Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
CyberAgent Ventures is one of the most active investors across Southeast Asia’s startup communities, through its dedicated ‘CA Asia Internet Fund I’, and the Japanese VC has announced a new addition to its portfolio: Indonesia baby and toddler retailer Bilna.
Singapore’s East Ventures, another well-known Southeast Asia investor, has also partaken in this round of seed funding, the value of which has not been revealed.
Bilna is brand new in Indonesia, it was founded just four months ago by Ferry Tenka, one half of the duo behind Disdus, the group buying site that was bought by Groupon in April 2011. So far, the two are being fairly guarded about providing details of their latest venture and its early user metrics. [Update – see below for more]
The site itself covers a range of categories for parents of 1-4 year olds, including formula and food, bath and skincare, furniture, toys and clothes. It offers free shipping for items (in Indonesia) but many of the site’s non-commerce pages are not available in English — such as its return policy — which is a sure sign that it is focused on the local market for now.
Given that Indonesia has more than 240 million people and a strong Internet culture — it is a top 5 market for Facebook and Twitter — that isn’t exactly a shallow initial market to aim for.
CyberAgent says that it has made the investment in response to the “high demand of online shopping for babies and children related goods” that it sees in Indonesia, thanks to economic growth, the rise of incomes and, of course, Internet access.
“Judging from its recent market trend and performance of our existing portfolio company, there are clear signs indicating the rapid growth of the E-commerce market in Indonesia,” it further explains on its website.
CyberAgent’s previous other investment in Indonesia is Tokopedia, an online mall with 9,000 shops. The firm put into the startup’s Series B round in what was also an undisclosed deal. Local sources suggested it was upwards of $700,000 for 10 percent, giving the company a valuation of $7 million.
The Bilna investment is early stage, so is unlikely to be as high. But we’ll let you know if we do hear anything further on the size of the funding – officially or otherwise.
Update: Bilna says the money will be used for marketing, recruitment, supply chain and to expand its selection of products, which it says includes more than 2,000 items right now.
Tenka says that he believes Indonesia’s ecommerce market will grow five-fold over the next 3-4 years. His fellow co-founder Eka Himawan comments:
“Indonesia’s Baby market is as big as, if not bigger than India, yet there is no established online player that is purely focusing on this space. We think that there is a massive white space here.”
Image via 401(K) 2012 / Flickr, thanks Rama
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