Ula, a marketplace platform that focusses on modernizing distribution and credit processes in the traditional retail sector, has raised $10.5 million (approximately Rs 79.29 crore at current exchange rates) in a seed funding round.
The round has been led by the Indian arms of venture capital Sequoia and Lightspeed. Other investors that contributed to the round include SMDV, Quona Capital, Saison Capital and Alter Global, Ula said in a statement.
Angel investors including business-to-business company Udaan’s co-founders Amod Malviya, Vaibhav Gupta and Sujeet Kumar also invested in the company.
The India-, Singapore- and Indonesia-based Ula will use the funds to enhance its technological infrastructure and build its team in India.
“Ula has a highly experienced team bringing together the right mix of experience in local and global e-commerce, retail and fintech,” Sequoia Capital (India) Singapore manging director Abheek Anand said.
Ula was founded by Nipun Mehra, Alan Wong, Derry Sakti and Riky Tenggara in January this year. The company says it operates as a multi-category wholesale marketplace that aims to help small store owners access product selections, prices and working capital to increase their incomes.
The startup claims that it has seen a 10x growth in its business since its launch, with returning customers purchasing up to two to three times of their original volumes.
Mehra, who is an alumnus of Stanford University and The Wharton School, has previously, worked with companies such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Pine Labs. He has also acted as an investment advisor to Sequoia Capital.
Wong, meanwhile, has also worked with Amazon in its supply chain, catalog and search divisions. He has also built and led the engineering team at Booking.com with a focus on its B2B vertical.
Before Ula, Sakti worked with global consumer giant P&G for more than a decade, functioning in various roles across the conglomerate’s sales, planning and strategy divisions. Tenggara, meanwhile, has worked with Lazada and e-commerce enabler aCommerce. He also set up his startup, Prinzio.
The investment represents the latest commitment to an Indonesia-based venture by Sequoia Capital India. Last month, the firm led a $109 million (around Rs 823.23 crore) Series B funding round in Kopi Kenangan, an Indonesian beverage retailer. Participants in the round included Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital, Horizons Ventures, Verlinvest, Kunlun, Sofina and Alpha JWC Ventures.
In April, it participated in a $31 million (around Rs 236.35 crore) Series A funding round in Kargo Online System PT, which operates a freight logistics marketplace.
The domestic unit of the global VC firm is one of the most prominent early-stage investors in the country and the Southeast Asian region. It operates both a traditional VC unit and an accelerator (Surge) to invest in startups.