SoftBank puts more money into Indonesia's Tokopedia: report

November 22, 2018 16:03
A Tokopedia employee interacts with a visitor at a customer experience center. The Indonesian online marketplace has received further financial backing from Japan’s SoftBank. Photo: Tokopedia

PT Tokopedia, which operates Indonesia's dominant online marketplace, is raising US$1 billion from existing investors including SoftBank, Bloomberg reports, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The latest fundraising deal values the firm at about US$7 billion, making it the most valuable startup in Indonesia, according to the report.

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank first invested in Tokopedia in 2013 via its subsidiary SoftBank Ventures Korea, and then participated in several funding rounds for the startup.

Earlier this year, it transferred its prior holdings in Tokopedia to its mega tech venture capital unit Vision Fund. It is not clear if the latest funding comes from SoftBank Group Corp or its Vision Fund, the report said.

Tokopedia has raised US$2.3 billion in capital since its founding, according to Crunchbase. It also has backing from Sequoia Capital India, as well as Alibaba, which has continued its push into the growing Southeast Asian e-commerce market.

Tokopedia is now facing competition from rivals such as Alibaba-owned Lazada, and Singapore’s Sea Ltd, which is investing heavily to expand its e-commerce business Shopee.

Co-founded by William Tanuwijaya in 2009, the C2C online marketplace allows individuals and businesses in Indonesia to open and maintain their own online stores for free, a business model similar to that of China's Alibaba and Japan's Rakuten.

It operates on a 'freemium' model, where paying store owners get additional features such as user control and the right to sell a wider range of products.

Last month, Tokopedia teamed up with Lippo Group-backed cashless payment service OVO to offer the payment service on its online marketplace, replacing its own e-wallet TokoCash, which failed to obtain an e-money license from Indonesian authorities.

As the biggest economy in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is expected to have more than five startups worth at least US$1 billion each, reaching the status of 'unicorn', by 2019, according to the country's officials.

The existing unicorns from the nation are ride-hailing company Go-Jek, travel site Traveloka, and market places Bukalapak and Tokopedia. 

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