Bukalapak posts best year in 2016, daily transaction value at US$3.8 mil

  • Eyeing GMV to increase 500% in the next two years
  • Net income rose seven fold, aiming for same growth in 2017

Bukalapak posts best year in 2016, daily transaction value at US$3.8 mil

(L to R): Cofounder & CTO Nugroho Heru Cahyono, Founder & CEO Ahmad Zaky, Minister of communication and information Rudiantara, COO Willix Halim, Cofounder & CFO Muhammad Fajrin Rasyid at Bukalapak’s 7th anniversary event in Jakarta, Jan 10.

IT HAS been seven years since Indonesian marketplace Bukalapak was established by three software developers Nugroho Heru Cahyono, Ahmad Zaky, and Muhammad Fajrin Rasyid, who are now the chief techonology officer (CTO), chief executive officer (CEO), and chief financial officer (CFO) respectively.

And although they are not profitable yet, 2016 has been their best year so far says newly joined chief operating officer (COO) Willix Halim.

Willix who joined Bukalapak in October from Australia’s publicly listed Freelancer.com, shared that Bukalapak reached 11.2 million users with 1.3 million sellers reaching out to them with 107 million products.

“It was indeed a very special year for us. Growth was exponential, we had many achievements, and are close to being a profitable business, while focused on our mission to elevate small and medium enterprise prosperity in the country,” Ahmad said at the company’s 7th anniversary celebration in Jakarta.

According to Ahmad, net revenue, increased seven fold compared to 2015, and the trend is expected to continue in 2017 and 2018, although he did not disclose any projections.

He also dismissed local media speculation that Bukalapak suffered from a Rp400 billion (US$30 million) loss in 2016, “No the loss was not that big,” he said, without disclosing what it was.

“Thanks to our active community and sellers, called pelapak in Bahasa Indonesia, we are one step closer to become a profitable company, hopefully this year, hopefully,” Ahmad added, saying that the company is very close to its Rp10 trillion (US$751.5 million) run-rate per year.

“Hopefully in the next three to five years, our earnings will be comparable to giant retailers such as Carrefour, maybe even surpass some of them,” he continued.

While there are no specific targets for 2017, Ahmad says that the focus will be on increasing and improving their service to both sellers and customers.

“The bigger we are, the harder it is to manage expectation. Sellers and customers expect us to deliver the best service, to ensure our site is always up, to ensure the mobile app works well with no glitches. So, that is more our goal for this year.”

Pageviews soar 1,500%, GMV by 500%

Currently Bukalapak claims its average daily transaction value reached Rp50 billion (US$3.8 million) in 2016, compared to only Rp7 billion (US$525,900) in 2015, and Rp500million (US$37,600) in 2014.

Ahmad also revealed that the majority of the transaction value, sometimes even 99% goes to its sellers with Bukalapak only taking 1% to survive. Taking that 1% from its daily transaction value of US$3.8 million means that Bukalapak is left with US$38,000 for its daily operations, or about Rp500 million. It ended 2016 with 500 employees compared to 200 in 2015 and 50 in 2014.

On certain days, like the recent national online shopping days or Harbolnas, Bukalapak’s transaction reached Rp300 billion (US$22.5 million) for the course of three days, or roughly about Rp100 billion (US$7.2 million) per day, twice the normal days average.

Adding to the year’s achievement, pageviews soared to 13.4 billion compared to only 800 million in 2015, a growth of approximately 1,500%.

Gross merchandise volume (GMV) grew 500% compared to 2015 with Willix  expecting the same growth rate for 2017 and 2018.

“One of the company’s values is “fast”. It means we want faster idea generation, faster execution, we want the company to grow faster, as well as delivering faster experience for both sellers and customers,” Willix said.

Ahmad is also aware of the danger that size can bring to a company. “As our company gets bigger, we do not want to be slow in terms of change and innovation. We need to keep to be agile to transform and change, and that will also be a focus for this year,” he points out.

Meanwhile Bukalapak is expanding its reach. It recently partnered with BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to allow BBM users to browse and buy Bukalapak’s products directly from the app through BBM Shopping.

And just last week, it partnered investment portal Bareksa to launch BukaReksa, which allows consumers to invest in a mutual fund online, through a microsite managed by both Bareksa and BukaLapak.

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