Indonesia’s Bukalapak said to be in talks to raise at least $100m in new funding

Photo: Bukalapak

Indonesian e-commerce unicorn Bukalapak is in talks with a number of investors to raise at least $100 million in fresh funding, according to two persons familiar with the development.

Existing investors GIC and Shinhan are expected to top up in this round of funding, having backed Bukalapak’s last Series F funding round in October last year at a $2.5 billion valuation.

Bukalapak did not immediately respond to our query on the matter.

According to a corporate filing obtained by DealStreetAsia, the new round will not be the first investment Bukalapak has closed since the October round of funding, which also saw participation from majority shareholder Emtek.

Based on the said filings, Bukalapak in March received investment from a company called API Investment, understood to be a subsidiary of existing backer Ant Financial, in exchange for 30,303 of its Series F shares. In May, API bought an additional 45,454 shares.

The investment brings API’s ownership in Bukalapak’s Series F to 27 per cent equalling that of GIC affiliate company Archipelago Investment and Emtek subsidiary Kreatif Media Karya. Shinhan, meanwhile, holds 19 per cent of the Series F round, the document shows.

The recent deals with API, which has not been publicly announced, marked the first funding raised under the leadership of Rachmat Kaimuddin, a professional banker with experience at a public company and a private equity firm. Kaimuddin took the reins at Bukalapak in January this year replacing co-founder and former CEO Achmad Zaky.

Zaky’s departure was followed three months later by fellow co-founder and CTO Nugroho Herucahyono. The third and only remaining co-founder Muhammad Fajrin Rasyid stepped down last month to join Indonesia’s largest telecom operator Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) as a digital business director.

Herucahyono and Zaky, who were college friends, were the brains behind Bukalapak, an online marketplace business they started in their dorm room at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in 2009. Later in 2011, they were joined by a third college mate, co-founder Muhammad Fajrin Rasyid.

In just over 10 years,  the trio has scaled Bukalapak to become one of the biggest tech companies in Indonesia, riding on a valuation of over $2.5 billion.

However, their last year at the helm proved to be the most testing. In September last year, the company abandoned a number of functions, including smart retail and some marketing roles, and laid off about 10 per cent of its workforce, or around 250 workers.

It had earlier also appointed a handful of new senior executives, ostensibly to steady the ship in the wake of the resignations of a few of the company’s first employees.

New boss Kaimuddin has had no choice but to hit the ground running with COVID-19 wreaking havoc in his first quarter in office and impacting almost all sectors of the economy. However, Bukalapak claims to have seen an uptick during the pandemic with e-commerce transactions during Ramadhan in May seeing a 10 per cent increase year-on-year.

In the e-commerce space, Bukalapak, which passed the $1-billion valuation mark in 2017 and has amassed a total capital of approximately $500 million, shares space with heavily funded giants including Alibaba-backed companies Tokopedia and Lazada, both of whom have raised total funding of over $4 billion each. There is also Shopee, a subsidiary of Nasdaq-listed Sea Group, which last raised $500 million and is seeking another $1.5 billion.

However, Kaimuddin is also banking on Bukalapak’s online-to-offline (O2O) business, which he said could eventually overtake e-commerce as the company’s biggest business line.

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.