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Tokopedia makes its presence in Indonesia amid doubtful investors

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February 23
5:29 AM 2016

Tokopedia, a start-up founded by William Tanuwijaya, is making its presence in Indonesia with its excellent product portfolios. The online shopping centre took nearly "11 pitches" to receive funding from the investors. The start-up came into existence in 2009 amid the internet usage swelling in the nation.

In 2014, a funding round of $100 million headed by investors like Sequoia Capital and SoftBank Group marked the nation's entry into the booming technology industry. Tanuwijaya's Tokopedia is more similar to Alibaba.com and he derived the inspiration from an investor's flippant advice in 2008. He recalled the advice which said, "William, don't waste your time. The guys who started Amazon, Facebook and Google, they are special people. Unfortunately, you are not."

However, Tanuwijaya wanted his start-up to par with the major peers in the nation like Alibaba.com and he started to make necessary adjustments to achieve this goal. Currently, the start-up employs nearly 400 staffs with 24,000 job requests per month. Tanuwijaya, who doesn't want to convers regarding the revenue of his firm, said that there is no idea of taking his start-up public in 2016, Bloomberg said.

Mobile devices account for nearly three-quarters of the start-up's traffic. The start-up arena is populated by unicorns that are very few in number in Southeast Asia. According to Vinnie Lauria, Golden Gate Ventures' managing partner, Tanuwijaya's Tokopedia is the first unicorn in Indonesia in 2016. Tokopedia, which has no logistics or warehousing cost, have the potential to reach its peak in a very short time.

Apart from providing clothing, health-care and electronics products, the start-up also allows users to book their train tickets and also to top up their mobile plans. Rudiantara, Indonesian minister of Communications and Information technology, said that he is hopeful about a fresh unicorn in 2016. Tanuwijaya commented in a Singapore summit that most investors enquired him only about his past life, but Masayoshi Son, founder of Softbank, was the first to ask him regarding his future plans.

According to TEK OTO, the growth of internet and technology sector in Indonesia has paved the way for many start-ups in the country. The start-ups that focusses mainly in on-demand and e-commerce services have opened the doors for many job lookers. The start-ups offer attractive pay scheme and benefits than the established corporates. The data compiled by Jobplanet showed that nearly 31.73% of job seekers are lured by the benefits and working environment of Tokopedia.

In January 2016, Narendra Modi, prime minister of India, introduced a new initiative called "Startup India" to enable the Indian start-up firms to get easy access to funding and other benefits. In addition, the government announced Rs 10,000 crore amount for start-up funding, as reported in EconomicTimes.

The data collected by Bloomberg showed that in 2016, the growth of gross domestic product in Indonesia is anticipated to jump to 5.1%, up from 4.8% in the previous year. Experts believe that the economic growth in the nation will drive the start-ups to reach its financial stability. Tech start-ups like Tokopedia are waiting to accelerate their profile amid a robust economic condition in the country.

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