Indonesia’s Bukalapak aims to turn mom-n-pop stores into banking agents

Photo: Bukalapak

Indonesian startup Bukalapak, backed by Chinese fintech Ant Group, aims to turn the mom-and-pop stores that use its B2B e-commerce platform into banking agents through a partnership with one of the country’s largest lenders, its CEO told Reuters.

Bukalapak, or ‘open store’, will introduce grocery sellers and street vendors – known as ‘warungs’ – to a service from PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk through which warungs can help often smartphone-less locals set up bank accounts.

“We are working with Mandiri to turn some of the warungs into branchless banking agents,” said Rachmat Kaimuddin, chief executive of 10-year old Bukalapak, which was valued at $2.5 billion during its last funding round in October.

About 5 million warungs move over $70 billion worth goods a year, a quarter of Indonesia’s $380 billion retail market, according to Bukalapak. Through the warungs, the partnership is targeting people without bank accounts, which the World Bank puts at more than half of the country’s 270 million population.

Users of the service will be able to deposit and withdraw cash at warungs, and conduct transactions such as transfers and payments. The warungs, bank and Bukalapak will each get a cut of fees, said Kaimuddin, an ex-banker who became CEO in December.

He did not disclose any earnings goals from the partnership.

Transactions involving warungs on Bukalapak‘s business-to-business (B2B) platform made up over a quarter of the firm’s gross merchandise volume in May.

In the same month, its business-to-consumer platform – which competes with Tokepedia, backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and the Shopee e-commerce arm of Singapore-based Sea Ltd – saw a suspected COVID-19-induced drop in spending on such items as fashion and electronics.

“COVID-19 offers a window of opportunity for electronic business-to-business players like Bukalapak to play a more active role in helping the warungs,” said Roshan Raj Behera, partner at researcher Red Seer.

Reuters

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.