SoftBank, Sequoia India invest $100M in Indonesian e-com marketplace Tokopedia

Global VC firm Sequoia Capital has marked its debut investment in Indonesia by participating in a $100 million funding round in e-commerce marketplace PT Tokopedia, which was led by Japanese telecom and internet major SoftBank.

Sequoia invested in the firm from its latest India-focused VC fund while SoftBank is investing from its newly created SoftBank Internet & Media Inc (SIMI), which is led by former Google honcho Nikesh Arora. SoftBank is an existing investor in Tokopedia through SB Pan Asia Fund, which also put in more money in the latest round.

This also marks one of the largest fundraising by an internet firm in the entire Southeast Asia region.

"Apple, Yahoo, Google, Linkedin, YouTube, Zappos, Airbnb, WhatsApp and Instagram - these are the companies which have built world-class products that have been changing the world for the past decade. All these firms have one thing in common—they were funded by Sequoia in the beginning of their journey,” Tokopedia’s CEO William Tanuwijaya said in a statement.

“I always wanted to learn from the US market on the forefront of technological innovation, as well as the Indian and Chinese markets for business model innovation. Therefore, I am very excited and cannot wait to work closely with Sequoia to build a legendary internet company from Indonesia," he added.

Founded in 2009, Tokopedia has grown to become Indonesia’s leading online marketplace. With 

this new capital, Tokopedia will focus on customer acquisition, hiring, and other initiatives. By partnering with Tokopedia, SoftBank aims to further build its presence towards becoming the top internet company in Asia and accelerate business growth by leveraging synergies with its other group internet companies. SoftBank is already the largest shareholder of the China's Alibaba, the world's largest e-com firm.

Sequoia is one of the leading VC firms in the world and has been pretty active in the country but has backed just a handful of e-com firms in the bustling market including Freecultr and HealthKart.

Shailendra Singh, managing director, Sequoia Capital India Advisors, said, “We are incredibly impressed with William’s vision for Tokopedia, and the progress that the company has made in connecting buyers and sellers in a seamless and trustworthy marketplace in Indonesia. We are delighted to partner with the Tokopedia team and investors, and look forward to working with them in building a leading Internet company for the future.”

Nikesh Arora, vice chairman of SoftBank and CEO of SIMI, said, “In the Asia region, the growth potential for online marketplaces particularly stands out in Indonesia, and since its founding, Tokopedia has seen remarkable growth with their innovative business model. Leveraging synergies with our network of internet businesses, we are confident we can help Tokopedia’s success in the Indonesian market.”

This investment is expected to close in mid-December 2014, subject to certain conditions.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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