Bukalapak’s Investment Journey to Success

24 November 2015, by Media

Interviewee : Achmad Zaky, CEO

1. With e-commerce gaining popularity and increasingly becomes a saturated market, what are the challenges for Bukalapak and how will you overcome that?  What makes you different from other marketplace?

Indonesia is not yet a saturated market for e-commerce because its transaction is still below 1 percent of all trade & commerce transaction in Indonesia. Moreover population in Indonesia is more than 250 million people. Therefore, e-commerce can still develop even further. However, we do not deny that e-commerce competition is getting tighter, so Bukalapak continuously improve ourselves, maintain trust from sellers and buyers, and continue to improve our platform/website. In addition, the ease of selling procedure in Bukalapak makes us an attractive platform and easy to understand for SMEs to sell their products online. Our differentiation with other marketplace is our focus on SMEs as our partner/seller by providing training and education for the SMEs. Our mission is to raise the level of SMEs to be more professional by selling their product in Bukalapak.

2. With increased connectivity and people becoming more active in social media, it becomes easier for customers to hold brands/stores liable. Has Bukalapak ever experienced dispute/fraud from your customer? How did you deal with it?

As a marketplace platform, Bukalapak acts as mediator between the seller and buyer. We minimize dispute/fraud between our seller and buyer by providing escrow account. So the buyer have to transfer their money to the escrow account, and Bukalapak holds the fund until the buyer has received the goods they ordered. If there is any complaint from the buyer or the goods is not in accordance with the initial description, we will refund the buyer.

3. Could you share with us how mobile assists accelerate the adoption of your service and how do you see the 4G rolls out will make it even better?

Mobile internet will drive and even accelerate e-commerce adoption in Indonesia, including Bukalapak. Right now about 70 percent of transaction in Bukalapak comes from mobile internet. Availability of 4G technology will accelerate e-commerce adoption even more because the older technology (3G) will spread into 2nd and 3rd cities though out Indonesia, so mobile internet will have more coverage in Indonesia that will drive e-commerce transaction.

4. As a tech startup that has been able to receive a number of funding, can you share with us how it is pre investment and post investment stage?  Also please share with us your advice for the newer startups.

Investors are very concerned with the performance and continuity of a business. If a startup is able to demonstrate that the performance of its business is growing continuously, an investor wouldn’t be half-hearted to pour funds for the startup. Startup founders have to go meet with investors in person at conferences, talk directly, and build a network with investors. In the initial meeting, startups should present their business, its value and product, and how they can grow. Startups should be confident enough to present their business to the investor, it doesn’t make sense if we have a good business proposal, but we cannot present it properly. The investor’s trust must be balanced with the seriousness to develop startup business. Startups should be able to make sure their business performance grow consistently, or even exponentially.

Startups that have gained investors should use these funds solely for raising the business. There are two terms known to the startup circle regarding this investor funds: the smart money and dump money. Avoid dump money, namely spending these funds not for growing the business, hence in failing performance and risk of bankruptcy. Do the smart money, which take your business further and make it greater.