Ula, a wholesale ecommerce marketplace app focusing on helping small retailers, has raised a $10.5 million seed funding. It was led by Sequoia India and Lightspeed India and participated by SMDV, Quona Capital, Saison Capital, and Alter Global. Several angel investors joining the round were Patrick Walujo of Northstar, Willy Arifin of Koinworks, cofounders of Bangalore-based B2B marketplace Udaan, former Gojek COO Rohan Monga, and Rahul Mehta of DST Global.
Traditional retail in Indonesia contributes nearly 80% of the retail market and employs millions of workforce. Despite being cost-efficient and offering deep & personalized insights into consumer behaviour, they have poor sourcing and lack access to working capital, which consequently prevent small retail owners from grabbing the opportunity in the vast market. The situation also often leaves them in a vulnerable position in the retail value chain.
Ula solves this by using a retailer-first approach. Through its app, it connects small retailers to a wide range of products and offers the best prices, doorstep delivery, and pay later options. Ula also uses data science to give working capital credit to retailers.
The company was founded by Alan Wong, Derry Sakti, Nipun Mehra, and Riky Tenggara - a team with rich experience in the ecommerce and FMCG industry such as Amazon, Lazada, and P&G. Since its launch in January, the startup claims that its business has grown 10x, with customers returning to buy up to 2-3 times of their original purchase.
Currently, Ula is predominantly servicing East Java and focuses its products on FMCG and staples, which is essential particularly with the pandemic hitting. It plans to expand across Java island and reach more categories such as apparel and electronics over the next year.
“For us, the true measure of Ula’s success will be in how much we can improve our customers' lives and businesses. Our collective vision is to revolutionize SMB trade using technology, helping increase their efficiency and providing them with tools to conduct their business seamlessly and more profitably” said Riky in a statement.
“70-80% of the retailers in emerging markets like Indonesia are plagued by inefficiencies in supply chain, inventory and working capital management. With more and more Indonesian SMEs becoming open to adopting technology, platforms like Ula are an easy, affordable and scalable solution to help these retailers streamline their businesses. Ula has a highly experienced team bringing together the right mix of experience in local and global e-commerce, retail and fintech markets and we are excited to be early partners in this journey”, managing director of Sequoia Capital (India) Singapore, Abheek Anand said in a statement.