- Secures undisclosed Series A funding from India’s Aavishkar
- To add handmade food & beverage, bath & beauty categories
A JAKARTA-based e-commerce platform focusing on local handmade products, PT Qlapa Kreasi Bangsa (Qlapa) recently raised an undisclosed Series A round funding led by India’s Aavishkaar Frontier Funds (AFF), followed by founders of Kapan Lagi Networks (KLN).
AFF is the fifth fund of social investment firm Aavishkaar launched in 2015, focusing to invest in South and Southeast Asia’s companies. Its first investment in the country went to North Atlantic, Inc, a company that sourced seafood from artisanal fishermen.
Qlapa co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Benny Fajarai (pic) tells Digital News Asia (DNA) that the capital injection will be used to scale both the supply and demand side of the platform as well as hire more people to join the team.
“In our seed round, we were trying to achieve product-market-fit and get initial traction in the local handmade and craft market. In the past one and half years, numbers have supported our forecast of the market potential.
“We are happy with the progress and with this round of funding we will focus more on user acquisition and retention, as well as growing our own team,” explains Benny.
“Currently the company has a lean operation with 35 people. However, the new funding round will help to double the number of people, and hopefully to move to a bigger office this year,” he adds.
Qlapa had secured its seed funding investment round from Global Founders Capital (GFC), Kapan Lagi Networks (KLN), and angel investor Budi Setiadharma in January last year.
Buying direct from crafters
Benny was on the list of Forbes’ “30 Under 30 Asia” in 2016 for his previous company Kreavi, a social network connecting and showcasing creative work by professionals in the country.
He sold Kreavi in mid-2015 and started Qlapa, inspired by his trip to Bali’s craft market.
Launched in November 2015, Qlapa was established with the goal of exposing and promoting Indonesia’s rich traditions and handicrafts while giving buyers the best products in the market.
“We make sure each seller and all products uploaded on our platform has passed strict curations standard. This enable buyers to discover unique quality products with clean and clear user experience,” Benny says.
Being an e-commerce platform, Benny also says that Qlapa does not allow resellers, which means that every seller on the platform is a crafter.
“With this, we cut down the distribution chain and ensure that buyers will get the best price for products without any mark-up from distributors or resellers,” he adds.
While many refer to Qlapa as the Etsy of Indonesia, Benny says that Qlapa will always maintain its unique selling proposition by only allowing high-quality handmade products to be displayed on the platform.
“The nature of handicraft products is that they are very unique and have the personal touch of the crafter. That is what we want to keep, and that is the thing that sets Qlapa apart from other e-commerce platforms,” he says.
Qlapa’s crafters mostly come from the artsy cities of Indonesia including Bandung, Yogyakarta, Solo, and Bali. However, Benny says there are also many crafters from Jakarta, Medan, and Surabaya.
Benny also says that 50% of Qlapa’s sales come from big cities outside Jakarta, but does not elaborate on details of these cities.
In terms of business model, Qlapa takes a 10% commission on each transaction via the platform.
In the pipeline
Benny says that there are 117 categories of products in their system at the moment, narrowed down to seven general categories on the website. In the near future, the platform will have local and handmade food and beverages, as well as bath and beauty products.
There are over 4,000 curated crafters on the platform selling 65,000 unique craft products. Benny aims to triple these numbers by the end of the year, aiming to get 12,000 curated crafters with 200,000 products.
When asked about the highest-grossing category, Benny says fashion products are still the most popular, in line with the general e-commerce trend.
“Fashion items and home decorations form the majority of our sales. Batik clothes including dresses and shirts, and leather goods like bags, wallets, and shoes, are among the most popular fashion items.
“Another category that is on the rise is household items, furniture, and decorative items, with wooden goods being the most popular,” he says.
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