East Ventures Team

East Ventures 2021 recap: 80+ deals made across SEA’s fastest growing sectors, aiming for sector diversification in 2022

January 12, 2022

Welcoming the new year of 2022, East Ventures is taking this opportunity to look back and reflect on the year 2021. Just like the rest of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has also severely impacted our ecosystem—not only Indonesia, but it also took a heavy toll on Singapore and other SEA countries as well. Nevertheless, we managed to act timely in addressing the pandemic crisis in July 2021. East Ventures launched the third initiative of Indonesia PASTI BISA, IDPB Safeguards Oxygen, a collaborative movement with the support from many parties; including the Indonesian Ministry of Health, Indonesian Embassy in Singapore, as well as fellow portfolio companies within our ecosystem. Through this movement, we distributed over 1,450 oxygen concentrators to hospitals in need across the country, and weathered the worst moment of the crisis.

As the pandemic gradually subdued, the East Ventures team recovered better than ever and went back on our feet. Amid the pandemic, East Ventures officially merged with EV Growth, and we became a holistic platform that provides multi-stage investments. In 2021 alone, we have closed 80+ deals, welcomed 48 new companies—double the amount from the preceding year, and had 1.3x follow-on funding raised by our existing portfolio companies. We also saw exceptional growth, milestones, and achievements within the many sectors of our portfolio companies.

1. Fintech

What we have seen from the fintech sector in Indonesia’s startup scene from the past 12 months is that it is a highly attractive sector. Starting with a bang, our portfolio Xendit became Indonesia’s first B2B payment gateway unicorn with its US$ 150 million series C round in September 2021. 

Other companies within the sector have also continued to show tremendous growth, even in early 2021. For instance, Indonesian robo-advisor app Bibit has successfully raised a total of US$ 110 million of growth fund. BukuWarung has also raised a US$ 60 million series A, claiming it as the largest series A round ever raised by an MSME-focused startup. To date, BukuWarung has over 7 million registered merchants in over 750 cities in the country. 

We doubled down our investments in Finantier, Qapita, and Komunal. These companies bring new financial solutions to Indonesia: Finantier with its open finance solution, Qapita with its ESOP management, and Neo-rural bank concept pioneered by Komunal. Komunal also launched DepositoBPR in August 2021, making Komunal the first authorized funding agent that has been regulated under an official license from Financial Services Authority (Otoritas Jasa Keuangan or OJK).

FUSE, the largest insurtech company in Indonesia, has closed 3 funding rounds of series B within the past 6 months, bringing the company’s total raised to more than US$ 50 million. The company’s Gross Written Premium (GWP) has already exceeded IDR 1 trillion (around US$ 70 million) hitherto within the first 3 quarters of 2021 alone.

East Ventures also welcomed new companies namely Transfez, Fairbanc, and Alami into this sector; and we are excited to continue fostering more fintech firms in the future.

2. E-Commerce

The ever evolving e-commerce sector is also interesting to dissect. In 2021, social commerce platform Kitabeli raised US$ 10 million in March 2021, its revenue has also grown by 40-50% every month. On the other hand, Desty, Indonesian social commerce, has raised 3rd funding in a year with a total of US$ 8.2 million. SIRCLO, Indonesia’s leading e-commerce technology company raised US$ 36 million of Growth Funds in September 2021 after the company acquired Orami, as part of the initiatives in strengthening its omnichannel services for brands and SMEs. Another merger we witnessed in 2021 was coming from the micro-retail startup Warung Pintar, which acquired Bizzy Digital, one of our own portfolio companies that offers a B2B marketplace.

We have also led the supply chain company for DTC (direct to consumer) brands startup Praktispre-series A round, and co-led a funding round of Aruna, Indonesian leading marine and fisheries platform, totaling US$ 35 million of series A round. Aruna also experienced an increase of 86x GMV throughout the pandemic.

3. Logistics

Logistics has been one of the most important pillars in building Indonesia’s infrastructure, as well as in supporting the e-commerce industry. Following the discipline and agility of the team in maintaining their financial fundamentals, Waresix successfully raised  a total of US$100 million fundraising during the hard times of pandemic in 2020. Waresix has now become Indonesia’s leading logistics hub as the company covers 200+ cities with over 50,000 trucks and 400 warehouses.

While the existing players continue to grow, we placed our bets on new logistic startups in 2021: Luwjistik, Singapore-based SaaS platform powered by robust APIs, and McEasy, that offers Vehicle Smart Management System (VSMS), Transportation Management System (TMS), and Smart Driver Apps in Indonesia, with a total of US$ 2.6 million seed funding.

4. Retail

The retail sector might be one of the sectors hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic as consumer behavior changed drastically. In spite of that, the resilience coming from our portfolio companies is like never before.

