Competitor to Grab’s Kudo raises funds from gadget distributor
Kioson, an online-to-offline startup comparable to Kudo, announced yesterday that it has raised a round of investment from Mitra Komunikasi Nusantara (MKNT), an Indonesia Stock Exchange-listed firm that distributes gadgets, prepaid phone vouchers, and SIM cards.
After the investment, MKNT owns 4.94 percent of the startup. Kioson CEO Jasin Halim did not specify the amount, but MKNT director Jefri Junaedi told a local news site that it was between US$370,000 and US$450,000.
The online-to-offline model established by startups like Kioson and Kudo in Indonesia is seeing some traction.
In April, ride-hailing app Grab announced it would acquire Kudo, for reportedly close to US$100 million, to accelerate its expansion into digital payments and commerce.
Kudo and Kioson work in a similar way. They equip neighborhood store owners with an app through which they can order and resell things like phone credit, tickets, or even physical goods from online stores. Those store owners become “agents” that bridge the gap between online and offline so that customers who are unfamiliar with online shopping can do so via a trusted person. Agents are rewarded with a commission but are not employed by the startups.
At the time of acquisition, Kudo said its agent network had 400,000 people. Kudo was founded in 2014.
Established in 2015, Kioson says it counts 15,000 people in its network. Together, they bring in about 500,000 transactions per month, says Halim.
Kioson’s app offers a wide range of services. It integrates with online shopping portals like Tokopedia, Elevenia, and Berrybenka, lets customers settle bills for electricity and water, order TV subscriptions, apply for loans, or make money transfers. Kioson collaborates with banks on a branchless banking push – which aims to offer more financial services to people in rural areas.
Through its partnership with MKNT, Kioson will boost its inventory of telecommunication products and services. According to Halim, Kioson gets these at a competitive price through the gadget distributor and will act as a distribution channel for it.
Converted from Indonesian rupiah. Rate: US$1 = IDR 13,289.
This article first appeared in Indonesian, written by Aditya Hadi Pratama. Information was translated and edited for this version.
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