Unpleasant birthday surprise for Tokopedia
Just around the time of its 9th anniversary, the Indonesian e-commerce marketplace seems to have had an unpleasant run-in with some employees.
More than a dozen employees are said to involve in a scam during the company’s anniversary flash sale that went on from August 15th to 17th, according to a report by Tech in Asia Indonesia (link in Indonesian). These employees were let go a few days after the incident.
The report doesn’t explain from which department they came, or how they conducted the fraud – except that, as a result, people had trouble getting the discounted goods and deals through regular channels. The information is based on anonymous sources and an email Tokopedia founder William Tanuwijaya sent to all employees, which was obtained by Tech in Asia.
As the largest Indonesian ecommerce employer with around 1,800 staffers, Tokopedia, known to highly value a company culture based on trust, is likely to have morale issue after the incident.
Tokopedia isn’t the first tech firm being exploited by employees. Just recently, Grab was in the headlines with a weird case which saw Grab call center agents siphon US$71,550 into their own pockets by meddling with drivers’ accounts. 3,000 drivers were affected. Grab says it fired 5 people after the incident and returned the money to the drivers.
This type of fraud is probably going to become more widespread as startups grow and there’s more need for third-party contractors with less oversight. These just happened to be cases where the fraud became public.
Asian Games crowns first e-sports Winner
The Asian Games is in full swing in Indonesia. For the first time, e-sports are also on the agenda. They’re not a fully acknowledged discipline yet, which means winners don’t count towards the medal score – but it’s likely that e-sports will be part of the official tournament in the next Asian Games in China.
The first competition for the game, Arena of Valor, was won by a Chinese team. Other upcoming titles to be played are Clash Royale, League of Legends, StarCraft II, Hearthstone, and Pro Revolution Soccer 2018.
Some of these games are owned and distributed by big Asian tech firms like Tencent and Garena, while others are from the US and Europe-based developers.
JD Finance + Go-Jek
According to Dealstreet Asia, ride-hailing form Go-Jek and JD’s subsidiary are planning some sort of JV. The report says this may take the form of Go-Jek acquiring JD’s Indonesia operations of consumer credit product.
JD Finance spun out of JD a while ago, just like Ant Financial is a separate business unit spun out of Alibaba. It’s possible that a joint venture is underway after all Go-Jek has been ramping up its mobile wallet Go-Pay and has shown ambition to get into online financial services and online insurance. Ant Financial already has a JV with an Indonesian company. JD itself is already an investor in Go-Jek.
Go-Jek’s reported investment into JD Financial Indonesian unit signifies a tighter collaboration between Go-Jek and JD, and potentially Tencent, in the future.
Go-Jek is doubleding down on fintech as the firm bought out 3 fintech firms last year, from Kartuku, Midtrans to Mpan. This May it also partnered with Bank Negara Indonesia to finnace Go-Food SME vendors.
Indonesian P2P lender Koinworks raised US$16.5 million in a Series A financing round led by Mandiri Capital.
Mandiri Capital is the VC arm of Bank Mandiri, one of the country’s largest banks.
It’s been a funding bonanza for companies in the online lending space recently. Funding Societies, a peer-to-peer lender known as Modalku in Indonesia, pocketed US$25 million in April. Kredivo and Investree also recently announced further capital intakes.
Bahasa.ai received an undisclosed amount of seed funding from East Ventures. It’s developing AI-powered software for the Indonesian language – this is useful for programming chatbots that help automate certain customer service tasks. There’s a similar company in Indonesia called Kata.ai that’s part of 500 Startups’ portfolio.
Local VC firm AlphaJWC confirmed an investment of undisclosed amount in Lemonilo, a marketplace for healthy food and cosmetics.
It has a lot of fresh produce and even meat, which makes it similar to Sayubox, an Insignia-Ventures backed fresh-produce online shop. Insignia is the VC firm established by Yinglan Tan, formerly of Sequoia Capital. However, Lemonilo describes itself as a curated marketplace, whereas Sayurbox is more vertically integrated. Both target Indonesia’s upper-middle class shoppers, who have jumped on the global trend bandwagon to value organically grown food and health supplements.
Editor: Ben Jiang