Sociolla, Indonesia’s leading online shopping destination for beauty products, expanded its operations to neighboring country Vietnam in 2021. The company was able to act timely in remodeling its business flow and took the opportunity to open more than 30 new offline stores in Indonesia and 9 in Vietnam. In the beauty industry as well, personalized skincare brand Base successfully raised a pre-series A funding round.

In the food & beverages (F&B) industry, we hear from Yummy Corp who bagged an extended series B funding round in August 2021. The company also acquired MyBrand, an application that supports social-media based F&B MSMEs, and launched Yummyshop, a food delivery app that allows customers to order food, make payments, and have the food delivered to them within one application.

In addition, we also have backed new DTC brands namely mohjo, Legit Group, and Kasual. We believe that the retail sector plays a pivotal role to ride on the commerce infrastructure, and will accelerate as the commerce locomotive continues to soar.

5. Edtech

Likewise, existing players like Ruangguru continued to thrive in the year 2021. The company fundraised a total of US$ 55 million in April 2021 and is being globally recognized. Ruangguru was the second most innovative edtech company of 2021 in the Fast Company’s annual World’s Most Innovative Companies一the only Indonesian company that made it to the list一and Top Startup in the G20 Innovation League 2021, along with Nalagenetics.

We brought new additions into our ecosystem. First, T-Lab, a Chinese language learning app. Second, Geniebook, Singapore-based online learning platform that is designed to help primary to secondary school students accelerate their academic performance.

6. ESG

The importance of ESG implementation has been rising significantly in the past year. We see a huge social gap within our society, and believe that the integration of ESG in our investment practice can generate impact funds

Xurya, a renewable energy startup that has contributed to realizing a greener Indonesian economy, has been backed by energy management and automation company Schneider Electric through its Schneider Electric Energy Access Asia (SEEAA) fund. We are happy to support Xurya, which actively contributes to the increased usage of clean, renewable energy by cutting down CO2 emissions through solar panel installations.

We also pleasantly welcomed TreeDots into our family, Asia’s first vertically integrated food supply chain ecosystem, by co-leading an oversubscribed US$ 11 million series A fundraise. Treedots serves businesses and and consumers through its marketplace and social commerce for surplus and imperfect food supplies, tackling the colossal issue of food loss, particularly perfectly edible food that is discarded.

Commitment in propelling Indonesia’s digital economy

East Ventures further nurture the Indonesian digital ecosystem through our 2nd annual report: East Ventures Digital Competitiveness Index (EV-DCI) 2021. We engaged with 8 government officials, 7 leaders of giant corporations, 6 startup founders, and 3 regulators in the making of this report. We mapped the distribution of the Digital Competitiveness Index across Indonesia’s 34 provinces and 25 major cities. We see an increase of the median EV-DCI score from 27.9 in 2020 to 32.1 in 2021, which shows that digital competitiveness among provinces in Indonesia has become more equal. Thus, we believe that Indonesia has never been in a better position to slingshot the country’s digital economy into its golden era.

One of our efforts to propel Indonesia’s digital economy was to appoint the people with the same mission and vision as our firm. We welcomed 25 new additions to the team, including senior hires like David Fernando Audy as Operating Partner; Avina Sugiarto, Koh Wai Kit, and Italo Gani as Venture Partners; and Pascal Christian as VP of Investments. We are walking into 2022 with a total of 60 people headquartered in both Indonesia and Singapore.

Eyeing new sector diversification in 2022

Willson Cuaca, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at East Ventures, said “2021 is a challenging year for us. However, with the ability to take action timely, we could overcome the worst health crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a chance to sit on the front seat of digital acceleration and have first-hand experience helping our portfolios and community. As a result, we grew with bigger portfolios, bigger funds, and bigger teams. We were able to close 1-2 deals within a week. There will be more new sectors in our portfolio, and we are excited to make more impacts through technology in 2022.”

Looking forward, we believe that there will be new sector diversification within Indonesia’s digital ecosystem, and East Ventures is eager to invest in these startups. From the fintech sector, blockchains and NFTs are believed to strive and create a bang between investors. More instant commerce companies are expected to emerge as well, seeing how the pandemic has accelerated the demand.

The COVID-19 pandemic also further pushed the need for more healthtech startups that operate in segments such as research and development, wellness and disease prevention, screening and diagnosis, and care delivery. Last but not least, companies focusing on addressing the ESG sector are also expected to rise. As a sector-agnostic venture capital firm, East Ventures is excited to see more innovations coming from brilliant-minded people from any sector.

2021 was robust with great success for our family. Looking forward, we are very excited about what 2022 has in store for us.