JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Ula, a distribution and credit marketplace application for micro, small and medium enterprises, earned a seed funding US$10.5 million from Sequoia India, LightSpeed India, and other investors, such as SMDV, Quona Capital, Saison Capital and Alter Global to grow its business in the Southeast Asian market, said the company on Thursday (06/11).
The five-month-old startup, aims to help small retailers solve inefficiencies that they face in supply chain, inventory and working capital. The Jakarta-headquartered startup, which was launched in January of 2020, operates a wholesale e-commerce marketplace to help store owners stock only the inventory they need, and also grants them with working capital.
Where like other Asian markets, traditional retail still accounts for the vast majority of retail sales in the country. These shop owners, several run by families, know how to run their businesses in a cost-efficient manner. But they struggle with accessing working capital and sourcing inventories.
“A grocery store might need to source inventory from up to 50 different sources every week and sometimes order in bulk to get better rates, even when they don’t need such large quantities,” said Derry Sakti, co-founder of Ula in a written statement.
While, Abheek Anand, managing director at Sequoia Capital, said as more small and medium-sized enterprises in Indonesia begin to adopt technology, platforms such as Ula could help them streamline their businesses.
Without disclosing exact figures, Ula said its business has grown 10 times since launch, with several customers returning to buy significantly more. Stores have purchased more in May amid the global pandemic than they did earlier this year, the startup claimed.
The startup plans to use the fresh capital to expand across Indonesia over the next year and service inventory in more categories, including apparel and electronics. Ula’ co-founders are Riky Tenggara was part of the early team at e-commerce giant Lazada, Sakti oversaw consumer goods giant P&G’s operations in Indonesia, Nipun Mehra, who helped build businesses and categories at Amazon and Flipkart. He also was part of the leadership team at the Indian payments firm Pine Labs. Then, Alan Wong, who helped build distributed systems in supply chain, catalog and search at Amazon.
Ula is a multi-category B2B e-commerce marketplace that combines technology, capabilities, and modern retail equipment with a low cost structure. Its business has grown more than 10 times since it was first launched, and customers have made repeat transactions with transaction values 2 – 3 times greater than their first purchase.
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