The Business Times

Indonesian B2B e-commerce startup Ula raises US$87m in round co-led by Tencent

Michelle Zhu
Published Mon, Oct 4, 2021 · 11:49 AM

INDONESIA'S Ula has raised US$87 million in a Series B funding round led by Prosus Ventures, Tencent and B-Capital, the B2B (business-to-business) e-commerce marketplace said on Monday.

Other participating investors include Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's investment firm Bezos Expeditions, Singapore-based private equity firm Northstar Group, as well as South-east Asian funds AC Ventures and Citius.

Existing investors Lightspeed India, Sequoia Capital India, Quona Capital and Alter Global also participated in the round.

Ula's latest fundraise comes eight months after its US$20 million Series A round in January 2021, following its US$10.5 million seed round in June 2020.

The firm will use its Series B proceeds to invest in growing its presence across Indonesia while expanding in South-east Asia by adding new categories, expanding its "buy now, pay later" (BNPL) offering, as well as building new technology and a local supply chain and logistics infrastructure.

Commenting on the latest funding round, the company's co-founder and chief executive Nipun Mehra said: "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."

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In its release, Ula said it is also now able to leverage its relationships and market knowledge to offer a "pay later" option which it expects to be a US$150 billion market in Indonesia.

Noting that many store owners are limited to traditional banking services and relying on daily cash flow income, it said the option to pay for their supplies later can prove to be a "game changer".

The company further highlighted that its Series B funding round comes amid Indonesia's worst-ever Covid-19 spike. It said the latest funding round strengthens Ula's commitment to support underserved, traditional retailers - especially those in Tier 2 to Tier 4 cities where access to resources and logistical infrastructure is much more challenging.

Ula was founded in 2020 by a team of e-commerce and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) professionals from Indonesia, India and the US.

The horizontal wholesale e-commerce marketplace aims to help small neighbourhood retailers increase their overall income through its investments in technology, supply chain and data-enabled credit offerings.

The company presently offers over 6,000 products across 70,000 traditional retail stores on its platform.

"Our core mission to support traditional retailers is especially relevant during the pandemic. We are deliberately strengthening our presence, selection and services in rural areas and hard-to-reach neighbourhoods, helping local retailers accelerate the recovery of their businesses," said co-founder and chief commercial officer Derry Sakti.

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