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  • 'Buka' means opening, open, and a 'lapakis a stall.

  • So Bukalapak is basically 'open your stall.'

  • They might look like your typical street stalls, but behind Indonesia's family-owned kiosks is a multibillion-dollar business.

  • The population is like 270 million, so are you saying that 20 to 25% of people

  • set up one of these shops? I'm like exactly!

  • And as it helps small businesses modernize, Bukalapak hopes to revive an iconic segment

  • of the country's economy.

  • Every, maybe 50 or 100 houses, there will be one of these guys who opens a shop in their house and they like sell basic goods.

  • Water, soap, coffee or whatever, right. They have been like that since the beginning and,  

  • as the economy grew, they are  like basically left behind.

  • Bukalapak is an Indonesian e-commerce  marketplace designed to help the country's  

  • millions of mom-and-pop kiosksknown as warungs, to come online.

  • Today, the company boasts tens of millions of  customers across the sprawling archipelago.

  • But when Bukalapak was founded  in 2010 by Achmad Zaky,  

  • it was simply as a way to help his neighbors.

  • CEO Rachmat Kaimuddin told me more.

  • My predecessor, Zaky, one day went back to his  hometown and was looking around, and he saw all  

  • these small businesses, his neighbors, and he  was like taken aback and realized like, okay,  

  • these guys have looked the same for decades.

  • And now I know technology, I've learned  about the internet and everything,  

  • and I wonder how could I use technology  to help people improve, do better.

  • So, Achmad, who was then a 23-year-old student,  

  • teamed up with his friends Fajrin Rasyid  and Nugroho Herucahyono from the

  • Bandung Institute of Technology to create a site  to help small businesses sell online.

  • The capital he used to start this company is just  the registration fee to register the website,  

  • and it's like 80,000 rupiah or maybe about like  $5 or so. That is the seed capital of Bukalapak.

  • Soon, Bukalapak was live, acting  as a third-party intermediary to

  • support purchases between consumers and merchants.

  • But the company's real  breakthrough came some years later.

  • In 2017, the company launched Mitra Bukalapak to  help these shops compete with modern retailers  

  • by offering additional online services  such as bill payments and phone top-ups.

  • Mitra Bukalapak also connects these  warungs to consumer goods distributors,  

  • narrowing their supply chainlowering the cost price of their wares  

  • and increasing the profit margins  for these micro businesses.

  • In the same year, the company, which  earns a commission for each transaction,  

  • reached a billion-dollar valuation.

  • Khailee Ng, managing partner at 500 Startupswas one of Bukalapak's early backers.

  • When I first met the Bukalapak  founders, like I was very,  

  • very impressed by how not only competent  they were but how local they were.

  • They so deeply understand life  outside of tier-one cities.

  • So I think that their kind of local DNA,  

  • it really translated through what  the business eventually became.

  • In January 2020, after a decade at the helm,  

  • Achmad stepped down as CEO, 41-year-old Rachmat,  a former banker, was selected as his successor.

  • Achmad, who now runs an entrepreneurship  foundation, still holds an advisory role  

  • with the company, while co-founders Fajrin  and Nugroho have both left the firm.

  • I think Zaky basically saying likelook, I've led this company from  

  • zero and it's probably time  for me to extract myself.

  • We probably need someone who can make thisthe company that I built, more professional,  

  • bigger, and we see that you could help  us do that. And I was like, okay. Really?

  • For Rachmat, it was an  opportunity he couldn't refuse.

  • There's a lot of discussion on the values and the  mission. That is my cross, right, to bear, right.

  • The mission is we need to serve the underservedWe are e-commerce, we need to improve lives  

  • not only for profit but also  for the betterment of society.

  • Within Rachmat's first 100 days in the job, the  pandemic struck. The resultant lockdowns hit the  

  • millions of warungs and small and medium-sized  enterprises hard. Bukalapak was at a crossroads.

  • We need to ensure that the SMEs can still  transact. The only way to do that now, or  

  • at the time, was online, right. So, our task is to  create a much more efficient onboarding process.

  • Failure is not an option. We cannot  just give up and say like, okay,  

  • Covid, maybe let's take a break for  a year. People actually need us.

  • E-commerce, meanwhile, has been  one of the pandemic's big winners.

  • In 2020, Indonesia's digital consumers  surged 37% as lockdowns led more people  

  • to try new services online.

  • In the same yearonline spending rose 11% to hit $44 billion.

  • By 2025, that figure is expected  to almost triple to $124 billion.

  • Bukalapak has ridden that wave, recording  a 130% surge in transactions in 2020.

  • The company now serves 13.5 million micro, small and  medium enterprises and 100 million customers.

  • That rapid adoption should help Rachmat with  his primary task: reaching profitability.

  • This is a big organization and we  want to be there for a long time.  

  • Of course, growth is nice and we all want to have  more growth, more transactions, more customers,

  • but we need to see whether we can create an organization that can be self-sustaining moving forward.

  • That hasn't stopped investors  from piling onto the business.

  • In January 2021, Standard Chartered  bank became the latest corporation to  

  • join a $200 million funding round  to fuel the company's expansion.

  • The partnership will help build Bukalapak's  digital banking service, while a separate deal  

  • with Microsoft will see the company adopt the  tech giant's Azure cloud computing platform.

  • Other investors include Indonesian  media conglomerate Emtek,  

  • Alibaba-affiliate Ant Financial and  Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC,  

  • pushing the company's estimated valuation  to between $2.5 billion and $3 billion.

  • That ranks the 11-year-old company among  Indonesia's growing number of unicorns,  

  • whose names include fellow  e-commerce player Tokopedia,  

  • ride-hailing giant Gojek  and travel site Traveloka.

  • The world's fourth most-populous country  has the largest number of internet users  

  • in Southeast Asia, and analysts say  it has potential for more growth.

  • A lot of folks feel the demographic dividends  are going to pay off. 270 million people,  

  • most of them with smartphones now.

  • What is super fascinating to me is  that how much of that investment  

  • goes into tier-one city-targeted business  models versus Indonesia business models.

  • While some analysts are skeptical about  Bukalapak's ability to expand beyond Indonesia,  

  • given its hyperlocal roots,  

  • Rachmat says he is confident that the  company's importance transcends borders.

  • I'm not going to say that we just want to stay  in Indonesia but Indonesia today is a big enough  

  • market to keep us very busy, and we still feel  like we have a lot of homework to do.

  • I don't think we've even scratched the surface if you  talk about underserved markets in Indonesia.

  • Today, 70% of Bukalapak's business  is non-tier-one. I don't think a lot  

  • of people think about that too much as well, that,  

  • you know, you can actually make a lot of money  by serving a population which doesn't have that  

  • much money, so I look forward to seeing more  entrepreneurs actually build more companies  

  • that can serve the broader populations, not just  in Indonesia but broader populations in the world.

  • After experiencing tremendous growth in 2020,  and with potential for more on the horizon,  

  • the company may have plans for an  initial public offering later in 2021.

  • Having access to capital markets is good to  have for a growing company, and I think that  

  • is one of the options that we are consideringWe are not to say anything until we have proof.

  • But, of course, this is something that  we understand to be important.

  • And we are preparing ourselves to be IPO-ready.

'Buka' means opening, open, and a 'lapakis a stall.

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Bukalapak: The multibillion-dollar business behind Indonesia’s iconic street stalls | CNBC Make It

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    Summer に公開 2021 年 02 月 02 日
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