Indonesia’s Tokopedia said to close investment in agritech startup Sayurbox

Photo: Sayurbox website

Indonesia’s e-commerce unicorn Tokopedia is learnt to have closed an investment in local agritech startup Sayurbox, according to multiple sources familiar with the development.

Financial terms of the deal could not be ascertained. Tokopedia and Sayurbox did not respond to an e-mail seeking comments on the development.

Tokopedia has been actively picking up stakes in niche Indonesian startups. DealStreetAsia previously reported that the e-commerce startup closed an investment in used phone e-tailer Laku6. We also broke the story on its acquisition of wedding marketplace Bridestory, which was subsequently confirmed by the firm.

Sayurbox, Tokopedia’s latest target, is an e-commerce platform selling fresh, local produce and dry goods from farmers and producers. The startup allows customers to order organic and hydroponic vegetables from local farms and have the produce home delivered. As of April 2019, Sayurbox, which claims to be focused on waste elimination and fair-trade pricing, has worked with around 350 local farmers.

The deal with Tokopedia is likely to give early Sayurbox backers, including impact investor Patamar Capital and Singapore’s Insignia Ventures, an opportunity to partially exit their investments.

The startup had raised an undisclosed seed round in January 2018. While the overall quantum of the round could not be ascertained, Patamar Capital is said to have invested $300,000 in the round through its women SME-focused impact investment fund launched last year in collaboration with the Australian government’s Investing in Women initiative.

The Sayurbox investment would give Tokopedia immediate access to Indonesia’s large farm produce market, which, according to experts, is ripe for digital disruption. Other players in the market include Alpha JWC-backed TaniHub and East Ventures-backed LimaKilo, which was recently acquired by micro-retail tech startup Warung Pintar.

Tokopedia’s string of niche acquisitions is seen as a move to strengthen the company vertically and reinforce its position in the country’s e-commerce space amid stiff competition from the likes of Lazada, Shopee and Bukalapak.

To further boost its e-commerce services, Tokopedia is said to have launched a last-mile delivery startup, Anteraja, through a $50-million joint venture with China’s SF Express and Indonesia’s Triputra Group.

Tokopedia is backed by a number of marquee investors, most notably SoftBank Vision Fund and Alibaba Group which participated in its latest funding round of $1.1 billion last year. Through these investments and acquisitions, observers say Tokopedia is likely to follow the Alibaba model of investing in niche companies and building its ecosystem.

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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.