Indonesia-based culinary startup Mangkokku, which specialises in serving rice bowls, has raised a seed funding round of $2 million from venture capital firm Alpha JWC Ventures.
The infusion of capital counts as the first external and institutional funding received by Mangkokku, which was founded in 2019 by Indonesian Masterchef judge Arnold Poernomo and seasoned businessman Randy Kartadinata.
Also involved in the formation of the company are F&B entrepreneurs and sons of Indonesia President Joko Widodo, Gibran Rakabuming and Kaesang Pangarep, who will take up an advisory role in Mangkokku. Rakabuming, incidentally, is a co-founder of Alpha JWC-backed beverage company Goola.
The four founders have successfully built at least 12 F&B brands in Indonesia and Australia, including Gioi Jakarta and Surabaya, KOI Dessert Bar Sydney, and traditional pancake chain Markobar.
Mangkokku, which means ‘my bowl’ in Bahasa Indonesia, describes itself as a culinary startup that offers professional chef-level dishes in the form of rice bowls at affordable prices. It currently operates 22 branches in the Greater Jakarta area and soon Surabaya. With the fresh investment, Mangkkokku is aiming to reach 30 branches by the end of 2020 and more than 75 by 2021.
The company is also planning to step beyond rice bowls next year, starting with beverages, desserts and packaged sambal (chili sauce). From there, it plans to roll out other types of dishes to become an end-to-end culinary solution for its customers.
“Our passion for local food is what started the company, and we believe that the core of Mangkokku lies in the superiority of our dishes and continuous innovation,” Poernomo says. “But we are also building a company with a global mindset: that the only way we can grow fast, right, sustainably, is by providing the best options at affordable prices and maintain a standardised process in every single dish we serve.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, which has come as a blow to the F&B industry in general, Mangkokku says it has shifted its product and marketing strategy to cater to changing customer behavior and demand.
According to Kartadinata, the company has been serving up to 600 bowls on a daily basis, which proves its resilience and product-market fit.
By teaming up with Alpha JWC, Mangkokku will be hoping to follow the trajectory of F&B startup Kopi Kenangan, which also took its first external and institutional money from the Jakarta-based VC firm. Kopi Kenangan, which was valued at around $477 million in its last funding round, managed to open 80 stores within less than a year of its $8.5 million seed funding by Alpha JWC in October 2018.
The investment in Mangkokku highlights Alpha JWC’s interest in Indonesia’s F&B sector, having previously backed players like healthy food produced Lemonilo, cloud kitchen startup Hangry and beverages companies Goola and Kopi Kenangan.
“We see that F&B continues to be an attractive sector that could benefit from technology enablement and venture capital investments,” says Alpha JWC Ventures partner Eko Kurniadi.