Startup Spotlight:

BukuWarung, an Indonesia-based bookkeeping and payments platform for micro-merchants, recently raised a reported ~USD10-15m from investors including DST Global, Soma Capital, GMO Venture Partners, and a serious roster of angels, after completing Y Combinator’s accelerator program in the summer of 2020. 

Founded by Chinmay Chauhan and Abhinay Peddisetty in 2019, who come from micro-merchant families themselves, BukuWarung helps small and micro-businesses manage their cash and credit transactions through a mobile accounting app. Merchants receive repayments faster and get cash flow visibility through the app’s tracking and analytics. 

EMPEA: Why did you start BukuWarung?

Chinmay Chauhan: We started BukuWarung because 1) we come from micro-merchant families ourselves and are passionate about helping micro-businesses, 2) we built products/monetization for merchants/drivers at Grab and Carousell in Indonesia, so we really understand how to build for MSMEs, 3) MSME digitisation is a massive opportunity. There are 60m MSMEs in Indonesia who contribute to 60% of Indonesia’s economy, which is over USD1t.

How has the business grown since launching in 2019? 

We’ve served over 1.5m merchants so far across 750 cities and towns in Indonesia, with over 50%+ growth for the last 12 months, and our merchants have recorded several billion USD in cash and credit transactions on the app, which has grown 100x in 2020.

We also launched digital payments recently on the app for merchants to send and receive money, which has seen around USD200m in annualised TPV (total payments volume) in just two months of launch.

BukuWarung raised seed funding in April 2020 from East Ventures, GGV, AC Ventures, and others, and a pre-Series A in July 2020, led by Quona Capital, with follow-on from seed investors. Has it been challenging to explain the business opportunity around warungs to your investors? 

We’ve also raised funding after our Y Combinator demo day round, which was covered in TechCrunch, from DST Global, Soma Capital, and 20VC. You can find our investor list here

YC was amazing. The team and partners were really helpful. We had an amazing demo day because we were one of the fastest growing YC companies this year. 

Investors now understand the size of the opportunity and believe there will be multiple large players that will emerge over the next five years, by solving for MSME digitisation. 

What do you think about Gojek’s GoToko service — is it competitive to BukuWarung? Or good to see other tech companies paying attention to bringing warungs into the digital economy?  We see them as complementary to what we’re building. Less than 10% of the MSMEs use any form of app to do their business, so the market is huge. We recently announced a partnership with Warung Pintar, another app that merchants use to source their inventory. We’ll be offering Warung Pintar’s service on the BukuWarung app for our merchants to stock inventory at low costs and conveniently get it delivered.

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