News about IPO plans of Indonesia’s unicorns are making waves since the beginning of this year. This time it’s the e-commerce platform Bukalapak.
According to a Bloomberg report, the firm has started exploring the possibility to go public on the Indonesian Stock Exchange (IDX), before embarking into the US markets, by merging with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Bukalapak is said to be in initial talks with several blank check companies and has started working with investment banks to discuss its options.
Bukalapak’s valuation is estimated to reach around USD 4 billion to USD 5 billion, an increase from the current USD 3.5 billion. Apart from Ant Group, GIC, and Emtek, the firm is backed by a number of investors including Naver, Microsoft, and Standard Chartered. In Indonesia, the shopping platform ranks third after Shopee and Tokopedia, according to surveys.
Daily Social contacted president Teddy Oetomo for confirmation, but he declined to comment. Company representatives said that after operating for 11 years, its focus is now on building a sustainable business to create a long-term impact on micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and the Indonesian people through reliable online and online-to-offline services.
The news comes after CEO Rachmat Kaimuddin said that it “wants to be independent and run Bukalapak as a standalone company. IPO is an option to be able to get funds and indeed technology companies at certain times want to IPO.” He added that the firm was preparing the infrastructure to go public.
Founder and former president Fajrin Rasyid signaled his support in a post. He emphasized that Indonesian companies should consider domestic listings, which would be more beneficial to the country, or at least dual listings at home and abroad.
Diversification is key
At the moment, Bukalapak is still trying to reach profitability, exploring various sectors outside its core e-commerce business. The firm launched a subsidiary called Open Investment Together to explore the mutual fund investment business targeting underserved groups.
In a LinkedIn post, COO Willix Halim said that the company is recruiting for various roles for a new business unit, preferable Tagalog speakers. It is rumored that Bukalapak is exploring the Philippine market. The company declined to comment.
Diversification will be crucial for the firm. Its street stalls partnership program Mitra Bukalapak has performed strongly and is one of the most impactful in its category. Throughout 2020, its growth rate reached 50%, according to Kaimuddin. The program has its own CEO with Howard Gani.
Currently, Bukalapak has 100 million users and 7 million partners. It is the fourth unicorn that reportedly plans to go public, after Gojek, Tokopedia, and Traveloka. In addition to the rapid growth, market conditions indicate that this year might be the right moment to finally carry out their listings.
This article first appeared in Daily Social.