Ula: an Indonesian startup gained Bezos’s investments 📦💰

Country: Indonesia
Valuation: $490 million
Business model: marketplace

Despite the startup was launched only a year ago, it reached great success. Ula has already raised $10,5 million within a new funding round. The company seeks to help small retail traders to tackle the inefficiencies they face. Those concern a supply chain, stocks, and working capital. Surprisingly, even Jeff Bezos invested in the service. Let’s figure out how Ula won the trust of the world’s richest person.

This is an e-commerce company that aims to help shop owners purchase, manage commodity stocks, and provide working capital. Currently, Ula operates in Indonesia. As well as in other Asian countries, traditional small shops constitute a large part of retail sales. Those shop owners are aware of how to run a business efficiently.

However, they suffer from the shortage of working capital and necessity to buy goods from different suppliers. Thus, Ula is primarily a mobile B2B-marketplace for small stores. There one can buy all the products they need at favorable prices and get a delivery service.

Competitive advantages
Apparently, a mere marketplace would be barely interesting for such investors as Sequoia. The thing is the company implements Data Science to provide retail sellers credits for purchasing goods. This way, Ula not only retains customers inside its marketplace, but also develops clients’ businesses linking them to its services.

While banks are trying to outplay mobile operators and building super apps, marketplaces encroach on the market of credit operations. Ula helps shop owners both order and keep track of necessary goods. Also, by means of providing operating capital, the company supplants banks from the cooperation with stores.

Ula’s idea appealed to investors and attracted a total of $117 million. Even Jeff Bezos took an interest in the startup because Amazon hasn’t entered most Southeast Asian countries.

Future plans
The startup is intended to use a new capital for the expansion across Indonesia. They also plan to increase the stock in several categories like clothes and electronics. Riki Tenggara claims the true success indicator is how much they improve their customers’ lives and businesses.

Ula’s common vision is to revolutionize trading for small and medium enterprises. In order to achieve it, the startup is going to implement technologies boosting their efficiency and provide tools for lucrative business.

What do you think about Ula’s idea? Text in comments 💬