Indonesia’s e-commerce unicorn Bukalapak files for domestic IPO

Photo: Bukalapak

Indonesian e-commerce unicorn Bukalapak is inching closer to a domestic initial public offering (IPO) and has filed a listing proposal with the Indonesia stock exchange (IDX), DealStreetAsia has learnt. 

According to three sources privy to the matter, the Microsoft-backed company could list on the IDX as early as August.

When contacted, IDX president director Inarno Djajadi confirmed that Bukalapak had filed the requisite documents for an IPO. Bukalapak is the only major local tech firm to have submitted a proposal to the stock exchange, said another source at the bourse. 

Bukalapak is understood to have roped in Indonesia’s Mandiri Sekuritas and UBS AG as underwriters for the local listing. In addition, the e-commerce company has tapped Merrill Lynch to explore a potential US listing. 

The Indonesia IPO is understood to be a precursor to a US listing, potentially via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). According to a Bloomberg report in March, a SPAC merger could value Bukalapak at $4-5 billion.

Bukalapak is understood to be valued at $3.4 billion currently. It recently raised over 400 million from investors, including tech major Microsoft, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte, local conglomerate Emtek and venture capital firm BRI Ventures.

DealStreetAsia could not ascertain the size of Bukalapak’s potential Indonesia public offering. The IDX requires companies to offer at least 7.5% of their post-offer equity to the public in a new share sale.

Based on its previous private market valuation, Bukalapak could raise a minimum of $255 million in a public market outing.

“We always explore opportunities to continue to grow and develop financially. However, we haven’t made any decision. Our focus is to find the right strategy for becoming a sustainability company and create added value for partners and users in the future,” said a Bukalapak spokesperson in response to DealStreetAsia’s queries.

Having started as an e-commerce marketplace in 2009, Bukalapak subsequently forayed into fintech and digital services. In 2018, it became the fourth Indonesian tech startup to touch the $1 billion valuation mark, thereby attaining the unicorn status.

Besides an online marketplace, Bukalapak has built a robust B2B business. Through its online-to-offline (O2O) platform Mitra Bukalapak, the company works with warungs, or street stalls, to offer additional virtual services such as mobile top-ups and bill payments. These businesses, called Mitra, can also procure items from Bukalapak directly, which acts as a distributor.

The e-commerce startup claims to have registered more than 13.5 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and over 100 million users. Announcing its 2020 numbers at a shareholder meeting last month, the company said the number of offline agents on its platform had grown to around 7 million – for the first time exceeding the number of online sellers on its marketplace, which totalled around 6.5 million.

While the difference may not be significant, the recent trajectory of its offline-to-online (O2O) business suggests that the gap is bound to widen drastically. At the end of 2019, Bukalapak had 5 million online sellers and only 3 million Mitras.

The onboarding of 4 million new O2O agents in the space of a year helped the company clock a rise of over 130% in transactions and ultimately record an 80% EBITDA increase, it said.

However, competition in the space is heating up from both upstarts such as Ula, GudangAda and Warung Pintar, and fellow unicorns such as Tokopedia, Grab, and Gojek, which have jumped on the O2O bandwagon.

Andi Haswidi contributed to this story.

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.