Ula’s co-founders (left to right) Riky Tenggara (COO), Derry Sakti (CCO) and Alan Wong (CTO).
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has joined the latest funding round for Indonesian startup Ula, the first such investment in Southeast Asia for the world’s second-richest person.
Bezos participated in Ula’s Series B funding through Bezos Expedition, the billionaire’s family office that manages his personal investments including aerospace company Blue Origin.
Ula’s latest round, which raised $87 million, was led by Prosus Ventures, Tencent and B-Capital. The latest investment values the company at $490 million, according to Venture Capital Insight.
Investors have been pouring money into Indonesian tech companies that aim to modernize the country’s traditional mom-and-pop shops, known as warungs, by bringing them online. Ula previously managed to secure a $10.5 million seed round in June 2020 and a $20 million Series A round in January.
“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, Ula’s cofounder and CEO.
The startup’s other cofounders include Alan Wong, Derry Sakti and Riky Tenggara, who are said to bring to Ula a wealth of experience working in the e-commerce and consumer goods industries with the likes of Amazon, Flipkart, Lazada, P&G and Booking.com.
In the twenty months since Ula launched, the company has grown to now offer over 6,000 products and serves more than 70,000 traditional retail stores on its platform.
Ula said it plans to use the new funding to expand its presence across Indonesia and explore international expansion across Southeast Asia. It also plans to expand its buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) offering, as well as build local supply chain and logistics infrastructure.
“Our core mission to support traditional retailers is especially relevant during the pandemic,” said Sakti, Ula’s cofounder and chief commercial officer. “We are deliberately strengthening our presence, selection, and services in rural areas and hard-to-reach neighborhoods, helping local retailers accelerate the recovery of their businesses.”
Jeff Bezos addresses the audience during a keynote session at a conference on robotics and AI at the … [+] Aria Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 6, 2019.