Desty, an Indonesia-based social commerce startup, announced that it has secured US$3.2 million in a pre-series A funding round today. The investment was led by 5Y Capital (formerly known as Morningside Venture Capital), a top tier venture capital in China that has become the main backer of notable companies like Xiaomi and Kuaishou. This move also marks 5Y Capital’s first investment in Indonesia. Participating investors in this round are Fosun RZ Capital, East Ventures who is also Desty’s seed round investor, January Capital, and IN Capital.
Desty is a digital platform that helps merchants, influencers, and creators easily build a single online destination to promote and sell their products. Users can create landing pages optimized for links in bios and build their own branded online store in just several minutes for free. Launched in October 2020, the startup has rapidly grown to become Indonesia’s leading social commerce tool with hundreds of thousands of users.
Led by Mulyono Xu (CEO) and Bill Wang (COO) – both experienced founders with extensive backgrounds in e-commerce and VC – Desty will utilize the new funding primarily for team expansion and user acquisition. “We have our laser focus on serving online merchants and users in the ecosystem. We only have one goal, which is to make sure they can grow their business efficiently. Our team has over 15 years experience with merchants and their digital operations, which we believe is key to the growth of the economy in Indonesia. We can see more dynamics is happening in our market and we are confident we are aiming for the right audience of users to serve,” said Mulyono, Co-Founder and CEO of Desty.
Desty has brought together an impressive team roster in Indonesia and China. These talents carry the experience from Facebook, Google, Bukalapak, Canva, and other tech leaders to revolutionize Indonesia’s e-commerce space.
Currently, Desty has two main offers, namely Desty Page and Desty Store. Desty Page is a landing page service optimized for links on social media accounts, especially Instagram. Meanwhile, Desty Store provides a platform for users to open an online store to complement their marketplace presence easily. As a supporting pillar, Desty has established Desty Academy, the primary channel of information and training resources to help Desty users grow their business with practical how-tos, best practices, and case studies.
“Desty is creating a platform which enables merchants to go digital in five minutes. We have invested in similar companies in India and China, and these solutions create immense value. With a solid team behind Desty, we have no doubt it will change the whole landscape of small medium enterprises in Indonesia and Southeast Asia,” said Tej Kapoor, Co-Executive President of Fosun RZ Capital.
“The Internet is all about links. Great Internet companies build links. They link people to people, link online to offline, and link demand with supply. In the e-commerce world, there is a massive opportunity in linking social and content with e-commerce transactions. We have seen this great power when social and content meets e-commerce in China. We believe Desty can become the linking infrastructure in Southeast Asia’s e-commerce world and could contribute to a better ecosystem where social, content, and e-commerce transactions link closer and smoother,” said Hanson Hu, VP of Investment at 5Y Capital.
Desty has quickly gained the trust of notable users such as Lesti Kejora, a famous Indonesian singer with more than 21 million Instagram followers. She uses the app to host her beauty brand Purnama Beauty. “Desty Store helps increase the efficiency of Purnama Beauty’s retail and reseller sales. With just a few clicks, our buyers and resellers throughout Indonesia can get Purnama Beauty products safely and easily,” said Lesti.
Desty’s exponential growth comes at the perfect time to complement Indonesia’s massive e-commerce development during the pandemic. The nation’s online transactions jumped by 18.1% to 98.3 million in 2020 while recording 12 million new e-commerce users. In addition, Indonesian consumers’ most trusted shopping channels come in various platforms: marketplace (97%), business’ own domain/website (91%), and social media (82%).
“Since our investment late last year, Desty has been paving the way for merchants, influencers, and creators to go online. As a result of the pandemic accelerating this shift to online, there is a continuously stronger use case for Desty and where they fit into the market. We are confident that Desty, backed by a team of experienced founders, will continue to create impact and provide value for the millions of Indonesian online sellers,” said Willson Cuaca, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of East Ventures.
It is essential for merchants and sellers to easily manage their multiple online presences in Indonesia’s dynamic e-commerce landscape. “We believe that as a merchant, users need options to do business, whether in the marketplace, in their own domain, and in social media channels. We are here to provide solutions for them, so that each channel can complement one another, instead of competing. This will result in less dependency on external parties and more sustainable business in the long run,” added Mulyono.