Indonesia’s Astro in talks to raise more funds riding on big market potential

Groceries in a shopping cart move through a food aisle at the Tesco Basildon Pitsea Extra supermarket, operated by Tesco Plc, in Basildon, U.K., on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Fresh after closing a $4.5-million seed round, Jakarta-based quick delivery commerce startup Astro is said to be on the fundraising trail again as it seeks to expand its reach across the Indonesian capital city.

According to multiple sources privy to the matter, Astro is understood to be in talks with Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital India to raise $25-30 million in its upcoming Series A round.

Existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and AC Ventures are said to top up their investment in the fresh round as well.

Astro, which was launched by five seasoned industry professionals only in September 2021, counts HappyFresh and Sayurbox among its peers.

DealStreetAsia has reached out to Accel Partners, Sequoia India, and Lightspeed Venture Partners for comments. Responding to a DealStreetAsia query, AC Ventures said it will participate in Astro’s Series A round. Astro co-founder and CEO Vincent Tjendra neither confirmed nor denied the upcoming Series A funding round.

Last week, Astro bagged $4.5 million in a seed round participated by Global Founders Capital, AC Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Goodwater Capital.

Commenting on Astro’s seed round, Tjendra said the investors are bullish due to the promising size and opportunities in the groceries sector. He attributed the heightened investor interest to the company’s “right team” [five co-founders] that has “led hyper-growth startup companies.”

Co-founders Tjendra, Jessica Stephanie Jap, Sherlyn G., and Wandi Budianto were previously with e-commerce major Tokopedia while Marcella Moniaga was with Traveloka.

“We know that this business model needs capital to keep growing. So, of course, if anyone wants to reach out and build a connection, we’ll be in touch,” he told DealStreetAsia in an interview.

Astro, which offers express service, has set up six micro fulfillment centres and a fleet of drivers ready to deliver groceries for under 15 minutes at Rp15,000 ($1) per delivery.

Astro co-founder and COO Jessica Stephanie Jap said to cover the entire Jakarta city with a delivery time of under 15 minutes, the startup needs at least 20-30 fulfillment centres. With the seed funding, the company plans to have 10 centres by the year-end and add two each month.

“The current funding is enough for the next year or so but it’s always good to have supporters [investors],” Tjendra said.

Big market potential

HappyFresh, Sayurbox, Segari, TaniHub, SeroyaMart are some of the players operating in Indonesia’s crowded e-grocery space along with ride-hailing apps GoMart and GrabFresh who also offer the services. Despite the multiple players in the space, everyone is merely scratching the surface, industry observers say.

The e-grocery sector in Southeast Asia is among the sectors that have most benefited from the influx of new digital consumers, according to a report by Google, Temasek, Bain & Company.

According to a recent study by LEK Consulting, Indonesia’s $1-billion e-grocery market could jump to $6 billion by 2025 as the pandemic-driven curbs have forced millions to shop online.

While the pandemic restrictions are lifting in Indonesia, ASTRO believes its service would still be needed. “The moment you test [the service] and try it, you’ll find it quite helpful and you’ll get used to it,” Jessica said.

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.