Ula secures US$10.5 million in seed funding

by Kim Casper

Indonesian startup, Ula, has secured US$10.5 million in seed funding led by Sequoia India and Lightspeed India. Founded just five months prior, the e-commerce startup is headquartered in Jakarta and provides its services via operating an online wholesale platform.

Ula’s goal is to aid small retailers by providing solutions to improve the efficacy of their operations in supply chain, inventory, and daily cash flow – summarizing these deliverables in three succinct points Profits (Untung), Efficient (Lancar), and Reliable (Aman).

With its current operations in Indonesia where the retail scene is largely traditional, business owners face challenges in gaining working capital and obtaining inventories despite having the knowledge to operate their stalls in a cost-efficient way.

Ula’s Co-Founder, Derry Sakti, expands on this commenting that “A grocery store might need to source inventory from up to 50 different sources (wholesalers/ distributors) every week and sometimes order in bulk to get better rates, even when they don’t need such large quantities.”

Since its inception, Ula claims that business has grown ten-fold with some customers returning and increasing their purchases significantly. In light of the pandemic, store owners have also purchased more supplies in comparison to their purchases earlier in 2020.

With the freshly raised capital, Ula looks forward to expand its operations across Indonesia throughout 2021 and widen their variety of inventory in more categories such as clothing and electronics.

Commenting on the financial round, Abheek Anand, Managing Director at Sequoia Capital highlights Ula’s strengths, sharing that “Ula has a highly experienced team bringing together the right mix of experience in local and global e-commerce, retail and fintech markets and we are excited to be early partners in this journey.”

Ula’s founders – Nipun Mehra, Alan Wong, Derry Sakti and Riky Tenggara – bring to the table a host of expertise as they have worked in major e-commerce firms before. Collectively, the founders have amassed skills from their professional experience in Amazon, Flipkart, Booking.com, and Procter & Gamble just to name a few.

With the startup’s leadership having deep competencies in e-commerce, and Indonesia making efforts to aggressively digitalize its economy, this puts Ula’s e-commerce success on a healthy trajectory.

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