Mr Bambang, a minister for research and technology, joined Bukalapak in the advisory role of president commissioner in May. He is keen for the resource and manufacturing corporations that dominate the Indonesian economy to be joined by industries of the future, such as e-commerce.
“We would like digital companies to become some of the largest in Indonesia. This is one of the largest IPOs in Indonesia for a very long time and that will help drive positive sentiment across our capital markets,” Mr Bambang told The Australian Financial Review.
“Bukalapak is the first of our unicorns to go public so of course that is of great interest. I look forward to when these unicorns become part of the mainstream.”
GoTo, the company that brought together GoJek and Tokopedia – two of Indonesia’s other six unicorns – is expected to go public later this year. Another, travel specialist Traveloka, is reportedly in talks to raise up to $US400 million ($540.2 million) in a US listing with a special purpose acquistion company.
With China cracking down on its tech titans, international investors are taking at closer look at Indonesia’s rapidly expanding e-commerce sector.
Bukalapak averaged 12.83 million unique visitors each month in the first quarter, coming in third place with just under 8 per cent of the online shopping mall market. Tokopedia is the market leader, with just under one-third of all traffic, and Singapore’s Shopee is in second place.
Shinta Dhanuwardoyo has spent years nurturing the next wave of tech talent across Indonesia. She has seen an increase in attention since late 2019, when she established a start-up platform that has made it simpler for investors to gauge what is on offer from early-stage companies across the country.
Sequoia Capital, the legendary Silicon Valley venture capital firm, was among those that wanted in. “Last year Sequoia called us up and said ‘Hey, hi, why weren’t we invited?’ We started with 10 or 11 VCs speed dating our early stage firms – now we have about 40,” Ms Dhanuwardoyo said.
What these investors want is exposure to the fast-growing market for e-commerce in south-east Asia. Indonesia is the region’s biggest economy and the pandemic has hastened the shift online of everything from grocery shopping to bill paying.
Bukalapak has 6 million online merchants, 6 million offline merchants and about 100 million customer accounts. There is room for a lot more.
“It’s estimated there are 60 million micro, small and medium-sized businesses in Indonesia and only 9 per cent have adopted technology – so there is huge potential,” Ms Dhanuwardoyo said.
“If there has been one positive effect of the pandemic, it’s that is has forced people online.”
The Bukalapak listing will lift sentiment across equity markets, she believes. “It will help revive our stock market and that will be a good thing for Indonesia,” Ms Dhanuwardoyo said.
With Natalia Santi