Jeff Bezos Makes First Investment In Southeast Asia’s E-Commerce

Jeff Bezos participated in an $87 million Series B funding for Indonesian e-commerce startup Ula. The move marks the Amazon founder’s first-ever investment in Southeast Asia’s e-commerce space.

Indonesian e-commerce startup Ula launched last year and has since raised over $30 million and courted several high-profile investors. It has now won the trust of the world’s richest man, with Bezos investing in the company’s new financing round. 

In a statement released on Monday, it was announced that Bezos Expeditions, Northstar group, AC Ventures and Citius joined the round co-led by Prosus Ventures, Tencent and B-Capital. The previous fundraising included a $10.5 million seed round back in June 2020 followed by an additional $20 million Series A round in January of this year.

In the statement, Nipun Mehra, co-founder and chief executive of Ula, said, “We launched in 2020, with a single-minded mission to empower small, neighbourhood 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.” 

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,” Mehra added.

Ula assists small retailers to solve inefficiencies in their supply chains, inventory, and working capital. The company operates a wholesale e-commerce marketplace that supports store owners in stocking only the inventory that they need and also grants them working capital. 

Bezos’ interest in the startup comes at a time when Amazon has not entered most Southeast Asian markets or maintains a limited presence there.

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