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Tokopedia raises $1.1b from SoftBank, Alibaba to evolve into infrastructure-as-a-service

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Tokopedia has secured US$1.1 billion in its latest funding round, the company announced today. The deal turns the Indonesian ecommerce unicorn into the most valuable startup in the country, valued at about US$7 billion.

The funding is led by SoftBank Vision Fund and existing investor Alibaba Group, with participation from SoftBank Ventures Korea and others. Tokopedia also raised the same amount of funding last year in an Alibaba-led round.

According to co-founder and CEO William Tanuwijaya, Tokopedia is evolving its ecosystem to infrastructure-as-a-service, providing logistics, fulfillment, payments, and financial services technologies to empower online and offline commerce.

“This will broaden Tokopedia’s scale and reach while improving operational efficiencies for the millions of businesses and partners in our ecosystem and further our mission to democratize commerce through technology in Indonesia,” he said.

Regional expansion, however, is not part of the plan. “We will go deeper and serve Indonesians better – from the moment they wake up in the morning until they fall asleep at night; from the moment a person is born, until she or he grows old,” Tanuwijaya added in an email statement.

The company’s gross merchandise value (GMV) has quadrupled in the past year. It now provides same-day delivery to 25 percent of its customers.

When asked about the recent controversy surrounding SoftBank’s ties to Saudi Arabia, Tanuwijaya said that they are “deeply concerned by the reported events and alongside SoftBank are monitoring the situation closely until the full facts are known.”

Having both SoftBank and Alibaba as investors also raises questions about the battle lines drawn in Indonesia’s startup scene. Alibaba is a majority investor in regional rival Lazada, which also operates in Indonesia, while SoftBank famously invested in both Grab and Uber.

Alibaba’s competitors in China, Tencent and JD, also own stakes in Indonesian ecommerce: JD through JD.id, and Tencent through its investment in Sea Group. Sea Group’s Shopee claims to have about 700,000 orders per day, which would make it Indonesia’s top ecommerce player based on number of orders.

But Tanuwijaya emphasized that the company is independent, with a diversified cap table.

“For example, Tokopedia works closely with both Grab – a SoftBank portfolio – and Go-Jek – a Sequoia portfolio,” he said in a statement. “We see Lazada [as] having a different business model than us: Lazada is a hybrid of retail and marketplace model, whereas Tokopedia is a pure marketplace. Lazada is a regional player, we are a national player in Indonesia.”

[Source: “Tokopedia raises $1.1b from SoftBank, Alibaba to evolve into infrastructure-as-a-service” published by Tech In Asia]
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