Social commerce startup KitaBeli on Wednesday said that it has closed a USD 10 million Series A funding round led by Go-Ventures. Its seed-round investors AC Ventures and East Ventures also participated again.
KitaBeli’s mobile app allows users to share product price information with their social circle, and build teams to purchase desired items at competitive prices, similar to Chinese commerce giant Pinduoduo. Over time, the platform aims to connect suppliers and farmers to tens of millions of consumers in lower-tier cities across Indonesia.
The Jakarta-based firm, which was only established a year ago, has seen strong growth in those smaller cities. CEO and co-founder Prateek Chaturvedi plans to expand operations deeper into Java and to develop a secure and efficient logistics network. “We shall focus on building a more interactive and user-friendly, mobile-first shopping experience for our customers,” he said.
In Indonesia, social commerce is most popular among women, who are hawking products in WhatsApp groups for additional income. Right now, several apps operate in the country, such as RateS, Chilibeli, and Woobiz, selling goods ranging from fashion, and household items, to fresh groceries. Customers place their orders with middlemen, who will connect them with suppliers.
KitaBeli is trying to move on from the agent model, choosing a direct-to-consumer approach. Users place orders directly on the app rather than through resellers. The company also established a partner-based distribution network, where community members can earn commissions for carrying out the last-mile delivery.
Power to the community
“We empower our delivery partners to fulfil more than 100 orders per day and earn a substantial amount that supplements their family’s income,” said co-founder and COO Ivana Tjandra. “Community fulfilment is critical to establish an efficient logistics chain, as well as to deliver high quality products at a low cost.” While the firm is now mostly providing high-frequency items, such as FMCG and fresh produce, it will soon add beauty, fashion, and electronic products, Tjandra said.
Since its launch, KitaBeli has seen strong month-on-month growth of over 80%. It has kept marketing costs low and its customers spend an average of USD 70 per month on the platform.
“Online shopping can be enhanced through a social experience that traditional e-commerce platforms have yet to incorporate,” said AC Ventures managing partner Adrian Li. KitaBeli is building trust through product-sharing from friends and family, which “creates a virtuous cycle of virality,” according to him. “This model drives cost-effective growth in rural Indonesia through its scalable user-acquisition strategy.”