The week of 20 September was a busy one for Indonesia’s social commerce startups. On Tuesday, Dagangan Dagangan The Business Times Monk's Hill Ventures leads US$11.5m Series A round for Indonesia's DAGANGAN Read more announced a US$11.5 million Series A funding round. On Wednesday, Halal-focused Evermos Evermos TechCrunch Indonesian halal-focused social commerce startup Evermos lands $30M Series B Read more said it had raised a US$30 million Series B. And on Friday, Kitabeli Kitabeli Tech in Asia Meesho founders back KitaBeli’s series A extension funding Read more revealed it had raised an undisclosed amount in an extension of its US$10 million Series A round six months ago.

That’s at least US$41.5 million channelled to three different social commerce startups within four days. One of those fundings was of particular interest because of the involvement of Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal, co-founders of Indian social commerce unicorn Meesho. They participated in 18-month-old Kitabeli’s Series A extension, along with investment firms Kopi Kenangan Capital and Banana Capital.

This Indonesia-India linkage is nothing new. Meesho, in fact, had entered Indonesia in 2019, but retreated after the pandemic hit last year; it decided to focus on defending its home turf. The co-founders of Indian bookkeeping company Khatabook and business-to-business (B2B) marketplace Udaan have also invested in their Indonesian counterparts, BukuWarung and Ula, respectively.

The reason why Indian companies and founders are investing in comparable businesses in Indonesia is quite obvious—a similar business model should lead to a similar growth trajectory. However, in the case of Meesho and Kitabeli, that’s not quite the case. Because they follow different business models.

Meesho, for the most part, has been serving resellers, while Kitabeli deals exclusively with end-consumers. (We’ve previously written written The Ken The many forks in the path to become Indonesia’s first social commerce unicorn Read more about the different models of social commerce in Indonesia.) And if you look at Indonesia’s social commerce sector, more investments have been channelled into businesses with the reseller model—at least US$78 million since last year.

There are two reasons for this. One, quite simply, because there are more platforms following the reseller model in Indonesia. It’s arguably a more intuitive way to start a social commerce startup in the country, as it allows the players to tap into 3.5 million warungs warungs Warung A small retailer, typically family-owned.

AUTHOR

Yunindita Prasidya

Based in Bali, Dita writes about Indonesia’s growing digital economy, including how technology is shaping the lives of young Indonesians and impacting traditional industries. She was previously a reporter at The Jakarta Post.

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