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Updated at 8.15pm PT, October 3: In a statement just now, Ula confirmed TechCrunch's reporting, saying it has raised $87 million in its Series B financing round. The round was, as TechCrunch reported, co-led by Prosus Ventures, Tencent, and B Capital. Jeff Bezos invested in the new round.
“We launched in 2020, with a single-minded mission to empower small, neighborhood retailers with technology to increase their income. We take a long-term approach to solve the underlying problems of traditional retailers by investing in technology, supply chain and data-enabled credit offering,” said Nipun Mehra, co-founder and chief executive of Ula, in a statement.
“Ula’s new investors come with global expertise and share this long-term mindset of the company. We are grateful to them for believing in Ula’s mission and hope to learn from their experience re-imagining retail in other emerging markets” he added.
Our original story follows:
Indonesian e-commerce startup Ula, which has raised over $30 million and courted many high-profile investors since launching last year, has now won the trust of the world's richest person.
The founder of Amazon has invested in the one-and-a-half-year-old startup's new financing round, his first in the Southeast Asia region, sources and many others familiar with the matter told me.
The Jakarta-headquartered firm -- which counts B Capital Group, Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Quona Capital among its existing investors -- is in advanced stages of talks to finalize a new round of over $80 million.
Jeff Bezos has agreed to invest in Ula through his family office, Bezos Expeditions, people said, requesting anonymity as the matter is private. B Capital Group, Tencent and Prosus Ventures are positioning to co-lead the round, which could close as soon as this month.
Bezos’ interest in Ula, which operates a business-to-business e-commerce platform, comes at a time when Amazon has either not entered most Southeast Asian nations -- or maintains a limited presence there.
Public relations reps of Ula did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday.
Ula helps small retailers solve inefficiencies that they face in supply chain, inventory and working capital. It operates a wholesale e-commerce marketplace to help store owners stock only the inventory they need, and also grants them with working capital.
The startup was founded by Nipun Mehra (a former executive of Flipkart in India and ex-partner at Sequoia Capital India), Alan Wong (who previously worked with Amazon), Derry Sakti (who oversaw consumer goods giant P&G’s operations in Indonesia), and Riky Tenggara (formerly with Lazada and aCommerce).