Posts

New funding, new Jack Ma comment on Indonesia and a few concerns surrounding Single’s Day. Here are the morning ecommerce headlines that you should know:

1. Helpster, startup connecting blue-collar workers with temp jobs, raises $2.1 million in seed funding 

Indonesia’s Convergence Ventures led the round with Wavemaker Partners and other investors participating. Helpster sorts through applicants who fill in data through the app. It then matches them to companies looking for help. Businesses can range from food and beverage to hospitality, events, and logistics.

Read the rest of the story here.

2. Jack Ma not giving up on Indonesia 

“I never say no,” Ma told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of Alibaba’s Singles Day or the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, dubbed the world’s biggest ecommerce event, in Shenzhen, China, on Friday evening. Indonesian Information and Communications Minister Rudiantara recently said Indonesia had “lost” to Malaysia in securing Ma as adviser for the country’s ecommerce development plans, adding he had seen pictures of Ma and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in agreement to become the neighboring country’s digital economy adviser.

“We acquired Lazada so that we can be in Indonesia as well as five other Southeast Asian countries […] obviously Indonesia being the largest market.” – Alibaba Group co-founder and vice chairman Joseph Tsai.

Read the rest of the story here

3. A word of caution for ecommerce brands looking to market around Single’s Day

Alexis Lanternier, CEO, Lazada Singapore, said last year, the brand saw an uplift of six times in revenue on key sale dates through Online Revolution – 11 November and 12 December.

Such occasions serve as an opportunity for ecommerce platforms to not only expand their consumer base by spreading awareness about their presence. This helps us gain trust in the highly cluttered market.

Read the rest of the story here

4. Pos Indonesia eyes role as logistical backbone for ecommerce

With ecommerce booming in the country, the government is pushing state-owned postal service PT Pos Indonesia to benefit from this growing industry by providing logistical support for online businesses. Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara says:

“Ecommerce players don’t need to establish their own logistical unit, as they can share a single logistical platform provided by Pos Indonesia.”

Read the rest of the story here

If you’re interested in ecommerce, you might also find these recent reports about online retail helpful.

Southeast Asia’s most prominent and active venture capital firms like Gobi Partners, East Ventures, and Convergence Ventures have formed a lobby group called ASEAN Venture Council to develop the venture capital industry in the region, reports Tech in Asia.

The new group was started by Indonesian venture capital association Amvesindo and its pendant in Singapore, SVCA.

VC associations in Malaysia and Thailand are expected to join at a later date.

Southeast Asia’s startup industry is enjoying a high, $799 million has been pumped into growing tech firms across the region.

ASEAN Venture Council goals

One aim of the group, which was announced today at a fintech conference in Jakarta, is to learn from each other’s experience and to lobby respective governments for favorable conditions. An important aspect to fintech services and products is taxation.

For example, Singapore can teach a lot about creating regulations that differentiate accredited and retail investors. This distinction has not been made clear in Indonesia.

Ku Kay Mok of Gobi Partners has also raised a point about crowdfunding, another area that the council aims to address as it has the potential to disrupt venture capital.

The council will assist each country’s associations with regulatory issues, which will be updated regularly. The council will also organize events and share best practices, as well as assist firms with deal flow.

A version of this appeared in Tech in Asia on August 30. Read the rest of the version here

Chinese-investors-eye-Indonesia

There are several factors drawing Chinese investors to look into the Indonesian market, e27 reported at the Convergence Ventures event.

Multi-Racial Background

According to Horizon-China & Feimalv Capital Founder Victor Yuan Yuan, Indonesia’s multiracial background makes it easier for foreign investors to bridge-the-gap between their own culture and that of locals. The country also has a “stronger Chinese connection” compared to other emerging markets. He also saw some similarities between Indonesian and Chinese technopreneurs.

Younger Demographics 

“The big innovation is done by people who are even younger [than most Asian markets]. If I look at the average age of innovators [in Indonesia] are younger than in China, so it’s even more promising,” Yuan said. When it comes to focus, Yuan believed that the service sector will remain popular in the next years. The investors will also focus on pre-Series A and Series A rounds of investments.

The big innovation is done by people who are even younger [than most Asian markets]. If I look at the average age of innovators [in Indonesia] are younger than in China, so it’s even more promising.”

The Gold Rush of Southeast Asia

The past year has seen China big players make their presence known in Indonesian tech startup scene. Alibaba had tried to expand its coverage in the country by launching Aliexpress before changing its strategy by acquiring Lazada in Southeast Asia. Alibaba’s competitor, JD, also has launched quietly last October. This article on Tech Crunch, urges business to “forget China because there is an ecommerce gold rush in Southeast Asia.”

“What we are going to do is set up a club, then probably an incubator, a multidimensional mechanism to support local startups,” he said. “Our own organisations will also invest in here, especially since this is a scalable market with [a] rising economy,” he added.

Likening today’s Indonesia to China seven years ago, he also called for local investors and businesses to collaborate together. As investments and attention has been turning to Southeast Asia, Indonesia in particular, there are factors that indicate how the region can be seen as China’s younger sister. However, the region is slowly catching up and showing a lot of potential, which explains why Chinese investors are looking in.

 

A version of this appeared in e27 on June 22. Read the full article here.