Indonesia: Online gaming marketplace itemku raises $1.2m from 500 Startups

Visual from itemku website

Five-Jack, the makers of online gaming marketplace Itemku, has raised $1.2 million in funding from seed stage venture capital firm 500 Startups, with participation by several unnamed South Korean venture capital firms.

With the funding, Itemku will expand its operations to Southeast Asia within the second half of this year.

Itemku, launched in July 2014 as a price comparison and classified ads platform, later re-positioned itself in June 2015 into purveyors of game items and currency in response to the growing problem of secure trading among gamers. Itemku itself is a platform that allows gamers to make money from their in-app purchases with a secure financial transaction system.

Today, itemku is a fast-growing marketplace for secure in-game transactions, with a money-back guaranteed service. It claims its visitor and transaction numbers have grown eight-fold till now.

The startup previously closed investment rounds from BonAngels in 2014 and 500 Startups in 2015, bringing its accumulated total investment to $1.7 million.

Denis Kim, CEO of Five Jack, estimated that the platform has recorded average 30 per cent growth each month. Itemku, Kim believes, is the solution to massive demand for a safe and easy-to-use marketplace for gamers in Indonesia – which he estimates will transact around $1 billion in 5 years.

For buyers, seeking out reputable sellers through public forums and social media isn’t only time-consuming; it comes with the risk of fraud or scamming. Since Itemku categorises the games, buyers can find sellers easily, rate them, and complete a secure financial transaction with a money-back guaranteed service. Some buyers have undertaken transactions worth over 3 million Rupiahs for single pieces of virtual items. Such cases highlight the success of itemku’s branding image and trust, Kim says.

To retain its growing customer base, the company launched a blog called Gokil.me, which focusses on topics related to virtual goods transaction, such as items, gold, or account trading. It aims to identify “the potential development of game community in Indonesia.”

“We want to build game community beyond game commerce in the long term; we want to make every gamer can find any information and game items in our service,” Kim said.

Indonesian gaming industry

When it comes to investing in the Indonesian gaming industry, it appears that 500 Startups is competing with Zhexin IT’s Discovery Nusantara Capital (DNC). 

The investment unit, which was formed by China’s Zhexin IT Co, has invested in several Indonesian gaming startups in the past few months. Earlier in March, it invested an undisclosed amount in local e-sports media RevivaLTV (Revival), following an investment into indie game developer studio Toge Productions.

Last year, DNC also invested in Indonesian mobile game developer Touchten, which is known for games such as Target Acquired, Warung Chain: Go Food Express, and Rapstronaut. It participated in a series D funding round for Touchten along with other Chinese investors.

Also Read:

Indonesia: Online gaming marketplace itemku raises $225K from 500 Startups

500 Startups-backed Indonesia live streaming platform Zeemi goes offline 

Zhexin’s Indonesian arm launches $10m fund, focusing on local companies

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.