Indonesia’s Ula in talks with Prosus Ventures, Tencent to raise up to $100m in funding

Left to right: Ula’s founders Riky Tenggara (co-founder and COO), Derry Sakti (co-founder and CCO), Nipun Mehra (co-founder and CEO), Alan Wong (co-founder and CTO)

Venture capital firm Prosus Ventures and China’s Tencent Holdings are in advanced talks to lead Jakarta-headquartered wholesale e-commerce marketplace Ula’s latest funding round, sources familiar with the matter told DealStreetAsia.

Established in January 2020, Ula connects wholesalers and distributors with small retailers.

The startup has been in the market to raise up to $100 million in its Series B round since the beginning of this year as it carves out its expansion plans in the archipelago.

Ula claims to offer small retailers a wide range of products, doorstep delivery, and pay-later options so that they need to store less inventory and can reduce out of stock issues by simply ordering daily and only what they expect to sell. The startup says it also uses data science to give working capital credit to retailers, allowing them flexibility in payment for goods.

Ula currently focuses on FMCG and food products but plans to broaden its offerings to include apparel and electronics over the next few months.

When contacted, a Prosus Ventures spokesperson said, “We do not comment on market rumours.” Tencent declined to comment on the development, while Ula did not respond to a DealStreetAsia query.

Earlier this year, Ula raised $20 million in its Series A round led by Quona Capital and B Capital Group in January. Other investors who participated in the round were marquee venture capitalist Sequoia Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Sequoia, along with Lightspeed, had earlier led a $10.5 million funding in Ula in June last year.

The proposed funding in Ula would mark Prosus Ventures’s fourth investment in Indonesia. Its other portfolio companies are logistics startup Shipper, investment firm Bibit; and fishery platform Aruna.

B2B commerce companies in the archipelago are increasingly attracting investor interest, despite a temporary blip last year amidst the pandemic because of the lockdowns imposed by the government.

Last month, GudangAda raised $100 million in its Series B round led by Asia Partners and Falcon Edge. Earlier this year, Super pocketed $28 million in its Series B round led by SoftBank Ventures Asia. Meanwhile, the country’s first warung (mom-and-pop store) focused startup Warung Pintar is currently eyeing a new Series C round, its CEO and co-founder Agung Bezharie told us earlier this week.

Indonesian e-commerce unicorn Bukalapak’s mega IPO on the local bourse is expected to further accelerate the fundraising and expansion plans of other startups.

Bukalapak forayed into the offline segment in 2017 when it launched an app called Mitra Bukalapak to help MSMEs including warungs and agents to sell virtual products like phone credit, data plans, electricity vouchers, and train tickets.

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.