclosed, sources peg the deal size to be in the early-million range.

Soul Parking aims to address Indonesia’s traffic and street parking problem through its locally-produced compact motorcycle storage solution.

With this fundraising, the company plans to boost the number of CMS modules and develop an app with features such as parking discovery, booking, and payment. It plans to launch the new services by the end of this month.

“We are delighted to have partnered with AC Ventures, Agaeti Ventures and our strategic angel investors, with a common vision to revolutionize conventional motorcycles parking in Indonesia,” said Soul Parking CEO Kemas Ilham Akbar.

The motorcycle market in Indonesia is estimated at 120 million vehicles, with 15 per cent of that number in Jakarta alone. Central Bureau of Statistics Indonesia data pegs the motorcycle growth in the country at 7 per cent per year, significantly outweighing the growth of road surface at less than 0.1% per year.

“A CMS module can store up to 240 motorcycles, essentially 8 times more productive than conventional off-street parking,” said Soul Parking CFO Kenneth Darmansjah.

Meanwhile, Michael Soerijadji, managing partner of AC Ventures and Agaeti Ventures, added: “We are very excited to work with Ilham, Andru, Riza and Soul Parking team to help revolutionize motorcycle parking for over 100 million users in Indonesia. By increasing efficiency and maximizing land capacity, especially in crowded cities, this will help alleviate traffic in heavily congested areas.”

As of the end of February this year, the company has opened its first location in Jakarta at Kebon, Kacang area. With the rise of IoT in Indonesia especially for smart city solutions, Soul Parking plans to offer a smart parking solution aiming to minimize illegal parking and traffic jams in Indonesia.

Agaeti closed its debut fund at $10 million in 2018 and has since invested in over 19 companies including Bobobox, Kargo Technologies and Fore Coffee. The recently-formed AC Ventures is in the market to raise a new fund to invest in up to 35 early-stage, tech-enabled startups in Indonesia over the next three years.


Indonesia’s logistics aggregator Shipper secures US$20M Series A led by Naspers with participation from AC Ventures

Original post by e27.

Other investors joining the Y-Combinator startup’s new investment round are AC Ventures, Insignia Ventures, Lightspeed

Shipper, an Indonesia-based logistics aggregator, has reportedly raised US$20 million in Series A funding led by Naspers.

Also participated in the round are AC Ventures, Insignia Ventures Partners, and Lightspeed Venture Partners, says a DailySocial report.

Neither Shipper nor the investors have confirmed this development to the publication.

Shipper was established in 2017 by co-founders Budi Handoko and Phil Opamuratawongse.

It offers a dashboard to help sellers on e-commerce platforms to manage the delivery of their customers. The dashboard allows sellers to get recommendations on the most efficient logistic services, including for courier pickup and integrated reports.

Shipper’s technology can be used to predict the best shipping routes and consolidate packages headed in the same direction. It also provides a multi-carrier API that allows sellers to manage orders, print shipping labels, and get tracking information from multiple providers on their phones.

The company targets to have at least 1,000 micro-hubs to facilitate pickups and 20 logistics centres.

Shipper also gears up for regional expansion to markets, such as Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Shipper claims to have around 2,500 logistics providers in Indonesia operating under its platform and 25,000 online sellers.

In September 2019, the company closed US$5 million in funding from Lightspeed, Floodgate Ventures, Insignia, Convergence Ventures, and Y Combinator.

Shipper was part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2019 batch.

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