Indonesian beverage chain startup Goola raises $5m from Alpha JWC Ventures

New retail concepts surrounding beverage chains continue to attract investor interest in Indonesia.

Goola, which aims to take local and traditional sweet drinks to the urban market, has raised $5 million from venture capital firm Alpha JWC Ventures, according to a statement.

Founded in 2018 by Kevin Susanto, Gibran Rakabuming, and Benz Budiman, Goola has opted to bring well-known traditional drinks to the urban market instead of riding the bubble tea wave in the region.

Some of these local drinks include Es Doger Jeger (shaved sweetened ice served with glutinous rice, fermented cassava, and coconut meat), Es Kacang Hijau (iced mung beans with coconut cream), and Es Goola Aren (a traditional twist of popular brown-sugar boba).

Goola is also implementing the new retail approach with a mobile application which is in the pipeline. The Goola app will reduce waiting time in stores and also help the company analyse users’ consumption habits and preferences.

“Tech is one thing, but I believe that the magic is in the products: our drinks. If sweet drinks from other countries can be popular, why can’t local drinks do the same? Our products have been well received by customers. Not only it is aligned with the rising trend of drinking sweet beverages, many say that our drinks bring back memories of childhood and help them reconnect with our tradition that’s been quite hard to do in big cities,” says Gibran.

The F&B startup has opened five stores in Jakarta with 15 more ready to open doors this year.  By 2020, it aims to reach 100 stores in Indonesia and is also open to regional and global expansion.

With the fresh fund injection, Goola is targeting a presence in first, second, and third tier cities, and kick off its regional expansion from next year.

“We take pride in our mission to help Indonesian founders and companies to be successful in Indonesia and bring them to the global stage. Goola shares the same mission and ambition as us and we are excited to partner with experienced businessmen Gibran and Kevin to introduce local culture to the mass market and later, to the world,” said Alpha JWC Ventures Managing Partner Jefrey Joe.

Alpha JWC is a Southeast Asian venture capital firm with an Indonesia+ angle and a focused value-add approach. The firm currently manages two funds of $ 50 million and $ 100 million; and more than 28 active portfolio companies.

Alpha JWC has previously backed an $8.5-million seed round in coffee chain Kopi Kenangan in September last year.

Another Indonesian on-demand specialty coffee chain startup, Fore Coffee has secured $1 million in additional funding in April, bringing its total funding round to $9.5 million in series A round. The startup previously announced that it raised $8.5 million in Series A funding in January. The round was led by Indonesian capital firm focused on early-stage investment East Ventures. Angel investors, SMDV, Pavilion Capital, Agaeti Venture Capital, had also participated in the Series A round.

And these are not the only ones. Coffee chains across the country are increasingly evincing interest of investment firms such as SMDV, Pavilion Capital, Agaeti Venture Capital and Insignia Ventures Partners, East Ventures and Sequoia Capital.

Recently, Japanese IT firm NS Solutions has made an unspecified investment in the second fund of Indonesian venture capital firm Alpha JWC Ventures. The fund was launched early last year with a target corpus of $100 million and hit its first close a few months later in July.