Week in Review: MatahariMall gets its wings, Be Lazee sees its clipped

  • Leading Indonesian e-commerce player raises US$100m, with Mitsui & Co leading
  • Digital concierge startup, BeLazee shares three lessons from failure to raise funding
Week in Review: MatahariMall gets its wings, Be Lazee sees its clipped


INDONESIA again comes to prominence this week with the Lippo Group funded MatahariMall raising US$100 million (RM418 million) with Japanese investor, Mitsui & Co showing their confidence in the potential of Indonesia’s e-commerce market.
It’s actually a small amount – compared to the US$550 million raised by Go-Jek in Aug 2016, and I fully expect them to raise a larger round 18 months to 20 months down the road. Especially if Amazon does actually enter the Indonesian market, though those rumors have quietened down now.
As the best positioned homegrown e-commerce player, I don’t expect MatahariMall to back down in the face of any challenge in its home market, even with Alibaba in the picture as well with their acquisition of Lazada earlier this year.
The chart above, courtesy of 500 Startups, offers a perfect picture of the economic potential of Indonesia’s rising middle class, and which lights up the eyes of every investor betting big on Indonesia.
On the other hand, while MatahariMall is now flying high, Malaysian digital concierge startup, Be Lazee Group, has had its wings clipped because it could not raise its next round, which was intended for its expansion into Indonesia.
It was a case of so near yet so far for them, as despite having an Indonesian VC verbally committing to invest in them, that deal fell through as the VC could not close its own fund raising round.
As Adlin Yusman, founder of Be Lazee told me during our chat last week, “it is winter as far as the funding environment goes for startups”. Do check out that article where Adlin shares the three lessons he has learnt from his failure to raise money, which has now put his once promising startup on a razor’s edge, with its survival depending on closing its first B2B customer, a financial services customer in Indonesia.
Indonesia figures again in our article on ChemCaper, an edutainment game launched in March 2016. This is the first in a line edutainment games co-developed by ACE EdVenture and Indonesian game design studio Artoncode.
Eighty percent of the work, including the design, is done in Malaysia with 20%, mainly coding done in Indonesia.
Besides having access to technical talent in Indonesia, ACE is in a unique position as a game studio since it is part of the ACE EdVenture education group that includes two international schools and multiple learning centres. This gives it access to  educators who are intimately familiar with the challenges of keeping kids engaged in learning chemistry the traditional way.  Gamifying core science subjects could just be the key to unlocking curiosity and igniting the fun factor.
With that, I wish you a restful weekend and productive week after.
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