A screen shot of Kudo's online commerce site. (JG Photo/Sarah Yuniarni)

Kudo Raises Eight-Digit Funding From Emtek Group

BY :SARAH YUNIARNI

SEPTEMBER 14, 2016

Jakarta. Online to offline e-commerce and marketplace Kudo raised an eight-digit funding from Indonesian media conglomerate Emtek Group to expand its business in rural areas in Indonesia, targeting one million new customers and agents by 2018.

"This new round of funding will enable us to establish a network of agents across suburban and rural areas in Indonesia. From Sabang to Merauke, our agents will be many Indonesians' gateway to e-commerce," Kudo chief executive Albert Lucius said in a statement sent to the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday (13/09).

However, the company did not disclose the exact amount of the funding.

The Emtek Group has invested in Rumah.com and in other local sites, including Bukalapak.com (an online shop and marketplace), Lakupon.com (online discount voucher center) and Bobobobo.com (online shop specializing in lifestyle and travel).

The Indonesian media conglomerate owns a variety of media businesses including free-to-air television channels SCTV and Indosiar, regional Jakarta-based TV station O-Channel and pay-TV channel Nexmedia. The group is led by siblings Eddy Sariaatmadja and Fofo Sariaatmadja.

Kudo, an acronym for Kios Untuk Dagang Online ("Online Stall"), currently employs around 150,000 agents to target customers who mostly live outside the big cities.

Signing up to be the company's agents is fairly easy and can be done online on its official site or using a smartphone app (currently only available on GooglePlay). New agents can pick from a variety of e-commerce products, including phone credit top-ups, utility payments, plane tickets and financial services.

The products sold on Kudo's platform are provided by the company's merchant partners from online marketplaces such as Lazada, Berrybenka and Bukalapak as well as flight carriers AirAsia, Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air.

The company's agents come from many backgrounds, with most being students, employees and housewives.

Agents in rural areas will receive a commission for shopping on behalf of their less tech-savvy customers. For example, an agent can buy phone credit through the Kudo app after a customer pays him cash.

The agent will receive the commission on a digital deposit, which is expected to encourage more people to open up their own bank account to process payment.

Earning kudos for financial inclusion

Using this method, Kudo claimed it has opened up business opportunities for more than one million Indonesians with no or limited access to financial technology. It also bypasses typical hurdles for e-commerce companies in Indonesia, such as logistics and cash-on delivery payment.

The company wants to expand its product offerings with more fin-tech products — from insurance, multifinancing to payment plan — as the company is already in partnership with utility and insurance companies, including state utility company PLN and healthcare and social security agency BPJS Kesehatan.

"We want to create one million digital entrepreneurs and enable millions of Indonesians to shop online for the first time by 2018. Our strategic partnership with a lender focusing on small businesses (BTPN), retailers and distributor will help us achieve this goal," Kudo chief operating officer Agung Nugroho said in a statement.

Kudo was founded in 2015 with the idea of creating an accessible platform to boost inclusive economic growth in the country. Its business model allows Kudo to offer products for people with limited access to banks and financial technologies, with transparent pricing and the opportunity to earn commission for each transaction.

In less than two years, Kudo claimed it has already processed tens of thousands of transactions worth billions of rupiah per day.

The company recently appointed tech executive Sukan Makmuri as its chief technology officer. Sukan previously served as chief executive at Indonesia's biggest online forum, Kaskus, and has more than 15 years of experience working overseas as tech adviser, college professor and software engineer.

Kudo also create a program training periodically in several country's regions to introduce its platforms and educate the existing agents in fully maximizing its features to sells the products effectively.

The company previously received funding from local venture capital firms such as Skystar Capital, East Ventures, 500 Startups, as well as from Tokyo-based venture capital firm GREE Ventures, Singapore-based venture capital firm Singapore Press Holdings and IMJ Investment Partners.

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