Industry needs more than vanity metrics, says Bukalapak’s Fajrin

Bukalapak's Fajrin Rasyid at DEALSTREETASIA's Indonesia PE-VC Summit 2019 in Jakarta. Photo: Ipsita Ray/DEALSTREETASIA

Muhammad Fajrin Rasyid, one of the co-founders of Indonesian internet marketplace Bukalapak, said that e-commerce plays should be evaluated based on “unsubsidised” transactions, or total payment volume (TPV) or gross merchandise value (GMV) that exclude sales promotions such as vouchers or rebates.

“We don’t depend on the subsidised transactions at all,” he said, noting that Bukalapak’s unsubsidised transactions are more than half of its total transactions.

Fajrin, who was Bukalapak’s chief financial officer before being promoted to company president in 2018, was speaking at DealStreetAsia’s Indonesia PE-VC Summit 2020 in Jakarta on January 15.

He added that it was by choice that Bukalapak, which was founded in 2010 and was last valued at $2.5 billion, has raised less capital than its competitors.

Fajrin also said Bukalapak, which counts some three million mom-and-pop shops as its merchant partners, is focused on the entire retail sector in Indonesia, rather than just the e-commerce space, which only accounts for about 5% of the retail market.

Here are edited excerpts of the fireside chat with Fajrin:-

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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.