[Updated] Bezos backs Indonesian startup Ula’s $87m round led by Prosus, B Cap, Tencent

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

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include information from the company’s press release issued a day after we broke the fundraising development.

Ula, a Jakarta-based B2B marketplace, raised $87 million in its Series B round led by Prosus Ventures, Tencent and B-Capital, per an announcement.

The round also saw the participation of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s Bezos Expeditions, besides leading Southeast Asian funds Northstar group, AC Ventures and Citius.

Among existing investors, Lightspeed India, Sequoia Capital India, Quona Capital and Alter Global topped up in the round to help the company facilitate its expansion plans.

The development confirms a story done by DealStreetAsia on Ula’s fundraising a day before the company issued an official statement. Besides, we were the first to break the story in August about the startup’s fundraising talks with Tencent and Prosus Ventures.

Ula has also brought in Pandu Sjahrir, a seasoned investor and entrepreneur, as its advisor, per the announcement.

The startup, which focuses on addressing the inventory, supply chain and working capital challenges faced by small businesses in Indonesia, was founded in January 2020.

Ula has been in the market since the beginning of this year to finance its expansion across the archipelago. After serving customers in the East Java region in its early days, Ula has now expanded its services to the Java island, according to its social media posts.

“We launched in 2020, with a single-minded mission to empower small, neighborhood retailers with technology to increase their income. We take a long-term approach to solve the underlying problems of traditional retailers by investing in technology, supply chain and data-enabled credit offering,” said Nipun Mehra, CEO and co-founder at Ula. “Ula’s new investors come with global expertise and share this long-term mindset of the company.”

Meanwhile, Sachin Bhanot, head of Southeast Asia Investments at Prosus Ventures, added: “Ula’s team is laser-focused on revolutionizing Indonesia’s retail supply chain and driving financial inclusion through combining modern retail technology with the low-cost, local structure of traditional retail.”

Indonesia’s B2B e-commerce space has attracted larger companies such as the newly listed Bukalapak, Tokopedia, Gojek, and Grab. The company also competes with Warung Pintar, an East Ventures-backed firm that acquired supply chain platform Bizzy Digital earlier this year.

According to a 2021 report by North Ridge Partners, the unorganised sector — characterised by local mom-and-pop stores that startups such as Ula and Warung Pintar primarily cater to —account for 80% of Indonesia’s $380-billion retail market.

Ula’s previous funding includes a $10.5 million seed round in June 2020 and an additional $20 million Series A round in January 2021.

Aastha Maheshwari contributed to this story. 

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.