Indonesia’s Alpha JWC backs $2m seed round in local rice bowl chain Mangkokku

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.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.